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.
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