South Dade Matters

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

Tag: Patrick Fiore

Guest Post by David Singer: Mayoral 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 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:

Peter England’s “First Hundred Days”

The highest priority of my administration as Mayor is to restore inclusiveness in Palmetto Bay. Everyone will be heard, everyone respected. We will conduct Council meetings in an atmosphere of respect and openness for residents and Council members alike. Every member of the Council is elected by and represents the entire Village and we will conduct their business accordingly. As Mayor, I preside over Council meetings, but our success will depend on collaboration to achieve our common goals.

One of the first proposals I will put before the Council is to empanel a new Charter Review Committee to assess this document in advance of a referendum in 2015. We must put discriminatory behavior, and the associated litigation, behind us and ensure that every member of our community has equal standing under our law.

We will conduct a thorough review of our Constitutional officers to ensure they are in synch with the direction of the Village Council.

Finally, we will institute a policy of total transparency, so that any resident can easily obtain any document which pertains to Palmetto Bay’s business. The Village’s current policy claims transparency, but does not provide full access to information and often erects egregious barriers to a resident’s ability to obtain what they want. I will work with the Council to fix this.

We have a great Village with enormous unrealized potential. My pledge is to make Palmetto Bay’s government as good as the people it serves.

Patrick Fiore’s “First Hundred Days”

The primary concern for this Village in the first one hundred days is to ensure that all residents are encouraged to participate in their governmental process. By “participate,” I mean that everyone’s opinion will be considered in a respectful manner, without condescension. I, as Mayor, will strictly uphold the provisions of the Citizen’s Bill of Rights, that is listed in our charter.

During the very first council meeting of the new council, I will introduce an agenda item, on dealing with the traffic issues, and excessive speed issues on our interior residential streets, and the process to resolve them.

As Mayor, I would facilitate the flow of the meetings quicker.

I would like to see added importance given to the Committee of the Whole meetings, especially on items where there is limited time to discuss at a regular council meeting.

I plan on proposing more reductions in our permitting fees, although changes were made, there is still more to do.

I will institute a “Mayor for a Day Program”, based much on my “Councilman for a Day” events I have held since 2011, where residents get first hand, close up knowledge of issues within the Village, especially infrastructure/public works, and quality of life issues.

The Mayor, and the Council should work closer together with our County, State, and Federal partners to ensure that Palmetto Bay is aware of all the resources available to assist us on big item issues, like road projects, protecting our natural resources, and environment, outreach would begin as soon as the new council is sworn in.

Patrick Fiore, candidate for Mayor of Palmetto Bay.

Eugene Flinn’s “First Hundred Days”

FDR coined the term, “First 100 Days,” and in that time, he passed fifteen bills which formed the basis of the New Deal. I want my first 100 days to be productive in establishing this community, and I have a solid record of experience in my eight years as Palmetto Bay’s founding mayor to back it up. Working with residents and staff, in my First 100 Days, we will:

• Hold roundtable meetings with officials, residents, and local business owners to identify our mutual goals and give everyone a voice in updating the long-term Master Plan;

• Review the condition of the parks to restore the fun that has been stripped from the play lots. Get the concession stands reopened for regular hours and repair any broken park equipment;

• Conduct a personnel audit to so village government functions at peak efficiency;

• Set committee goals and set up a system to view the goals and minutes of our existing committees, including the Downtown Redevelopment Task Force;

• Create and appoint a youth advisory committee. Reestablish a special events committee, create more events that residents will attend. Why not bringing back an annual Art Show in our village?;

• Reinvigorate the budget and finance committee to identify opportunities to improve spending decisions; and

• Improve the village website for ease of use, improve content and simplify payment features. Keep an accurate and easy to locate document archive. Restore the online services to our village permitting department and WiFi in our parks, which are no longer available for unexplained reasons.

I will maintain an online diary of so everyone can constantly monitor our progress and offer suggestions.

Go to eugeneflinn.com for the full plan.

Mayor Stanczyk’s “First Hundred Days”

1. My first 100 days will begin by working with the unsuccessful candidates on incorporating some of their ideas into Village plans. The efforts and their supporters should be part of the positive direction of our Village.

2. Enact a strategic planning process that will provide for efficient resource allocation for Parks improvement, the continued advancement of the Down Town Redevelopment/economic development program, and capital improvements. This will be an inclusive process for residents, Council and staff to share the best information, and incorporate resident input into priority setting and future goals so that the Village will continue to set high standards of service delivery for the next 10 – 20 years.

3. Traffic and speed are the most commonly mentioned concerns. Traffic mitigation is frustrated by County standards. I will renegotiate the County agreement to allow the Village to determine solutions to traffic and speed issues. While traffic always exists, it can be improved.

4. The two Fire Stations found locations. The building, manning and equipping of the stations is a priority that a re-invigorated Fire Board can work to bring to completion.

Our Village is entering a new phase; we are into our second decade. Planning is important to ensure that we continue striving for excellence in service to residents. However, the reasons we incorporated remain true and are the reasons I am running: a safe community, enhanced quality of life, protecting our residential character, great parks, low taxes and control of our zoning. This I will always deliver.

+++

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

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.

PB: Quick Bites

Land Use Meeting Goes Awry

SDM couldn’t bear to watch the July 21 meeting, though we tuned in for snippets thinking at some point the main event would begin.

But no…instead of finally resolving Palmer Trinity, we were treated to chaos over the Palmetto Bay Village Center. SDM doesn’t know how or why Palmer’s hearing got sidetracked, but we know who wanted the issue to get bogged down once again.

Therefore, we suspect the usual suspects.

SDM Says: It’s really too bad Palmetto Bay’s election is in November instead of next month. Our relief is tantalizingly close but still over the horizon.

Rumors Running Rampant Regarding Retirement

Sitting Village Councilwoman and moving target Joan Lindsay still has not filed to run for re-election, which is causing speculation all over town as to why.

One SDM commenter floated a rumor that Ms. Lindsay is moving out of town. Others have let fly much less charitable explanations that you did not see and will not see printed here without real evidence.

Whatever the truth is, Mrs. Lindsay has three announced candidates in the race for Seat 3 and SDM thinks at least two of them will stay in regardless of what Lindsay does.

Seat 3 is Getting Crowded

Since our last election update, perennial council public speaker Henry Clifford has joined the race for Seat 3 to succeed Joan Lindsay.

Mr. Clifford is well known to be one of the usual suspects, a CCOCI guy, etc. He hasn’t filed any campaign reports so SDM can’t say whether he will be a serious candidate.

Both Larissa Siegel Lara and James Shedd are showing respectable cash supplies for this early in the campaign so we should expect some fireworks in this now competitive race.

Mayor’s Race: Stanczyk Finally Gets a Contribution – One Contribution!

In the Mayor’s race, the news continues to be bizarre. Sitting Mayor Shelley Stanczyk – the incumbent, with all the trappings of office – finally, in her FOURTH campaign report – disclosed a single $99 campaign contribution. That’s it. Ninety-nine bucks.

Oh and she put in $4,000 of her own money, so now she has about the same cash available as Patrick Fiore…call it about 4 grand apiece. Not a good reporting cycle for the two incumbents…not good at all.

The real mayoral candidates continue to report good numbers: Peter England has about $13,000 on hand and Eugene Flinn, about $10,000, most of which he loaned himself…better step it up!.

Seat 1: The Powers Collide

Karyn Cunningham is motoring along as if she’s done this before. (She has, in fact, done this before and it shows.) Cunningham can be seen most days tooling around town in her convertible while she sits on around $25,000 that will no doubt be unleashed in the last 30 – 60 days of the campaign. If you don’t know all of David Zisman’s foibles by now, you will surely know them by November.

Not to be outdone, David Zisman is sitting on about $26,000 and will be ready to fire back in kind. He too can be seen most days behind the wheel of his golf cart with a gorgeous, bubbly blond who we presume is his spouse (we’re kind of crusty old farts about stuff like that).  In any case, Given Mr. Zisman’s proclivity to incivility at  council meetings, we expect vitriol in the extreme coming from his camp November.

SDM Says: Election 2014 will be a wild ride in November so get your popcorn ready.

PB: Guest Post by David Singer (With SDM Comments)

The good guys actually achieved a well-deserved win during Monday’s [June 23, 2014] special council meeting when Councilmen Patrick Fiore, Tim Schaffer and John Dubois, voted down what could have been a disaster for Village residents, Churches, Private Schools and Daycares within Palmetto Bay.

It was a grueling experience watching the Monday’s council meeting, but with the exception of Mayor Stanczyk the remaining Council members attempted to reach a compromise on the Charter Amendment. This amendment would have eliminated all outdoor lighting for non-governmental, non-residential or non-commercially zoned properties.

[SDM Comment: We disagree with Mr. Singer's characterization. The proposed charter amendment would have prohibited outdoor lighting of recreational areas (except underwater swimming pool lights) owned by religious institutions, child care facilities, private schools,  and other non-governmental public assemblies located in residentially zoning districts.  We agree that the idea is crazy and will cover lots more lighting than we were told.]

During the meeting the Village Zoning Director confirmed my suspicions that if the amendment had passed it would prohibit all lighting; basketball, tennis, ground, pathway, landscaping, etc. The amendment would supersede any prior Village Ordinance.

[SDM Comment: Mr. Singer is hitting on why this measure and the code provision are so misguided. We've asked before: Does this mean a private school's pool could not have outdoor lights for the pool deck, stairways and pathways leading to it? Is everyone supposed to bring a flashlight? Why allow the underwater lighting in the first place if it cannot be used in any practical sense?]

Unfortunately, as we heard from Mayor Stanczyk the battle is far from over. After the vote was finalized she could be heard saying “We’ll Walk”. I would assume by her comment that she will lead various sullen individuals in an initiative to collect enough signatures to place the Charter Amendment on November’s ballot. Not exactly the Mayor’s responsibility to undermine the governmental process she’s been sworn to uphold, but then again she’s hasn’t shown herself to be very ethical while in office.

[SDM Comment: If you walk away, walk away, walk away, walk away… [SDM won't] follow.]

Maybe if the Mayor spent the time researching various municipalities within Miami-Dade County she would have found there are 19 cities, 6 towns and 9 villages for a total of 34 separate municipalities. These municipalities, along with Unincorporated Miami-Dade, represent 2.6 million residents.

[SDM Comment: What? Me? Do research? I'll tell you what you can do with your stinking research!]

None of the municipalities, including Unincorporated Miami-Dade County have their lighting code defined or guided by a City Charter. It’s just not standard or appropriate.

Could there be something that all the other Municipalities in Miami Dade County know that our Council doesn’t? Could what the Mayor is trying to pass be unconstitutional? Could it lead to more lawsuits for the Village of Palmetto Bay? Could the residents be footing the bill for more legal fees? Isn’t eight years of litigation enough?

What is really driving this venture into unknown and potentially very expensive territory?

Well for one thing, there is the location of Councilwoman Joan Lindsay’s home. Her house is approximately 100 feet away from the Palmer Trinity property line. Joan Lindsay was an original director, president and vice-president of the Concerned Citizens of Old Cutler, Inc. (CCOCI) for years. She has a serious conflict of interest and ethically shouldn’t even be voting on any issues related to Palmer Trinity.

[SDM Comment: This here would be an appearance of a conflict of interest, though not legally a conflict. Just FYI.]

There is also the fact that The Village of Palmetto Bay has spent over a million dollars in legal fees fighting Joan Lindsay’s and the CCOCI’s war against Palmer Trinity, which they would love to continue. Mayor Stanczyk, Joan Lindsay and the CCOCI all know that the Charter change will bring more litigation to the Village.

Unfortunately, we as residents have all experienced a history of Mayor Stanczyk and Joan Lindsay spending taxpayer’s money for Palmer Trinity litigation.

Simply put, all the Churches, Schools and residents in the Village have become collateral damage in a war that has nothing to do with us. Our hard earned tax dollars have become collateral damage. The Real Estate rights of Churches and Schools have become collateral damage, as seen by what happened to Alexander Montessori School when they wanted to expand. Alexander Montessori School has lost thousands of dollars in revenue due to a war which is raging between Mayor Shelley Stanczyk and Joan Lindsay and Palmer Trinity.

The passing of this Charter Amendment will commence a cycle of new litigation but this time it just won’t be with Palmer Trinity. It will be with the various churches and other educational institutions in the Village.

There are both Federal and State laws which prohibit the type of action the Mayor and Councilwoman are attempting. The Village Attorney has stated on record that this Charter Amendment could bring future litigation.

[SDM Comment: Mr. Singer is being a little misleading here and you know we can't stand such effrontery. The Village Attorney is quite comfortable that the proposed charter amendment was constitutional and permissible under RLUIPA and other statutes. He noted that anyone can sue, but he was clear that he believed such suits would not prevail, though he also stated such suits would not be frivolous. We're not sure Mr. Lehtinen is correct with respect to the level of scrutiny applied to the question: he says strict scrutiny would not apply, where we think it would under RLUIPA's statutory scheme. Anyone attempting to sue has a hard road, regardless.]

If anyone were to question the likelihood of future litigation please look no further than The Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act. When filed it will takes years to resolve, just as the Palmer litigation has taken years to resolve.

If asked to sign a petition respectfully decline and warn all your friends and neighbors who live in Palmetto Bay not to sign. If the petitioner tells you it’s about stadium lighting don’t believe them as they are not being honest. The Charter Amendment they are attempting to pass is written to prohibit all lighting at institutions which should be respected not discriminated against by the Village of Palmetto Bay.

[SDM Says: Right on!]

David Singer

PB: Stanczyk – And the mob will rule…or maybe not

Palmetto Bay’s village council took up a controversial measure proposed by Mayor Shelley Stanczyk on June 23rd, which would prohibit by charter any form of lighting to be installed on religious facilities, daycare centers, private schools and other nonpublic facilities.

Immediately upon her measure losing – even after a heroic effort by Councilman Patrick Fiore and Councilwoman Joan Lindsay to find a compromise – Mme. Mayor Stanczyk’s true reason for pushing the measure surfaced. After the vote went down 3 to 2, “we’ll walk it,” she said.

There you go. Incumbent Mayor Stanczyk, who has so far failed to report a single contribution for her re-election, has a re-election strategy of walking door-to-door to scare the public in person. We can only imagine what Mme. Mayor and her minions intend to say to the village people as they canvass unsuspecting residents.

We have sufficient reason for trepidation given the Mayor’s long questionable history regarding telling the truth to those who may wish to vote for her.

In a very recent effort, Concerned Citizens Of Cutler Inc. and Mrs. Stanczyk told hundreds if not thousands of residents that Palmer Trinity wanted to install “stadium lighting” on its athletic fields. This lie is most egregious since Mrs. Stanczyk knows that the code does not permit such lighting and would never be approved by a village council.

What also troubles us is the mob mentality that permeates village politics. Mrs. Lindsay and Mrs. Stanczyk claim that the village charter is the people’s document. Implicit in their statement is an acknowledgment that schools like Palmer Trinity are somehow excluded from the charter because of their non-person or non-taxable status (as former candidate Bev Gerald and village gadfly Warren Lovely shamelessly remind us at every meeting).

Mrs. Lindsay and Mrs. Stanczyk endorse the majority’s ability to legislate away the property rights of religious, nonpublic facilities. (If you doubt the master plan, note that both Mrs. Lindsay and Mrs. Stanczyk parroted the line that “hundreds of people sent emails” against the red herring stadium lights. Not much of a big deal given that the village has thousands of residents, but plenty for the purpose of scaring those who fail to pay attention to what’s really going on.)

Fortunately, three courageous members of the council (Mr. Fiore, Mr. Dubois and Mr. Schaffer) decided against placing on the ballot Mrs. Stanczyk’s divisive and politically motivated charter proposal.

SDM Says: Which leaves the decision up to us… If you think we should be zoning by charter and that we ought to create second class property owners based on religious or nonpublic status, then by all means open your door to Mayor Stanczyk. No doubt she will leave her re-election literature with you, too. However, if you think our village is being drawn once again into a state of perpetual strife, then you can tell Mrs. Stanczyk that you disagree with her plan to further divide this village and that you will be looking for different leadership this fall. You can also tell her to leave our dogs alone.

PB: England’s Fightin’ Words

The Miami Herald published online a Soapbox letter from village mayor candidate Peter England. Most of you will see it in your Sunday paper, but SDM thinks you may want to preview it here:

Your June 8 story concerning the site of a new fire station in Palmetto Bay suggests that I might be unhappy with this outcome. Since my mayoral campaign identified the acute lack of Fire/Rescue coverage on the east side of our village as the greatest single public safety concern in Palmetto Bay, how could I be anything but pleased with the proposed 14200 Old Cutler Rd. location?
The issue my campaign raised was the lack of attention being given to this critical issue by the Palmetto Bay Village Council. At no time, either during a council meeting or council workshop, was this issue discussed, in spite of the fact that the Palmetto Bay Village Voice raised the concern at every council meeting.

During the presentation by the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department at the June 2 council meeting, the council received the same new information as I about this new alternative site. They were there as spectators, not leaders. I commend Miami-Dade Fire Rescue for their diligence on this issue, and will continue to demand not one but two new fire stations as a central theme in my mayoral campaign. Only two stations will provide complete coverage of the entire village.

By drawing attention to this crucial issue, my mayoral campaign has finally gotten the council to focus on this public safety issue after 11 years of neglect. Now that they have recognized the importance of this issue, It’s time for the Village Council to step up and get involved.

Peter England, Palmetto Bay

(Emphasis added by SDM.)

Eleven years? Hmmm… Let’s see, who was leading the village during the past eleven years? Answer:

Mayor: Eugene Flinn (2002-2010); Shelley Stanczyk (2010-Present).

Vice Mayor: Linda Robinson (2002-2008); Brian Pariser (2008-2012);John Dubois (2012-Present)

District 1: Ed Feller (2002-2010); Patrick Fiore (2010-Present)

District 2: Paul Neidhart (2002-2010) Howard Tendrich (2008-2012); Tim Schaffer (2012-Present)

District 3: John Breder (2002-2006); Shelley Stanczyk (2006-2010); Joan Lindsay (2010- Present)

You’ve covered a lot of territory there, Mr. England…pretty much every elected official to have set his or her backside on a Palmetto Bay taxpayer-funded chair. Not to mention Village Manager Ron Williams and his predecessors.

SDM Wonders: Are you all going take this lying down?

 

PB: Quick Bites – Elections, Etc. Edition

Waivering in the Mayor’s Race

Campaign reports due on June 10 are already loaded up on the village website. See Clerk’s Election 2014 page. (Nice job over there in the Clerk’s office!)

Let’s start with the most obvious takeaway: Incumbent Mayor Shelley Stanczyk still has not raised a single dollar from anyone in Palmetto Bay other than herself! For the second reporting period in a row, she filed a “waiver,” meaning she has neither raised nor spent any money on her campaign. That a sitting, incumbent (perhaps recumbent is a better word) mayor has raised exactly zilch with fewer than 146 days to the general election in political terms is a cluster___.

Second takeaway: Former Mayor Eugene Flinn and returning aspirant Peter England both have about $10,000 available to their campaigns. England still looks to be working the fundraising scene with more vigor while Flinn is self-funding. Fiore lags at $3,000 available.

Most interesting takeaway: All tolled (or is it told?) the mayoral candidates have raised about$27,000, which is less than either candidate in District 1.

District 1: Working hard and making bedfellows

First takeaway: Both Karyn Cunningham and David Zisman know how to raise money. (Just think if either were in the mayor’s race now…he or she would be the favorite!) Cunningham continues to accumulate money; she’s raised ~$28,000 and still has ~$23,000 in the bank.

Second takeaway: David Zisman has made a friend in the charter school business. Wayne Rosen who is building the village’s first charter school in the downtown looks to have raised Zisman at least $4,000 this cycle. SDM notes that Zisman likes party supplies. He spent ~$640 on paper hats and noise makers! (Just kidding, it was all spent on “party supplies.”)

Most interesting takeaway: David Zisman leads all comers with more than $25,000 in the bank and ready to go. SDM thinks somebody is taking this gig seriously this time.

District 3: The mysterious Shedd is unopposed

First takeaway: Unknown James A. Shedd is in law enforcement so three of his campaign contributions were made without reporting a physical address. SDM deduces that these contributions came from retired cops so their addresses are undisclosed so bad guys can’t locate them. Palmetto Bay voters may want to note that the bulk of Shedd’s contributions come from outside the village, which means exactly…nothing.

Second takeaway: Mr. Shedd has managed to not bounce any checks for one campaign report in a row. Bravo.

Most interesting takeaway: While the intrepid Mme. Mayor boasts zero contributions, her mentor and savant, incumbent District 3 Councilwoman Joan Lindsay doesn’t even have a campaign. With less than 5 months to go, Lindsay hasn’t even bothered to sign up to run. Is there a surprise coming here? Maybe hubby is going to run instead? Only if the blog gods have a sense of humor…

Speaking of a sense of humor – this one ain’t funny

Regular guest poster David Singer left SDM a comment that we didn’t publish. (We do that often when people want to send us messages without disclosing their identities. We’re very secretive at SDM…woooooo.)

Singer has filed a suit against Gary Pastorella and CCOCI. (Don’t you wish you were Pastorella’s lawyer? He’s like the gift that keeps on giving!)

Anyway, the lawsuit is a “Petition for Pure Bill of Discovery.” The purpose of the suit is to demand certain records to determine if the infamous Pastorella email of a few weeks ago contained defamatory material that was communicated to others.

The upshot is that Singer wants to know to whom Pastorella and CCOCI sent the email(s) and exactly what was said in the communications related to them. SDM presumes that if Singer or his employer were defamed and can prove it, they may serve village gadfly Pastorella and his CCOCI overlords with a suit for money damages.

SDM says: Mr. Singer may have a hard time getting over the hurdle since he has become something of a public figure in our little burgh, but his employer may be the ultimate plaintiff in any event. It’s much harder to prove defamation against a public figure, but businesses routinely knock down loud-mouthed activists using SLAPP suits. SDM isn’t a fan of the tactic, but everyone has a breaking point and Singer may have reached his.

 

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