FYI Miami: May 19, 2016
Below are some of the FYIs in this week’s edition. The entire content of this week’s FYIs and Insider sections is available by subscription only. To subscribe click here.
HERE COMES THE SUN: Imagine a bike path that generates electricity. That’s what energy-conscious inventors have considered, and beyond. Miami commissioners last week directed the city administration to study “installing, maintaining and operating solar roads” that use advancements in photovoltaic technology to produce renewable and sustainable energy. The city manager has three months to complete the study. By affixing photovoltaic surfaces to roadways, new technology has the capability of converting miles of roadway that contribute to the urban heat island effect into a potential source of green energy, the resolution reads. Commissioner Ken Russell sponsored the legislation. “This could be the future. Sunshine’s out there. We should be using it,” he said.
MORE TRANSPARENCY: County commissioners passed legislation Tuesday requiring greater finance transparency beginning in 2017. The ordinance, sponsored by Daniella Levine Cava, obliges elected officials and candidates in Miami-Dade to disclose when they solicit funds for a political committee by filing a statement of solicitation with the Elections Department or the clerk of their municipality. The Elections Department will publish the reports online and provide a link to municipal reports. This type of disclosure previously wasn’t required at the local level and will align county regulations with state law. In addition, commissioners passed a resolution sponsored by Ms. Levine Cava that requires elected officials to report to the Clerk of the Board if a conflict of interest exists with a matter the commission is considering. The resolution calls for commissioners to announce the nature of the conflict before the matter is heard, excuse themselves from voting and file a written disclosure of conflict with the Clerk of the Board within 15 days. Currently, in the case of a conflict of interest county commissioners are only required to recuse themselves from voting.
MORE PLACES TO SLEEP: The Miami River Commission has supported the city police department’s homeless program. As city leaders are preparing to author the 2016-2017 budget, the river commission recommended continued funding for 75 shelter beds for the police intervention program, along with an additional 20 cots. Officer James Bernat, Miami Police homeless coordinator, told the commission just under 1,000 homeless persons live in Miami-Dade County and most – 640 – are in the City of Miami. The police department’s program has a goal of helping individuals transition into a life off the streets.