Dear Friends and Neighbors,
I hope you are enjoying the beginning of summer and have planned some fun and relaxation. Congratulations to all Miami Beach students on their recent graduations. I wish you much success in your future endeavors! Speaking of schools, they were front and center in our Miami Beach Commission at our June meeting. Resulting from the most prominent discussion, the Commission unanimously voted to place an armed police officer at each of the six Miami Beach public schools. In doing so, Miami Beach is the first city in Miami-Dade County to authorize funding this $1,000,000.00 a year expense. While approving such a large expenditure is never easy, the safety of students and the peace of mind of parents is paramount. Your Miami Beach Commission is dedicated to keeping our City and our students safe.
Miami Beach Commissioner Micky Steinberg and I co-sponsored new legislation in Miami Beach to protect animals. After the horse incident in a nightclub and a tiger at a prom, we felt that specific legislation and penalties were needed to highlight that mistreating animals is against the law in Miami Beach. Horses and other non-domesticated animals should not be used to entertain revelers in nightclubs and at parties. However, there is an exception for properly permitted events such as Miami Beach Polo, where animals are trained for the sport.
Mayor Gelber and I co-sponsored legislation regulating plastic bags and plastic straws. While the plastic ban ordinance had previously been passed by the Commission it has been stayed pending the outcome of the appeal of a similar Coral Gables ordinance. The Commission unanimously agreed to lift that stay and move forward with the ban. We also introduced legislation banning the use of plastic straws and stirrers in City-owned buildings and sidewalks. While we await the second reading of these two ordinances, we instructed the administration to start an educational outreach program to businesses so that they will not immediately be fined once the ordinances take effect.
For the past two months, the City Commission has spent much time discussing the flood mitigation program in the Stormwater Master Plan and how to implement it. The Stormwater Master Plan was passed by the Miami Beach Commission in 2012 when I previously served and sets forth a program for performing underground repairs, replacing/repairing pipes with larger ones, improving drainage and raising roads. Fueling these discussions was my motion to reject a $24,000,000.00 contract for specific work in a mid-beach neighborhood based on legal concerns. While that contract was rejected in a 5 -2 vote, I believe the Commission remains largely united to moving these stormwater projects forward in a responsible manner incorporating the best and latest recommendations from experts. We will get these projects done the right way!
In closing, I wish all of the fathers and grandfathers a Very Happy Father’s Day – especially my own. Happy Father’s Day Alberto Gongora!
Until next month I remain very truly yours,