Written by Miami Today on January 11, 2008
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BYE BYE BOWL: Miami is to announce details this week for a "Farewell to the Orange Bowl Stadium" event Jan. 26. It’s to include appearances by ex-quarterbacks Dan Marino, Jim Kelly and Bernie Kosar. An auction of Orange Bowl memorabilia is to be held Feb. 9-10. As the seats, lockers, benches and other parts of the historic stadium are removed, memorabilia company Mounted Memories is to preserve them for auction. City commissioners are to vote today (1/10) after a hearing to waive conflict of interest provisions in the city’s code to allow them to buy memorabilia. They’re to vote also to hire Jones Lang LaSalle, the firm that helped plan renovations for the bowl before the decision to demolish it, to do the planning and financial analysis associated with new development on the site.
PARKING PROGNOSIS: Miami Commissioner Joe Sanchez, whose district encompasses the Orange Bowl site, says residents "depend on that extra income" from allowing game-goers to park on their lawns. He said he’d like to leave plans to provide parking at the site — slated to become home of a Marlins stadium — at 6,000 spots rather than the 12,000 stipulated in a draft agreement between the Marlins and Miami-Dade County. "I know the area," he said. "The area can accommodate a large gathering of people." He doesn’t want to deprive constituents of parking income, he said, and "the more parking, the more expensive the project becomes. I am OK with 6,000 (spaces). Twelve thousand I may not be OK with." The county and Marlins are still ironing out details of the agreement.
PREPARING FOR BATTLE: Norman Braman, the automobile mogul who is leading a charge against Miami and Miami-Dade County’s massive "global agreement" planning for billions of dollars in public works projects, has confirmed that Martin Margulies, art collector, developer and Overtown benefactor, has offered to "contribute financially" to his protest. Mr. Margulies, out of the country, could not be reached. Mr. Braman says others have joined in but declined to name them. He plans to fight the pact in court as well as over the airwaves using ads produced by Zimmerman Advertising. He called the global agreement a "raid on dollars."
MUSEUM PARK PLANS: The City of Miami is to host a "Bicentennial Park Design" public meeting at 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at the Miami Science Museum Theater, 3280 S Miami Ave., to present design firm Cooper, Robertson & Partners’ final drawings of the proposed Museum Park. Miami commissioners are to vote today (1/10) to increase the city’s contract with the designers $185,005, bringing the contract to $1.6 million due to "additional services required," according to city records. Details: (305) 416-1286.
SLOTS SHOWDOWN? Should voters OK Jan. 29 a measure allowing slot machines in Miami-Dade County, City of Miami officials are working to secure a piece of what they expect to be a lucrative pie. Commissioners are to vote today (1/10) on deals with both West Flagler Associates — owners of the Flagler dog racing track — and Florida Gaming Centers, Miami Jai-Alai requiring the groups pay the city in monthly installments 1.5% of the first $250 million in annual gross slot revenues, plus 2.5% above $250 million. Commissioners last month said they want more when presented a draft calling for 2% above $250 million. "My support will depend on the benefits that the city of Miami will receive," Angel Gonzalez said. And if the benefits don’t outweigh the costs, Marc Sarnoff said, commissioners "could actively campaign against" the referendum.
RENT-A-NEW OFFICE: Enterprise Rent-A-Car is to expand and relocate its regional office headquarters in moving from Kendall Drive to an 11,565-square-foot space at 11945 SW 140th Terr. in South Dade to allow for more efficient use of space.
MORE COVERAGE: Angel Medina, Regions Bank’s South Florida area executive, is to lead a new South Florida region from Palm Beach County to Charlotte County, making him responsible for the bank’s consumer, business banking, commercial and private operations for 134 branches in eight counties. He’s also to lead the bank’s International Private Banking Group based in Miami.
BOND FUND INTEREST: Miami-Dade County commissioners today (1/10) are to vote on whether to require County Manager George Burgess to report to them on how to allocate interest earnings from the $2.9 billion General Obligation Bond program. Some commissioners — who have been waiting for resources to fund district projects — were disturbed when they learned that the program had earned $20 million interest yet there was no process to alert them or allocate the funds. The controversy occurred before commissioners agree to give $10 million of the interest to Florida International University’s fledging medical school program.
TRADING DOWN: Starting another two-year term as chairwoman of the Jay Malina International Trade Consortium, Miami-Dade Commissioner Natacha Seijas wants to eliminate two members of the 37-member panel. She’s sponsoring a resolution that, if approved today (1/10), would do away with representatives of Florida Free Trade Area of the Americas and the dean of the Consular Corps of Miami. The consortium coordinates and certifies incoming and outgoing trade missions and promotes Miami-Dade as a global gateway.
TRACKING METRORAIL: The Miami-Dade County commission is expected to authorize today (1/10) appointment of a citizens’ panel for the east-west corridor expansion of the Metrorail Orange Line, and approve $7.6 million to buy land for phase one of the line’s connector project at Earlington Heights. The advisory panel would get public and private input on the 10.1 mile extension — from Miami International Airport to Florida International University and beyond to Southwest 137th Avenue — and be known as Orange Line Phase III-East/West Corridor Citizens’ and Business Advisory Committee. The property is to be purchased from Airport Mini Storage Associates Ltd., 3333 NW 38th St.
ON THE RECORDS: Miami-Dade County Commissioner Sally A. Heyman is proposing to impose a uniform countywide fee structure for costs of inspecting and copying public records. Her resolution would direct the mayor and his staff to study the issue and report back in 60 days. Some records are exempt from disclosure while others aren’t but there is staff cost associated with examining the records, the proposal says. It adds that there is no uniform fee structure for assessing public records or copying them.
NAVARRO CHANGES CEO: Marcio C. Cabrera has been named CEO of Navarro Discount Pharmacies, succeeding Gabriel Navarro, who will remain on the board. Mr. Cabrera has more than 15 years in healthcare, according to the company. Navarro is the largest Hispanic-owned drugstore chain the country. It has been in business more than 60 years.
BANK BUY: The parent of TransAtlantic Bank, Banco Sabadell, has agreed to buy BBVA’s private banking division in Miami, TransAtlantic said. BBVA, Banco Bilbao Vizcayo Argentaria, is the second largest Spanish bank. The purchase by Banco Sabadell brings its assets to more than $3 billion, which includes $400 million in loans.
CONSUMER COLLECTIONS: The Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department recuperated $1,262,324 for consumers in 2007, up 75% over 2006, the department said in a statement. The department mediated disputes ranging from car repair complaints to furniture sales. The department took in 4,571 complaints last year. The five most frequent were vehicle repairs, for-hire transportation, cable television, home services and electronic sales, the department said.
BEACH PARK PANEL: The Historical Museum of Southern Florida, 101 W Flagler St., is to host 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 a panel on Virginia Key Beach Park in preparation for its reopening next month. Details: (305) 375-1492.
BALLOT BULLETIN: Registered Miami-Dade voters can expect sample ballots for the Jan. 29 election by mail this week. The county’s Elections Department said ballots are in English, Spanish and Creole and provide information on early voting, absentee ballots and the IDs required at polling places. Sample ballots are available at the department, 2700 NW 87th Ave., and the west lobby at county hall at 111 NW First St., or at commission offices, city halls, public libraries, Team Metro offices, Community Action Agency Centers and at www.miamidade.gov/elections. Details: (305) 499-8683.
COUNTY ART GUIDE: A guide to Miami-Dade County’s Art in Public Places is now available for residents and visitors to the county. The 60-page booklet allows for self-guided tours of the county’s most noted and popular works, including those at the Port of Miami, Miami International Airport, the Carnival Center for the Performing Arts and other locations. To get a copy of "Selections from the Miami-Dade County Art in Public Places Collection," call 305-375-4634 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org
UNEMPLOYMENT UP SLIGHTLY: Unemployment in Miami-Dade County inched up 0.2% to 3.7% in November, according to the South Florida Workforce Region, which conducts employment and training services to residents of Miami-Dade and Monroe counties. The Florida unemployment rate is 4.3%, with 396,000 of 9.2 million workers idle. The national average is 4.7%. In Monroe County, the unemployment rate was 3%, up 0.6%. In Miami-Dade and Monroe combined, there were 46,419 unemployed out of 1,255,750 workers. The agency cited jobs losses in construction (-1,900), manufacturing (-700), information (-400), and leisure and hospitality (-100).
RESTAURANT TAX SALES UP: Taxable restaurant sales grew to more than $591 million during Miami Spice in August and September in the Miami area, according to the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau. Miami Spice is a summer restaurant promotion organized by the bureau that offers discounts on three-course lunches and dinners. Sales this year were 1.9% higher than the same time in 2006.