Is former Mayor Horace Feliu on the comeback trail?
In a surprise appearance, the former South Miami mayor was one of many speakers at the last city commission meeting when comish members were to vote on moving the new City Hall project forward.
However, a very vocal group of about 10 (counting on hands and feet) gave the city fathers a whole lot of grief about tearing down the existing hall and making some sort of deal with a developer (Gasp!) to put up the new building to include the police station, public library and a buncha offices without connections to city functions. There was even some conversation about having the medical office property at the sout corner of Sunset Drive and US1 included.
But back to Feliu who made it very clear he opposed any deal to tear down the ‘keepsake’ City Hall. There was also some mention about the election (Yes, it’s in February) being six months away. Can’t figure out what that meant but guess we’ll find out soon enough.
Seems to me there are a few things standing in the way of a new city hall. First is the suspicious ‘will’ of elected officials driving the deal.
Then there is that pesky rule essentially stating that all five commissioners would have to vote ‘Yes’ to liberalize current zoning for a much large building to serve lots of different uses. Since it didn’t seem that would happen, City Attorney Thomas Pepe opined that in this circumstance, it would only take three out of five votes to get needed rezoning, just what the supporters of a new building want. That also quickly became a rallying call for the opposition that got off its collective butts and made its multiple voices heard, loud enough to get the vote deferred.
There seems to be at least two mindsets floating around: (1) If the rules say “five out of five,” then the city should comply and not have the city attorney make up a new rule to fit the circumstance; (2) Even if approval would take only three votes, some folks (Former Mayor Feliu included) just don’t want to deal with “developers” (Gasp! Gasp!).Others want to keep the current city hall: ‘What’s wrong with the one we have?’ several employees who wanted to stay anonymous asked me. Still more wondered aloud: ‘Why can’t we have a beautiful, state-of-the- art structure to bring lots of life and activity to the west side of US1?’
BTW: the election IS coming up in February and at this writing, it appears there are no outstanding candidates with serious potential to challenge any of the three sitting officials whose terms are up.
They include the only person I know of who has run 100 national marathons ( C o m m i s s i o n e r Josh Liebman) and has served with distinction, i.e., candor, honesty and effectiveness.
Then there’s “Bobby” Welsh, also known as “Bicycle Bob and Bobble Head,” who was so far over the edge that he’s had to move back to center and now seems to be a crowd favorite. Getting the dog park done was likely his game changer and he’s a keeper, for better or for worse.
That brings us to Hizzoner Phil Stoddard who appeared sorta geeky when first elected years ago and although he may still be geeky to some, he’s earned his stripes and wins respect as a mayor who gets stuff done. For sure, he has the popularity and machinery to get reelected, even if anyone runs against him.
Over at Deli Lane and Sunset Tavern, the annual Spiny Lobster Contest sparked a great time for the partygoers and an opportunity for proud contestants to show off their catches. Folks, I’ve seen a few Florida lobsters in my time, fitting just fine on the plate with lots of hot butter and loads of vegetables. But this time, the top two lobsters could be termed “gigantic” as far as I’m concerned. One tipped the scales at six pounds, six ounces and a second weighed an ounce over eight pounds — birth weights in maternity wards!
Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669- 7355, ext. 249, or send emails to Michael@communitynewspapers.com.