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THE TWO SIDES OF THE WYNWOOD CONFLICT, WITH THE VIDEOS OF YESTERDAY'S COMPETING EVENTS AND A COUPLE REVEALING MISSTATEMENTS BY MOISHE MANA
I normally post the videos of the meetings I record so that folks who couldn't attend see for themselves what took place, and because of that I normally do it without comment because I figure the videos and the people in them can speak for themselves, and that was how I originally thought I would handle the videos of yesterdays two meetings, the first called by the Wynwood BID inviting everyone and especially the property and business owners to attend, and then the second meeting called by Moishe Mana and Tony Albelo in the afternoon, which until I got there I thought was going to be a meeting at his warehouse building with the bar and club owners who he claimed to b e championing by his support of #SAVE WYNWOOD.
To my surprise, Mana and Albelo's meeting turned out to be more of a prep rally for #SAVE WYNWOOD.
THE BID MEETING
This was a standing room crowd made up of a wide collection of folks from the Wynwood District. There were property owners, business owners, some artists - not as many as might have shown up before they got priced out after Wynwood took off - cops, some residents and local news media.
It was a good representation I thought, of the community and the folks whose efforts had created Wynwood.
The mayor, Francis Suarez, Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon and District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell, along with the Chief of Police showed up, as did new City Manager Art Noriega.
The format at this meeting allowed whoever wanted to speak to do so, and a lot of folks did.
I think that what you see, and certainly what I saw, is what you always hope to see at these kinds of public meetings but often don't.
These were people who were serious, concerned, articulate and spoke their minds. Clearly there were a large numbers of folks who in one way or another disagreed with Moishe Mana, Tony Albelo, but agreed that the city's noise ordinance needs to be rewritten, and they managed to get their points across without screaming, ranting or raving.
There was disappoint in that the Mayor gave one of his versions of his generic Mayor's speech, starting with his being the first mayor born in the city and then his usual references to how well the city is doing, how the homicide rate is down to the lowest in 55 years, and how he's a big supporter of Wynwood and then, with excuses that he had another meeting he was out the door.
Chairman Hardemon followed with an explanation that he too was leaving, because, even though the meeting itself had been properly noticed - the BID is a city agency for purposes of the Sunshine and Public Records Law - Commissioner Russell was also present, and because whatever was discussed at the meeting would most likely reappear as an item requiring a commission vote - he was. out of an abundance of caution, leaving.
Putting the question of whether the notice of the meeting being properly noticed was enough to provide legal protection against anyone claiming that he and Russell might have violated the law, the real problem with Hardemon leaving is that as the District 5 commissioner HE is the city commissioner for Wynwood, and HE has not made any serious efforts to attend any previous BID meetings since the group was founded.
In anyone should have left is should have been Russell, who not only has a tiny sliver of Wynwood in his district, but more importantly because contrary to his claims about everyone in the room should consider him the person to promote their causes and introduce whatever legislation they wanted, the truth of the matter is, as revealed at the last Commission meeting, Russell can't get a second on motions he makes, and if they could do it, his fellow commissioners would put a sack over his head, move his chair to the corner, and leave him there.
A NOTE AND APOLOGY: The video clip below is almost two hours long and includes all of the speakers from the audience, but end abruptly midway through the rebuttal comments made by Leslie Stewart, Mana's Vice President and attorney. I apologize, because my flash card ran out of space. I was fortunate that Alexi Cardona from Miami New Times had an audio recording of Ms. Stewarts comments and she has shared them with me so that I can post a link for you to listen to them .
NUMBER 64- MARCH 4, 2020
Copyrighted: 2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
THE #SAVEWYNWOOD PEP RALLY
As I wrote above, Mana's afternoon event turned out to be a pep rally in support of, and organized by the #SAVEWYNWOOD group, which is a non-registered and made up "group" chaired by Albert Maloof Bernellans III, the new VP of Marketing for SWARM.
There were probably a hundred or so folks wearing Black Tee Shirts with #SAVEWYNWOOD on them, and another hundred or maybe a hundred and a half other folks who I will not venture to guess who they were, or why they were there and the event was staged on Mana's property on NW 2nd Avenue where the little ice cream truck that was the center piece of was formerly parked.
Like the meeting in the morning, the Mayor, Commissioner Hardeman and Chief Colina, along with new City Manager Art Noriega showed up.
Unlike the morning sessions however both Suarez and Hardemon didn't do a tap dance and leave.
One thing to keep in mind in watching this video is that no one, including Moishe Mana actually said a single word about the years of abuse and illegal behavior that occurred during the time that Mana and Albelo operated the Wynwood Marketplace and The Deck without a permit, and in spite of the numerous noise and code violations they received, nor any of the other issues raised in the morning meeting by those who spoke at the BID meeting.
The focus at this pep rally was largely focused on the Noise Ordinance, and how to change it, an issue which by the way Commissioner Hardemon had raised at a commission meeting in 2018, and which has been the topic of discussion now for a while.
So, while important, the issue of "noise" is a red herring.
The real issue, and the one that Mana himself admitted was the real issue is housing. At 16:53 in the below video you will hear him say:
"Go build residential somewhere else. Miami, one
of the lowest occupancy rates we have in America...
Why do they have to come to the middle of the
party? Why?...You don't need to do every time
residential. Enough, is enough, is enough!"
In many ways these comment reveals just how uninformed and clueless Mana is about the city he claims he love so much and wants to do so much for.
Among the crisises facing Miami, the most serious one right behind sea level rise is housing. It was only a month ago that the Miami City Commission held a special meeting to discuss a presentation made by the Florida International University (FIU), , about the affordable housing crisis now facing the city, which needs tens of thousands of new housing units within the limited borders of the city.
It's understood that the housing currently going up in the Wynwood District is for the most part market rate housing, and some, or even more than some - I don't keep up to specific real estate deals - is tied to micro-units which is geared toward the millennial portion of the population, which is also arguably I believe is probably the largest share of those people who frequent the restaurants, bars, clubs and events staged in Wynwood, and the ones who would by virtue of living in the neighborhood would prove to be a better source of revenue for all of the businesses in Wynwood than depending on suburban millennials driving into Wynwood for the afternoon or night.
One would think that a better and more worthwhile discussion would center on how to insure that as large a portion of all of that new housing also includes work force and affordable housing so as to reflect all the various kinds of people Mana claims he wants to see on the streets of Wynwood.
To his credit, Mana did address the problems for opening new businesses in Miami, and the fact that it is probably the worst major city in the country to open a new business. This is a repeated argument that has been made time and again, and the so-called "improvement" caused by filing for permits through the internet is at best, AT BEST, a one inch bandade on a foot long cut.
Another, and more troubling comment that Mana made however was his disavow of any desire to build any residential unites as part of his SAP.
After the meeting in a discussion that he and I had - and which I will write about in more detail in my next story about Wynwood was the claim that as part of his SAP application and presentation to the city commission he raised the issue of building as many as 3500 housing units.
When I asked him about this, first his lawyer Leslie Stewart said that that was "only an option," and then Mana told me directly and unequivocally that he never had any plans, nor would he ever build any housing units.
This runs counter to the representations that his attorney Iris Escara, and his architect Bernard Zyscovich made to both the Wynwood BID and the Miami City Commission, and is verified by the language in theOrdinance that was passed by the City Commission on Second Reading on September 8, 2016, page 155., that listed as the first component of the plan "APPROXIMATELY 3482 RESIDENTIAL UNITS."
As part of the event, there were two documents that were passed out to the news media and whoever else wanted them
The first is Mana's personal position on his future for Wynwood.
This is the other one issued by the #Savewynwood Campaign, aka Tony Albelo and SWARM
To further emphasis that this is no typo, or that as Leslie Stewart said to me that this was merely an "option." on page 158 at the bottom of the page in the minutes of the commission meeting, Iris Escara stated into the record:
"One of the things that I wanted to make sure is
clear and in the record is that the Wynwood BID
Board adopted a resolution on March 2, which we
have fully and completely complied with. We honor
every section of this resolution, and I'm putting it
again into the record as part of this item to show
our commitment to this resolution."
You can read this, and all the other comments made by residents, the BID representatives, Mana's representatives and the city commission by click, and going to page 146, that starts with Public Comments.
Why is this so important?
First, because this reveals a level of duplicity in his comments now about anyone who wants to build residential buildings in Wynwood, and secondly because given both Leslie Stewart's and Moishe Mana's comments to me yesterday, one has to conclude that the claims and representations made to the Miami City Commission in order to obtain the SAP were at best untruthful, and at worse fraudulent.
Just like 4 years later the claim that the first 100 fett from the street between 22nd and 24th streets were to become the center park of the walkable Wynwood that Mana now claims he wants to see.
Anytime during the last 4 years he could have undertaken that promise sand obligation, but instead he chose to put The Deck, a temporary bar with portable toilets, and is now as I write this supposedly trying to get along with his business partner Tony Albelo, a new Special Event permit to build ANOTHER TEMPORARY STRUCTURE on the pirce of property where the illegal ice cream truck sat to host weekly weekend events.
Here is the video of what took place. There is about a minute or so gap when I had to change the camera battery, but other than that this was what took place during the event.