Move over Mayor Flinn…step aside CBS4’s Jim Berry and Esserman Nissan’s TV pitchman Chris Assmar. The most recognized name in Palmetto Bay, at least this week, might just be Chris Scarano.
With the stroke of a pen and a few hundred postage stamps, this little-known resident has done what every political candidate dreams to do – capture the attention, and hearts, of undecided voters.
Scarano’s open letter to the residents of Palmetto Bay could very well swing the November 2nd local election in the direction of political newcomers who promise greater fiscal discipline.
Not bad for a single father, struggling to make ends meet and keep his home from foreclosure.
Scarano, age 40, had grown frustrated with what he perceived as careless spending practices by the Village of Palmetto Bay. “I want to see a heightened sense of concern on the part of our local government,” says Scarano. “We have a long way to go before we turn the corner towards a healthier economy.”
Worried the message for fiscal conservatism wasn’t getting to enough residents, Scarano, father of 4 yr old Michaela, dug into his own pockets to pay for a mass mailing of a one-page diatribe outlining costly municipal projects and a need to elect “fiscally-responsible” reform-minded leaders for the open mayor and council seats.
Scarano tapped Jim Araiza for Mayor, and John Dubois and Patrick Fiore for council.
Scarano mailed his letter to hundreds of homes last week, and almost immediately residents began to ask, “Who is Chris Scarano?”
“I received no less than a dozen calls from residents who said they would vote for me based on the passionate plea Chris made in his letter,” said Jim Araiza, candidate for Mayor of Palmetto Bay (and Supervising Editor of the Eye on Palmetto Bay blog). “I’m just glad Chris supports my campaign and not one of my opponents!”
Scarano is pleased with the reception his message has garnered, and he is more than a little bit embarrassed by his sudden recognition. “I didn’t do this for any reason other than a concern for my daughter Michaela’s future. We just can’t continue spending the way we have been spending so far.”
The following is Chris’ letter, unedited, in its entirety:
Dear Village of Palmetto Bay resident,
This heart-felt letter comes to you from a fellow resident who has fallen in LOVE with our Village. The truth is that I’ve taken funds that were for my mortgage and struggling business to pay for this mailing.
The November 2nd election will be about the selection of candidates with the character to stand up for us. We may feel helpless in fixing national policies; but locally, we can make a difference. If you were considering whether or not to vote, hopefully this letter will motivate you. Early voting (with no waiting in line) is every day (11am-7pm) up until October 31 at the Coral Reef Library at 9211 SW 152nd Street. Weekend hours are 9am-1pm on Saturday or 1pm-5pm Sunday.
It sickens me to see three candidates with ONE agenda working together to gain control of our voice. We CANNOT afford to fight this losing battle against Palmer-Trinity. I attended the Palmer-Trinity hearing, and I’m not happy about more traffic on Old Cutler; but the law decided that they have the right to expand. Let’s stop wasting OUR money to fight them. We’ve already spent hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees fighting this battle with several hundred thousand more in the budget for next year. It’s possible we will be liable for the school’s legal fees costing us an additional $1 million+ dollars.
These are the issues that we need to be concerned with:
- Thirty full time employees are moving from a $175,000 a year leased, class “B” office to a newly built $10.8 million class “A” Village hall (aka the Taj Mahal). That will cost nearly $500,000/yr in interest alone. That’s a $325,000 a year increase in the cost of office space plus $10.8 million in debt. The only difference between the Fed’s overspending and VPB is the Feds can print money; the Village must tax you.
- Our Village staff and council are so busy cheering about not raising our millage rate. Oops… Everyone forgot to mention that it was kept about the same because of a $1.8 million mitigation fee that is no longer due to the County. Therefore they effectively increased spending by about $1.8 million.
- We have a Public Information Officer who makes about $60K/yr in base salary. We’re not BP!
- Our building and permitting department’s treatment of our residents and small business owners.
- No bid contracts. They say it’s okay since the City of Miami does the same. We say it’s illegal.
- Unnecessary or non-critical construction while in a recession.
- $900k+ to build a hotdog stand in Coral Reef Park.
- Over $2,000,000 for new street signs when only 10% needed to be fixed.
- Over $100k annually on Thalatta Park, over $3m to buy it and it’s still not open to us residents.
- The library cost our Village about $1 million above what it should have.
- Wasted $600k+ buying a storage property for the Public Works department they didn’t need.
- A failed public transit system that is being expanded & the list goes on and on…
We need to elect leaders that are fiscally responsible. Jim Araiza www.jimaraiza2010.com has the experience necessary to lead our Village as Mayor through challenging economic times. I also believe that Patrick Fiore www.patrickforpalmettobay.com and John DuBois www.johndubois.com will make great additions to our council. Please consider and research all of the candidates.
There is a passion within me to make our Village a better place to live. We should never tolerate injustice; especially when it’s our hard earned tax dollars on the table. If you would like to discuss any of the content within this letter or to discuss any of the other candidates, please feel free to contact me.