If SDM had a dollar for every time Gary Pastorella complained about being sued by Vice Mayor Dubois or about Palmer Trinity suing Palmetto Bay, well, let’s say that SDM wouldn’t have time to blog. We’d be too busy indulging in fruity cocktails on various sandy beaches.
Now, we don’t begrudge anyone from hiring lawyers and chasing the government. Many times, government oversteps its bounds and every citizen has a duty to challenge public officials when they allow state power to be abused.
But ask yourself whether Mr. Pastorella’s stated reason for filing this suit meets this test:
“Clearly it doesn’t belong in a residential neighborhood. That’s our argument,” said Gary Pastorella, who lives immediately east of the vacant 1.17-acre parcel the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue Department hopes to buy at the southeastern corner of Southwest 142nd Terrace and Old Cutler Road.
Fire stations don’t belong in residential neighborhoods. Think about that contention, especially given the context of the particular challenge facing Palmetto Bay and Pinecrest.
The problem for those whose lives are at risk is that THERE IS NO COMMERCIAL LAND IN THIS AREA. Why is this fact so so difficult to understand?
Granted, the Pastorellas and their nearby neighbors aren’t the first families to fight locating a life-saving service in this area. Coral Gables residents successfully torpedoed an earlier attempt to locate the fire station on the enormous USDA property at Old Cutler and SW 136th Street.
SDM understands that a fire station could create some noise on occasion and might not be constructed and maintained properly (hell, it’s the county, for crying out loud). On the other hand, is there any alternative to locating a county fire station somewhere in this residential area that will serve the residential customers that need the service?
The short answer is: no. The county couldn’t figure out how to use its own property near the transfer station at the entrance to Deering Bay. (Frankly, SDM thinks this is a great spot, but for some bureaucratic reason it is not available.)
The county fire department worked for several years to identify locations and only recently found property that it could afford and that were located in the right geographic boundaries. The bottom line is that a station would be located in a residential area and the issue now is down to which one.
The Pastorellas and others have every right to fight the fire department and the village if they wish. But please spare us the holier-than-thou attitude when you stand before the Council next time.
SDM Says: Palmetto Bay recently changed village attorneys, hiring a litigation pro in Dexter Lehtinen. Mr. Lehtinen is a former U.S. Attorney and most recently represented a litigious native American tribe. This case looks like a good initial test of whether the Lehtinen choice was a good one.