The city of Miami and its minions never cease to amaze me. City Manager Pete Hernandez, who seems to think he is Fidel Castro and Miami is actually Havana, ordered the parks department to start charging people $5. per car for entering the Virginia Key Beach area. On its face there doesn't seem to be anything wrong with that, but like everything in Miami there is a back story from many years ago.
About 15 years ago, the city decided to charge for Virginia Key parking and everybody was on board with that program, but there was a hitch. Jimbo's, the venerable waterfront eyesore that has the best smoked fish and the coldest beer,and has more history than all of the rest of Miami, would be severely impacted.
Then Commissioner J.L. Plummer suggested, and the commission adopted by resolution the city allow anyone going to Jimbo's a waiver on the parking fee. It has been that way for years--until this year when our esteemed city manager decided to collect $5 from everyone even though the city commission never changed the resolution. In other words, the city manager overrode the legal will of the commission, and even worse than that, he did it on August 1, fully knowing that the commission would not meet again in regular session until the second Thursday in September. That way the move would be in force for at least 1 1/2 months.
This is not the first time that Hernandez, a Mayor Manny Diaz personal minion, has overruled or ignored commission action. Commissioner Tomas Regalado has been complaining about it for years, but the commission itself has had no spine to do anything about it.
And just for good measure Hernandez threw a red herring into the mix. He ordered Jimbo's to clean up the place and come into code compliance or be shut down, although no one is quite sure what the zoning on Jimbo's is.
I agree that the place could use a little cleanup, but this is Hernandez and it is not about cleanup. It's about harassment. He could have just as easily sent a city official over and had a talk with Jimmy to see what could be done and worked it out quietly. With his arbitrary move Hernandez might have opened a can of worms that he cannot close. And considering the fact that he might not be city manager much longer as mayoral candidate Tomas Regalado, leading in the polls, has vowed to get rid of Hernandez.
What Hernandez doesn't seem to know is that Jimbo's, owned by Jimmy Luznar, and his shrimp boats were a fixture at the old docks behind the property when the Miami Herald bulding sits. The city wanted to redevelop the property in 1954 and summarily ran Jimbo's off without even a kiss. Unfortunately for the city, many of the area's heavy hitter politicians, lawyers, businessmen and movers and shakers bought their bait from Jimbo's before heading out into the ocean for a day's fishing. They were none too pleased when their favorite bait shop was run off by the city.
A group of attorneys, one of whom was the late U. S. Senator George Smathers took the city to task and after several legal rounds where the city was slapped silly, agreed to let Jimbo's set up shop where they are today on Virginia Key. The other part of the deal was that Jimbo's would be give the first shot at a lease on Watson Island when the city developed that property.
That was 1954. 55 years later, Watson Island sits mostly undeveloped. I guess Jimbo's hasn't gotten the call from the city about their new lease on Watson Island.
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