Written by Miami Today on March 27, 2003
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STAYING PUT: County Manager Steve Shiver said Tuesday he had no intention of resigning following Commissioner Katy Sorenson’s request that he do so due to his handling of Homeland Security preparations. "I respect her position as a commissioner and her right to do what she has but at this point I have no intention of resigning and have spoken to every commissioner plus the mayor, who have all said they have no intention to act on her request," he said. Ms. Sorenson accused him of failing to properly steer security functions and then lying about their state of disarray. He suggested personal motivations. "She campaigned door to door for an opponent when I was coming into the job and I have had those issues with the commissioner since the day I started."
TULSA TAKEOVER: A Burger King-anchored strip mall at 10 SW Eighth St. has been bought by for $3.05 million by Tulsa-based Brickell Market Place, which has no immediate plans to redevelop the ground-level shops, said President Dale Williams. The shops, he said, are both profitable and leased for 12 more years. The seller, a local partnership headed by Peter Wenzel of Wenzel Investment Co., developed the shops in the early ’90s as an interim moneymaker after more ambitious plans fell through.
COMING BACK: Miami-Dade County’s convention development tax generated in January jumped to $2.9 million, up 9% from last January’s $2.7 million but down 15.6% from the $3.5 million in January 2001, said Bill Anderson of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Hotel occupancy in January was 67%, he said, about 3.2% higher than last year but 11.9% lower than in January 2001.
URBAN SUMMIT: The non-profit Task Force on Urban Economic Revitalization will hold a four-day summit April 14-17, bringing together national policy advisers, elected officials and business owners to help develop a long-term, public-private strategic plan for Miami-Dade’s Target Urban Areas. Some of the 31 distressed areas are in Overtown, Liberty City, Opa-locka, Coconut Grove and Florida City. Fees are $25 in advance, $30 for on-site registration. Lunch is included for morning sessions. Details: (305) 579-2611.
REDEVELOPMENT REVIEW: Miami Commissioner Joe Sanchez is to submit several resolutions today (3/27) calling for an internal audit of the Community Redevelopment Agency. The government entity, which uses property tax revenue to improve southeast Overtown, Park West and Omni, has been under fire for financial and operational problems. He seeks an oversight committee and to replace the governing board. City commissioners now pull double duty serving on the redevelopment board. He also wants to discuss rotating the chairmanship of all bodies on which commissioners serve as members.
COMING HOME: The Miami City Commission returns to its home today (3/27) at the just spruced-up City Hall. The former Pan American terminal, built in the early 1930s, has been undergoing a $1.6 million restoration. The building, which has been city government headquarters since 1954, was listed in 1974 on the National Register of Historic Places. An open house and dedication, open to the public, will be held at 5:30 p.m. at 3500 Pan American Drive. The City Commission meeting convenes at 9 a.m.
CHECK, PLEASE: And, just as city commissioners settle back for their March meeting at the refurbished City Hall, Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr. plans to call for a resolution requesting a profile of design, engineering and construction services, including contractors and sub-contractors, involved in the renovation of the historic building.
GAMBLING DEBTS: Odds are still even whether Florida legislators will try to use a share of revenue from electronic gambling machines to cover a budget gap expected from the cost of smaller class sizes and high-speed rail. Video lottery terminals, or VLTs, would operate at locations that have pari-mutuel permits for sports that allow wagering: live jai-alai, greyhound and horse-racing venues. On March 18, the House Subcommittee on Gaming & Pari-mutuels killed a VLT bill. Yet Monday, a committee passed a bill from Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, (R-Miami,) co-sponsored by Sen. Steve Geller, (D-Hallandale Beach).
INDEPENDENT AUDITOR: Miami’s internal auditor, Victor Igwe, is to be considered today (3/27) to fill a recently created post that duplicates his job. An office of independent auditor general was approved in a November 1999 but the job wasn’t funded until this fiscal year. The post would report to the City Commission instead of to the city manager, as the current internal auditor does. Commissioners are to decide on Mr. Igwe’s appointment during today’s as well as vote to initiate this new office.
RACING CHALLENGE: Homestead Miami Speedway’s protest over downtown Miami’s grand prix race is set to return to the Miami City Commission with an appeal against permits for required roadwork. Event promoter Raceworks, which is working on the race’s return Sept. 26-28, plans road improvements in Bayfront Park. Homestead Miami Speedway opposes the race, deeming the deal a "preferential no-bid contract" and the work a violation of code. Both the city’s planning and zoning department and zoning board recommend denial of the appeal. Commissioners are to consider the issue at 3 p.m. today (3/27) in their planning and zoning meeting at City Hall.
UP HILL: The Florida Marlins named Mike Hill, formerly Colorado Rockies player development director, assistant general manager to manage the roster, player contract negotiations and waiver and rule compliance. A former Major League player, he is a graduate of Harvard, where he was class president, the football team’s top rusher and baseball team captain. This is his ninth year in Major League management.
DANGEROUS CARGO: The International Air Transport Association and the Federal Aviation Administration are uniting in a free three-hour seminar on dangerous air cargo and how to handle it. The seminar will be offered twice April 28, first at 9 a.m. and then at 2 p.m., at the FAA building, 8600 NW 36th St., third floor. Details: (305) 264-7772.
HEALTHY DEBATE: At a workshop Tuesday, Miami-Dade County Commission Chairwoman Barbara Carey-Shuler said the commission must decide its role in bringing health care to almost a half million uninsured residents. "This is a serious matter that needs immediate attention," she said. "We have to make clear policy decisions about our role in this issue, the governance issue, the uninsured working class, our uninsured children along with transparency and accountability." The workshop briefed commissioners on roles the Mayor’s Healthcare Task Force, the Public Health Trust, the University of Miami and the Public Health Authority play in health services.
IN OTHER WORDS…: Miami-Dade Community College this summer will begin offering an associate of science degree plus certificate programs in translation-interpretation. The Florida Board of Education recently approved the program, designed to supply bilingual specialists to hospitals, courtrooms, government agencies and businesses in Miami-Dade and Broward counties. "There is a huge demand – not just in the courts, but everywhere else," said Ana Cabezon, supervisor of translation and interpretation for Florida’s 11th Judicial Circuit. "The bottom line is, when people graduate there will be work out there."
VISITOR HELP: The Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau has set up a 24-hour Help Line and email service to offer assistance due to the impact of war. Phone and email monitoring staff provide basic information and reference numbers for the airport, seaport, hotels, meetings facilities and key travel professionals. The contacts (305) 539-3045 or toll free 1-800-283-2707. The e-mail is HelpLine@CMCVB.com.
LITTLE HAITI: Creation of a 60-acre Little Haiti park – and the possible eviction of 112 businesses and 262 residences – returns to the hot seat today (3/27). Miami commissioners are to discuss it at 10 a.m. Chief Administrator Joe Arriola describes the topic as "touchy" and said he would "execute the wishes of the City Commission." The city has earmarked $25 million for the project and a study has initially estimated land acquisition would cost the city $53 million to $75 million, according to a Jan. 16 memo. The sensitive aspect is that the project could drive out hundreds of jobs in one of the city’s most depressed areas. "I won’t displace one single business in Little Haiti," Mr. Arriola said Tuesday. "Not under my administration."