Common Sense Needed In Miami Springs : Councilwoman Bravo Needs to Recuse Herself

    The Ford F-150 is an exceptional working machine
    Grant Miller

    A drive down Northwest 36th Street reveals the Miami Springs side of the street is a blighted mix of empty lots, rundown buildings, hourly hotels and elicit activity. Recently, there have been a few new bright spots like the Wyndham Hotel and soon the Miami Realtors Association will build a beautiful new headquarters there too. One new owner on Miami Springs’ troubled 36th St is the United Teachers of Dade. In 2020 UTD purchased an empty 20,000 SQ FT building at 5553 NW 36th Street. UTD imagined their new centrally located home would be a hub for teachers and a community gathering spot. Much to the teacher’s surprise they have been greeted by indifference and outright hostility from some of the small town’s leadership.

    Throughout the years, the City of Miami Springs has tried to pretend that NW 36th Street is not their problem. Hourly hotels, prostitution and drug dealing in broad daylight…nothing. However, when an organization like United Teachers of Dade beautifies the side of their building with a mural by a locally acclaimed artist then certain folks in town are up in arms.

    Let’s be clear, the “controversy” over the mural began and was fueled by a fragile minority who disagree with UTD’s brand of politics and not about code enforcement. Any other city with a blighted two-mile stretch of commercial real estate would have welcomed them with open arms, sent them a house warming gift and helped them work through future projects and improvements to the building. 

    In September of 2020 UTD thought it would be a nice addition to commission a mural on the east side of their building that faces the parking lot. UTD asked a sitting Miami Springs Councilwoman if she could inquire as to whether or not such a mural was allowed. The Councilwoman spoke with city staff and they determined that a mural was not prohibited and not governed by the city code.

    UTD secured the talents of acclaimed local artist Luis Valle and in March, 2021 held an unveiling where the community and media were invited. On March 25th, The City of Miami Springs issued a Notice of Violation. UTD President Karla Hernandez-Mats then met with the Springs City Manager where he suggested that UTD apply for a permit after the fact and that this would likely resolve the matter. UTD did not hear back from the city for months and read in a local blog that the issue was not resolved. Last year most of the violations cited by the city were thrown out because they do not apply. 

    On March 30th the City Commission will hold a quasi-judicial hearing to determine if the mural is legally allowed. The legal issue; If a mural is not explicitly prohibited, is it therefore allowed? Legal experts tell me Florida case law suggests that UTD will win in court if it goes that far.

    About the nastiness. The UTD mural was vandalized last summer. Specifically, red paint was spewed over the face of the young black girl reading a book. Draw your own conclusions on the message being sent. Listening to Councilwoman Jacky Bravo at the last council meeting it was clear she too has a personal problem with UTD. She referred to them as law breakers and was very negative in her tone and manner. It should be noted that Councilwoman Bravo works for a Charter school, which are often at odds philosophically with UTD. Councilwoman Bravo has been outspoken in the media about the mural. It is customary that elected officials who publicly opine about such unresolved issues should recuse themselves. Councilwoman Bravo has failed to do so in the past but should heed these ethical standards moving forward.

    Common Sense needs to prevail. Speaking of Charter schools, there is one down the street from the UTD building with mural on their wall. Go figure. UTD has made a major investment in Miami Springs, they have tried to improve their neighborhood. They attempted to seek proper permission to install the mural that is not explicitly prohibited. On March 30th the City of Miami Springs leaders need to exercise common sense, avoid costly litigation, and figure out a reasonable path to keep this beautiful mural in place.

    Connect To Your Customers & Grow Your Business

    Click Here


    1. I get a warm feeling walking through areas with public art, they pop up and grab you, the homeless are relaxed, the kids are polite, kids who have never experienced it love it, it’s the human side coming out, they are having books taken away, let them have art, let them have music, give them a town that has the essence of a home ‼️


    Please enter your comment!
    Please enter your name here