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NUMBER 98 - SEPTEMBER 27, 2018
THE ULTRA MUSIC CONTRACT IS UP FOR A 4/5 VOTE AT TODAY'S COMMISSION MEETING. HERE ARE THE VERY LATEST CHANGES SUBMITTED BY THE VARIOUS RESIDENT GROUPS WHO LIVE ACROSS FROM BAYFRONT PARK
The ULTRA Music Festival has become a major issue pitting the rights of residents against the economic and promotional benefits to the city from the world-wide attention that occurs every March when tens of thousands of festival goers show up in Miami.
Below is a copy of the latest draft contract and the comments and changes that were made by representatives of the groups who were formed to look out for the residents who live across the street from Bayfront Park. The changes below were the result of a Tuesday night meeting between ULTRA Representatives, Commissioner Carollo and staff from the Trust, the City Attorney's Office and Ultra representatives, that initially looked like it was going no where until I was told that Carollo called City Attorney Victoria Mendez directly and told her to provide the representatives of the residents the latest copy of the
On Wednesday, ULTRA representatives were seen at City Hall in a last minute effort to get Commissioners on their side.
The big question after all is said and done today will be how the 5 commissioners vote, especially Carollo and Russell.
Carollo, as the Chairman of the Bayfront Park Trust was initially the point man on the negotiations for a new contract, but it appears that after I wrote my July 5th story that the negotiations were taken over by the City Attorney's office.
Carollo has the opportunity to go either way. He could support the contract, or he could vote against it, and the biggest issue in his making a decision will be how he can exploit that vote later on.
There are those who believe he will vote against the contract because not only has he expressed a real concern over the levels of noise that he discovered when he personally visited the condo buildings closest to the park during last year's ULTRA, but also because if he wants to continue as the Chairman of the Trust he cannot risk pissing those residents off any more than they are already pissed off over the treatment they've received by the city over their years of complaints.
Voting no would also prop up Carollo's populist credibility at a time when he needs to combat all the nasty allegations that surfaced after he fired his campaign manager/staff aide Steve Miro, and the revelations in the close out memo issued by the Ethics Commission over their investigation of the complaint filed by Bill Fuller.
The opportunity for Carollo to vote no however, depends on whether the other commissioners vote to support the contract. Remember, this is a 4/5th vote, which only leaves room for one no vote without the whole show going down the tubes.
That's where Russell comes in. If Russell were to vote no that would put Carollo in a position of either joining Russell - something that I don't see happening - or coming out with a claim that no matter the inconveniences and problems that ULTRA brings, the economic impact that they bring is worth the trade-off.
None of this necessarily means that the other 3 commissioners should be considered in the pocket of ULTRA, but I keep being told that there are rumors circulating inside City Hall about a sizable pot of money sitting under a rainbow just waiting for some lucky leprechaun to show up and claim it.
The other thing to watch is to see how many of the proposed changes and revisions to the current draft that were submitted to the city yesterday afternoon will be offered as amendments, and by whom. That too will be a key as to how the final vote will play out.
At the end of the day this could turn into a real nail biter, so pay real close attention to the arguments made by Carollo and Russell, and watch how they vote because today is the latest episode of the reality show that is known as,
It's Miami, Bitches!
HERE IS A COPY OF THE LATEST VERSION OF THE CONTRACT, AND BELOW THE CONTRACT ARE THE DETAILED CHANGES AND REVISIONS SUBMITTED TO THE CITY ON WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON BY THE RESIDENTS.
Honorable Mayor Suarez and City Commissioners,
A few days ago I sent you an email expressing my concerns over the potential for the Magic City SAP to adversely impact my neighborhood. I specifically mentioned noise and provided you with an example that actually took place, to demonstrate that I was not just speaking hypothetically.
I'd also like to express another concern which I believe should be given very serious consideration by our Mayor and Board of City Commissioners.
To make a case, where Special Area Plans are concerned, that public outreach only needs to be conducted by the developers themselves is, I hope at least some of you will agree, not a very fair or equitable treatment of the broader community. Limited developer outreach, plus a few public hearings held on week-day afternoons at City Hall are not sufficient to ensure that residents' and stakeholders' are given sufficient opportunity to express their concerns (and/or support) for these huge developments. Many, if not most residents are simply not able to attend these hearings given that they work or have difficulty in being able to physically get to City Hall.
Last year we saw this exact problem happen when the Legion Park SAP was being contemplated for the area next to Legion Park. The developers met with a select group of people and apparently indicated to our District 5 Commissioner that they had conducted appropriate community outreach. Meanwhile, when the actual community got together, opposition to the project was almost universal.
This year we are seeing plans for the Magic City being rolled out and those plans have been so far advanced that they're now coming down the home stretch.
Yet not one Town Hall meeting has been called!
How does this fairly represent the concerns of the citizens of Little Haiti? Or those of Palm Grove, Belle Meade, Morningside, Bayside and other communities close enough to the Magic City site to be impacted by the development?
I would like to ask you, Mr. Mayor, and the members of the City Commission, to please delay any additional approval of the Magic City SAP until such time as it has been possible to convene a Town Hall Meeting where Little Haiti residents and members of the surrounding communities can more directly and fully express our concerns or support to you than is possible at a Commission Hearing. Translators should be made available to ensure that all can be understood.
I do believe that to approve ANY SAP, without first convening a Town Hall meeting, is undemocratic and tramples on the rights of neighborhood residents whose lives will be transformed by these huge developments. If the City Planning Director has the discretion to tailor SAPs to an appropriate, contextual scale, as appears to be the case, then surely he (or she) too should want attend the Town Hall Meeting in order to better understand what residents will find acceptable, so that he can arrive at a final project that developers and residents can both embrace.
I do hope you will acknowledge the fairness of these comments and the necessity for them. The current legislation and provisions in Miami 21 seem to give unlimited power to developers while leaving out your constituents.
830 NE 74 Street (Belle Meade)
THE MAGIC CITY INNOVATION DISTRICT IS INDEED A MAGIC ACT, AND ONE IN WHICH THE TIGER MIGHT END UP EATING THE AUDIENCE
There are just not enough hours in the day, or energy in my body to deal with the constant stream of letters, emails and phone calls that I get from folks who believe that the City of Miami is screwing them.
Every week I get two, three or four letters or emails like the one below from someone who copies me on a letter that they've sent to the Mayor and the Commissioners, or I get a letter or an email providing a detailed explanation of why I need to stop what I'm doing and start looking into the allegations of wrong doing that the writer of the letter believes warrants immediate attention.
A lot of times, I agree with the writer, and I start making public records requests - right now I have 5 outstanding public records requests that you can see on Next Request, 18-1463, 18-1520, 18-1542, 18-1546, & 18-1559, plus another request to the Mayor's office for a response to my questions about his allegedly being thrown out of several high schools for misbehavior, and that's before several long-term stories that I've been working on sporadically as I manage to pry documents loose from the city.
I write this only to explain why I'm not able to churn out multiple stories on a daily basis to deal with all of the schemes that find their way onto the city commission's agenda.
Today's Magic City Innovation Center proposal is one of those issues. I wish I could have devoted time to, but didn't.
I have decided however, because I know that there will be a large turn out of folks who live in Little Haiti and Lemon City who will show up, that I would post a copy of this emailed letter that I received yesterday.
While it deals with the Magic City issue, it also addresses the larger issue of how local residents in Miami are behind the proverbial 8 ball when it comes to having any significant input into what happens to their neighborhoods.
The city for a long time has been effectively held hostage by developers, whose money has greased the wheels allowing them to run roughshod over local neighborhood associations.
It's an uneven fight made all the worse by a process that basically is stacked against the residents.
I don't know the writer of this letter, but I think she speaks for a lot of people in Miami, and while I suspect that today's proposal will fly through the commission with little resistance, the time has long passed for someone on the city commission to really stand up for the residents of the city, and say, enough of this crap!
If the residents are opposed, then we should be opposed too!
Concerned Leaders Statement... by on Scribd
THE CITY COMMISSION DECIDED TO POSTPONE THE HEARING ON THE MAGIC CITY INNOVATION DISTRICT. HERE IS A COPY OF A MEMORANDUM OF LAW THAT WAS SUBMITTED BY GROUPS OPPOSED TO THIS PROJECT. IT'S WELL WORTH READING.