PB: Post Office Crisis
SDM couldn’t watch last night’s meeting of the village council (where we are told lots of interesting things happened), but a little birdie also told us a throng of folks who live near the intersection of US 1 and SW 152nd Street (Coral Reef Drive) alternately cajoled, begged and demand the council help them stop the U.S. Postal Service.
Apparently, the residents whose homes are part of ACRE (a homeowner’s association) fear that the post office’s intended move to the old village hall building will make life even more unbearable for those living near Palmetto Bay’s most screwed up intersection.
SDM sees this issue as a big problem for Mayor Stanczyk and to a lesser degree Councilmen Tim Schaffer and Patrick Fiore (their districts share Coral Reef). Here’s the thing for all of these pols: Residents need leadership at a time of crisis more than at any other time and for them this new facility constitutes a crisis.
Any sentient being who has attempted to cross the highway at Coral Reef at congested hours understands what a disaster years of bad planning have wrought. The fact is that this area has been troubled for a long time and the post office facility will make things worse.
So what should the Mayor be doing to fix this problem? Well, our FOSDM tells us she is politely asking the county and state to do a traffic study. Okay…that’s a start, but is it anywhere enough? No. Try these steps immediately:
- Send a delegation to Washington, DC. Every local Member of Congress will meet with the Palmetto Bay Mayor, a couple of council members and staff on an issue like this. Alternatively,
a meeting with a senior staffer would be productive, especially if the village’s top elected official is in the room. You should ask the Congressman and both Senators to send a letter to the Postmaster General demanding to know why this location is so damn critical, and if it is critical, then they should support the village’s interest in making the site function properly.
- Pay for a traffic study and engineering analysis of possible repairs. The Franjo Triangle traffic study’s funding source is some obscure sign fund. Why not tap that source for this project? If that’s not available, then why not use some CITT money? The village is in the best position to shift fifty or a hundred grand around and quickly contract with someone who can provide both the FDOT and the county a plan that meets everyone’s requirements. Every Palmetto Bay resident would benefit from an improved intersection here, so spend our tax money on something that can help people right now. SDM’s motto is drive the train, don’t sit on the tracks.
- Flyspeck the application. Our illustrious council had no problem giving Palmer the business when they submitted their plan. So, why would the owner of this property expect anything less? Whatever the post office is planning to do, that site ought to be held to the most exacting standard possible because public health and safety are at risk.
- Brainstorm some extraordinary measures. The village attorney has stated that the village can’t do anything to slow down the post office. Really? What if the village declared an emergency and began an immediate modification of the road in front of that building? Coral Reef is going to need some big changrs so let’s get started right now. If the owner sues, slow walk the lawsuit and then settle it before it gets too expensive.
- Speak at a county commission meeting and ask for a resolution opposing the post office’s plan until they sit down with village planners. The Mayor will be welcomed to a commission meeting if she asks for a few minutes and SDM predicts that several of the commissioners will be supportive. Nobody likes to see a higher level of government bully a city.
- Picket the Pinecrest Post Office and start a letter writing campaign (irony). Get a group of residents together and demonstrate at the post office that is closing. Call the media and make a stink. The fact is that the squeaky wheel gets the grease, so start squeaking.
SDM Says: There’s an old phrase SDM learned at an MBA class: MBWA – Management By Walking Around. The idea is that you can’t really know what’s going on in all those cubicles unless you get out of your office and check on people. Politics is also like that. Sometimes you have to get down from your comfortable dais and start talking to people. It’s time for someone on the village council to step down or step up and talk to every public official who can vote for or against the postal service. In short, it’s time to hit the road Mme. Mayor.