Miami Dade County Community Forum

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Michael Lewis of Miami Today says leave well enough alone.

Editor of Miami Today, Michael Lewis says:

We'd be far better off if governments grappled with vital problems and didn't create new ones by sticking fingers where they've no business meddling.

Cases in point are Miami's call to retool a well-oiled Miami Parking Authority, Miami-Dade's bid to be entrepreneur in an untested boxing arena and county officials' push to stage a new Coconut Grove Playhouse.

The parking authority feeds millions each year into city coffers. But the city has put on the Nov. 2 ballot a vote to hand authority jobs, real estate and revenues to elected officials to toy with.

Boxing is dying, but the county sports commission seeks to run a franchise in an untried global league. Prior to any vote or signed contract, a press release made it a done deal.

Outside suitors woo the playhouse, closed four years, but the county wants to grab its home, build a much smaller theater under county control and then hand the whole thing to a small independent theater producer.

Each misbegotten issue could enmesh taxpayers in tangles that don't imperil us now. In business argot, they have very strong downsides and weak upsides.

And while, unlike the others, a strong independent playhouse could help the community, governments have no business stepping into any of these bogs hiding pits of quicksand.

The issues are complex, perhaps befuddling for elected officials, but principles are clear:
Principle One: If it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Principle Two: If it's too badly broken, don't get bogged down in it.
Principle Three: Leave projects requiring expertise to experts.

The parking authority falls under Principle One. It chugs along smoothly, planning and developing parking under a board and budget approved by the city commission."

read more....

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

County Commissioner Carlos A. Gimenez to appear on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel Tonight!

Commissioner Carlos A. Gimenez will appear on HBO Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel on Tuesday, October 26, 2010 at 10 p.m. to discuss about his stance against the Florida Marlins Stadium deal and the controversy about the Marlins’ finances in documents released by this past August.

A clip of the show can be seen at this link and the show will rebroadcast throughout November.

Check with your cable service provider to find the appropriate channel broadcasting HBO. For more information, please contact Commissioner Gimenez’s office at 305-669-4003.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Hold the Date: Nov. 17th is our next dinner.

We are planning our next UEL dinner and we have a draft title of:

Public Information vs Visual Pollution: The Value of Signage and Public Media in Miami Dade

The invite will be coming soon but hold the date: November 17th.

Please Get Out The Vote!

The Urban Environment League asks you to vote and bring friends and neighbors to the polls. Call your friends and relatives in Florida and urge them to vote. We must get a good turnout because electing a State Senator and Governor with only 20% of those registered would be a crime. Let the majority put the best candidates in office. Maybe we will be happier with the way our government runs if we actually participate.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Dinner Panel: Yes or No on Amendment 4

The UEL dinner on October 20th tackled the question: Is Florida Hometown Democracy (Amendment #4) The Best Answer for Growth Management? Here is the evening in pictures:

Former City of Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre makes a point in favor of Amendment 4.

Co-Presidents of UEL, Sonia Succar Ferre and Fran Bohnsack take a moment for a photo op.

County Commission Katy Sorenson spoke against Amendment 4 and Former City of Miami City Manager spoke for it.

Above: Helen Ferre moderated the Panel. Below: Former Miami Beach Mayor, Neisen Kasdin at the podium speaking against Amendment 4.

UEL Board Member Enid Pinkney and Charlayne Thompkins listen to an audience member asking a question. UEL Board Member Erika Brigman center.

UEL member Beatrix Baldan questions the speakers about the Amendment.

The audience listening to the discussion.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Why I Am Voting YES on Amendment 4. By Albert Harum-Avarez

We know in our gut that land use in Florida is out of the control of citizens, and so Amendment 4—Hometown Democracy—has a strong attraction for anyone who cares about Florida. Turns out this is one of those cases where you can trust your gut. Here are the main arguments against Hometown Democracy, de-constructed one by one:


Here's how the Miami Herald summarized the opponents' argument the other day: "...the amendment amounts to an indiscriminate blast that, by leaving often technically complex decisions to the unpredictability of the ballot box, could make matters worse by inhibiting smart planning while stifling development in a state heavily dependent on it for jobs."

It's a classic scare tactic, evoking lost jobs and recession. But the truth is, overdevelopment is what has made the Great Recession even GREATER in Florida. And that happened under the current rules, not under Amendment 4. What we see today is mostly bad planning, and overbuilding has left us with an economy very vulnerable to downturns. None of that can be blamed on Amendment 4—which hasn't passed yet.


Some people have swallowed the argument that elected officials should be entrusted with these Comp Plan decisions. Of course, we all know that local democracy is in a coma, induced by truckloads of developer money. County Commission incumbents have turned away challengers 56 times in a row--despite the commission's craven record on land use decisions.

If you count Katy Sorenson's win over sexual abuser Larry Hawkins 16 years ago, and if Jean Monestime is finally able to turn out bought-and-paid-for Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, the score will improve to 56 to 2. That's not exactly a ringing endorsement of our democratic process. Elections have not given Florida's voters a shred of confidence in their ability to steer development in this state. That's why the Amendment 4 petition effort was supported so strongly.


This is a complete exaggeration. Complex administrative decisions will never get to the voters. If there is a ruling that minor technical matters have to go to a vote, The Developer Lobby will pull the strings on their legislative marionettes, and the statewide Comp Plan rules will be adjusted. Bank on it!

Please pass the word: YES on 4.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The UEL First Dinner of the Season is Tomorrow!

It is not too late to reserve for the UEL Dinner tomorrow night. The food at the Rusty Pelican is great and a bargain too! You get 3 courses, coffee/tea, tax and tip - All for $25! The cocktail 1/2 hour is friendly and newcomers feel at home quickly. We expect a lively debate on Amendment 4, after dinner.

If you have never been to a UEL dinner, or the Rusty Pelican, you will be pleasantly surprised.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The Carl Fisher Story - UEL Screening. By Sonia Succar-Ferre

Our film program on Wednesday was a great success in spite of the bad weather. We hosted it in partnership with The Civic Circle. Over 50+ people attended.

The film on Carl Fisher was excellent and Dr. Gregory Bush, lead a great follow up discussion with questions from the audience.

Corruption. Miami-Style. Listen305 Monday, Oct. 18th, 7 pm,

Two UEL Board Members have a new radio show. They say: Join your hosts Sonia Succar and Albert Harum-Alvarez for YOUR show: YOUR chance to speak out—and LISTEN—on the issues that shape our city! Join us Monday night at 7.

Politicians buy elections. Developers buy politicians. It's an old story in South Florida politics. But this political season gives us a chance to make BIG CHANGES in the state constitution, and even give the boot to some of those corrupt politicos. Listen305 gives YOU a chance to talk it over this week.

We'll start with a primer from Dr. Paul George, on the history of political corruption in the 305. Did immigrants make it worse? Are we improving at all? Reform has been tried before: did it do any good? What do YOU think? And are you ready to CHANGE your mind?

There are THREE WAYS to listen to Listen305:

1. Listen Live to Listen305 Monday night at 7, on The Biz 880 AM Radio.
2. Stream the show live at, at 7 on Monday.
3. Listen to the podcast recording the day after at You can even listen now to last week's show, at the same site:

Friday, October 15, 2010

Oct. 20th EAR Meeting is cancelled.

Please be advised that the October 20, 2010 Board of County Commissioners (BCC) public hearing for the Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) on the CDMP is cancelled. You will be notified of the new date for the EAR public hearing. In addition the County Calendar and the Department’s EAR website will be updated to reflect the new public hearing date when it is established.

Political Forum Oct.18, Sponsored by NAACP

There is a political forum Monday, October 18th, 6-9 pm to be held at the New Birth Baptist Church at 2300 N.W. 135 Street. They will be presenting issues from your local, state and federal candidates. For more information call 305 685-8694.

Keynote speaker, Rev. Al Sharpton.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Time to RSVP is Now for UEL Dinner October 20th!

hit on image to enlarge it...all info is on the invitation.. .reserve today!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Save the Date: First UEL Dinner is October 20th

Is Florida Hometown Democracy (Amendment #4) The Best Answer for Growth Management?

Speakers: Katy Sorenson, Neisen Kasdin, Maurice Ferre, Frank Rollason

Moderator: Helen Ferre

RUSTY PELICAN on Rickenbacker Causeway, Virginia Key

6 pm: Cocktail Meet-up, Dinner 6:30: $25.00

program only: 7 pm - FREE

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010

UEL EVENT: October 13th Film Screening & Discussion

RSVP TO if you want to attend this free event in Miami Beach.