Guest Post by David Singer: Thalatta Mess and Lights
At last month’s Council meeting I brought to the attention of the Council that Thalatta Park is not being used for its intended purpose. Instead it is used primarily as a “for profit wedding venue” and is only open to the public for approximately 14 hours per week.
After my presentation (and these are exact words) Village Manager Ron Williams said “there is no, no response deserved” and “I believe in all due respect Madam Mayor we should work from a factorial basis.” Mayor Shelley Stanczyk commented “we are clear we are good a Thalatta”.
In other words both Mayor Stanczyk and Village Manager Williams seriously minimized the facts that the Village is in violation of the Grant and Management Agreement with the Florida Communities Trust (FCT).
Fortunately for the citizens of the Village, the FCT did find that the Village is in violation and is in the process of writing a scathing report of the deficiencies of the Village’s management of the park. So much for the Mayor’s and Village Manager’s assurances.
Though numerous conversation with two FCT officers I was informed that the Village has mislead the FCT in regards to numerous items including opening hours and hours dedicated for wedding at Thalatta. I was told that Village will be required going forward to limit it’s wedding venue to 1 day a week instead of the 3 to 4 as it currently operates. I was told they were shocked to visit Palmetto Bay’s Thalatta Park website and see that it was totally dedicated to the leasing of the park for parties instead of its intended purpose as a “PARK”.
This story is just a microcosm of Village leadership. There are a few individuals who run the Village who have and will always have a difficult time discerning fact from fiction and this is why the Village continues to face difficulties and will not mature in the same fashion as other newly formed municipalities.
According to yesterday’s Miami Herald, home prices in cities of Pinecrest, Coral Gables and South Beach have increased over the past few years while Palmetto Bay home prices have stayed relatively stagnant. Can this be due to the lack of professionalism of Palmetto Bay’s elected officials and poor Village management? I believe it is.
I was born and raised in Miami. I remember a sleepy little city of 500,000 when I was a child. I believe Dade County now has a population of 2.7 million. I don’t necessarily care for some of the changes that have occurred in my home town associated with population growth, but change is inevitable. If we are going to live in a desirable place in a free county whose economy is driven by growth, we should be willing to accept change.
One, two or ten individuals who live in the Village should not be permitted to dictate what they feel are or aren’t appropriate changes for the Village. The Village of Palmetto Bay is not a dictatorship run by the Mayor and her cronies or for that matter the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) all of whom have cost the Village a million of dollars in legal fees over the past couple of years.
Their misrepresentations only breed fear into the minds of Village Residents who, hopefully have begun to be hesitant to believe anything that is disseminated from the politicians who run our Village.
Such is the information that the Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, Gary Pastorella and the CCOCI have sent out this week regarding Tim Schaffer’s lighting ordinance. Councilman Schaffer’s ordinance has nothing to do with permitting stadium lighting or light poles ranging in height from 60 to 90 feet. It’s just a bald-faced lie.
It’s just another fabrication in the long list of untruths ranging from Thalatta Park, Palmer, Slanderous Websites, Ethic Violations and many others used in the last four years.
I would implore the remaining Councilmembers to not get caught up in the lies and rhetoric and use common sense when reviewing the lighting ordinance at this month’s Council meeting.