South Dade Matters

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

Tag: CCOCI

PB: Are you offended if I ask a couple questions?

Eye on Miami: FPL is manipulating you!

A political committee led by former Village Councilman Paul Neidhart apparently committed a major faux pas by – gasp – asking a few questions to residents!

Seriously, you can go over to Eye on Miami to see the raging against the machine. One EoM author lives in Palmetto Bay and is clearly a person who takes offense at just about everything.

In addition to some very neutral questions about village politics, including whether the Mayor and Council are doing a good job, Mr. Neidhart had the gross temerity to ask about what should be done with the FPL property. How dare you!

SDM wasn’t offended. In fact, taking the pulse of voters makes lots of sense since at least part of a politician’s job is to act on behalf of those voters.

SDM was a little shocked, however, that one of the survey’s options for FPL’s land – which is for sale and won’t be FPL property much longer – is that the village would spend $40 million to buy it. Please tell us that spending such a monstrous sum is not under serious consideration.

SDM Says: FPL is selling the property and have not asked to rezone it. So why is EoM all wound up about FPL? The answer is that EoM never met a left wing cause they didn’t like. FPL is a corporation and is evil – or so goes their mantra. But this time, the professional offense-takers over at EoM barely make sense with their post. FPL won’t be building anything on that site so they have no incentive to get involved in Palmetto Bay’s funky politics, at least as far as this property is concerned.

CCOCI is still trying to bully Palmer

An FOSDM sent us a copy of this email, which one man private school wrecking crew Gary Pastorella sent to the Chairman of Palmer’s board of directors. SDM guesses Palmer has had enough of Mr. Pastorella’s bullying and wisely are ignoring him.

Mr. Baiamonte,

Thank you for hosting the community meeting this past Tuesday, February 4th, 2014. The October 2013 meeting and this one can be the beginning of a positive relationship between Palmer Trinity School (PTS) and the community. I was disappointed to hear you state that you are now ready to present your plan to the Village. As I recall, you, Mr. Price, and Mr. Cleary pledged at the September 9, 2013 Council meeting to meet with all interested parties.

At that same council meeting you stated the following:

“The school will in fact contact the interested parties that have comments, questions and issues with these matters and we will work together to craft the development agreement so that when it comes back in front of this Council we have an agreement that is defensible number one and two is representative of the community. That means listening to residents, that means engaging in discussions with residents and something that has been long been missing from the school standpoint and that is working with residents.”

On October 15th, 2013, I sent an email to you, Mr. Reid, and Ms. Calleja requesting a meeting and providing my telephone number as well as my email address. I received NO response. CCOCI and I are interested parties, and we would still like to discuss our concerns with you.

You have now held two community meetings. The first was to hear some of the residents’ concerns, issues, ideas, complaints, and questions. This meeting was not recorded, residents’ inputs were not transcribed on a blackboard, no questions were answered as you were simply in a listening mode, and no summary of those concerns, issues and ideas were provided back to the community.

After four months without any additional community meetings, you held the February 4th, 2014 community meeting which you made a presentation of your plan to the community. No handout was provided before or during the meeting, so that residents could study the material and respond. You also stated that you would not provide a copy of the presentation. You did not have answers to most of the questions posed. The meeting was ended somewhat abruptly, despite the fact that several residents still had their hands raised.

At the end of the meeting you stated that you were now going to take your plan to the Village Council as soon as possible, seemingly without any additional input from the community.

I don’t think that at any of these two meeting that PTS and the residents “worked together to craft a development agreement” or that your presentation of you development plan is defensible and representative of the community.”

We again request a meeting at your earliest convenience to discuss these issues and we want to “work together to craft the development agreement” that is truly “an agreement that is defensible and representative of the community.”

Please call me at 305-992-1170 or email me at CCOCIBoard@bellsouth.net to arrange a meeting.

Sincerely,

Gary Pastorella, President,

Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI)

CCOCIBoard@bellsouth.net

SDM Says: Listen Gary, Palmer is a property owner with rights. They are under no requirement to satisfy you. You do not represent the community any more than SDM does. You represent your own interests, which have been clear from the moment you sued them. Palmer’s board members have to do – they are fiduciaries and must do – what is in  the best interest of the school. They should do as much as they can to be good neighbors going forward, but that does not mean the school should capitulate to a group that will never be satisfied.

PB: Whither Streaming?

In mid-December, Palmetto Bay’s video streaming capability crashed and burned. SDM postulated that Kaptain Kreepy engineered the destruction so as to keep those of us overly obsessed with village government in the dark, especially regarding the Franjo Triangle plan.

Eleven days later – an eternity in the online world – the village’s live streaming remains defunct according to the village website. What could have happened to so completely destroy what one would imagine is a fairly rudimentary capability? SDM speculates:

  • After a particularly aggressive night of beer pong, CCOCI’s titular leader spilled a 24 oz. Hole in the Wall cup full of Guinness into the village’s live streaming computer.
  • Kaptain Kreepy installed a soft lens filtering system incorrectly, which short circuited the camera system.
  • One of Marathon Man’s stray dogs relieved himself on the very same electrical outlet that powered the remote video controller.
  • Jerry the Finger brawled with an unnamed bystander who flung him bodily into the computer booth.

Even given these terrifying events, shouldn’t we expect our crack public flacks headed by the well-compensated KK to have repaired the system by now? Or, is the plan to keep the village off-line, thereby forcing viewers to “tune-in” and watch WBAY TV and its coerced “advertisers”?

SDM Says: Our New Year’s wish is for the village to get back online so we can monitor the council on our own schedule, rather than waiting for Kaptain Kreepy to grant us access.

PB: Decorum, Finally

As one SDM commenter noted, SDM missed the very last part of the September 9 Palmetto Bay council meeting. The commenter was correct that we were “getting our beauty sleep” but we were doing so inadvertently. SDM watched the public hearing on Palmer and also watched the Mayor stand up and declare the meeting adjourned.

Apparently, the term “adjourned” means something else under Shelley’s Rules of Order. SDM researched the SRO and found the following definition:

Adjourned – When a Mayor, frustrated after losing a vote, gets up from her seat and stomps off the dais, the meeting is temporarily suspended while the village manager chases her down and lures her back with promises of cucumber sandwiches and sponge cake. Shelley’s Rules of Order, 2013.

What SDM missed was that the meeting reconvened at the 5:18:02 mark. The final phase of the meeting clearly was meant to be a continuation of the chaos because nobody seemed to know exactly what was left on the agenda.

After some cross talk, the clerk told the council that they had to hear “Requests, Petitions and Public Comment.” Up stepped Gary Patorella, President of CCOCI who said “I am ashamed, absolutely ashamed of the three of you. John Dubois…”

Pastorella’s tirade was interrupted by Councilman Fiore who moved to cut off the speaker, ostensibly for violating, again (see PB Bonus: Gary Pastorella Should Be Banned from Council Meetings) the Palmetto Bay decorum statement:

Any person making impertinent or slanderous remarks or who becomes boisterous while addressing the Village of Palmetto Bay Council shall be barred from further audience at this meeting before the Village of Palmetto Bay Council by the presiding officer, unless permission to continue or again address the council be granted by the majority vote of the council members.

Fiore’s motion was seconded by Vice Mayor Dubois, but instead of calling for a vote, Pastorella’s puppet-Mayor Stanczyk searched in vain for her brain…er…sidekick, Councilwoman Lindsay who had stepped off the dais temporarily. After an agonizing pause, Stanczyk had no choice but to call the question, which passed three to one (Stanczyk opposing).

SDM thought: Did SDM just witness an act of enforcing the decorum statement against the village’s number one offender? (Here at SDM, we have long conversations with ourselves.) We will have to wait and see. If the council permits Mr. Pastorella to “again address the council” he will have to do so upon a “majority vote of the council members.”

SDM Says: It’s about time the council stood up to Pastorella’s bullying, personal attacks. Bravo to Vice Mayor Dubois and Councilmen Fiore and Schaffer for enforcing dignified behavior. Mrs. Stanczyk should be ashamed of herself for failing to protect the community.

PB: Fiore Goes Off The Reservation

Updated – read to the very end to see a portion of David Singer’s comment. The full comment follows the post.

SDM tuned-in to the village council meeting in greedy anticipation. Finally, we thought, those annoying and questionable redacted portions of the Palmer transcripts would be released and Palmetto Bay’s worst kept secrets would be revealed to all the rest of us.

After appeals by Mayor Stanczyk and Councilwoman Lindsay to maintain their own personal star chamber, a vote was called on a motion to release only the transcripts related to Palmer’s multiple lawsuits and only after the council ratifies a settlement – if ever.

SDM waited in breathless anticipation as Councilman Patrick Fiore – that rock of opposition, that star in the making – roused the crowd with a stirring speech. He restated for the millionth time that he was against continuing the lawsuit from his first days on the council. He confronted the Mayor for permitting ugly finger-pointing (literally) in the chamber after the last meeting. Wow, what a speech.

At this point, the entire SDM team sat transfixed. Surely, this vote is in the bag!

animalhouse347 - Copy

But, nooooooooo! It was as if the immortal Jim Belushi climbed from his grave to wail at all of us fools in Palmetto Bay.

Palmetto Bay’s self-proclaimed rock star voted….to keep the transcripts secret. Yes, you read that correctly: Councilman Patrick Fiore voted with Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay to lower the curtain of shade once again.

SDM Wonders: What the hell is under those black lines and in those redacted pages that would make Councilman Fiore switch hit? 

As the stunned audience digested what they just witnessed, SDM imagined CCOCI’s leadership toasting in the aisles, probably from the flask one of them apparently keeps in his pocket.

After the vote, an obviously relieved and joyful Jerry Templer rushed the stage to offer Fiore the same hand in congratulations that he tendered just a few short weeks ago in a single-finger salute.

As SDM watched, dumbfounded all around, in a “classy” move that signaled his acceptance into the Order of the Three Amigos, Councilman Fiore told Councilwoman Lindsay’s husband “get away from me.”

SDM Says: No matter how long we watch politics, something can always surprise us – even political miscalculations, which in Palmetto Bay are more common than a Stanczyk malaprop. Sadly, for those who seek a responsible village government, last night was a big setback, which really should be no surprise at all.

Updated (11:53 a.m. 8/8/13)

The following is a portion of a comment from David Singer along with SDM’s reply:

I think that everyone can agree that Patrick Fiore made an error in his vote last night. I’ve spoken with him this morning, and I feel he either misunderstood an explanation from the Village Attorney or the Village Attorney did not answer the question properly. I need to review the commission tapes when they are available to find out which it is.

SDM’s Reply:

If Fiore “misunderstood” then he needs to correct his error at the next council meeting. He can move to reconsider since he was on the prevailing side and then vote to pass the item. Doing so would be called putting your money where your mouth is. Failing to do so should be considered politics as usual in Palmetto Bay. Which will it be?

PB: Pariser only wanted half a village

One of the advantages of age is that you tend to recall things that some folks would like to forget. For instance, do all of you who live South of SW 168th Street know that Vice Mayor Pariser never wanted you to be part of Palmetto Bay? Yes, that includes all of you CCOCI folks, too.

Oh, you don’t believe SDM? Look at this article from the Miami Herald dated March 23, 1995:

NEIGHBORHOODS SEEK STUDY ON INCORPORATION GROUP EAST OF U.S. 1 SEEKS FACTS

OSCAR MUSIBAY Herald Staff Writer

Prompted by efforts of other Dade neighborhoods to incorporate, some residents living east of U.S. 1 between Southwest 136th and 168th streets want a study of how much it costs them to be a part of Metro government.

Residents of East Grove Estates and five other neighborhoods are circulating a petition asking Dade County to compare taxes paid by residents within the area to money spent for Metro services. The area is mainly made of single-family homes.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean we want to incorporate, but we want to know the facts,” said Brian Pariser, president of the East Grove Estates Homeowners Association. “We don’t want to be left out of something, nor do we want people to be makers of our fate.”

The coalition of residents will have a town meeting at 7:30 p.m. Monday at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church Parish Hall, 14260 Old Cutler Rd., to discuss the issue.

Pariser’s group wants the county to provide a feasibility study of about 20,000 people who live between Southwest 136th Street on the north, 168th Street on the south, Biscayne Bay on the east and South Dixie Highway on the west.

Areas to the north and south of East Grove Estates already are investigating incorporation.

In November, residents of Perrine and Cutler Ridge to the south formed a steering committee to report on whether Perrine, Cutler Ridge and Saga Bay could support their own government.

Pariser said the study area is too wide and would thin resources.

To the north, the Pinecrest/Palmetto area also is meeting to assess its chances as a municipality.

If anyone thinks SDM is overstating Mr. Pariser’s position, why not ask some of the key founders who are still around? Eyewitnesses are invited to comment on this post. Tell SDM how this blog’s version of events is wrong.

SDM Wonders: Why did Mr. Pariser want to cut-off the village boundary at SW 168th Street? SDM heard rumors for years it was because Pariser and his neighbors thought the southern neighborhoods weren’t compatible with the northern ones. (Not compatible is  a code word for some other very unkind terms.)

Fortunately, the narrow-minded Mr. Pariser was overruled by the wise founders who argued pragmatically that a city of the size Pariser imagined could not support itself.

SDM Says: If one wonders about the roots of Mr. Pariser’s divisive tenure on the council, one should start at the beginning when his words were unguarded.

 

Palmetto Bay’s “Majority”: Obsequious and Demanding

SDM doesn’t believe in calling out regular citizens by name and this post will not change that prinicple. However, this post will allow SDM readers to read verbatim comments by officers of Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) at the July 18, 2012 COW meeting. CCOCI is the organization that initiated and fueled the years-long battle against Palmer – a lawsuit that has already cost the Village of Palmetto Bay both money and its sense of community.

Yet, these comments reflect something more. On the one hand, the comments represent a common political tactic where individuals tesitify that they speak on behalf of some theoretical, unprovable “majority” of village residents. On the other hand, the comments come from people who are directly connected to a known special interest but who do not disclose their interest. Despite such an obvious ethical transgression, these speakers feel no compunction about attacking the ethical foundation of opposing views.

The first excerpt comes from a speaker who began her remarks at 1:57:45. After an obsequious show of gratitude to the three amigos, she said the following:

The majority of residents…I call them the great silent majority because as you can see most of them are not here. These people who do not attend council meetings, they are grateful too for your efforts and they do not believe you have wasted the taxpayers’ money. I hope that we will have an end to the bitterness. I hope we will not hear you say – Mr. Fiore – one more time, bringing up the fact that we lost the court decision. Somebody has to win and somebody has to lose and unfortunately this time we did. But the money was not ill spent. It was spent defending our rights. That’s how I feel about it and I hope we will have no more discussions about that particular thing.

SDM Commentary: The first thing SDM noted in the speaker’s comments was that she never identifies herself as Vice President/Director of special interest group known as CCOCI.

Second, note the reference to the “majority of residents” that the speaker claims to be speaking for. How exactly does she know she speaks for this group? And, are you talking about the majority of village residents or just your neighbors around Palmer? Can you show SDM a poll or any data from village residents showing they “do not believe [the three amigos] have wasted the taxpayers’ money?”

Finally, who the heck are you to tell a sitting council member that there will be no more discussion of the Palmer lawsuit? SDM will continue to demand that Palmetto Bay residents find out everything about why this lawsuit has gone on for so long and at such great expense. Palmetto Bay must learn how to avoid this kind of expensive mistake in the future.

You see, Mme. Vice President/Director of CCOCI, the rest of your Palmetto Bay neighbors are going to pay for “defending” your “rights.” When you demand that other people pay for your battles, then you better darn well expect some oversight.

Don’t fret dear readers, SDM is not done yet! The next speaker (2:04:09) takes making presumpuous demands to a new low:

Unfortunately, according to other council members and a group of vociferous citizens at the village, government is not about the interest of its citizens. Please remember that we chose you to represent us. Not to represent yourselves. That is what a democracy is all about. We don’t operate under a dictatorship, a monarchy or an oligarchy. I ask you Mr. Fiore and Mr. Tendrich, if the majority of the citizens requested on July 9th that all proposed charter amendments be placed on the ballot for us to decide whether to vote yes or no, why did you vote against this? This is definitely not the way politics or business decisions are made. This is how corruption operates in third world countries. It’s either someone’s way or no way…only for the sole purpose of enriching pockets down the road.

SDM Commentary: This little gem of internal inconsistency from another Vice President/Director of the special interest group known as CCOCI goes down hill fast.

First note the irony: “…according to other council members and a group of vociferous citizens at the village, government is not about the interest of its citizens.” SDM agrees. Funny how the same statement appeals to both sides of an argument.

Second, note the implied claim: “…if the majority of the citizens requested…” The majority of which citizens? The ones attending the meetings? The ones who live near you? A majority of the garden club? Why do people think they can speak for “a majority” with absolutely no proof?

Now on to the foolishness: “This is definitely not the way politics or business decisions are made.” Mme. Vice President/Director of CCOCI, the charter amendments were placed on the ballot by a three to two vote of the village council. SDM disagreed with the decision, but that is EXACTLY how decisions are made in both government and business.

“This is how corruption operates in third world countries.” No, in third world countries, small groups of entitled landowners manipulate governments to thwart majority rule. What you are doing here is called an ad hominem attack. Because you can’t win on the strength of your argument, you resort to accusing the dissenters – sometimes called the loyal opposition – of corruption. How undignified and indecorous.

“It’s either someone’s way or no way…only for the sole purpose of enriching pockets down the road.” This statement is a lot like the first of your comments Mme. Vice President/Director of CCOCI. SDM says: you are right – just not in the way you meant it.

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