Written by Miami Today on July 20, 2006
Miami is a weekly feature of Miami Today, keeping readers ahead
of the news. Here are highlights from the most current edition.
WINTON SEAT ELECTION: Miami has tentatively set a Nov. 7 election to fill the District 2 city commissioner’s seat, held currently by former Miami chief financial officer Linda Haskins and before that by the suspended Johnny Winton. Commissioners last week approved by preliminary vote a possible runoff Nov. 21. The term expires in November 2007
HURRICANE PARKING: The Miami Parking Authority has reopened its Miami Resident Vehicular Protection program, which allows city residents and employees to park in authority garages if the National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning. The program runs June 1-Nov. 30, the official hurricane season. City Commissioner Tomas Regalado first proposed the program in 2004. It permits parking one vehicle free in one of the six authority garages. Details: (305) 373-6789.
DUPONT HEARING DELAYED: A City of Miami hearing on easing downtown traffic jams when the Brickell Bridge is open, originally slated for summer, is now planned for fall, says Jose Gonzalez, assistant transportation coordinator. "We are taking a look at the traffic impact by recent changes in the MET 2 project," he said. The development, one of the three towers at Metropolitan Miami, is in its preliminary design stage. It was recently changed from a residential high-rise to a commercial, retail and hotel center. The study area encompasses Southeast Fourth Street/Biscayne Boulevard Way to the south, Southeast Second Street to the north, Biscayne Boulevard to the east and Southeast Second Avenue to the west.
BILTMORE-BOUND: The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce will hold its 2007 goals conference June 1-2 at the Biltmore in Coral Gables, Chairman Adolfo Henriques told the chamber’s monthly board of governors and trustees last week. The chamber has never had its conference at the hotel.
NEW CITY ATTORNEY: North Miami has a new city attorney. V. Lynn Whitfield was sworn in after serving as deputy city attorney six months. Her first boss as a young lawyer, former US attorney general and Dade state’s attorney Janet Reno, administered the oath of office. Ms. Whitfield began her career as an assistant state attorney in Miami-Dade in 1978 after graduating from the University of Miami School of Law.
DESTINATION CHAIR: William D. Talbert III, president and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, was to be installed this week in Austin, TX, as chairman of the Destination Marketing Association International’s board. He’s the only chairman in the group’s 92-year history to have been chairman of its foundation, which is charged with enhancing and complementing the profession through research and education.
SPICE DINING AT DISCOUNT: Nearly 70 top area restaurants – a record – will take part in the fifth annual Miami Spice Restaurant Month, which actually runs for two months, August through September. Most participating restaurants offer special three-course prix fixe menus priced at $20.05 (lunch) and $30.05 (dinner), a 25%-60% discount from regular value. Several hotels offer promotions tied to the event. In addition, American Express will make donations for each restaurant purchase using its card to United Way to help fight hunger. Details: miamirestaurantmonth.com.
SUITS AND SHADES: Swimsuit models were making the scene on Miami Beach last weekend at the second Sunglass Hut Swim Shows Miami. The four-day event, which ended July 18, featured runway shows previewing top 2007 designer swimwear and resort collections to the style setters and fashionistas.
’MIAMI VICE’ SUPPORT: A film crew from E! Ticket, a travel show airing on Israel’s top television network, Channel 2 (Keshet Broadcasting), was to be in town this week. The show is featuring a promotion tied in to the release of "Miami Vice" (what else?) in Israel and covering an Israeli designer participating in the Sunglass Hut Swim Shows Miami.
RINGING THE BELL: Securities Investor Protection Corp. Board Chairman Armando J. Bucelo, a Miami attorney, rang the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange on Friday. He’s been chairman since January. Congress created the protection corporation in 1970 to maintain a reserve fund to help investors at bankrupt brokerage firms.
BIRD ROAD CHARRETTE: The Miami-Dade County Planning Department is preparing a planning study for the area along Bird Road between the Palmetto Expressway and Florida’s Turnpike to examine potential land use and zoning changes, said Sandra Principe, executive and legislative assistant for the Builders Association of South Florida. There is no timetable, she said, for completion of the report. Property owners in the area with concerns should contact Truly Burton, government affairs director for Miami-Dade at the Builders Association of South Florida, at (305) 556-6300, ext. 209.
ANOTHER AWARD: Miami-Dade County won the 2006 Government Customer Support Excellence Award for its year-old 3-1-1 Answer Center. Judges representing the public and private sectors deemed the center tops in customer focus. Each day the center answers more than 4,000 calls with an average wait of less than 40 seconds. In its first year, the center handled more than 1 million calls.
INTRACOASTAL MALL SOLD: Woolbright Development Inc. of Boca Raton will buy the Intracoastal Mall in North Miami Beach for $48 million. Anchor tenants of the 233,300-square-foot shopping center at 3501 Sunny Isles include Winn-Dixie, TJ Maxx and Old Navy. "We now own 25 retail properties throughout Florida and will continue to acquire properties that we can significantly enhance with physical improvements and the addition of local and national tenants," said Mike Fimiani, Woolbright’s executive vice president of leasing and marketing.
PARKINSON GRANTS: The National Parkinson Foundation, based in Miami, has awarded more than $9 million to its Centers of Excellence and Care and Outreach Centers, university research programs and individual researchers throughout the world. Among the Miami-Dade organizations receiving a share were the University of Miami/NPF Brain Endowment Bank and its clinical program.
NAME CHANGE: The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioner’s Regional Transportation Committee is recommending changing the name of the Omni Metromover Station to the Omni Performing Arts Center Metromover Station. The proposal was approved unanimously last week.
CORPORATE OUREACH: Officials of the Miami Performing Arts Center will work with Quorum Network, a Miami real estate consulting firm, to urge developers, brokers and other members of the real estate community to support the center. "As MPAC prepares to open its doors this fall, Quorum’s expertise will help us build on the intrinsic relationship between the local real estate industry and the center to create significant business partnerships between developers and their clients and the center, said Michael Hardy, the center’s CEO.
BALLET GM: Mark Cole is the new general manager of the Miami City ballet. He replaces Mark Rosenblum, who had been with the ballet for the 15 years. Mr. Cole served as the ballet’s production director for eight years, responsible for production and technical aspects of the company’s performances. He sits on Miami Beach’s Collins Park Cultural Center Oversight Committee and is a board member of the Collins Park Neighborhood Association.
ATOP LOCAL AD WORLD: Maria J. Garcia, partner and executive vice president of Imagen, was named advertising person of the year by the Advertising Federation of Greater Miami. She was honored at the advertising club’s annual board of directors induction ceremony recently and was induced as the organization’s president. She formerly was treasurer. She has been with Imagen for 11 years and oversees daily operations for the agency’s clients, which include the Florida Marlins, Dadeland Mall and Univision Radio among others.
CHINA CULUTRE & BUSINESS: Businesspeople who travel to China should "be very humble," Laurie Ann Underwood, co-author of "China CEO: Voices of Experience from 20 International Business Leaders," told an audience at the Biltmore Hotel last week. "There are lots of disaster stories about people rushing in to do business when what they should be doing to prepare to go is reading and learning about the culture," she said. The book, published by John Wiley & Sons, is based on first-hand interviews with veterans of the China market, including executives from Coca-Cola, Bayer, General Motors and Sony. Ms. Underwood is communications and publications director for the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai.
CORRECTION: An Insider item June 15 regarding the Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade’s raising of $25,000 to benefit women and children who are victims of domestic violence misidentified the organization.