Sunset Drive ‘lays an egg’
 on Easter weekend

Executive Editor Michael Miller
Executive Editor Michael Miller

Maybe it’s because it was Easter eve, but maybe not…

Stepping out for dinner in the heart of the city the night before the holiday, we thought we got real lucky to come across a parking spot right away. As we approached it, I emphatically said, “Park right here… it’s pretty hard to find street parking especially on Saturday night.” And so we did – and as we gleefully emerged from our car, we decided to go for a stroll around town, as the weather was great and the company was even better.

As we walked around, we realized that there were more than plenty open parking spots and then it struck us that one of the reasons there were so many available spots is that there just weren’t very many people walking around. A quick look at the restaurants, confirmed it: There were no waiting lines and far too many empty seats for such a beautiful Saturday evening. I started to wonder out loud, “Where is everybody? Where did they go or maybe we just missed the crowd.” But it was the height of the dinner period, just after 7:30 and we were there till close to 9. And then it struck me. It was Easter eve and the diners must be getting ready for Easter. Or maybe – and I hate to say this – people just aren’t interested in going to South Miami anymore…

Speaking of what’s happening in the city. The Shops of Sunset wants to invest a bunch of money, some say $200-300 million to transform the property, to include a hotel, offices, and a very large entertainment component, which will surely attract thousands of people a month to the City of  Pleasant living. The story around city hall is that some of the commissioners are against this enhancement to the city and it’s that very opposition that might just kill the whole thing. The commissioners and mayor ought to put aside the political posturing and let the developers invest millions upon millions in the heart of our business district, which will bring lots of people and lots of their money to the streets of South Miami at stores up and down Sunset Dr., along 73 St., and on SW 57 Ave.

To most observers, this is a no-brainer. Add to that the fact that such a development would pay a big chunk of taxes to the city, so it can do what it needs to do. So, City of South Miami Commission, whatchya gonna do?

Crime, taxes and the exodus of businesses are usually of great concern in any city and last week the “City of Pleasant Living” advertised a resolution for the Commission Meeting of Tuesday, May 2nd at 7pm to propose an increase in taxes.  The advertisement also states that the, “ad valorem assessment is levied for the first time which was previously charged in the utility bill.” The proposed increase via a Stormwater ad valorem assessment “User Fee” may be an attempt to make up for a deficit as reflected in the Budget by Department 2.28.17 report. Citizens should make it a point to attend and be heard as is their right to question the logic for proposing an increase to their already high taxes.

Golly folks, I’m no rocket scientist but surely a potential candidate for the upcoming February elections might want to take notice and follow the goings on in the city very closely. Given the recent shootings including several drive-bys over the past several years, one would think that raising taxes or “fees,” as politicians prefer to call it may stimulate a resident of South Miami to say… hmmmm, maybe I can do a better job.

Next thing: The city and it CRA have been screwing around with the Madison Square project on SW 64 St and SW 59 Place for years and years and thus far, we got nothing to show for it. Since the city has been delaying it ad nauseum and using excuse after excuse to delay simply starting this project, how about the city stop pretending and either kill the whole project altogether and disband the CRA – which is set to go way in about three years anyway. Or maybe they can just grow some hair on the collective chests of the all-male commission and do what you need to do to get Madison Square started. And, by the way, with the mayor and two commissioners up for re-election, they ought to get Madison going, so at least they can say that they actually did something while in office.

Over at Casa Cuba, I ran into a few folks enjoying themselves: Gary Rackear, a local attorney who seems to be a regular nowadays. Horace Feliu was there too with his band of merry men and women, who seem to be planning a comeback of sorts. I also spotted John Edward Smith and Donna Shelley, and btw, her husband Ronald is there many mornings sitting out front with some of his buddies. Bill Kress, the PR guy also was there bright and early working on a proposal for a new client, that included quite a bit of video. Gotta tell ya, I’m continually impressed with the work this guy does and, btw, he does some work for us, too.

Turns out, his firm Kress Communications, just signed on with The Barnacle Historic State Park as well as a couple well-known names around town, including James Field of Pinecrest. He also serves as a social mediologist (yes that’s apparently a real term these days!) for ChamberSOUTH and for the Minority Chamber of Commerce. He also lent a big hand in providing PR support for the March for Science Miami, a big national event in downtown Miami this past Earth Day, because of all his connections with the local news media. Anyhow, I feel like I’m doing a PSA for Bill, and I suppose I am, because he does a lot of good work for clients in and around our area. But he’s also gotten popular in the up in North Miami supporting a non-profit called L.O.V.E. (Ladies of Valor Empowerment) that helps underprivileged teenage girls. You’ve got to have a big heart to do this type of work – and he does – but I know Bill loves what he does, he’s been doing it for years, and is a good guy to work with.

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  1. It seems there are some sites that just have a hex on them, the bakery was good, but after that the Bakery Center, and then Shops all have been a mess. No parking around, and a touch of crime always off US 1 has been going on. We used to be in the Board Up business, glass replacement and there were always some antics happening. Your office isn’t far as i remember, and I remember even further back when it was a wonderful walk in that neighborhood, the used books, doctors offices, and Zipp’s Sporting Goods, and a great bakery nearby too. Traffic is a problem as well, but that’s why we moved North.

  2. Michael,
    We have frequented Carrabas and were surprised at recent closing. The parking is difficult and we do not like the garage at Sunset Place. The last negative was to get a ticket after dinner for running a red light (or so the traffic photo showed). I went before your magistrate to appeal: 1. I don’t run red lights, 2. I have not had a ticket in over twenty years and have been deemed a safe driver by State of FL, 3. We are on fixed income and retired. Magistrate did not care, but added $100 to the fine of $158 because he could! We have other choices for dinner and movies and will use them.

  3. Hello Michael, I am so happy that I signed up to received a copy of your community News, so that I am updated on what is happening in our so call “City of Pleasant Living”???.

    Thank you,
    Mrs. Lillie F. Harris

  4. You should think twice about the “benefits” of the proposed redevelopment to the City and its residents. Traffic obviously with more carbon monoxide. Increased need for city services like police and fire protection, more solid waste, so along with those increased taxes come increased expenses. All in all, the only one who benefits is the developer.

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