The Urban Forum Newsletter of The Urban Environment League Website: www.uel.org Issue No. 19 Email: email@example.com October 2006 A Message from UEL President Nancy Liebman Welcome to another new, good impact study to determine the the walkway to be public.year for the Urban Environment project’s effects on recent mega-de- UEL is involved in this issue sinceLeague. velopments in the adjacent Miami we believe a waiver would be a breach The UEL summer ended after a downtown or Miami Beach, includ- of the public trust and its regulatoryvery productive series of County ing the newest concept of Herald process and would set a dangerousCommission Candidate Forums. Square, a mega-development on the precedent for reversing developer-re-UEL committees have finalized a fan- Miami Herald property. quirements set by public reviewtastic Dinner Series at the Miami Nor, has there been a look at the boards. In addition, one of the ur-River Inn, and a set of Smart Growth Watson Island development and ban goals for this organization is toBus Tours, the first whether it is bring to fruition greater public accesson November 17 compatible to the all waterways in Miami Dadeto Delray Beach, with the Miami County (see Page 5 for article).and a second on 21 master plan As for other issues, we are continu-March 23 to or how the Flag- ing our struggle for public input intoABACOA in Palm stone project ef- master planning for BicentennialBeach County. fects the city’s Park and Virginia Key. We are await- Details of the requirements ing a discussion with the new MiamiBus Tour and Din- for open space Manager, Pete Hernandez to under-ners are in this and public stand the public process for complet-newsletter. parks as out- ing these plans and moving forward Other issues in lined in Miami’s with the Miami 21 Plan.which UEL is en- comprehensive UEL’s consultant, Fred Balsera hasgaged include plan. been of enormous assistance with allmonitoring the UEL has of these projects and at the Septem-proposed develop- joined with ber 11th board meeting, membersment of Flagstone’s community unanimously agreed to extend Fred’sIsland Garden’s groups in Mi- contract if additional grant fundsproject planned to ami Beach to come forward at the end of October.be built on public oppose the clos- Please keep in touch with yourland on Watson Is- Nancy Liebman and Miami-Dade ing of a devel- suggestions and questions.land. UEL con- County Mayor Carlos Alvarez, UEL oper-required I hope many UEL Members andtinues to oppose Award Winner (more Photos inside) public bay walk new friends will join us on the Busthe project as an behind the Tour on November 17th, for a deli-incompatible use Waverly Apart- cious dinner on November 14th andof public land. While the project was ment complex. The Apartments con- to see the candidates debate on No-approved by voters in 2001, the de- verted to a condo after the bay walk vember 1st (see inside). We plan ourvelopment plan has changed drasti- was built. Now, the new condo own- events to keep the community in-cally. Since then there has been no ers want to waive the requirement for formed. -Nancy Liebman President
The Urban Environment League Dinner Forums Are held at: The Historic Miami River Inn 118 SW South River Drive 6:00 PM – Wine Reception 6:45 PM – Dinner, Followed by Program Limited Seating, RSVP a must: Miami River Inn: 305-325-0045 E-mail: Miamihotel@aol.com TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 14Discovering Florida At The Edge: Environmental Restoration, Quality of Life and Sense of Place.Speaker: Herbert L. Hiller, visionary travel writer, tourism expert and author of the book, “Florida at the Edge:Tourism, Development and the Emergence of Florida Downtowns.” (This serves as a prequel to UEL’s SmartGrowth bus tour*). TUESDAY, JANUARY 16Is There a Water Crisis in Miami-Dade County?Speakers: Roger Carlton, Assistant County Manager and Attorney Jeffrey Bercow, of Bercow and Radell. TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 20Honoring Black History Month - Overtown: Its Present Challenges And Future Vision.Moderator: Mike Vasquez. Speakers: Denise Perry, Director of Power U Center and Philip Bacon, GeneralManager, Growth Partnership for the Collins Center for Public Policy. TUESDAY, MARCH 20South Florida: A Regional Vision for our Future.Speaker: Jim Murley, Director of the Catanese Center for Urban and Environmental Solutions at Florida Atlan-tic University. (This serves as a prequel to the UEL’s sponsored ABACOA Smart Growth bus tour.*) TUESDAY, APRIL 17Why Isn’t There A Stronger Constituency for Historic Preservation In Miami? (Dade Heritage Days Event)Speakers: Becky Roper Matkov, Executive Director, Dade Heritage Trust; City of Miami Historic PreservationPlanner Ellen J. Uguccioni and University of Miami School of Architecture Associate Professor Rocco Ceo, Co-Author of “The Historic Landscapes of Florida.” TUESDAY, MAY 15 Are There Any Solutions To Our Transportation and Traffic Problems?Speakers: Miami Dade County Commissioner Carlos A. Gimenez and Bernardo Benes, one of the foundingmembers of the County’s MOVN (Meeting our Vehicular Needs) Initiative. We have invited a Board Memberof the County’s Citizens Independent Transportation Trust. *UEL Smart Growth Bus Tour (see Pages 4 and 5) is Friday, November 17 & UEL Livable Communities BusTour to Florida Atlantic University, Abacoa in Jupiter is Tenative: March 23, 2007. All dinners begin with a wine reception at 6PM and dinner at 6:45 followed by the speakers and a lively discussion.Open to the public, admission is $25 for UEL Members and $30 for non-members. Reservations are required. Alimited number of seats are available at no charge for the 7:30 discussion session only. Topics and speakers can change without notice.
UEL Sponsored Nine UEL Forums for Our Future Candidate s Forums In its efforts to increase citizen Hear the Candidates Forparticipation in government, theUEL had nine summer forums District 2 - City of Miamicountywide, which brought key top- November 1st - 6 to 8 pmics of discussion before incumbentMiami-Dade County Commission- Trinity Episcopal Cathedralers and their respective opponents. 464 NE 16th Street & North Bayshore Drive Since inception, the UEL has dealt Free Parking Available (on a first come basis)with a wide variety of issues affect- Moderator: Former County Manager/Formering South Floridian’s quality of lifeand future development. Its activities City of Miami Manager Merritt Steirheimhave included a series of past forums, Candidates:tours and workshops on issues regard- Placido Diazing master planning, parks preserva- Frank Rollasontion, open space and waterfront ac- Maria Betty Gutierrez Marc Sarnoffcess, among others. Linda Haskins Seth Sklarey Michelet Philome Editors Note: Since receiving the let- Letter to the Urban Environment Leagueter to the left from the Mayor, there wasa vote by the County Commission: October 2006 Dear Members: On Oct.10, Commissioners What an honor it was for me to receive one of the coveted Orchidbacked a suit (which will be heard Awards from the Urban Environment League (UEL) of GreaterOctober 23rd) against the strong- Miami. Your organization’s recognition of my efforts to prevent themayor vote. The suit was brought by expansion of the Urban Development Boundary (UDB) means soCitizens for Open Government, headed much because UEL’s members understand what unplanned growthby Daniel Hernandez who has servedas President of the Hialeah Chamber can mean for our quality of life.of Commerce. We must remain ever-vigilant because the fight to move the line According to a Herald report, the will not end. As you know, there are several massive proposals still tolawsuit seeks to disqualify more than come which could negatively impact our environment, the services123,000 petition signatures. The government provides and ultimately, our future. You have mycommissioners voted 7 to 5 to hire a commitment that I will continue to educate residents about the UDBlaw firm (partners bill at $325 per and what its movement can mean for our community.hour) once again using hard-earned I will also be speaking to residents about the proposed Executivetaxpayer money to argue that the sig- Mayor form of government. It is designed to place more responsibil-natures were illegal. The lawsuit says ity and accountability into the hands of a countywide elected official,that petitions included only a 71- and at the same time increase efficiency in government. All of us willword summary of charter changes in- soon have the opportunity to vote on this issue. As the election nears,stead of the full 40-page document. I urge all of you to get the facts. I firmly believe that it is time to Voting was as follows: change the way business is done in Miami-Dade County. YES: Bruno Barreiro, Pepe Diaz, Once again, thank you for your organization’s enduring commit-Audrey Edmonson, Dennis Moss, ment and concern for our community.Dorrin Rolle, Natacha Seijas, Javier Sincerely,Souto NO: Carlos Gimenez, Sally Carlos AlvarezHeyman, Barbara Jordan, Katy MayorSorenson, Rebeca Sosa
Urban Environment League of Greater Miami and South FloridaBuilding a Shared Vision for the Future of our Community The Search for Smart Growth in the Region Hollywood — Fort Lauderdale — Delray Date: Friday, November 17, 2006 Time: 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Where: Leaving From Trinity Cathedral, North Bayshore Drive & NE 15th St. (Parking available at the Omni garage, right across the street) Cost: $35.00 per person/UEL members $30.00 Checks payable to: UEL Reservations with Pre-Payment Required: Urban Environment League 945 Pennsylvania Avenue, Suite 100 Miami Beach, Florida 33139 Traveling in part along A1A, the tour explores Florida at the Edge searching for best case examples of infilldevelopment that serve to strengthen our sense of place and quality of life. Highlights of the day will include aspecial luncheon visit with Mayor of the City of Delray Beach, Jeff Pearlman. We will meet with Diane Colonna,Executive Director of the Delray CRA and visit South Florida’s most successful examples of infill developmentand smart growth solutions. We will visit Bonnet House in Fort Lauderdale as guests of the Florida Trust forHistoric Preservation. We will look at the dynamic efforts underway in the City of Hollywood and meet withleaders of Hollywood’s CRAs – Neil Fritz and Gil Martinez. Throughout the day our special resource guide willbe Gloria Katz of Smart Growth Broward. With support from the South Florida Regional Resource Center, theyare developing a regional Smart Growth coalition. We will seek examples and discuss best practice techniques for approaching the work: Mix Land Uses; Take Advantage of Existing Community Assets; Create a Range of Housing Choices; Foster “Walkable,” Close-Knit Neighborhoods; Promote Distinctive, Attractive Communities with a Strong Sense of Place, Including the Rehabilitation and Use of Historic Buildings; Preserve Open Space, Farmland, Natural Beauty, and Criti- cal Environmental Areas; An Strengthen Growth in Existing Communities; Urban Provide a Variety of Transportation Choices; Environment Make Development Decisions Predictable, Fair and League Cost-Effective; Bus Encourage Citizen and Stakeholder Participation in Tour Development Decisions.From “How to Achieve Smart Growth,” Smart Growth America
access to their waterfront. The pub- T he Urban Environment League regularly hosts bus tours as lic, after all, is the true owner of these mobile workshops exploring the regional context of our ur- natural amenities for which Greater ban environment. In fall 2005 UEL and South Florida Na- Miami is known. Fortunately, the tional Parks Trust hosted a visit to Shark Valley in Everglades National City stood by its requirements and Park. In the Spring 2005 UEL hosted a tour along the Urban Develop- ordered the fence removed, but not ment Boundary to understand the importance of the HOLD THE LINE without sympathizing with the condo campaign. In the Spring of 2006 UEL conducted the South Dade Agri- buyers who were led to believe the wa- cultural Tour to highlight the economic, social, historic and environ- terfront property belonged to them mental aspects of our rural agricultural community – concluding with a and them alone. visit to Biscayne National Park. This story is endemic of a much UEL Content Forums have explored important associated subjects, larger problem that UEL has identi- including the Affordable Housing Workshop and the Grow Denser Better fied, much like an imminent train Forum at and in collaboration with the University of Miami School of wreck. Thousands of new condos are Architecture. under construction on the area’s Join us at the Prequel — Discovering Florida at the Edge – Environ- Bayfront and along the Miami River, mental Restoration, Qualify of Life and Sense of Place at the November especially in the City of Miami. 14th UEL Dinner (See Page 2), Herbert L. Hiller, the visionary Florida Most of the Bayfront and travel writer, tourism expert and author of Florida at the Edge: Tour- Riverfront condos have voluntarily ism, Development and the Emergence of Florida Downtowns. will kick followed the City’s recommendations off our Bus Tour. for a continuous Baywalk and Smart Growth America defines smart growth according to its out- Riverwalk, the latter known as the comes — outcomes that mirror the basic values of most Americans. Miami River Greenway. Most of the Smart growth is growth that helps to achieve these six goals: developers have submitted plans 1. Neighborhood Livability 4. Shared Benefits which show walkways on the water 2. Better Access, Less Traffic 5. Lower Costs, Lower Taxes in front of their developments. The 3. Thriving Cities, Suburbs and Towns 6. Keeping Open Space Open City hopes that these will one day be continuous all along the 5.5 mile Submitted by: Denis Russ, UEL Programs Coordinator River. Where there are existing wa- terfront dependent uses, such as boat Public Access: Waverly Condo Baywalk repair terminals or marinas, the City The City of Miami Beach Design the public’s access to the Bay, citing has made plans to skirt around themReview Board upheld a position that security concerns. He then converted with a new landscaped GreenwayUEL has long fought for: The right the building to a condominium with connecting the Riverwalk links.of the general public to access Miami- no reference to the earlier pledge in As the Waverly example shows:Dade’s extensive Oceanfront, any of the Condominium docu- there is both good news and bad newsBayfront and waterways. ments. in this latest chapter of public acces- In the case of the Waverly at 14th Nearly a hundred Waverly resi- sibility on private property. The goodStreet and West Avenue, the develop- dents who bought condos at the news is that these new designs all pro-ment was originally a rental property Waverly showed up on October 3rd vide space for the public to enjoy andwherein the City’s Design Review at the Design Review Board to plead view the water; the bad news is thatBoard allowed the developer to build their case. there is no mechanism in place formore into the project in exchange for The bulk of the owners said the the developer to include public acces-agreeing to build and maintain a pub- fence was already installed when they sibility in subsequent condo docu-licly accessible walkway along purchased their condo and no men- ments. UEL is working with theBiscayne Bay, part of a long range plan tion of public accessibility is in their Miami River Commission and theto have a continuous Baywalk all condo documents. UEL, the Sierra Trust for Public Land to draw uparound the South tip of the City for Club, and several Beach residents also model condo doc provisions and im-pedestrians and bikers. However, the spoke at the hearing—supporting the plore local governments to enforcedeveloper later built a fence blocking right of the public to view and have them. - Ernie Martin
written back when the biggest build- Watson Island: Deferred Until November 28th ing in town was about 17 stories, and The Urban Environment League has scored two major victories in its few dreamed that the term “unlim- quest to monitor the private hotel and marina on public land at Watson ited height” would ever be taken se- Island. Senior Vice President Ernie Martin spoke at the September riously. To bring these laws up-to- 26th Board of County Commissioners’ meeting during a hearing date and to best preserve our regarding dredging for the mega yacht marina. neighborhoods, it’s clear that some UEL has consistently raised a number of questions about this private form of downzoning is necessary. As for-profit entity being granted use of the publicly owned waterfront. with all zoning matters, the first ques- The objections fall into two categories (1) the twin tower hotel tion is, “Is it legal?” started off as 16 and 20 stories and has now morphed into a twin tower Apparently so. Courts have ruled of 26 and 42 stories; and (2) the numerous public amenities and public that there is no vested right to the access to the site, the trade off that the developer offered in exchange continuation of current zoning, for the private portions, have never been shown to UEL to allow us to which can be reduced for valid rea- monitor their adequacy or the guarantees of their implementation. The sons. Property owners are not entitled Commission deferred the item until the developers and the City could to the most profitable use of the land, meet with us. but simply some use that is economi- The City/Developer team showed up again at the October 9th cally viable. Commission meeting asking to proceed. Commissioner Bruno Being legal doesn’t make it easy. Barreiro, whose district includes Watson Island, said the time was still Developers will scream that they are not enough to let the UEL and other interested parties review all the losing money. Neighbors will howl, relevant documents, meet with the developer, and seek resolution. The among other things, that we don’t Commission again deferred the decision until November 28, 2006. have the infrastructure to support what is now allowed. This is the di- The Downzoning Dilemma lemma faced by the drafters of Mi- By Joe Wilkins ami 21. Maybe that is why it is tak- Downzoning is a word that puts a built (sound familiar?). They then ing so long.gleam in the eye of community ac- offered to help fund three affordable *In light of the recent furor overtivists, and strikes terror in the hearts housing projects in the city. Two were affordable housing one might ask,of development inclined land specu- completed; another was slated for a “Did this project ever get built?” Mylators, and the politicians they own. tiny parcel of land across from the money says, “No.”It means, for example, taking a piece Vizcaya Metrorail station. The cityof land now zoned for “unlimited generously “spot zoned” the landheight,” and rezoning it with a 35- from duplex to high-rise. Our Demand for Waterfoot height limit if it happens to sit By Maria Ines Castro This triggered a huge, six-year le-next to a single family home. The D gal and political battle led by the With a current population of 7.3word is the elephant in the room of Vizcaya Roads Homeowners Associa- million people, more than 400 newMiami 21, the city’s effort to rewrite tion and the Miami Roads Neighbor- residents moving into South Floridaits zoning laws – seldom spoken hood Civic Association that ended up each day, and limited natural re-about, but impossible to ignore. I was in the State Supreme Court. The sources, it is time for elected officialspersonally involved in one of very, neighbors ultimately prevailed, the at all levels and citizens to becomevery few examples of it ever happen- project was killed, and the property proactive, conscientious, and creativeing in Miami. was downzoned back to duplex.* As about solutions to our most pressing In 1975, the developer of part of the settlement, the city paid issues. While the shortage of land isClaughton Island (now known as the property owner almost one mil- getting most coverage, I prefer to fo-Brickell Key), in exchange for exten- lion dollars, in part to compensate for cus on an issue where each of us cansive building rights, agreed to build the loss of property value between impact - our demand for water. Up200 units of affordable housing. By high-rise and duplex. until now, Miami-Dade Countians1985 none of these units had been The existing zoning laws were have been fortunate to have plenti-
ful, safe drinking water, at a rate that A Watershed Decisionis among the lowest in the nation. Nathan Geisler, South Florida Community Organizer - Clean Water Fund The Biscayne Aquifer, our source Many people from across Miami-Dade have taken memorable ridesof water, is recharged during the dry along the outer fringes of the county as part of UEL’s farm tours seriesseason by the Everglades regional sys- over the past couple of years, seeing first hand agriculture’s contributiontem. During winter months, when to the community while gaining an up-close view of the lands near andwater demands are at their highest beyond the famed Urban Development Boundary (UDB). Tracing theand rainfall is at its lowest, this with- perimeter of such a diverse county is a revelation, where one can seedrawal of water has a negative effect the size and scope of the land that makes this place unique.on the Everglades by making it too Experiencing something first-hand is much more enlightening thandry and harming fish and wildlife. a written account yet it does take effort to commit to go somewhereThe more demand, the more nega- when it is easier, but less fulfilling, to read about it later. Take fortive impact on our most prized natu- instance local and county government proceedings that affect moreral resource. lives than the outcome of tonight’s Wheel of Fortune, yet manage to Locally, the good news is that in enlist far fewer devotees. Civic participation - what a bummer, right?the midst of unprecedented growth, Well, if you are frustrated with the course of events and decision-Miami-Dade county has kept making in Miami-Dade you HAVE to do more.pumpage relatively constant during On October 13, there was a meeting of the South Miami-Dadethe past few years. The really bad Watershed Committee and a Workshop for the Infrastructure and Landnews is that only five percent of our Use Committee of the County Commission. Even though you missedwastewater is recycled, leaving us the meeting, you can still be involved through public comment.trailing other Central and South The “Watershed Study” is a barely known, multi-million dollar,Florida counties. In fact, we have multi-agency effort directed by a team of county-hired consultants andmissed out on government grants and a committee of citizen “stake-holders” from a wide spectrum of interestincentives to implement recycling groups. Their purpose is finding consensus over how to direct growthmechanisms that would have helped and conservation over the next 50 years in South Dade, while ensuringus reuse the some 280 million gal- the integrity of Biscayne Bay and the Everglades.lons daily that are currently disposed Scenarios and maps thus far produced from the study have shownof. This wasteful cycle of using and that when the Urban Development Boundary is not tampered with anddisposing cannot continue without when “smart growth” principals are applied, the best outcomes appear.further dire consequences to our en- However, some stakeholders at the meetings prefer a different scenario,vironment. one more development friendly. At present, Miami-Dade County Go online and get informed about what’s been going on and whatuses 350 million gallons of water a you can do at: www.southmiamidadewatershed.com. There is plentyday, making it the largest single user of good info on this website. There are people to contact if you haveof fresh water in the state. It is re- questions.questing an additional 100 million Consider yourself a stakeholder. Or would you rather see our watergallons a day. And given that con- supply and quality of life land on BANKRUPT over the next 50 yearstrary to popular opinion, water is not and beyond? Want to know more: Call me at: 305 485-5949.an infinite resource, important andnecessary steps must be taken by lo- nors comments that “ this has been a of this important issue.”cal and state government, as well as wake-up call for Miami’s elected of- In the meantime, each of us caneach and every concerned citizen. ficials and utilities. We have already help by becoming more conscious of In the immediate future we will identified possible remedies that the our water use; becoming morebegin to see increased treatment and County will be responsible for incor- informed by visiting www.sfwmd.govdisposal costs incurred by municipali- porating into their amended compre- and the county’s water and sewerties and passed on to citizens. Irela hensive land use plan. In the mean- department website; and byBague, vice-chair of the South Florida time, we can all pitch in by expressing your concerns to yourWater Management Board of Gover- conserving water and staying abreast County Commissioner.
Death By A Thousand Cuts poration, one of the nation’s largest planning decisions allowed home production home builders and long- construction in very low lying land, With rules, regulations and laws, time corporate leader in Miami. adding to the cost of restoring the Eastpeople wonder how ecosystems like For Florida City Commons to be Everglades by a decade and hundredsthe Everglades are driven to the point permitted, it must pass numerous of millions of dollars.of collapse and why bay waters that agency reviews and decision thresh- The property owner is vehementlyonce held all kinds of wildlife dimin- olds that both Lennar and the prop- arguing against tight conditions onish gradually until the great outdoors erty owner, Atlantic Civil Inc., are the fill permit extension that theturn into relic experiences told to carefully weaving through, one at a Corps considered in light of the realgrandchildren as stories they will time, in a slow, deliberate process that and lasting threats to permitting de-never experience first-hand. began with the Miami Dade county velopment in an area that is funda- It is called a death by a thousand commission agreeing to allow Florida mentally important to the $13 billioncuts, the legacy of allowing baselines City to annex the property last year. dollar plan to restore America’s Ever-to shift beyond recognition. Currently, the property owner is glades. People care about legacies. Espe- filling the low-lying property for “ag- The lobbyists and consultants al-cially those fortunate and hard-work- ricultural purposes” while teams of ways come well prepared with chartsing enough to share their success with lobbyists, planners, and attorneys are and maps and statistics, all profession-the public. pushing for favorable consideration ally drawn and knit together in fine Legacies matter. Not measured just of its plan by government agency staff and expensive detail. It’s not in theirby signature bricks on sidewalks or who are highly skeptical of tens of job description to worry about a thou-plaques on walls of civic institutions thousands of new residents in lands sand cuts—just this one.or named buildings themselves, com- that are environmentally sensitive. But for Lennar, there is also thememorating large donations to medi- When its permit from the US matter of legacy.cal centers, hospitals, civic and edu- Army Corps of Engineers was sus- It may be that, in the case ofcational institutions. pended and then re-instated last year, Florida City Commons, precaution What a great legacy it would have Tropical Audubon Society and Na- makes a rare appearance in the plan-been if public access to Biscayne Bay tional Parks Conservation Association ning and zoning and permitting pro-had been preserved in the city of Mi- filed suit in federal court—arguing cesses. It could also be that precau-ami. Or if instead of piling develop- that the agricultural use was a pretense tion gets run over, like the Floridament in western suburbs, first deci- for massive development plans that panther struck by a car last year asion makers had confronted the had widely disseminated through per- stone’s throw from proposed develop-transportation infrastructure deficit as mitting agencies and that the Corps ment site.it was being incurred. had failed to follow its own rules and That is not the way Lennar should What a great blessing it would have procedures. The federal judge ruled be remembered, but it could happenbeen for our communities if the costs that the multi-hundred page proposal too. - Alan Faragoof development had been paid for for development, now c i rc u l a t i n gwhen they were incurred, instead of through permitting Approximate Area ofshifted to future generations. and planning agencies, Florida City Commons Precaution in protecting our qual- was irrelevant to theity of life should be a default value of permit reinstatement.zoning councils and legislatures. But Now there is an-precaution is not the legacy that other issue: the exten-comes to mind. sion of the permit that Rather, it is death by a thousand had expired in August.cuts and a specific example is the plan Environmentalists Sin South Miami Dade county for believe that Floridamore than $1 billion in new devel- City Commons will re-opment, outside the Urban Develop- sult, in the end, like the 8.5 Square Mile Area in Nment Boundary. The plan belongs to Lennar Cor- West Dade, where bad
Tour Guides: complaints about the quality of local assuring thousands of tourists, who Important to South tours, a group of concerned individu- visit here each year, that they will be Florida Tourism als realized that our sophisticated given high quality tours which en- tourism industry was surprisingly hance their experience and increase By Kevin Doran deficient in qualified tour guides and the likelihood that they will return. Tourists — They come from all acted to remedy the situation. In the case of the teacher from far-over. They are families from Louis- Representatives of the Greater Mi- away Tibet, I can almost guaranteeville on vacation, women from Swit- ami Convention Visitors Bureau, that she will never return because ofzerland in search of the art scene, Southern Florida Concierge Associa- the distance and the nature of hercruise passengers with a day to kill, tion, Florida Association of Meeting travel, but I’ve learned that she wasconventioneers, partiers and just last and Events Professionals and individu- overwhelmed by the beauty of theweek, a shy little teacher from Tibet als like Arva Parks and Nancy city, the warmth of her reception bywho was brought here by the State Liebman led the effort to certify pro- the people here and the knowledgeDepartment to observe American fessional guides the way other cities of her tour guide.educational practices. They are the do. The resulting organization is thevisitors and tourists who come to Professional Tour Guide Association ofSouth Florida and drive the economic O P I N I O N Florida, its mission is as follows:engine that is tourism. I Will Vote NO on Prop. 3, Nov. 7th! to promote professional standards Along with money, they also bring for guides, to provide ongoing train- In 2002 I asked a prominentexpectations and once they’re here ing and education; and to enhance woman why she was supporting antheir impressions determine whether the enjoyment and experience of visi- Amendment to the Florida Consti-they’ll return and what they’ll tell tors to South Florida. tution (It was about the Governingothers about their experience. We Certified guides are required to Board for Universities —whichwant them to come back and we take a thirty-hour training program passed). She said that it was the onlyshould be very concerned about the and pass a test requiring fundamen- way for citizens to have their voicesquality of their experience while tal knowledge of the city’s history, heard if they don’t agree with thethey’re here. geography, demographics, transpor- Florida Legislature. Miami is unique. Its spectacular tation, cultural attractions, landmark Referring to Proposition 3, Mikenatural environment does most of the Salinero a reporter at the Tampa Tri- buildings, neighborhoods and venuesheavy lifting when it comes to tour- bune said, “Developers are spending of interest to visitors - the kind of in- hundreds of thousands of dollars inist satisfaction and we have shopping formation given on a three-hour Mi-and entertainment but it is impor- support of a ballot measure that ami city highlights tour. would make it more difficult for citi-tant to recognize that these days, Tour guide certification is not re- zens to amend the Florida Constitu-people are also coming here in ever quired yet. It is anticipated that once tion.” (Big sugar is also a big donor!)increasing numbers, for a cultural a critical number of guides are certi- Why are developers pushing Prop.experience that includes our multi- fied, legislation will be passed requir- 3 now? Perhaps they are afraid of aethnicity, distinctive architectural fea- ing that only certified heritage tour ballot initiative in the works calledtures and events that identify Miami guides be permitted to give narrated Florida Hometown Democracy.as different from anywhere else. city tours of Miami. The legislative “The growth machine is terrified The first thing many visitors do effort is being headed by Commis- of Florida Hometown Democracyto familiarize themselves with the area sioner Bruno Barreiro who believes because it understands that with theis to take a tour. For better or for in the importance of professional passage of FHD it’s lock on land useworse, the primary person respon- guides. Legislation and enforcement will be broken” said Lesley Blackner,sible for shaping their first impres- of the ordinance will originate from a leader of the FHD. If passed, itsion is a tour guide. Take a few of the MDC Dept. of Consumer Affairs. would put major growth decisions tothese tours and you’ll find that many Certification is just a part of the the voters instead of the politicians.guided tours in Miami deliver false larger tourism effort, but it is recog- Do we want to work against our-or misleading information while nized as an important part which can selves, increasing the number of sig-missing the things that are interest- contribute to the success of the city’s natures we need to get citizens ini-ing and important. After frequent billion-dollar tourism industry by tiatives on the ballot? - Nancy Lee
Photo Album: 1. Award Winners: Members of the Urban Arts Committee and KathleenUEL Orchid Awards May 22, 2006 Kaufmann, Director, City of Miami Historic Preservation. 1 2. Award Winner Dewey Steele. 3. UEL intern Danny Enriques with UEL Board Member Enid Pinkney and Ms. Kaufmann. 4. John and Pat Wade in the Audience and Board Members Greg Bush. 5. Award winners Pat and John Wade. 6. Architect Sandy Peaceman for Award Winning project: Cite. 7. Pat Wade in Audience. 2 8. UEL Board Members Denis Russ and John VanLeer in Audience. 3 4 5 6 9 8 7 10 11 12 13 9. Award Winners - accepting on behalf of the Woman’s Club: Kathy Kassner, Jane Capporelli and Dolly McIntyre. 10. Award Winner Commissioner Katy Sorenson. 11. Ms. Kaufman and Urban Arts Committee. 12. Peter Urlich and friends with UEL Board Member Kevin Doran. 13. Executive Director Robert Datorre with leaders of the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation - receiving award from UEL Senior Vice President, Ernie Martin.
The September 5th able guidelines, i.e. not the ones to blame for the low voter turn out. passed by our County Commission, How many of us make sure thatCounty Commission Race which practically gutted the intent of our family and friends vote? This No- in Review voters approved public financed cam- vember 7th take friends and family As of the September 5th Election paigns. Who will or can donate $100 with you to vote. Teach your kids toI have worked in over 160 local, state to a worthy candidate? Not many of vote and they will always vote. Nextand national campaigns. September us have that much money to spare, time recruit better candidates to run.elections are always difficult, and this but $50 per registered voter donor is Each of us can make a difference.one — the day after Labor Day when within reach. Just ask Katy Sorenson. No one ex-it rained until late in the afternoon Our commissioners want petition- pected us to win her race 12 years— was a classic example of Election ers to be held accountable for what ago, but we did because we startedDay under siege by circumstances be- they say when they collect signatures early, we ran hard, we spent ouryond the control of voters the yet they don’t require the same money wisely (five times less than ourcandidates. of candidates, including in- opponent in the run-off, incumbent Low voter turnout isn’t cumbents running for of- Larry Hawkins) and we had theunusual. Lack of media fice. Why not? movement of a district that justcoverage, little campaignfunds and short campaigns VOTE If an incumbent can af- ford to buy $30,000 of air- wouldn’t put up with the incumbent’s shenanigans anymore!also affect the voter turnout. time on radio to attack an It is great to live in this democ-This year’s media coverage, opponent with little resources racy, wow, I love this GAME ofboth mainstream and alternative, was to reply, it is no wonder bad candi- Politics...it can be more exciting thanlacking. There are many interesting dates get elected, in some cases re- our world championship NBA Team,stories in every race if a only the me- elected. it is all a matter of perspective?dia dedicate the resources. Perhaps campaign expenditures Irene Secada, President So much of the process advantages should be audited too. Certainly, Community Power Builders andincumbents that challengers get dis- history has taught us that not all cam- Political Consultants, Inc.couraged. But they shouldn’t. Chal- paign expenses are legitimate ones...lengers should start earlier and activ- just look at the government’s case The UEL asks all ofists should hold elected officials against former County Commis-accountable for their votes, their be- sioner Miriam Alonso. our members tohavior, their statements and their un- Voters should insist that the rules remember to votereasonable political positions. governing elections are fair. We must Why don’t more exciting candi- November 7th. level the playing field. We must al-dates present themselves for office? low for fair, even debates by quali- In order to keepCould it be because that citizens can’t fied candidates. But how can we ex- bringing you ourbe bothered by public service like pect incumbents who make the rulesthey used to be? We live in a repre- to be fair? It is just too easy to tip newsletter we needsentative Democracy, don’t we? Our the advantage to one’s re-election. your support.locally elected officials seem to rep- I think the question remains, howresent the interests of financial stake- Consider a pre- much Democracy can we afford? Justholders far more than those of the look at the County’s affordable hous- ferred membership ifcitizens. And why not, when citizens ing scandal, airport scandal, cost you do not have onejust don’t take the time to vote. overrun on the Performing Arts Cen- There are plenty of ways to im- ter, phone gate at the Department of or a donation if youprove the process. 1) restrict dona- Water and Sewer and ask yourself do. All donations aretions in county and local races to again: How Much More of This Can tax deductible. We$250 per individual; 2) rescind do- We Take?nations by corporations, and 3) pub- Ultimately, we, the citizens and thank you for yourlicly finance campaigns with reason- voters of Miami-Dade County, are all continued support.
UEL Board of Directors: NOTICE: Nancy Liebman Sage Hoffman Enid Pinkney The UEL accepts articles/letters Ernest Martin Maria Ines Castro Gabrielle Redfern from its members and members of Kay Hancock Apfel Bruce Hamerstrom Alberto Ruder the public. These articles/letters do Ed Barberio Ruth Jacobs Denis Russ not always reflect the views of the Kevin Doran Leroy Jones Maria Salvador Members of the UEL, or its Board, Gregory Bush James Jude Paul Schwiep or the views of the UEL Advisors. Colgate Darden Richard Korman Fortuna Smukler To submit articles/letters, contact: John DeLeon Santiago Leon David Turner Robert Flanders Susan Luck John Van Leer firstname.lastname@example.org Dan McCrea The editor takes full responsibility for botching articles during cuts. URBAN ENVIRONMENT LEAGUE OF GREATER MIAMI MEMBERSHIP & RENEWAL APPLICATIONNAME________________________________________________________________________________________________ADDRESS____________________________________CITY___________________ST.______ZIP______________________DAY PHONE____________________EVE. PHONE__________________________FAX_____________________________E-MAIL___________________________ OCCUP._________________INTEREST__________________________________ Signature__________________________________Date______________ (All fees are tax deductible.) Membership $35 Preferred Mem. $50 Board Members and Sponsors of UEL $100 Donations: Students: $15 Urban Environment League of UEL Dinner Greater Miami November 14th 945 Pennsylvania Avenue Hear the Candidates For Suite 100 District 2 - City of Miami Miami Beach, FL 33139 November 1st - 6 to 8 pm Phone: 305 532-7227 Join the UEL Bus Tour in search of Fax: 305 532-8727 SMART GROWTH November 17th email@example.com 8:30 am to 4:00 pm Website: www.uel.org To receive information on upcoming UEL events such as dinners, forums and conferences send you email address to: UELmiami@bellsouth.net