PB: More Council Quickbites
Post Office Controversy
Several residents discussed the rumored relocation of a post office facility to the old city hall facility on SW 152 Street (Coral Reef Drive) near US 1. Surrounding neighbors are legitimately fearful that locating a major post office facility in that inaccessible building could finally blow up that already terrible intersection. SDM agrees.
This kind of issue lends itself perfectly to strong village leadership. One of the reasons this community incorporated was to ensure that whenever a major local issue arose, local residents would have a government that could speak to the county, the state, or to federal authorities on our behalf.
SDM Wonders: Given the weakness of Palmetto Bay’s current Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, can we really expect results on such a complicated negotiation? If she can’t get the job done, does she belong in the mayor’s chair?
Figures Lie and Liars Figure
A speaker at the council meeting attempted to draw a connection between SDM’s claim that Palmetto Bay’s variance standard is too strict and property values. His thesis is that since Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay have higher property values and a strict variance standard and that Cutler Bay, which has a more reasonable standard, has lower property values, then Pinecrest and Palmetto Bay are well-served by the stricter standard – at least from a property values standpoint.
Here is the fault in the gentleman’s logic: All three cities were largely built-out before incorporation. As SDM has noted, the build-out occurred while the areas were under the county jurisdiction and regulated by the county code. The county’s variance standard was applied all over Palmetto Bay and it is and was even less strict than Cutler Bay’s.
SDM Says: If your purpose in citing statistics is merely to justify your pre-conceived notion, then your conclusion is destined to be faulty. The better practice is to look at the issue objectively and then draw a conclusion. Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest are penalizing homeowners, the vast majority of whom purchased their homes under the county’s rules. They too have a right to utilize their property under the rules that applied when they purchased their homes. One cannot fairly argue that Palmetto Bay property values are solely the result of incorporation.
Village Attorney Report – Fine Print Counts
For those like SDM who have repeatedly heard a refrain that goes something like “Palmer Trinity has amended its complaint umpteen times,” implying that the school’s complaint for damages is falling apart and has no merit, please take a gander at this portion of the village attorney’s report:
Palmer Trinity v. Village of Palmetto Bay: The Applicant has med two civil suits against the Village: the 2008 litigation seeks damages, while the 2010 litigation seeks to find out quasi-judicial ordinance unconstitutional. The 2010 case was consolidated with the 2008 case, for discovery purposes. The 2010 matter has been amended five times. … As indicated the two civil actions incorporate by reference the appellate matters and claims that the appeals contribute to damages for the plaintiff. Mediation was held on June 3, 2013. An Attorney Client session was held on June 26, 2013. A hearing on the Village’s motion to dismiss certain counts of the 5th Amended Complaint was heard on June 12, 2013 by Judge Beth Bloom. Certain counts were dismissed, remainder to be answered within 20 days of the hearing. Emphasis added by SDM.
SDM Codebreaker: The village’s motion to dismiss was only partially granted by the judge; she ordered the village to respond to the remaining counts. This means the court determined that the remaining counts stated a claim and/or that the court has jurisdiction. It also means that the litigation is very much alive as is the the village’s exposure to financial damages.
Education Compact Opening Door to Village Taxes Being Spent on Schools?
The Village’s Education Committee presented with great fanfare a proposed Education Compact between the Village of Palmetto Bay and the school district. The compact has lots of wonderful objectives and talks about lots of “collaborations.” Even the cold-hearted SDM can see the value in working with the school district to enhance public education.
SDM Says Two Things About the Compact:
1. The Council should add an express limitation to the compact stating that village tax dollars shall not be used to pay for school district expenses of any kind. Making this point clear from the start will save lots of trouble when the district tries to replicate the high school it forced Cutler Bay to pay for.
2. The Compact should clearly state that public schools include charter schools so that any future charter school public students will have access to the same benefits the village is granting to the existing public schools. Kids should not be penalized if their parents choose the charter school option.
Next on SDM: Going AIPP-sh*% and Shade, Shade, Go Away…