South Dade Matters

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

Category: Uncategorized

Good night till it be morrow

After 640 posts since July 25, 2011, SDM has decided to hang up the pen. We began this blog for the purpose of shining a light on the malfeasance gripping Palmetto Bay. Over the years, we have also decided to opine on other doings affecting our neighborhood. You, dear readers, commented over 3,000 times and we enjoyed (almost) all of them.

The truth is that blogging is like having a demanding significant other: the claims on one’s time and energies never cease…until one closes up shop.

We hope that another intrepid soul will stand in our shoes and carry-on the battle. But for now, let us leave with you a final quotation that sums up our experience and our feelings today:

‘Tis almost morning, I would have thee gone—
And yet no farther than a wan-ton’s bird,
That lets it hop a little from his hand,
Like a poor prisoner in his twisted gyves,
And with a silken thread plucks it back again,
So loving-jealous of his liberty.

I would I were thy bird.

Sweet, so would I,
Yet I should kill thee with much cherishing.
Good night, good night! Parting is such sweet sorrow,
That I shall say good night till it be morrow. [Exit above]

Romeo And Juliet Act 2, scene 2, 176–185

Who’s In That Stall Next To Your Granddaughter?

SDM read this alarming headline in the Miami Herald last week: “Proposed law would limit transgender protections throughout Florida.” Wow, that sounded pretty terrible, but what we found was that the Herald’s headline mis-tells the tale.

It happens that South Dade State Representative Frank Artiles – a former Marine and father of two daughters – proposed what seems to SDM to be a pretty sensible law:

Single-Sex Public Facilities: Requires that use of single-sex facilities be restricted to persons of sex for which facility is designated; prohibits knowingly and willfully entering single-sex public facility designated for or restricted to persons of other biological sex; provides exemptions; provides private cause of action against violators; provides for preemption.

The rub is that a person who may be of one biological sex might desire to enter a public restroom of the other biological sex. See the problem?

According to activists for transgender persons, such a limitation discriminates against them because they want to be able to enter whichever restroom suits them.

So the other day, SDM was cooing over a newly arrived granddaughter and wondering what to do when she wants to be a big girl and go to the lady’s room on her own? (Of course, this assumes that this little angel’s other grandparent would even permit such an act of independence in the first place, but we digress.)

The question that struck SDM must also have struck Mr. Artiles whose busy schedule keeps him from hovering over his little ones. He, like we, ask: who is in the stall next to our little girls?

Surely, one should be able to feel comfortable that persons who share our children’s biological sex would be the same persons sharing such a private place as a restroom, no?

Or, has the notion that our children have a right to some kind of gender privacy become something that old fuddy duddies like SDM harbor like memories of dinners where nobody texts at the table?

SDM Says: Representative Artiles has our support on this issue. At the end of the day, no matter how we might liberalize our thinking about accepting people, we have to draw the line somewhere. Mr. Artiles has picked the right place to start pushing back against political correctness gone mad.


SDM’s 3 Reasons for Bush-Rubio 2016

SDM knows that there has never been a President from Florida, which is a little shocking considering that the other large states are all represented on multiple occasions: California (Hoover, Nixon and Reagan); New York (Van Buren, Fillmore, Arthur, Cleveland, T. Roosevelt and FDR); Texas (Johnson, G.H.W Bush and G.W. Bush).  Thus, we think it’s time for Florida to be represented in the White House.

We also think that Jeb Bush is Florida’s best chance, though we know Marco Rubio belongs on the national stage, too. So, despite the age-old “balanced ticket” argument of picking nominees from different regions, we think 2016 is the year to pick a ticket from Florida balanced by ideology, ethnicity and age instead. Here’s why.

  1. For some reason, there is national consensus among the self-styled conservative wing of the Republican Party that Jeb Bush is not sufficiently conservative. (We think this is a bunch of demonstrably false hoo ha, but we’ll assume it for the moment.) What better way to “balance” the ticket than for Jeb to pick Marco as his running mate? While both are at odds with the hard right on immigration, Marco more than makes up for that problem with his perceived tea party roots.
  2. A Bush-Rubio ticket could attract ethnic Hispanic voters or at least those who are attracted to the idea of electing the first person of Latin heritage to national office. It can only help that both Bush and Rubio have broken from the hard right in support of a fix to the nation’s immigration mess. Imagine Bush and Rubio working Spanish television and radio stations across the country, actually speaking the language of those outlets.
  3. While certainly not old by presidential standards, Bush would benefit by having the youthful Rubio available to appeal to younger, more Libertarian voters who self-identify as Independents but who also populate the Republicans and the Democrats.

Bush and Rubio have already worked closely together when Jeb was Governor and Marco was Speaker of the House. Perhaps more importantly, both are men of ideas and believe in the power of persuasion. While they may get in the door with Hispanic voters because of their language abilities and personal histories, each will attempt to earn the vote based on his belief in a core set of understandable and applicable principles.

The largest argument against such a ticket is that we can’t put two people from the same state on a modern presidential ticket. To that SDM Says, hogwash. In fact, Marco is from Miami, which is really a separate country, so balance dat!

PB: Today, We May Heal

When SDM started this blog in July, 2011, the issue that drove us to write was the travesty that was (and is) the way Palmetto Bay treated Palmer Trinity.

What we’ve learned in the past 3+ years is that the Palmer fiasco was a symptom of a more insidious disease: Stanczykitis.

Never heard of it?

According to SDM’s medi-pol dictionary, Stanczykitis (sometimes confused with its close cousin, Pastorella Syndrome, which is more of a psychosis) is defined as follows:

A fatal disease where paranoia and malaprops drive disgruntled retirees and near-retirees into political madness; indicators include weird ordinances seeking to muzzle Sparky, wild about-faces on issues critical to the health and welfare of the Village People, and a general malaise and government drift.

The cure for Stancykitis is a purge, generally performed by voters but occasionally by political serendipity.

When we first ventured on this quest to rid village politics of this debilitating disease, we felt like the only path to sanity was by replacing the elected officials we kindly referred to as the Three Amigos.

In 2012, SDM urged voters to oust former Vice Mayor Brian Pariser by voting in John Dubois…one amigo down, which left Councilwoman Joan Lindsay and Mme. Mayor.

In a bit of a surprise in 2012, we supported re-election of Howard Tendrich and were saddened when he lost.

We were pleasantly surprised – and those suffering from Pastorella Syndrome much dismayed – that Tendrich’s successor, Tim “Marathon Man” Schaffer, turned out to be an independent and reasonable voice. Thus, serendipity gave an unexpected win to the good guys.

Today, we have the chance to clean out the wound in the mayor’s office by voting in Eugene Flinn. We also have a bonus opportunity to give the current majority a strong and diverse membership by electing Larissa Siegel Lara.

We certainly hope those of you who care about and pay attention to Palmetto Bay’s drifting government will help us cure Stanczykitis once and for all. Pastorella Syndrome is not so easily eradicated…so SDM will remain vigilant.

SDM Agrees With Eye On Miami – Twice

On Replacing Carlos Curbelo

SDM read the Eye On Miami post that reports a hideous rumor  concerning former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Lynda Bell. Namely, that due to Congressman-elect Carlos Curbelo’s excellent win over the tainted Joe Garcia, Governor Rick Scott will name someone to serve out the remainder of Curbelo’s term on the School Board. The hideous rumor is that Scott might choose Bell! (gag)

While SDM and EoM are ideologically opposite on most things, we fundamentally agree that Lynda Bell should be exiled from the county political scene. Bell is needlessly divisive and untrustworthy; she will drag the school board into chaotic dramas on issues that will serve only to reinforce the worst imaginings of the political left.

SDM believes the school board must focus on two critical things: (1) getting it’s fiscal house in order by reining in its unions, and (2) becoming more favorable to charter schools to create a competitive educational environment.

Mrs. Bell’s fractious politics focuses on minutiae and her vindictive personality will disrupt whatever comity exists on the school board. We urge Governor Scott to look elsewhere.

On Marijuana

SDM wasn’t completely stunned by the outcome on Amendment 2, but we were dismayed. We believe that any adult who wants to consume marijuana should be able to do so legally and with a minimal amount of government regulation and intrusion.

As we have written here before, we occupy a seat in the Libertarian Wing of the Republican Party, which means we want less government and more personal freedom and liberty.

The legislature must take a hard look at the fact that even the screwy Amendment 2, with all of its election-year baggage, garnered more votes than any of the Republican statewide candidates. If it were a referendum, and it ought to be given such lofty consideration, it passed mightily during a Republican year.

It’s time to allow adults to smoke pot if they want to do so. It’s time to stop harassing people for an act that most people consider not only relatively harmless but relaxing and recreational. Republicans ought to legalize marijuana by legislative fiat and do so because it expands individual freedom and liberty, two of the most cherished principles of our party.

SDM Says: If SDM and EoM can find common ground, so can our elected officials.

Why You Shouldn’t Vote Today

Got your attention?

Everyone – blogs, politicians, pundits and most of your family – will encourage you to “get out and vote” today.

But if you are one of these people, you should skip exercising your franchise:

  • If your only opinion about a candidate is based on political ads, you shouldn’t vote today.
  • If you intend to vote for someone because he or she is male, female, black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Latino, Haitian, Republican, Democrat, Independent or any other human subset, then you shouldn’t vote today.
  • If you are voting for a candidate as a protest against the President, you shouldn’t vote today.
  • If you intend to vote for someone because his or her last name sounds a particular way, you shouldn’t vote today.
  • If your union sent you a list of candidates to vote for and that is the only reason you are voting for those people, then stay home…you shouldn’t vote today.
  • If you tore the Miami Herald’s voter recommendations from the paper and that is the only reference you have for casting a ballot, then you definitely shouldn’t vote today…or ever.

Voting in America confers enormous power on a person. Elected officials at every level can ruin – literally – your life, privacy, business, job, church, school and any other cherished right imaginable.

That’s why, if you intend to vote, you must take the duty seriously. You must study for the exam and be ready to give a good reason for voting for a candidate. (You are not voting against anyone.) This is part of your job as a citizen, so if you haven’t prepared, you shouldn’t vote today.

For those of you who take your civic duty seriously and know why you are voting for a particular candidate, SDM thanks you for caring about your country, your state and village.

Happy Election Day.

PB: Charter Amendment – SDM Says Vote Yes

Palmetto Bay voters may be scratching their heads when they notice the charter amendment on their ballots. What, pray tell is the origin of this question?

Referendum Regarding Expansion of Private Schools: The proposed Charter Amendment changes the requirement that 75% of the electors living within a 2,000 foot radius of a private school seeking to expand student enrollment approve of such expansion in a referendum to a requirement that a majority of such electors approve of such expansion in the referendum. Shall the above described amendment be adopted?

SDM wrote a blog on May 2, 2013 explaining the history of the amendment.  (Hint: You may enjoy the Monty Python reference.) Later in that year, the village held a referendum asking whether the Alexander Montessori School should be allowed to add students. Here is what we wrote in the aftermath of that vote:

Lindsay’s Lawsuit City

In what SDM sees as a very sad story, a Palmetto Bay’s Alexander Montessori School failed to garner enough votes to add a paltry 59 seats to its enormous 270 student body. As SDM blogged about in PB: Ready for Another Lawsuit?, the Alexander school needed to convince 75% of its neighbors to vote for the school’s expansion.

This crazy requirement comes from a Councilwoman Joan Lindsay sponsored charter amendment, which foolish Palmetto Bay voters adopted after Ms. Lindsay lost her battle against the Palmer Trinity expansion. Ironically, Ms. Lindsay asked the Alexander School’s neighbors to vote for the expansion, though SDM doubts Ms. Lindsay would have  given Palmer a positive vote if it were up to her.

One of the school’s owners told the Miami Herald that they may ask the voters to consider their plan again. SDM has to give the guy credit for being an optimist. The tragedy is that instead of investing his hard earned money in improving his school, the owner is forced to pay for another referendum that he might lose again. Of course, a referendum might be less expensive than a long and protracted lawsuit, especially given the village council’s history of intransigence.

SDM Says: Councilwoman Lindsay often strikes a tone of reasonableness now that her re-election is on the near term horizon. But this referendum requirement that she mothered into existence will eventually be challenged in court on basic fairness principles. In the meantime, children and property owners in this village are suffering. When voters evaluate her record, Councilwoman Lindsay must not be permitted to escape her legacy of litigation.

The charter amendment rids the village of the dangerous, arbitrary and totally unfair 75% requirement and grants a majority of neighbors a veto of a privates school’s expansion plan.

SDM Says: We will vote yes because the amendment is an improvement over the status quo, but we still think the requirement violates the school’s due process rights.


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