Re: The Future of City of Miami Beach , an Aquatic Ecosystem
Dear Distinguished City of Miami Beach City Manager, Mayor and Commissioners,
Miami Beach is where my heart has always been. I made it my home, I invested my money, my time and my resources in this City. I got married in South Beach, brought many investors, friends, and family here too over the years. For more than 65 years, my family has done the same. I was proud to be from Miami Beach. You, as this City’s leaders should know that people like me who contribute, employ people with productive and clean jobs and who care about the community, are no longer proud to be part of Miami Beach. You as the City’s elected Commissioners and Mayor and Senior Manager have damaged this town, left it in a ruinous state and you have lost one of this City’s long term sons entirely in the process.
The latest grotesque news is of little surprise to me, as a long time resident and long time business owner in Miami Beach and someone who has seen first hand the inner workings of Government in action over the last 20 years. I am rather in awe that its taken this long and its taken the FBI to expose just the tip of the proverbial iceberg at City of Miami Beach Government. There is a lot of work to do here in Miami Beach to clean up years of City level wrongdoing and neglect both. After the recent scandals and FBI stings, the forced resignation of the City Manager, Jorge Gonzales, and the picketing at City Hall for recalls, it dawned on me that any City that paints a picture of how wonderful everything is, without much deeper self critique will always be far more vulnerable to the scrutiny of analysis and real world lens of perspective. Its much better to be more transparent at the leadership level and share the problems and the proposed solutions and put forth time tables for resolution; its essential to hold your team accountable including the persons in charge of the process itself. That being said, please read below:
I have owned Gold’s Gym South Beach for many years, having bailed out the previous gym from ruin and built up the name and clientele over 9.2 years. I also put together a real estate company to buy the accompanying properties and then South Beach Active etc. We have served this community for nearly a decade, as of this writing- providing health, wellness, and fitness services to thousands of residents and guests. We received on average 20,000 visitors from around the world per year on top of that to work out at the famous South Beach gym. This City is home to me and my family for 4 generations. My family were here before World War II, first as vacationers, then as part time and for 3 generations we have been full time residents of Miami Beach. I have toiled for 10 years and catered to this community in many ways, helping countless residents move out of the alcoholic night club scene and into the health and fitness and nutrition scene, overcome cancer and a whole lot more. We would not hire anyone who worked in night clubs and who went for the easy quick cash, we en-cultured our people with a manifesto of values seemingly out of place here in South Beach. I love this City and think it has wonderful potential, and I see all of that potential being buried by the state of affairs that the leaders of the City have permitted it to deteriorate to. I am referring to you; The recently exposed problems of graft, shakedowns and local governmental abuse at many levels are not new current events, its been going on for a decade and its deep, very deep. As a business owner, former land owner and as someone who has made attempts at interfacing extensively with City of Miami Beach, I am sick of dealing with corrupt people and the burdensome red tape here in Miami Beach and I am disgusted by the fake “surprise” that I see going on now. Who in this group didn’t know that really bad stuff is going on inside the ranks of City of Miami Beach at a variety of levels and for a protracted period of time? You would have to be blind not to know….so don’t act surprised, be agents of profound change. Swapping out the City Manager alone is not a solution. When alluding to wide scale corruption – I am referring to the people and system that work for you and ought to be directed by you profoundly and you should be aware of what goes on here in our wonderful playground called Miami Beach, at the ground level and frankly its always the senior PEOPLE who are responsible for the ground level peoples actions so pick them wisely and limit their tenure. You must also set a good example, but I am here to tell you that you have not. There is not just one man to blame! I have no love lost for you Mr. Gonzales because you abused me and my companies and the Citizens and residents here but Mr. G is not alone to blame and its time each of you got off your high horses and rolled your sleeves up to do allot more for the “local community” or step aside for others that will. This will not be fun work, theres no room for grandstanding, just hard and intelligent work. Between tattoo parlors and South Beach Tow, Magic City, Scarface and the real wild west style shootings, the latest City of Miami Beach FBI stings and government scandal and all the things yet unreported, this cities stock is operating on hot air, smoke and mirrors.
I have written you 7 previous times, now eight on the same exact subject about the lack of proper planning and flood control measures with no answers coming from any of you other than one Commissioner – Jerry Lib bin. I have gone to City Hall and made attempts to get each of your attention respectively on behalf of my companies, my employees, my neighbors and the residents and business owners here in Miami Beach. I have stood in front of you and spoken in public forum at City Hall within 20 feet of this Commission and I have been many times shuffled aside as though the matter were beneath you distinguished politicians, managers and former executive. I can recall being given 60 seconds to speak once in front of this commission and then subsequently one half hour was spent by the distinguished panel at City of Miami Beach on weather or not a man in very short shorts could come near the tennis courts and another 20 minutes on weather or not the tennis courts should be clay or hard and yet another allotment of time for lobbyists and lawyers to share why so many bushes and trees should be allowed for landscaping. These were presumably more important issues for the Commissioners, Mayor and City Manager than this – the single largest issue that this City faces. Your priorities need to change rapidly. Miami Beach will be below water, much worse than New Orleans and is way behind schedule on a myriad of planning and implementation projects that without my pushing hard and constantly would never have even gotten off first base. I have written your aids with no response except Jerry Lib bin and Michael G, of whom I thank for at least making an attempt at absorbing information and trying to understand the problem. The City of Miami Beach is destined to, in its current form, be entirely below water, the next New Orleans only the financial impact here will be on a magnitude that is far greater.
Not everyone in Miami Beach is wealthy and part of the Jet Set. Not everyone here has second or third homes in Aspen and NYC. Some people work for a living right here in Miami Beach and many are struggling in Miami Beach on many levels. The City is not only a hinderance but I would say the greatest harmful force in their potential success. You ought to swallow this for now and truly understand it. Its time this group stands at attention and works for the people who one should call, the community on real local issues that effect the short and long haul both, with long range vision goggles on. Unless there’s sustainable environment and business here, Miami Beach will simply be a seasonal sandbox for boozers, urban warriors, transients and money laundering , flight capital and an occasional high brow art show until its submerged, then all of that will just find another beach town. This next pending flood disaster, one of many, is capable of occurring any time now, the day of this happening could be 2012 or even 2013 or both but its coming and its likely to occur in June! I am not a soothsayer nor do I purport to have a crystal ball - I am merely someone who understands the science behind this. Science is the basis for understanding this. After asking many questions about flood control,I spent much time looking for your “plans” only to find you have none and are “flying blind.” This was one of many “cover ups” at the City of Miami Beach that has been and continues to be costly beyond comprehension. The cover up mentality is one of culture that needs to change to one of transparency at the Department Head level and adapt an oh wow, lets analyze and fix this mentality. It takes much more than talk to do these sorts of things, you need doers. After a few dozen attempts and many emails later, the Mayor finally met with me twice and she did make an attempt subsequently to direct me to City Manager Jorge Gonzales where it died on the vine several times. More and more attempts were made via the Mayors office and routed through the City Manager and even the Chief Engineer but that is just another aspect of an even greater problem which is how you conduct City business in this fair city. I was ultimately sloughed off onto the then Chief Engineer at the time who is now the head of CIP and no longer the City’s in house Engineer. He was able to understand the issues quite well and kept advising that he ultimately reports to the City Manager. At all turns, the road lead to a brick wall. By the way who is the Chief Engineer now? Where did you recruit him/her from. Who recruited him/her? The City has a very long standing habit of promoting from within rather than improve the gene pool and upgrade constantly with the best man/women for the job. This is a practice doomed to failure at all levels.
Its sickening to me that it has taken the FBI to flush out and force some modicum of desire to change with the extortionists and drug infested sleaze that this City has allowed to work for it below the watch of Jorge Gonzales and on your watch, this distinguished group of people of whom I am communicating with now, you need to change how you are operating lest this same thing will simply reoccur. There are many more problems that have not been exposed fully, this is the tip of the iceberg. It’s irresponsible of you, distinguished leaders to have transitioned the City Manager role over 2 months and disappointing that you did not arrive at a similar conclusion years ago and also change the structure to empower the Mayor to really take over many more responsibilities, as its the Mayor who reports to the people. The way you have been operating, there is no accountability at all. Water under the dam, so to speak! You most certainly should consider maximum Executive and maximum elected terms – no more than 8 years otherwise you are inviting problems even with good people to begin with. In the real world, when someone at the top resigns or is fired, under such circumstances, no one would have a lame duck period and it should be done cleanly and crisply- much more immediate frequently the same day or even the same hour. Go on vacation. This is what happens in the real world. This issue is not about Gonzales alone, I even put him on this email, he is the acting City Manager still , is he not? I doubt you have changed his email. You, ladies and gentlemen all need a wake up call and no one has the guts and composure to truly give it to you in a civilized manner.
How can you permit a Dictatorship, especially with the Cuban American mindset of this city, don’t you know that this is just wrong? In some ways, you are responsible for allowing the Gonzales admin to run amuck. You cannot just blame Jorge alone for the horrific state of affairs that’s been going on right beneath your noses for more than a decade, no sirs and no Mam, that is not right, you need to start taking full responsibility and understand this. There are much larger issues but structure and governance are where you ought to start. You cannot rush to behind closed doors to repeat the same mistakes, by simply appointing a new City Manager. This is a classic text book mistake. Its time to roll up your sleeves and make change really meaningful.
The 8th Attempt – purpose for my writing you:
In 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010 my business and properties at the gym property were flooded out of our South Beach property on 14th and West and 14th and Alton, impacting thousands of members, all my employees and costing multi million dollars to me and my companies alone, of which risk is not and cannot be covered by insurance due to this City’s reputation and risk factors and the simple fact that the City is operating without a validated and current Comprehensive Master Storm water Management Plan for so long. Most business owners that lease or rent in Miami Beach, do not even report the damages because they are dealing with landlords and complexities that the City needs to better understand to protect its environment. Food contamination was rampant and mold everywhere in restaurants post flood events. By the way mold is not covered as moisture must be dried up professionally and instantly, spores must be treated and air collum tested and treated. Flood coverage maxes out at $500,000 within the National Flood Program, of which Miami Beach is violating and only covers a portion of listed depreciated property. If the the insurance companies knew the truth about City of Miami Beach, they would remove this fair City from the approved list and we would be black listed. The City of Miami Beach is very much like a teenage child that is driving the parents car without a Drivers License, without training and without permission too. Should he/she be scolded and grounded? I think so. What if the teenage child crashes the car and causes $5,000 damage, should the parent have the child work it off and learn about responsibility – I think so. What if the child maims somebody in the process, what then? You can answer that one yourselves…..because the teenage child is you.
Distinguished leaders, your storm water infrastructure pre dates world war II in many areas and is obstructed, corroded, disconnected, in some instances actually filled in with concrete and your outfall structures are simply too low, impaired,disconnected, filled in sometimes and poorly inventoried if cataloged at all. Even your own team does not know how many and where and what condition they are in. The relationship with the State of Florida FDOT is not good. The FDOT in the end the City of Miami Beach’s Commissioners and City Manager failed to do anything substantive on the issue at all. Its a matter of too little too late. Real local issues do not seem to be of importance here. It took me years just to get truthful information from this City and so much effort just to get the City of Miami Beach to admit that it did not know what it was doing with regard to operating without an updated plan. You, the leaders have to care and you have to dispense with the garbage and re prioritize. It doesn’t matter if the park benches are pink or yellow, but how do they function and look below water or with mold and spores infesting huge chunks of the city. Most of the time, following flood events and upon my calling a few dozen times, the Senior City people would refer me to the Public Works department and the City would send a man in rubber boots to my site who didn’t know what an outfall structure or culvert or weir is. This is how important we were to the City. The discharge points along Biscayne Bay were surveyed by me and others because the City alone could not be trusted and they were in horrific condition underscoring the added neglect this city has overlooked. Even the things within your control were in bad shape. Many are actually the source of salt water intrusion entering the streets when the tide is high. No storm is needed to flood and fresh water is displaced by the density of salt water profoundly. Now add that to a storm. Now add that to a full moon, and now add that to an Equinox. There is an enormous educational problem that this City has. Cover ups were and continue right and left and even Public Works seemed to not understand why they have an impossible job. You need to have people who thrive on solving problems, you need problem solvers much like a Basketball team needs shot blockers. Without them, there is no chance for victory. Finally, I ratcheted my way up to the Mayor and met the Chief Engineer and Department heads but quite frankly, the information I provided you’ve had no plan for more than a decade now, you have exposed us to risk too long. You have put businesses and citizens at risk and to add to this, your own Propaganda machine raves about how residents are happy and how the city has an A on its report card. Some of you are in denial. You have permanently destroyed businesses and injured locals in particular and you need to know this. On a more productive level, you are running a coastal barrier Island with water on all sides of it with 80-100 year old infrastructure and you have permitted large scale vertical construction along the coastline in the recent decade and such change without adding the requisite below ground and even above ground drainage and filtration systems needed to divert, hold in instances, process and discharge storm water. Massive pump stations will be needed. Rather than build tennis courts and christen art objects - this group needs to excavate retention ponds and build pod based storage capacity in very creative ways, add pump stations in key locations, drill deep water injection wells and take a long hard look at the DRAFT PLAN that has been oxidizing while you distinguished leaders bob and weave around the latest news scandals. The city ought to seriously consider outsourcing the maintenance and monitoring of all wells and all storm water retention areas and all spillways and outfalls and weirs within City limits with no exceptions, including but not limited to anything that impedes flow or enables it. You also need a Chief Engineer and a new outside Engineering Firm. CDM has been with you for too long and they have not stepped up properly nor put this in perspective. They are the same group that ended the communication loop with me just prior to the Chief Engineering stepping down. Jorge G and the City of Miami Beach “inside team” ranked CDM the highest and I ranked them 3rd best in my evaluation. You need the best Coastal Engineers with a global perspective of sea rise and large scale capabilities and you need bonded construction projects broken down in phases with West Avenue as your fist one. The West side of South Beach is on lower ground and is the recipient of all the wrongful discharge and runoff from the entire eastern shore, something of a toilet for a deluge of storm water and contaminants. CDM was supposed to recommend the tax re profiling based upon the discharge origin sites and impacts. Did they do this yet? When the City approves construction, it must know how the new project is going to retain storm water, how it will be diverted, treated and discharged and to what level of storms will their capacity service. During all out emergency conditions, the processing of water gives way to human life,safety and property discharge. If the situation cannot be augmented and managed by the City, you need to declare a state of disaster and obtain help and further contribute to helping this community, not destroying it! The process of how you do bids at City of Miami Beach is God awful. So much time has been wasted and this issue has taken a back seat for way too long. The non response and/or lack of follow up from the top people who are supposed to be leaders of Miami Beach was a real signal to me about where I wish not to spend my future and any resources that are related to me in any way, shape or form. I had a vision of bringing a super high tech software company here and obtaining the support of you to understand that real jobs have to have real income and really move this place to another level, but those plans are gone forever. It would take multiple miracles to make this materialize because of how backwards this leadership team has allowed the City to go. Even Mr. Libbin who was handling Neighborhood Committee did not get the BMP’s pushed through, it is shameful what you have done and I implore you to read on and understand this gigantic issue, far more important than me, my companies and the fact that I, along with my entire team of people, employees, members, investors, and more have lost faith in you entirely!
The only Commissioner who bothered to respond to me and my companies significant impacts and issues with this City’s abusive power structure, willful neglect and astonishing arrogance, has been Jerry Libbin. While Madam Mayor did meet with me twice and assign me to a Committee with staff members where I was a minority participant, the people who work within the City at senior levels have done a horrible job and not only not followed through but have “dropped the ball” entirely! There is no sense of private/public community partnership in this town. The culture must be changed if you want Miami Beach to be a first world city. You must seek people who are interested in helping, bring in outside blood and you must change how things are done at City level. I liken this to a sick patient that can either give blood or receive a blood transfusion. City of Miami Beach needs a transfusion. Senior people have fallen out without the outside replacements worthy of the posts and your outside contractors dropped the ball miserably on this flood control storm water issue; you need to know about this. Where is CDM’s Plan? I will tell you – its in DRAFT form accumulating dust on someones desk in a CD Rom format. Has the City’s Chief Engineer or City Manager presented this to you yet? Has the City Chief Engineer or outside Engineering firm reviewed the pending sea wall issue. Have they provided you with the “level of service” allocations for flood control, the time tables, budgets and variables? Do any of you know what I am talking about? Why has this been shelved? The selection process for contractors needs to be changed radically. You will need to get more engaged in this process and cannot repeat the errors and omissions of the past by simply replacing Mr. Gonzales. You must change the system so it works.
My businesses here on Miami Beach, after 10 years have been “wiped out” with Millions of Dollars of losses entirely caused by this magnificent City’s neglectful leadership not taking action. My health club and wellness center and studios have out survived the competition here on South Beach because I am a local, a son of this City and refused to give up on the City for a decade and had the resources to keep piling it on and optimism that eventually you would actually do something substantive to change the lack of flood control thats been in place. The environment for Business at City of Miami Beach is so deplorable. The method from which the City operates and interfaces with business is shockingly bad, you should know this. Unless you, the City really invest in the local business community, you will always have nothing but a tourist trap, Art Basel and Urban Weekend and eventually one that’s under water in more ways than one.
The local businesses that flank our amazing location here in South Beach, on either side of us have been wiped out several times over during the last 9 years, often by the scorched earth policies and practices of this City and its lack of understanding real business and lack of helping real local businesses succeed. Signage is essential to any business and the process of obtaining this is absurd here, yet you permit others to violate for years on end. A Frames are not allowed, the list goes on and on and then when the City is culpable and negligent in its practices, such as storm water and flooding, it not only doesn’t assist, it penalizes that business in every way shape or form with a vengeance.
I can recall an issue with the bike program where the City didn’t want the ads to be too large. Who are you kidding, you need to help business out in any way that does not contaminate environmentally the air. I am not suggesting las vegas style signs but get real and snap into change! The days of the 1950′s are gone. You are living in the past, the true environment for business is far more attractive elsewhere. A profound part of making things work is the actions of you distinguished Commissioners, City Manager and Madam Mayor or the lack thereof; you have not individually and collectively taken the actions necessary to protect this City nor its local residents from the single greatest risk we face, the very subject of this writing. Miami Beach will be below water and its submerged case in all the text books globally on what to avoid when it comes to City Planning and Management. You have a narrow window to make changes and for many its too late, the damage has been done, but the City is constantly ebbing and flowing with new people. You have neglected your duties of office all of you and you have simply allowed yourselves to be diverted from issues of substance by all the bling and noise that’s out there. Its time to get real and pull back and look at things aerially.
If you think I am accusatory at this juncture, you are correct. You have each FAILED MISERABLY in demonstrating that you care, let alone that you are and will be proactive and partner with business and the community in real things, not in pie in the sky projects and not simply on caviar eating art shows. Lets delve into this further; There are no exceptions to this so I will be astonished if you continue to read and respond to me at all. The status quo is for you to be unresponsive, its the easy way out. Jerry and the Mayor and I had an extensive meeting on the more substantive issue of post flooding disaster recovery and emergency response, covering proposed BMP’s which I put in writing for you to get accomplished and approved, with regard to the Parking Dept, Permitting Dept, Code Enforcement and the Fire Dept and even the gun toting Police Dept who have violated my property and employees on countless occasions in scenes that looked like they thought they were in Miami Vice. Declaration of a disaster must be far more transparent than its been and no one needs to hide the fact that major environmental and financial damage will inevitably occur on these disasters. Disasters need to be classified by how impactful they are and where and assessments made rapidly with follow up assessments documented. You must be made responsible for having a program thats sensitive to this concept that understands the “trigger points and events” that kick the BMP’s into gear. My meetings with city officials have yielded nothing but lip service and countless dropped balls. Your people either leave the city with zero transition to the new replacements or the concepts become abandoned entirely, dusted under the carpet. Each of these Departments have been downright abusive particularly within days or weeks or months following a flood. The City has had the audacity to charge for the delivery of WATER to my business after its been choked by the City’s own inept, antiquated, backwards sewage and drainage system. The credits and obligations this City has to countless businesses and residences is enormous. The City of Miami Beach is absolutely culpable for its neglect and needs to make good on its promises. Jerry, you had the opportunity to make a difference, but you did not follow through to make things happen at Neighborhood. Madam Mayor, you did too but you did not follow through after I pleaded with you to make the Master Plan happen, get these projects in the ground and put this issue on a pedestal and be very clear about its macro importance. This is much more important than tennis courts, ribbon cuttings and even more important than the Convention Center! It actually pales in comparison, if you understand the scope of this. City Manager – I won’t even go there. You will be lucky to just step down and move on. You have lost your chance to really make the biggest positive impact too. The fact that you did not take massive action, have multiple meetings with me, did not bother to come to my place of business and the fact that you did not hold CDM accountable to all parties and find a proper replacement Chief Engineer is awful. The fact that no plan is in place and no construction that you have been doing follows any approved plan, is just horrible. The other Commissioners you didn’t get past first base and NEITHER did your aids who simply were unresponsive to my emails and calls. You should be ashamed. It appears that a City such as Miami Beach will only respond to Law Suits or fat cat developers and the FEDS.
Every City in the United States of America must have a Comprehensive Storm water Master Plan in place and updated no less than every 5 years. I have stood in front of you, spoken publicly, emailed you, written you and more on this same subject over the last 5-6 years for anyone who has been here that long. In addition and just as important the City must execute on that plan with infrastructure construction, re-construction and maintenance and “monitoring.” The City is grossly negligent in its lack of educating itself and subsequently educating the land owners and residents and business owners with whats needed and why! Prior to being a Miami Beach business man, I spent 10 years working on behalf of Federal, State, City, Municipal and the largest of private Land Owners in Florida , the United States and Canada in FLOOD CONTROL. You have an entire Public Works Dept. here who is out there lacking the tools to perform even a low level viable job. Fred Beckman’s hands are tied. Where is your City Engineer? When was the last time, the Commissioners and City Manager were updated by him relative to the lack of a plan and lack of a comprehensive program? Did anyone other than I bring this to your attention and why is this not so important to you? I personally volunteered my time to this City to help only to be shot down by the horrific politics of the system you have in place now, just horrible and embarrassing. You the Commissioners have permitted a “Dictatorship” shame on you! Madam Mayor, the sub committee efforts ultimately failed because the head of that Committee left his post and the successful contractor CDM abandoned the feedback loop to me entirely and have not delivered the requisite plan that was to be in place by November 2011 and submitted for approval in December 2011 to the Commission, with Q1 2012 construction in West Avenue and Flamingo Park areas, that have been devastated by the last 3 floods. What are we talking about? There is no plan in place still! The infrastructure of this City has been allowed to erode, become disconnected and is ancient by all accounts and is not following a revised plan at all. The new plan is in Draft form only! You are behind the 8 ball again and again. This would be like flying a commercial airline jet with passengers and not having a maintenance checklist and no modern mechanic plan in place for the moving parts. You are putting this City and its residents in harms way.
UNDERSTANDING LOSSES AND DAMAGES:
The last two flood events cost this City hundreds of millions of dollars, perhaps more than a billion when adding up business interruption, most of which is uninsurable losses. You need a great deal of education in this area clearly. My businesses have been destroyed by your neglect, not from the bad economy, that it would survive, but you the City of Miami Beach have had 15 years to do something about it and you have not. I equate your operating track record to a drunk driver who might say, he was in control when he mowed down 12 people on the sidewalk, but they were all wearing dark clothing. Allot of excuses. In the last 7 years in particular, anyone who has been in power this long needs to look at themselves in the mirror and ask yourself, how many art sculptures and how many barf canvases and how many Waterfront developer loop holes have clouded your judgement. The local residential community of residents and business owners are sinking or have already sunk. We have been flooded out of our location 5 of the last 8 years. Distinguished leaders of Miami Beach – you are Floridians – this is not from heavy rains alone. Heavy rains have been here forever and are about to come again! Each of you are too intelligent to accept the bunk and hogwash about 10 year and 25 year and even 50 year storms. When 14000 cubic feet of water enters a commercial or residential property and separately floods without any rain, you must understand about sea level rise and the topography of Miami Beach and the lack of below and above ground infrastructure. This is a coastal barrier island. The Ocean and Bay are connected as are other bodies of water. The rise is scientifically measured and proven, it is not a theory. This is why I implored the City’s Chief Engineer and Mayor to get the plan updated and get the newest plan, which is in DRAFT FORM as I write this, into implementation phases. If you do not do this, Miami Beach will be the worst economic disaster in the Nations history, flooding is the most costly and profound force on this planet. The earth is more than 2/3rds water, land mass is by far the minority. The inland waterways abutting Miami Beach and Biscayne Bay are also reducing in capacity from many other factors, worthy of your understanding. The City has not had a Comprehensive Master Storm water Management Plan in place since 1997. That is unlawful, shameful, that is wrong, that is irresponsible. This is also a misrepresentation to many agencies and insurance providers about the state of Miami Beach. You have been flying blind and are in no position to slough this off as simply tell residents its all due to mother nature and the moon and the tide. This is the United States and you have an obligation to start acting like you are doers!
In closing, my companies have had a substantial team of people here for the last decade (50-60) doing nothing but supporting the health and wellness of the local community of people here. I have tried to get your departments to help to no avail. I have even paid for plans to allow us to elevate the floor levels, re construct areas of the property with your help only to be met with cost after cost and fine after fine, parking violations for my contractors and employees within 1 day after epic flooding, and even had the fire department cost us $50,000 to clean up areas that the City’s negligence caused in the first place and threaten to close us down.
Without understanding the problems you face, you cannot engineer solutions. Without understanding who your chief of staffs are and who is missing in action , you cannot execute on any plans – ever. I have waited for you to respond too many times as this Cities leaders, only to be let down by what really must be apathy. I have thrown more than 10 million hard earned dollars at this city’s local community in the last 5 years alone all of which has been dissolved because City of Miami Beach has not done its job! For 4 generations we have believed in the Cities potential, and now I have stopped believing. You have lost one of this City’s sons. You have also neglected this City in a big way, each of you.
For what its worth, most of the people don’t really know about this scandalous situation entirely because of the propaganda put out by the City’s unabashed publishing machine about how wonderful everything is and the wrongful bond ratings that are published based upon this being a land mass that is operating within Federal and State guidelines and it is not. Whats more powerful than this, is simply knowing how to do the right thing and when to stand up for whats right. For you, its too long and too late as you have missed the boat several times over and for some you simply didn’t follow through. For me and my team, Miami Beach is no longer a place I can and will hold my head up high and call home or even put my office. I am embarrassed for you and no longer proud to say, “I’m from Miami Beach!” You have lost me, my businesses, my energy and any inertia and value thats associated with me. I hope you learn something from this – it has no purpose other than to let you know what the future holds unless you change its course now. Having an airboat or hovercraft at City Hall might be a wise idea but don’t expect taxpayers to fund it. Sending people for recon to Venice Italy might have been a better idea than Switzerland on the taxpayers dime.
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