South Dade Matters

Looking at the World South of Miami: Palmetto Bay, Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami and Miami-Dade County.

Category: Palmetto Bay

PB: Seen at Levine Cava Party

SDM was going through the pictures posted on Eye On Miami and found this picture. The second shot is a close up, cropped version.

party 2


It don’t take a rocket surgeon to identify these folks! Mme. Mayor searching for some coattails to ride.

Guest Post by David Singer: Seat 3 Candidates Speak

The Candidates from Seat Three Speak

During the election cycle there are few opportunities for the average Palmetto Bay resident to get to know a candidates objective in running for Council. I had an interesting idea, why not request from each candidate a narrative on what their personal goals will be in their first 100 days of their term if they win their respective council seats. Narratives were limited to 250 words and I pledged to all candidates I would not comment or change what was submitted. As promised please find their essays below:

Henry Clifford’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

In my first 100 days, I hope to work with others to improve Palmetto Bay in the present and for the future. To:

1. Take immediate steps to reduce traffic speeding and cut- through, specifically in the 87-82-77 avenue corridor, and all subsidiary paths.

2. Initiate a program to identify and acquire additional lands for small, passive neighborhood parks.

3. Finish the site approval process for both Fire stations planned for the eastern Village.

4. Establish permanent boards:

Long-Range Planning

Business Cooperation/Coordination

Transportation/Traffic Mitigation

Our first long-range planning committee lasted one meeting. Our business property owners need to be encouraged and enabled to work, together and self-funded, to improve appearance, compatibility, and occupancy rate. Our Board can coordinate and push all civic business groups. Our transportation plans need continuous revision, and our traffic problems will never go completely away. Boards need coordination with counterparts in adjoining cities.

5. Post explanation of all reserve fund monies/bank balances, next to check register on the Village web page. Sources and designation of all monies in every reserve need to be clearly and continually displayed.

6. Establish a repair/replacement reserve fund for all hard Village assets.

7. Publish all zoning applications that are anywhere in pipeline, as the law allows. We need no more surprises. Identify all public works projects planned before, state if and when they will be carried out; be sure the public knows of them before bids are authorized.

8. Protect residents.

Larissa Siegel Lara’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Government is instituted to represent us, to unify our community and to deliver services efficiently. Everything I do on the Council will be directed towards achieving that standard.

To guide us toward that end and keep us on track, we need a strategic plan, developed by the Council and representatives from across the community. Achieving community goals requires a tangible plan of action with specific accountabilities, timing, budget and expected results.

During the first 100 days, I will:

1. Establish a Parks and Recreation Citizen Advisory Board to bring the community’s perspective on programming, operating hours and maintenance planning to Palmetto Bay’s parks.

2. Request oversight of Downtown Redevelopment Taskforce so the Council is directly involved with this vital undertaking. My focus will be to ensure that this effort remains energized and progresses toward a successful implementation.

3. Launch a citizens committee to develop a Strategic Plan. Tasked with drafting both a 1-year and 5-year proposal for council review within 90 days, the Committee will benchmark neighboring city plans, and develop a specific approach for stakeholder inclusion.

These initiatives will help invigorate the community, activate smart growth in the business districts and provide resources to sustain high quality services.

My background in business processes and leadership has prepared me as a methodical decision maker and problem solver. My passion for bringing people together will produce tangible results. As an open and independent thinker, I will consider all sides of every issue before the Council.

Jim Shedd’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Public Service means serving the public interest, doing the greater good. For over 33 years I had the honor and the privilege to serve my country beginning at the age of 19 when I enlisted in the U.S. Army (Vietnam 68-70), that was followed by a combination of 30 years of State of Florida Law Enforcement (9 years), and over 21 years with the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Since January 2005, I have been a small business owner in Palmetto Bay and having been on both sides of the aisle (Government and Private); I understand the differences and similarities and therefore, assist both sides in achieving the common goals.

When anyone steps into the public arena and is asking the citizens to trust him or her with that which is most precious in or democracy: “your vote”, it carries with it a very heavy burden and responsibility; I am capable of bearing that burden and fulfilling that responsibility believing in Duty, Honor, Country.

I pledge to you that not only just for the first 100 days, but for the entire time that I have the privilege of representing the Village of Palmetto Bay and its citizens, I will make the decisions that are necessary, keeping focus on the greater good for the entire Village with integrity, civility and a respectful conduct towards all.


My disclosure…… I have not endorsed either of the candidates or their positions.

- David Singer

Guest Post by David Singer: District 1 Candidates Speak

During the election cycle there are few opportunities for the average Palmetto Bay resident to get to know a candidates objective in running for Council. I had an interesting idea, why not from each candidate a narrative on what their personal goals will be in their first 100 days of their term if they win their respective council seats. Narratives were limited to 250 words and I pledged to all candidates I would not comment or change what was submitted. As promised please find their essays below:

Karyn Cunningham’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Create a Resident-Driven Five Year Strategic Plan based on resident surveys and community outreach. These will serve as the basis for development of the goals, objectives and intended outcomes identified by the Council and most importantly, a plan for implementation and accountability.

Reduce Taxes and Eliminate Wasteful Spending- For two years, the village has passed budgets with an average of over 20% increase in general fund operating expenses. This must stop. Despite high marks for village services, dozens of new employees have been hired. We need to spend smart and spend on projects that are determined to be priorities BY THE RESIDENTS, not by the Council or the Village Manager in a vacuum. This can be accomplished using input from better community outreach.

Expand Resident Communications through increased and substantive emails, mailings and newspaper advertising to create more transparency, ease of access and flow of village information to residents about village happenings and other important information of interest to residents.

Create a Small Business Marketing and Communication Plan to increase revenue through business development by attracting and growing local businesses. I will analyze the impact and outcome of our existing policies and how they relate to economic development, job creation and business development in the community.

Expand Village Advisory Boards to create more opportunities for residents to have a voice in local government and encourage civic engagement in the community. New Advisory Boards will include: Financial, Parks and Recreation, and Special Events Planning. In addition, establish Advisory Board Reports on the agenda of every council meeting.

David Zisman’s “First Hundred Days” on Village of Palmetto Bay Council

Palmetto Bay is a great community but the Council has lost its direction, vision and civility. I’m running to change that and build a community of friends and neighbors. I’m a businessman, owner of Evenings Delight. I pledge to bring that experience to the Council. My goals are based on what I’ve heard from Village residents over many years. Although one-hundred days is insufficient time to compensate for the neglect of the current Council’s four years, I will initiate these polices starting in the first Five Minutes of my term:

• Hold the line on taxes.
• Make our Parks the best in the County.
• Develop a downtown that safeguards the residential quality of our village.
• Provide the police with the needed tools to ensure our safety.
• Provide fire stations to save lives in the Village.
• Establish civility on the Council.
• Work with South Florida Water Management to restore deteriorating canal banks throughout our Village.
• Ensure Village employees provide friendly customer service for Village residents.
• Streamline Village government.
• To ensure Transparency, post all bids, contracts and expenses online.
• Stop unnecessary litigation.

Together we will make this a better place to live while maintaining a low tax rate. We need action, not surveys. We need decisive leadership on the Council, not committees. We need a council that will lead us toward a better future. Please JOIN TEAM DAVE! and vote November 4th, David Zisman for Palmetto Bay Council Seat 1. Palmetto Bay, You Deserve Better.
David Singer

PB: Meet the Candidates

Local Realtor Miami Hal (a/k/a Hal Feldman, RE/MAX Advance Realty) offered an excellent service to our community when he videotaped the Palmetto Bay Business Association’s candidates forum. Click here to watch. SDM will augment the service by providing a cheat sheet to find some candidates of interest (time on the video in parentheses):

County Commission District 8

Daniella Levine Cava (7:38)

Lynda Bell (10:15)

Palmetto Bay Mayor

Peter England (13:07)

Patrick Fiore (15:34)

Eugene Flinn (17:32)

Shelley Stanczyk (20:36)

Palmetto Bay Seat 1

Karyn Cunningham (24:12)

David Zisman (26:48)

Palmetto Bay Seat 3

James Shedd (29:09)

Larissa Siegel Lara (31:44)

Henry Clifford (34:26)

SDM Says: The candidates did a creditable job of presenting themselves. A couple of standouts: David Zisman used some of his time to level legitimate criticism of the past village council, especially focusing on the nonsensical dog barking ordinance. Henry Clifford wins the award for most boring presentation. Karyn Cunningham and Larissa Siegel Lara come off as most polished. The mayoral candidates are going to go at it hard, but Flinn and England have to be the frontrunners.

Guest Post by David Singer: Election Season Musings

Guess who’s back?

A vacation from writing has a way of clearing and bringing more focus to an individual. I recently took some time off for that reason to prepare myself for the most crucial election in Village of Palmetto Bay’s history and this blog will probably be the most important in a series of topics I will be writing on prior to the election.

Below I have listed five quick reasons not to vote for the current Mayor in November’s election. To some I may be rehashing history, but as George Santayana once said “Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”

• Mayor Stanczyk single-handedly (with some help from Joan Lindsay) kept the law firm of Figueredo & Boutsis in business. If the Palmer Trinity lawsuit was settled six years ago, as it should have been, the Village of Palmetto Bay would not have spent over $1,000,000 in taxpayer’s money on wasteful litigation. The Village of Palmetto Bay as recently as July of 2014 agreed to basically the same terms as Palmer Trinity offered six years ago and prior to spending the $1,000,000 in legal fees. The firm of Figueredo & Boutsis appears to be no longer in business. It looks as if Mayor Stanczyk and the Village of Palmetto Bay was their largest and maybe only client?

• Mayor Stanczyk wanted and still wants to debark your dogs. Let us not forget this brilliant piece of anti-animal/anti-dog ordinance that she attempted to pass which would have cost a Village taxpayer an average of $300 fine for every five barks on any given day. I guess Mayor Stanczyk never found a dog she didn’t want to kick.

• Mayor Stanczyk, along with our Village Manager Ron Williams, wanted to turn Thalatta Park into a private enterprise wedding venue which affected the Thalatta Park to be open a total of 15 hours per week to the public. The State of Florida had to be notified and basically stopped Mayor Stanczyk’s and Manager William’s delusions of grandeur. Now all residents are assured that Thalatta will be open a minimum of 40 hours per week, run correctly and under the guidelines that were agreed to by the Village.

• Mayor Stanczyk had four years to secure a new fire station for the Village of Palmetto Bay. She had accomplished nothing until last month to make that happen. The Village has been in desperate need for a new fire station the last six years. Did a lack of action on the fire station cause a Palmetto Bay resident’s death? What we know is that only in the last few months has Mayor Stanczyk really focused on a life and death situation that has plagued this Village for years.

• Mayor Shelly Stanczyk and the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) have been equivalent to an infection that has plagued the Village of Palmetto Bay for years now. If the Village residents leave Mayor Stanczyk in office for another four years it would be akin to not finishing all your antibiotics that the doctor prescribed and the unfortunate likelihood is the infection will return. This Village cannot sustain another four years of Mayor Stanczyk and the damage she has done to the Village needs to be repaired by a new Mayor and Council.

This was just a small example of how she has led this Village over the past eight years. I failed to mention her fraudulent website during the last election, her demeanor during the Council meetings, her lack of understanding of Roberts Rules of Order, the numerous ethic complaints filed against her while she’s been in office and her lack of respect for opinions that are not her own, I could go on but you get the point. It’s time to move on and bid her a fond farewell.

David Singer

PB: On PBVC, Stanczyk Finds an Acorn

According to the Eye on Miami blog, the proposed development at Palmetto Bay Village Center (formerly known as the Burger King headquarters) constitutes a grave threat to Palmetto Bay.

Former Mayor Eugene Flinn, who is running to reclaim his throne, claims the PBVC proposal stinks of insider dealing and a lack of transparency.

To wild-eyed environmentalists, any plan to develop the western 20+ acres of the site smacks of flora and fauna genocide.

And, for Mayor Shelley Stanczyk, the plan is a political bargain to deliver a much-needed fire station to south Palmetto Bay and north Cutler Bay.

Who is right? SDM will tell you.

The Application is Strong, Very Strong

Palmetto Bay adopted long ago one of the most strenuous and objective, criteria-based analytical frameworks for evaluating land use and zoning applications.

The PBVC analysis runs to 22 pages (54 if you include the exhibits in the count) and the applicant scored a near perfect score on whether the plan is consistent with the village’s master plan and code of ordinances. Only the miscellaneous criteria received the dreaded “Decision for the Village Council” finding.

So what does such an analysis mean for opponents? Big trouble, that’s what.

A court will ask a simple question when reviewing any village action on this plan (either approval or denial). Was the action based on substantial, competent evidence?

For example, when opposition rises to a school, opponents can readily show that traffic or noise levels will be impacted negatively. A traffic or noise study is substantial, competent evidence. Testimony of laypersons is not.

So how will opponents show that construction of 41 clustered homes, located in a way that will avoid damaging whatever protected species exist (that’s what the applicant says they will do), is going to increase traffic or noise? They won’t be able to do so.

Neither will they be able to show that the planned development will tax village services; the staff report clearly and unequivocally states otherwise.

What you have in this application is a well-crafted plan where all boxes are checked. Staff – at the request of the sponsor, Mayor Stanczyk – also drafted a carefully worded analysis that leaves little room for fact-based objections.

SDM Says: While she didn’t create this application or frame its construction, Mayor Stanczyk used her position of authority to bring this project forward. SDM suspects she did so because she really wants the fire station and current law doesn’t allow such a facility on the PBVC site – or at least not on the portion of the site the owners were willing to give up. This is the Mayor’s baby and she made sure it would survive the cradle.

The Political Fallout

Eye on Miami sees a conspiracy – don’t they always? Environmentalists see a catastrophe – without any real evidence, as usual. But SDM doesn’t really understand the uproar over this project.

As to the conspiracy, what is the big gain for a developer? 41 single-family homes? (BTW, that’s the maximum number, which is always a tough target to hit.) The entire project might reach $30-40 million, which is small potatoes to serious developers. It’s not like they’re trying to resuscitate the marina idea that originally was planned for that site – now THAT would be a scandal in the making.

(As to the Evaluation & Appraisal Report (EAR) issue, that plan was adopted in June and if any of this was contemplated back then, the topic certainly never rose to the surface at the public hearing. Even with all the intrigue at village hall, SDM would be surprised if the EAR had a secret component related to this project. Then again, the document is nowhere to be found – thank you Palmetto Bay for removing past agendas from public view – so we are just making an educated guess here.)

Now, the environmentalists have a point IF they can prove that the 20+ acres is populated with endangered species. If so, then county regulators can visit the property and hold up the development…and rightly so.

On the other hand, if the property is covered with undesirable plants (yes, we have exotics here, too), or if the plants are common, then the law will allow the development to proceed. The environmental community would be wise to work with the developers to maximize the protection of the forest community.

Furthermore, the objections to this plan could have been avoided. A previous council incorrectly designated this part of the PBVC as Parks & Recreation in the master plan. Unless we want a golf course on this site, the Parks & Rec designation is a government use and not should not have been applied to a private owner. Doing so forces owners to pay taxes on property that doesn’t generate enough revenue to pay the taxes and maintenance.

Former Mayor Flinn has a point, too, when he questions the timing of this plan. SDM pays pretty close attention to village politics and this deal came as a complete surprise. While a school application faces a hundred meetings, this master plan change dropped seemingly from the sky without any warning to the public. Mayor Stanczyk should know by now that last minute items cause more trouble than they are worth, but as usual she missed that point.

SDM Says: In the end, this application will win out because it is consistent with what the village claims it wants: to be a residential community with good fire protection. As for Mayor Stanczyk’s handling of the project, SDM is reminded of an old southern saying: Even a blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.

PB: It’s Official – Lindsay’s Out

The Miami Herald reports that Councilwoman Joan Lindsay – perhaps the most controversial figure to occupy public office in Palmetto Bay’s short history – will not seek re-election in November.

As she departs on her travels, she leaves a dubious legacy for the next village council to clean up:

  • A community divided over her relentless attacks on Palmer Trinity School;
  • As many as three separate (and possibly more) lawsuits for the village to defend;
  • A neighborhood protection ordinance and charter provision that will plague Palmetto Bay for as long as they remain on the books; and
  • Numerous amendments to the village code lying dormant like so many computer viruses just waiting to be activated and unleashed on unsuspecting property owners.

On the one hand, we wish Mrs. Lindsay all the best and thank her for agreeing to serve the village. No one should understate how difficult and time-consuming public service can be.

On the other hand, SDM would have liked to see Mrs. Lindsay apply her talents in a more constructive fashion. She, of course, would take umbrage at our characterization of her legislative history.

SDM Says: History will decide if her efforts to “protect neighborhoods” were more about whipping up a public frenzy or were well-founded and implemented in good faith.


Message to Eye on Miami readers: SDM will be taking a look at the development plans for the Palmetto Bay Village Center (a.k.a., the old Burger King Property) before they come up for a vote next time. We thought the objections to the plan were over-the-top given its scope, but we understand our duty here and will review the concept as objectively as we can.


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