Miami Dade County Community Forum

Friday, June 12, 2009

Commissioner Natacha Seijas's Remarks at UEL Meeting June 10th.

The award Copy: Natacha Seijas is recognized as a one-of-a-kind Commissioner, daringly unpredictable, strong and determined. This year she was nominated for both an Orchid and an Onion -- a first in our history -- so we had to invent a new recognition, The Hybrid, just for her. We didn't agree with her stance on the UDB (which earned her an Onion), but we laud her efforts in water conservation, which earn her an Orchid. We hated the stadium deal for the Marlins (Onion), but her ordinances to protect people and properties in foreclosure are heroic (a whole flurry of vandas!). For these votes in particular, we anoint the Honorable Commissioner Seijas, as Hybrid to the 2nd power -- with kudos for her sense of humor!

Here is the text of Commissioner Natacha Seijas’ remarks made upon receiving the Urban Environment League’s Hybrid Award.

Thank you. I want to thank you all for creating my own special category – the HYBRID award. It suits me just fine. I have never identified myself as an environmentalist. I have never belonged to Tropical Audubon, the Sierra Club, or Friends of the Everglades. But, to get this Hybrid Award from the Urban Environment League is sincerely appreciated. This is the very first time I have been recognized for my Conservation work as a member of the Board of County Commissioners.

For many years I have been sponsoring legislation that has made Miami-Dade County a leader in conserving energy and water resources. I do not issue press releases or hold press conferences. Some officials are attracted to cameras “like moths to a flame.” It is simply not my style. I get plenty of satisfaction in just knowing things are getting done.

I have always had strong convictions about the importance of Conservation. I do not use terms like “sustainability” and “Ecosystems” when I talk. But I know good policies when I see them, and I believe in being accountable and responsible. One thing I know for sure: for future generations to live here, we will need to preserve and protect our water supply.

I am proud of the 20 year Water Use Permit the County got from the Water Management District. There were a number of actors involved, but this crucial agreement was struck when two strong willed women looked each other in the eye and agreed to get it done. I will not forget the day Carol Wehle and I had our heart to heart, eye to eye, conversation.

All of the Conservation proposals I have sponsored have been supported Unanimously by my colleagues. Despite the objections of the County Manager, we joined the Chicago Climate Exchange. We are the only government in the Southeastern United States that now buys and sells Carbon Credits. I passed the Water Use Permit. My Ordinance to require the most efficient plumbing fixtures in the nation passed. My motion to require residential applications outside the Urban Development Boundary to include alternative water supply plans was adopted. When I created the Climate Change Advisory Task Force, it was approved unanimously. My resolution to get a grant for the EPA to review our Urban Development Boundary passed. Despite what Kermit the Frog says, for a Miami-Dade County Commissioner, it is easy being green.

But getting things done is not always easy. That is why, tonight, I want to ask for your help. Your organization, with its focus on citizen engagement and getting actively involved, is uniquely positioned to help me with a couple of things. So, I accept your award and leave you with a to-do list:

1) The Climate Change Advisory Task Force was created to give the County Commission recommendations. They are an Advisory Board. They do not need to work out the details. I will sponsor legislation to implement their recommendations. Time is not on our side. Please push them to publish their final recommendations by the end of the calendar year.

2) I have been working with a group of local elected officials from around the
country to make sure that the Cap and Trade bill in Washington includes money
for local government projects. Please push for passage of the Waxman – Markey
bill . . . and remind them of the importance of local government funding.

3) Miami-Dade County has two-day water restrictions. Let the South Florida Water
Management District board members know that you believe everyone in South
Florida should live under the same rules.

4) When the EPA finishes its review of the Urban Development Boundary, let’s
have a civil conversation about their observations. Promise me everyone will
put down their pitchforks. I am hopeful the EPA will have its report ready by
the end of the calendar year. I look forward to meeting with you to see how we
can lower the volume when we debate land use issues.

Sorry I took so much time saying thank you – but I am not sure when I will be invited back. Thank you and please continue to speak your mind. I am listening.


  1. AnonymousJune 12, 2009

    Actually, Seijas went off script throughout this speech. She said, for instance, that the "rhetoric" on the UDB needed to be toned down, an affront to people who sacrificed and worked hard to get government to follow its own regulations and the law of the state. She gets an award for this?

  2. Fran J. RollasonJune 12, 2009

    Thanks for everything! I think you had a great affair—and, great turn out. It was fun. Natasha Seijas was a good sport and she showed a little different side of her than I had seen before. I think it is good to give someone a pat on the back for doing something good especially when you don’t always agree.

  3. AnonymousJune 12, 2009

    My wife and I enjoyed the evening last night. Thank you for your efforts and please don’t hesitate to call if there is anything we can do for you. Commissioner Seijas was an excellent moment I wish more people in Miami could have seen. And one question…..where is O.H.W.O.W. I would like to see it.

  4. OH WOW: worth the trip to:

    3100 NW 7 Avenue / Miami / Florida / 33127

  5. roger CarltonJune 12, 2009

    While I have great respect for Alan Farago, his diatribe regarding Natasha Seijas Hybrid Award and the use of the word "dominatrix" was a bit over the top. I nominated her for the award to break the ice with the hope that some productive dialog could begin on the UDB issue. With the development industry on its knees, the perfect time has arrived. Alan...carpe diem. Natacha...thanks for being a good sport.

  6. AnonymousJune 19, 2009

    The only reason Seijas got involved in water use was to lift the development log jam for her buddies. She will never truly care about the environment. She is a mean, nasty person who would not be a commissioner if people outside of Hialeah could vote in her election.
    The hybrid award is funny but she only deserves the onion.
    I shudder to think what the EPA will do to the UDB. Who does she know at the EPA?