UEL Co-President Fran Bohnsack and Board Member, Nancy Liebman have teamed up to resurrect the UEL bus tour. The tour is scheduled for a Friday in early February and will make stops around the upper-east side of the city, taking in a gallery or two. Our bus tours were one of our most popular events. The people who attended has a great time and friendships were forged among the group, out for a day of exploring.
The UEL monthly dinner schedule will resume in January.
The UEL Dinner on November 17th on the proposed 25 to 35 story Media Towers (developer Mark Siffin) became a circus in itself.
The forum had a mixed panel to discuss the issue -- With Mr. Siffin himself on it. Nonetheless, the Siffin camp found it necessary to bring protesters to the event, holding signs and chanting in favor of the project. People who were attending simply to learn more about the public policy aspect of the project were made to feel uncomfortable as they walked the guantlet of protestors who seemed determined to inhibit thoughtful dialogue. The developer also filled the room with supporters who did not pay for dinner, but did hiss when something was said against the project. Miami rudeness at its finest!
The UEL has not taken a position for or against the project as our membership is divided. However, an open dialogue should not have been used by the developer's camp as a chance to shut down dissenting opinions. In addition, the developer offered very little of substance to the discussion.
Whereas I am normally very pleased with the quality and substance of UEL's programs, this one left me with a bad taste -- so much so that I am contemplating asking the UEL Board to reconsider our policy of free admittance to the program portion of our monthly dinners I would like to know what others think.
The Miami International Book Fair came to a close on Sunday. It was a terrific line-up of speakers including George W. Bush. The Fair took place at the Wolfson Campus of Miami Dade College. It was well attended and considered a success. This was the 27th edition of this event.
Here is a photo history of the event. The Miami International Book Fair is an event that gets people downtown to see that it is a friendly, safe place to go. One disappointment, most of the surrounding shops were closed.
The mayor contends that recalls are part of the Democratic process, but the Mayor will not stand by and watch a campaign of misinformation and opportunism unfold without putting up a fight.
The main reason people are clamoring for the recall is that Mayor Alvarez proposed a budget that raised taxes. He did not vote on the budget or approve it, the County Commissioners did that.
Mr. Norman Braman has financed the recall effort and recently submitted the required number of petitions, and then some, to recall the Mayor. The Mayor promptly filed a lawsuit questioning the assistant clerk's approval of the original petition form (the Clerk was required to sign according to the Mayor's attorneys and the Home Rule Charter. Harvey Ruvin, the clerk, said he could appoint someone to sign other than himself).
Alvarez contends that if something was done inappropriately – if the proper process wasn’t followed or if there was fraud involved in the collection of signatures he would like it to be known.
Don't miss the discussion Wednesday, November 17th. We have a panel on both sides of the issue. Frank Rollason, UEL Board member, thinks the towers have merit to help the financially strapped city and he wrote a blog post here in favor of the towers on August 12th. Others are not so kind saying the light will be too bright from the towers and that they will be a garish addition to the Performing Arts Center area. Our panel will present both sides and let you decide. We have Dusty Melton, a consultant involved with billboards issues for years who will be arguing the legality issues of signage. The Developer Mark Siffin will make his case for the towers. County Commissioner Carlos Gimenez will round out our panel.
Hit on the invite below to enlarge it and reserve for the dinner today!
Latin Cafe 2000, 2501 Biscayne Blvd (25th Street), Miami, on Friday, November 12th, 8AM-9:30AM
Bill Brinton, Prominent Jacksonville Lawyer, Expert on Zoning and Billboards, and Board Member of Scenic America will discuss the recently approved 40+ story electronic "Media Towers" by developer Mark Siffin.
Bill Brinton, a tireless fighter for sane billboard policy in Florida and around the country, has kindly agreed to talk to us about the two uber giant mega electronic billboards that are slated to be built atop the Adrienne Arsht Center's new garage complex. He will discuss the fine points of billboard law, the appropriate approval process and/or the lack thereof, and his organization Scenic America, founded to limit billboard pollution in our cities and along our highways. For those interested, Bill will stay afterward to discuss how to start a local Scenic America chapter.
Please join us for this important meeting that will take place Friday, November 12th, 8AM-9:30AM.
DINNER $25 or BUS TRIP $35: (not tax deductible)
UEL MEMBERSHIP: $35 REGULAR, $50 PREFERRED MEMBER, $100 SPONSOR. (tax deductible)
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DINNER or BUS TRIP: (DON'T WORRY ABOUT COUNT BUTTON, WRITE HOW MANY IN THE DESCRIPTION SECTION)
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The Urban Environment League does not endorse all the views on this blog. This is a forum for open dialogue for members of our community, including UEL Board Members, that may have differing views from that of the Group.
The mission of the UEL is to support environmentally responsible development including protection of the waterfront, public places, and historic and natural areas in urban Miami-Dade county by using advocacy, action, education and engagement in governmental planning and political processes.
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