Written by Miami Today on May 25, 2000
The defeat of a sales tax initiative for transportation isn’t the
end of efforts to
bolster county transportation infrastructure, Mayor Alex Penelas
told the Beacon Council last week. "I am
more committed now than ever in our efforts to bring forth a world-class
transportation system for this
community," he said, adding "don’t be surprised"
if he comes back soon to ask the Beacon Council to push a
new, unspecified transportation initiative.
BOUNCING BACK: It was good to be able to be present, Ryder System
President and COO Gregory Swienton told
those at the Beacon Council’s mid-year meeting Thursday at the Biltmore.
"To those who watched the
Heat-Knicks game" the night before, "if you saw Marcus
Camby fall out of bounds, he fell on me" — leading
Ryder’s human resources head to ask him if he wanted to file for
LATE…: Months ago a blue-ribbon panel that he appointed
recommended an authority be created to run
Miami International Airport, but Mayor Alex Penelas never backed
the findings. Now, with an authority
proposal by County Commission Chair Gwen Margolis before the commission
this week, the mayor hints he has
something in mind. "I can assure you that I will be proposing
major reforms," the mayor told the Beacon
Council last week — something that will make the airport run
more like a business.
FACE TO FACE:
Gov. Jeb Bush phones companies to lure them to Florida. County Mayor
Alex Penelas goes him one
better and visits — to keep companies here. "This year
alone we’ve visited 10 businesses," he told the
Beacon Council’s mid-year meeting last week.
Florida Inland Navigation District last week agreed to provide a
matching grant to reimburse the county’s Department of Environmental
Resource Management for environmental
studies done to prepare for the dredging of the Miami River, said
Fran Bohnsack, executive director of the
Miami River Marine Group.
Diane Johnson, senior development coordinator for the City of Miami,
said Florida Inland
Navigation District commissioners strengthened their commitment
to fund dredging when the project was removed
from a competitive grant program. Instead, district commissioners
agreed to negotiate a pact with county and
city governments. Dredging is expected to benefit the Intracoastal
Waterway maintained by the district.
Although the city has not formally sought the funds, Ms. Johnson
said, it will.
International banks in Miami annually draw an estimated 186,700
foreign and domestic visitors,
115,762 foreign clients, 3,262 officers from Latin America and 2,978
officers from US affiliates, says a
survey sponsored by Florida International Bankers Association. Banks
managed $39.5 billion in foreign assets
and employed 5,291 people in Miami at the end of 1999.
VOTES: Political humorist Mark Russell drew laughter
at a recent Northern Trust Bank breakfast
forum with his own presidential poll, throwing into the equation
non-candidates as well as candidates and
rating the results by the volume of applause. The crowd got progressively
louder as he called out Bradley,
then McCain, then Gore and finally Bush. But he got by far the loudest
applause for his fifth choice: "None
of the above."
Mr. Russell clearly knew where he was speaking, and his audience
loved it. "I come to
you," he began, "to announce that I am a candidate for
the city manager of the City of Miami. I know that you
already have one — but it’s only Wednesday." Loud laughter.
"Mayor Carollo called his secretary to say if
the police chief calls to get his name." Louder laughter. And
then, "I came here to personally thank you for
six months of material."
PACO: Edgardo Defortuna, president of Fortune International
Realty, and four other investors bought
84 unsold units at the Paco Rabanne condominium, 5900 Collins Ave.,
for $15 million. Built by Edel
Development, the property got a certificate of occupancy in February
and went into bankruptcy with 39 units
sold. Mr. Defortuna says units at the tower, renamed The GrandView,
range from $190,000-$450,000. "The beauty
of this is it’s one of the few new buildings that can be occupied
immediately — a plus for buyers such as
Colombians who can’t buy in preconstruction and wait." Details:
Ana Defortuna, (305) 868-5900.
Richard Cooper, a director in Cushman & Wakefield’s commercial brokerage
division who had
been with the company 17 years, has moved to Grubb & Ellis, where
he’s senior vice president in the office
Johnson & Wales University gave R. Donahue Peebles his first honorary
degree — a
doctorate of business administration in hospitality management —
at graduation ceremonies held in the
Broward Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Peebles is president
and CEO of Peebles Atlantic Development
Corp., which is responsible for developing the Royal Palm Crowne
Plaza Resort and Lincoln office building
under way in South Beach and the Bath Club Estates condo under construction
in Miami Beach.
The North American Lake Management Society announced Miami is host
city for its 20th annual
international symposium Nov. 6-11. The program will feature 42 technical
sessions and 150 presenters,
according to Larry Butler, the association’s president.
Historian Paul George will lead a historical education tour and
observe National Bicycling
Month all at once starting at 10 a.m. Saturday when he guides a
2.5-hour, 20-mile bike tour from Mack Cycle &
Fitness, 5995 Sunset Drive, South Miami, to Larkins and Cocoplum.
The tour was organized by the Historical
Museum of Southern Florida. Cost is $5. Details: (305) 661-8363.
BAR BUSINESS: The Dade County Bar Association will install Ervin
A. Gonzalez, attorney with Robles &
Gonzalez, as its president in ceremonies June 9 at the Hotel Inter-Continental
Miami. Details: (305)
The University of Miami and the Turkel Resource Foundation are presenting
"Marketing & Public Relations" June 8 and "Fund-raising
104: How to ask for money" July 13 with Bruce Turkel
of Turkel Schwartz & Partners and Louise P. Yarbrough, executive
director for the Health Foundation of South
Florida, presiding. Cost is $25 each. Details: (305) 284-5670.
ENTERTAINING FUTURE: The
next Miami Today International Roundtable, co-sponsored by Bacardi
USA, will look at
"The International Future of Miami & Miami Beach as an Entertainment
Mecca" at 5 p.m. June 15 in Penrod’s
South Beach, 1 Ocean Drive, Miami Beach. Reservations requested
by June 8. Casual attire. Details: Jody Bray,
Deloitte & Touche and the law firm Becker & Poliakoff are offering
a half-day seminar on
"Practical insights for today’s growing e-business" from
5-9 p.m. June 13 in the Coral Gables Hyatt Regency,
50 Alhambra Plaza. Cost is $79; $59 before June 1. Details: (800)
432-7712, ext. 4144.THREE-WAY:
Miami-based 3Com Corp., a provider of data systems, is offering
Latin Americans access to the Internet via
cell phones, promoters say. In conjunction with Vesper in Brazil,
3Com will use third-generation mobile
systems to help people in Latin American countries do e-commerce,
get live stock quotes and send e-mail using
mobile phones, company executives say. Details: (305) 461-8400.
Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, the Broward Alliance, the Weston Chamber
of Commerce and Itflorida.com
will join together to welcome Semtor — an e-business consultancy
firm — to Weston. The welcoming ceremony
will take place at 1 p.m. May 26 in Suite 190, 3050 Universal Blvd.,
Weston. Details: (305) 347-4349.
Miami-based Willow CSN Inc. has signed Fingerhut Cos. — one
of the nation’s largest direct
marketing and on-line retailers — as its newest client, promoters
say. Willow CSN is a customer-care network
that uses high-speed telecommunications to provide clients with
access to the Willow CyberCenter Network — a
group of customer service specialists or "Cyber Agents,"
company executives say. Details: (305) 810-1844.
WIN: Boca Raton-based WinDough.com announced plans to
give away $500,000 plus as much in related prizes.
The new game in which players must choose a winning window, will
run through Nov. 15, promoters say. In
addition to the $500,000 grand prize WinDough — which promoters
say makes its money through advertising —
says it will also give away one $100,000 prize, two $25,000 prizes
and five $10,000 prizes. Details: (954)
AD & SELL:
Advertium.com — a media buying and selling site for the region
and Latin America — announced it
has secured first-round funding from the investment firm Hicks Muse
Tate & Furst. Promoters say Advertium
offers sellers of radio, print, television and the Internet industry
in Latin America the opportunity to post
inventory on-line for free. Company executives will not release
the amount of funding.
TOPICS: E-commerce, telecommunications, technology and
logistics will be just a few of the topics
discussed at the "New Industrial Revolution" seminar at
7:30 a.m. June 15 in the Don Shula Hotel, 6842 Main
St., Miami Lakes. The seminar is being sponsored by the Urban Land
Institute Program. Details: (800)
Guby.com — an Internet company that unites top Latin American
search engines — announced the
addition of Adriana Scalabrin as vice president of business operations.
Before working at Guby.com Ms.
Scalabrin was vice president of international media for McCann-Erickson
Worldwide. She has also managed
global initiatives for Coca-Cola, Nestle, General Motors and Motorola.
The Boca Raton-based EmailChannel — a provider of e-mail services
for permission-based marketers
— announced it has received funding from Tampa-based Advantage
Capital Florida Partners. The investment firm
gave the EmailChannel an initial equity investment of $1 million.
Todosport Network Inc., a sports marketing firm on the Internet
for Spanish and Portuguese
communities, announced an initiative with financial site Consejero.com
and MovilGo — a portal for wireless
communications. The partnerships will help US Hispanic and Latin
Americans to access sports content though
the Internet and wireless devices. Details: (305) 695-2690.
MercadoLibre.com, which operates on-line auctions in Spanish and
Portuguese, announced it
secured $46.5 million in a second round of financing. Executives
say the financing came from Goldman Sachs,
GE Equity, Banco Santander Central Hispano, Chase Capital Partners,
Flatiron Partners and Hicks Muse Tate &
Furst. Since August 1999 MercadoLibre has been launched in nine
countries — the US, Argentina, Brazil,
Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Venezuela, Uruguay and Spain.
United Airlines scheduled a topping off event Wednesday to announce
that construction of
its $26.5 million, 95,000-square-foot cargo facility on 8.23 acres
at Miami International Airport has reached
the halfway point. United is moving 3 million pounds of cargo through
Miami weekly, the airline announced,
after moving 125 million pounds through MIA in 1999. The new cargo
building is due to open in November.
TALK: More communication is needed between the South
Florida Water Management District and county
flood control systems to avert severe flood damage, a county task
force concluded. Thomas MacVicar, a
hydrologist who chaired the group, said more small pumps at coastal
structures are also needed to regulate
the flow of water in extreme circumstances.
After being told response time in emergency services in some parts
of the county averages 7 to
8 minutes Miami-Dade commissioners Tuesday called for faster reaction
and a report on upgrading 911 equipment
in 30 days. Randy Whitt, fire board spokesperson, said a task force
is reviewing a substitute automated
dispatch system that would help. County Manager Merrett Stierheim
scheduled a June workshop on the matter.
NO FOOLS WE: Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto blasted unnamed
state legislators whom he said were
bad-mouthing commissioners and County Manager Merrett Stierheim
during a Spanish-language radio program
Tuesday over the commission’s role in handling Jackson Memorial
Hospital. "Some people in this town want to
portray us as fools. They say we are incapable of working with the
Public Health Trust," he said. He said he
would have a transcript of the program read before commissioners
so they would know what was being said about
Miami-Dade Commissioners Tuesday capped at 5% the amount county
contracts of $500,000 or more
can be increased for allowances, contingencies and added services.
They also prohibited change orders that
would raise a contract’s cost by more than 10% without approval
from the county audit department.