Greetings to all my Friends and Constituents!
by: Kristen Rosen Gonzalez 4/26/2016
What a beautiful April we’ve had on Miami Beach; not too many showers and soon “May flowers.” Such luck!
In case you were unable to attend, the following items were discussed or voted on at the April, 2016 City Commission Meeting.
No Cuban Consulate on Miami Beach
Amidst an emotional crowd and throngs of media, the Commission rejected the idea of hosting a Cuban consulate here on Miami Beach, until such time that the Cuban Government stops all human rights violations. (This was also the final opinion of the Hispanic Affairs Committee.) The topic was, as one would expect, highly painful for many members of our community who fled Cuba under the Castro regime, or were thrown in prison for political reasons when Castro took power. The Commission was, unfortunately, divided by several members who wished to explore this idea. The majority of the Commission, however, felt that in order to best represent our exile community, a rejection of any invitation or consideration of a Cuban consulate is the right decision for now.
Convention Center Hotel
Yet another controversial item this month was the convention center hotel. I was pleased to hear Mayor Levine comment that there would be no rush to place this item on the November ballot. Instead, to more fully explore all hotel options, he has created a Blue Ribbon Panel which will be chaired by Commissioner Ricky Arriola and myself. The panel will also include members of the community, and will move forward to conceptualize a hotel that will be smaller, and possibly in a new location. Also, in conjunction with Florida International University, the City will create a survey for residents to find out what, if any, type of hotel might possibly be approved with the necessary 60 percent super majority vote. I remain dedicated to saving the historic architecture of the Henry Hohauser building, to a hotel that is not out of scale in the Lincoln Road Neighborhood, and if necessary, to finding a location that will cause less impact on surrounding intersections that are already at failure. I will do my best to represent the residents as Commissioner Arriola and I lead the charge to explore compromise and potentially build something that will benefit all residents.
Adopting the new Transportation Master Plan
The Commission voted unanimously to adopt the new Transportation Master Plan that will include bike lanes, dedicated bus lanes, smart alert systems, an eventual trolley loop around South Beach, and a light rail system that connects the City of Miami Beach to the City of Miami. This Commission is pushing forward to ensure that we improve mobility within the city. With some luck and hard work, we hope to complete the studies according to plan and secure funding from the county, state and even federal government so we can finally build the infrastructure that should have been built years ago. This is an issue that is at the forefront of my thoughts and even though I’m not happy with the idea of moving forward without a guarantee of federal funding, I sincerely believe that Miami Beach will become a model for not just the county, but the entire state. We need to build a 21st century transportation infrastructure, worthy of the people who live here, and capable of scaling for our future.