Currently viewing the tag: "Norman Braman"

Consider the following excerpt from the Herald:

Miami-Dade voters strongly oppose spending tax dollars on a baseball stadium and other projects in a $3 billion public works plan, but would back spending on local schools, a new poll shows.

The survey of 800 Miami-Dade registered voters suggests the public is reluctant to spend local tax dollars for ”luxury items” during an economic slowdown, said Sergio Bendixen, whose Bendixen & Associates conducted the poll.

I’m going to go ahead nip this one in the bud before anyone grabs it and runs with it.  The money (Note: vast majority, not all) earmarked for the Miami Megaplan is allotted for the sole use of the intended individual projects.

If Miami does not utilize the $500 million FDOT is providing for the tunnel project, the funds cannot be diverted to education, healthcare, or any other sector.  FDOT will simply reallocate the funds to another or various transportation projects in other counties within the state.  Our loss.

Now about the stadium.  That funding, 90% of the county’s share according to County Manager George Burgess, is coming from the tourist and convention development taxes.  Tax money, which once again, can only be used for programs that will stimulate more tourism within the Miami-Dade County area.

CRA Money?  Care to take a guess?  Yep.  This money can only be used for the improvement of the redevelopment districts.

Now, before we start crying foul about the Miami Megaplan or any other infrastructure upgrades in these self imposed difficult economic times, perhaps we should stop and consider where this funding is coming from and what we are permitted to do with it in the first place.  I find it rather irresponsible of Bendixen & Associates to perform such a rash survey without considering the complex funding restrictions.

Bendixen noted that the poll didn’t ask voters’ opinions of the projects, just the funding mechanism. ”Voters aren’t saying they don’t like the ideas, they don’t think these projects are good investment for tax money,” he said.

And clearly failed to consider how exactly these funding sources work…

Voters were even more opposed to paying for construction of a new museum park at Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami. The poll found 66 percent of respondents found it a ”bad investment” for the county; while 29 percent considered it a “good investment.”

Guess what folks?  We had the chance to vote on this one already.  We approved the bond deal that enabled its funding.  Besides if we’re in such a dire need to improve our education, why not build these institutions of higher learning?  Every great city has large museums to compliment the classroom components of learning…

Streetcars, Trams, Light Rails.  Call them what you may, but these devices resolve the simple task of effectively moving people around densely populated urban centers.  In the spirit of keeping the Miami streetcar alive (which I assure you will not resemble the picture below) this week with a swift defeat of Norm’s frivolous lawsuit against the Miami mega plan, we bring you today’s Pic o’ the Day.  Can anyone name this city?

  • A Judge has thrown out part of Norman Braman’s lawsuit against the inter-local agreement which among other things enabled the construction of the Marlins’ Ballpark, funded the Port of Miami Tunnel, and expanded the Omni/Overtown CRA district.  Hopefully now the Sunpost will stop touting Braman as a local hero…  It’s no surprise that a car salesman would be against a plan that would enable urban life and create viable public transportation.
  • What goes up, must come down: The Miami Skylift has filed for bankruptcy.  Really?  Now can we please stop turning Bayfront Park into a cheap carnival?  What’s wrong with some usable green space?
  • Michael Lewis hits this one dead on:

But out past Northwest 22nd Avenue, the Miami River is far different — it’s a fast-paced economic engine that carries ships from 26 international terminals out to the Caribbean and back again, floating $4 billion worth of goods a year on its narrow, twisting back.
Much of that river, which handles as much shipping as the busy Port of Tampa and is Florida’s fourth largest seaport, lies within the district of Miami Commissioner Angel Gonzalez.
“That river is dead,” Mr. Gonzalez told the commission last week as he voted to remove marine industry protections along the river from the city’s land-use plan. He’d rather develop condos and mixed-use projects there to help the area’s economy.
What is it about $4 billion a year that Mr. Gonzalez doesn’t understand?
Does he think developers will pump that much into condo towers and dump enough jobs into his district to replace all those that river shipping supports?
Does he think banks will scramble to finance towers while tens of thousands of condo units are still rising and planned projects near the river are handing their land over to lenders because they can’t repay their loans?
Does he think that removing the “Port of Miami River” designation from city plans won’t push marine terminals to sell out to future high-rises that might never get built, killing river shipping in the process?
Does he care? Do his fellow commissioners?
Anyone paying attention knows that the Miami River is a working river — even though the commission refused to allow that phrase in its plans.

  • PAB supports the Marine Industry.  So do we.  The unofficial Port along the Miami River is critical economic engine for our community and should be working to unify into an official entity (Say: a Miami-Dade Port Authority?)  in order to maximize the potential of all of our resources.
  • The PTP is a mess and the CITT doesn’t have a real budget.  I’ve got to commend Miles Moss for his work thus far as the Chairman of the Trust, too bad the County Commission stripped the trust of its teeth…
  • This headline is precisely why I stopped reading the Sunpost (plus all the attention they give to Norman Braman): “County Eliminates 600 Bus Routes” Oh really?  600?  So much for that “The Story Matters Slogan” because facts sure as heck don’t…
  • Arthur Teele Park; has a nice ring to it doesn’t it?  Never mind all the corruption and bribery allegations, let alone the most dramatic suicide in Miami’s History…
  • Miami Beach Commissioners are looking to remove the Bike lanes from a reconstruction plan for Alton Road.  Anyone else see a lawsuit coming?

FDOT is obligated by state statue to include bike accommodations where possible. They were recently sued by a Boca Raton bicycling group for refusing to put bike lanes on A1A. They lost - a decision which we hope will scare FDOT into taking bicyclists more seriously.

  • This CGG headline is fitting: “There’s always something to complain about”  That just about sums up their mission, doesn’t it?

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It somehow always seems that when Transit/Development news flares up, so do events in our personal lives. In any case, here are some of the top news stories this week, some of which we’ll get around to commenting on:

Local:

  • The next phase of the Metrorail extension hasn’t even broken ground and already the cost overruns have begun. This time Parson’s is looking for an additional $13 million in “Consultant fees.” I’m not specifically implicating that Parsons has something to do with this, but, I find it intriguing that nearly every project they’ve worked on locally (Miami Intermodal Center, MIA North Terminal, MIA South Terminal, PAC, Boston’s Big Dig, etc.) has come in way over budget. Is there something we don’t know, or is it really that easy to bilk the county out of money once you’re hired to do contracting/engineering/management work? I guess choosing the French construction giant Bouygues Travaux Publics, wasn’t such a bad idea after all.
  • Top issues for Kendall this year? Forget Cityhood, how about congestion, lots of it. It’s only getting worse too as years pass and opportunities for real transit come and go (Tri-Rail Kendall link anyone?) If the Kendall community fears Tri-Rail trains traveling down an existing ROW behind their houses or an “unsightly” elevated rail down Kendall drive is going to lower their property values, just wait and see the nose dive congestion will cause. At least the recent efforts have paused (momentarily) foolish FDOT hopes of expanding Killian to 6 lanes west of 137th Avenue. Perhaps Kendall residents are beginning to realize that the car isn’t a viable solution…
  • Like him or not, Manny Diaz has a Vision. We’ll dig into this much more in depth soon…
  • I’m liking the looks of a final panel report on the UDB. Key part of this would require 3/4 of commissioners to move the line for projects and would bring in an outside firm to redraw the line.
  • Live Nation is set to bring yet more events to Bayfront Park. Can’t a Park just be a Park? I’m not arguing against the Museums, those are neccessary, but why does Bayfront need so many attractions to make it successful? I think the park would induce more local use if there was less cement and far more shade trees, just a thought…
  • The Federal DOT has given MDT a grant to purchase 16 hybrid express buses for the new HOT lane project on I-95. The buses will travel from downtown Miami to Ft. Lauderdale. Now can we please modernize the system and implement farecards (and new machines) that are transferable on all 3 local agencies?
  • Don’t ride Transit, Buy a BMW…No seriously, Norman Braman wants you to buy a BMW and skip out on urban life…Oh, more on this soon…However, please follow this link for some laughable signs of hypocrisy…
  • Gasp! This first paragraph says it all: “The [Palmetto Bay] Village Council approved a special permit allowing a new commercial development to put all of its parking spaces on the street at a zoning hearing Monday.” Note: A special permit. I know this is a young, incorporated bedroom community and all, but seriously, can we get some logical planning oversight around there? (In Case you missed it, we’re glad to see the use of on street parking in this and other bedroom communities…This shouldn’t be a special instance, but, rather the norm….)
  • Watering rules in effect now till forever. Green lawns aren’t a necessity folks…
National:
  • Cape Cod wind farm moves one crucial step closer to disturbing a bunch of rich folks’ “pristine” views…
  • Northern Virginia (and Atlanta) is getting closer to funding a new streetcar. Not enough BMW dealers in the area I guess…

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