What made our holidays a winner?

By Michael Miller….

Michael Miller, Executive Editor

Start with our city’s Santa’s Parade, a gigantic hit again and the ‘best yet’, say longtime parade goers. Thousands lined our streets, young and old, tall and short and big and fat, too!

And speaking of big, this year, we got two Santa’s. The Santa on the float waving to the crowd was none other than a nine-year veteran (Jody Perlmutter of First National Bank of South Miami, we can now safely disclose).

The other Santa was the top guy at the Bank, Bruce MacArthur. Bruce with Mrs. Claus (Veronica Flores) posed for pictures with lots of kids and I got to tell you, the kids loved it, just staring at St. Nick and pulling his big white beard. … Bruce, Veronica and Jody, my thanks for helping make this year’s parade such a great success.

Now, I must tell you that Barbara Acker, who has been organizing and DOING this parade duty for more than 20 years, accomplished a Herculean effort by making it such a massive success.

There were lots of new acts and lots of new people along with their families who came here for an afternoon of fun and they surely enjoyed it. Barbara deserves our thanks for a job well done.

By the way, if the city had worked with Barbara (instead of agin’ her), maybe our holiday lights would have sparkled on our hometown streets once again.

Yes, while the city was going after Barbara Acker and the Santa’s Parade, the city managed to screw up and forget to put up the holiday lights along Sunset Drive. The shopping area just wasn’t the same without them.

As the 2010 holiday shopping season comes to an end (and you still lack gifts for family and friends), consider walking along Sunset Drive, SW 57th Avenue and SW 73th Street and visiting stores and folks you can rely upon all year long.

These are the merchants and professionals who decided to call South Miami their business “Home” and they welcome those who make it a point to shop in South Miami — just as they decided to make it their ‘home business base.”

So head on over and make a point to come back again, because they want you to enjoy our hometown streets, shopping in our stores and eating in our restaurants. That’s the best way to have a wonderful holiday season and enjoy family and friends.

South Miami police are stepping it up and just recently the cops did one of their well-known DUI stops and, of course, busted a bunch of folks who got hauled off to the pokey. Congratulations to the police for taking care of business.

Speaking of busts… South Miami’s finest and their colleagues took Lee Park by storm Thursday night around 7 p.m. accompanied by a helicopter, police dogs, lots of law enforcement from area agencies to find the bad guys who sell drugs less than one mile from city hall and the police station. We estimate that there were at least 40-plus cop cars, vans and SUVs blocking off the area around SW 64 St and SW 62 Ave to around 57Ave while the warrants were served. Lots of bad guys were hauled off and if history is an indication, the South Miami Police have enough evidence to send these guys away for a while. Good show guys and my sources tell me that the cops didn’t get all the dealers, but heck, where are they going to go?

John Edward Smith took the dais at a recent commission meeting to lament the absence of the lights and civic activist Sharon McCain, sitting in the audience, uttered many words of agreement and was then unceremoniously escorted out by South Miami’s finest. Hmmm … that’s somewhat reminiscent of the removal of Yvonne Beckman years ago from the city chambers.

Well, anyway, Sharon, who loves this city more than anything, has been pretty busy brightening up everyone’s holiday spirit. (Probably more than the absent lights on Sunset Drive could do, too).

So, here ‘tis: Sharon mentioned that the city’s newlyplaced parking meters might be in violation of ADA regulations because of the lack of distance between the meter and the sidewalk’s end. Well, guess what? The city investigated and bingo! There were no problems with them. So, what happened next: well here it is, so, enjoy.


Honorable Mayor, Vice Mayor, and Commissioners,

On Tuesday, December 7, 2010, I was informed by Ms. Carmen Baker, Code Enforcement Manager, that Ms. McCain informed her that some of the Parking Pay Stations where emplaced in such a manner that they violated ADA standards and that she was going to ensure compliance. I was aware that the installation was conducted in such a manner where the exact location of the devices was based on the proper measurements of the boxes from the most intrusive point. Being sensitive to the needs of our community I decided to assume an abundance of caution and directed staff to conduct an immediate measurement and verbal certification to me of each and every installed box. After an extensive inspection of each of the boxes it was determined that all installed boxes were within the ADA standards. The complaint made by Ms. McCain on a City sanctioned and authorized emplacement of the boxes had an associated cost of $553.21.

Thought it would be bad policy to place hindrances upon any citizen from filing a complaint or notification of violation of rules or laws, I believe it is in the best interest of the City and its taxpaying residents to provide the Commission feedback as to the cost associated with frivolous complaints associated with certain citizens which have a history of providing at best a 50% correct complaint.


Hector Mirabile, Ph. D. City Manager

KFHA shakes up the command

Was it really a surprise December 8 when a closed-door meeting of Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations replaced its long-established leadership team of Miles Moss and Lawrence Percival? (Both vow they’ll stay active on the Board).

There’s little doubt that dwindling interest in KFHA affairs developed in recent months until MDX saw fit to put up gantries on the Shula and Snapper Creek X-ways, drawing hollers and hoots from a lot of Kendall folks.

Biggest KFHA attendance we can recall in 2010 nearly packed the room September 27 when the ‘Roll Back Tolls’ movement began by independent request. Standingroom crowds during pre-election sessions of KFHA do not count because politicians bring supporters by the score, usually outnumbering the ‘public’ audience.

Among KFHA problems: personal infighting, very likely in closed board meetings, crippling to any organization. KFHA has had its fill in recent years with more than one individual or cause being singled out as a behind-the-scenes culprit.

The organization has also been criticized for posing to represent all homeowner associations but supporting candidates through a PAC committee that bears the identical KFHA name. Legal separation doesn’t justify the dual role. It’s just bad PR.

There’s also the continuing issue of an organization that likes to say it represents “thousands of homeowners” but only attracts 15 or 20 bonafide members to meetings. The public meeting December 13 drew less than 10 people, despite a topic of interest to all homeowners advising foreclosure prevention and procedures.

Both Moss and Percival should have been thanked for their efforts that have kept KFHA afloat, direct its beneficial activities and act as its stewards, despite personality clashes.

After all, its meetings for the past year have been the only regular public forum in Kendall now that Commissioners ended East and West Kendall Community Council non-zoning meetings. (Continental Park’s HOA fulfills a like role in East Kendall to make up for the loss of those citizen sessions).

So we wish KFHA, Lee Zimmerman, Don Kearns & crew a really Happy New Year while we thank Miles and Lawrence for their community service that all too often goes unrewarded if not unrecognized, petty feuds and hurt feelings aside.

Like it or not, it’s the way things often get done in democracies to serve a greater good. Those who kept the speaker’s platform intact deserve equal credit with those who may follow.

Lily Perez says she “lost the election” but “not the vote” when thanking KFHA in person for its support at the December 13 meeting, passing around a delectable tray of candied cupcakes. Can’t remember the last time that any candidate, winner or loser, has done that in a post-election session. Lily’s gesture gets an appreciative nod of thanks from this corner (and the cakes were great, too).

‘Are the walls painted?’ asks Martha Backer in a postscript to her oft-unanswered plea to synchronize county traffic lights among other items on her holiday wish list. “Well, some things did get done,” she adds. “We have sidewalks fixed, parking at a local park and if DPW would replace the 144 street sign they put up with the 143rd, it would be nice…actually saw a county truck yesterday!” County Commissioners & DPW, please note!

Did you know amidst your holiday rush that you are also in the middle of Gluten Free Baking Week (you read it here first!)? Thru December 25, Kendall’s recentlyopened Portofino Coal Fired Pizza (11535 Kendall Drive) offers a gluten-free crust option for all pizzas and desserts. Now, what more can you celebrate?

Speaking of good eats, the just-opened Moe’s Southwest Grill (8746 Mills Drive) at The Palms in Town & Country Center is now serving made-to-order burritos along with southwestern fare, the sixth to open in Miami. And, it sez here, there’s a glutenfree menu for kids!

So what’s ‘gluten’? We’ll save you a Wikipedia trip that says “Gluten is the composite of a prolamin and a glutelin, which exist, conjoined with starch, in the endosperm of various grass-related grains. Gliadin and glutenin (the prolamin and glutelin from wheat) comprise about 80 percent of the protein contained in wheat seed. Being insoluble in water, they can be purified by washing away the associated starch,” and adding: “…a food made from the gluten of wheat (is) made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch dissolves, leaving insoluble gluten as an elastic mass which is then cooked before being eaten.” I hear Aunt Yenta once again yelling: “Enuff already!”

Happy Holidays to you and all within our Community Newspapersfamily circle.

Tought of the Day:

We are here to add what we can to life, not to get what we can from life.

— Sir William Osler

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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