Saturday, February 16, 2013

Streetwalk With Me

The Commission met on Tuesday night and while it was a full agenda, it was not a particularly controversial agenda, with one exception that I will cover last.   

The big news is that for the first time in memory, the audit statements for FY 2012 were submitted in February.  Usually the audit is not available until well past the end of the following year and we go through a budget cycle with no clear picture of where we are.  

It was a preliminary audit and there may be changes, but it looks solid and that's yards ahead of where we've been in the past.  Bert Wrains, the finance director, has worked doggedly to make our finances transparent and deserves a lot of credit for his effort.  

The legal contracts were finalized.  That should save us some bucks although the Chief's approach of mismanaging the police personnnel issues will continue to drain our cash

Some points on Good & Welfare.  

A TI resident named Gudrin (whose last name I forget, sorry) had heard a rumor that there was still talk of privatizing our sanitation group, and took the time to write and present a well constructed argument against doing that, concentrating mostly on the public safety and community aspects of keeping our own employees. If you remember, the Village tried very hard in the past to do this and even if the rumor is not true, it's important to bring it up.  Even better was to see a resident taking the time and effort to present this clearly and well.  It was impressive.  

A resident of the Yellow Building (1625 JFK Causeway) spoke abut her concerns regarding noise from the Trio.  I hope the village  addresses the issue as it was clear that it's real .  

Speaking of the Yellow Building, Candis Mason glommed on to that name, "The Yellow Building",  and it turns out that 1625 is trying to create an identity.  They are negotiating with Carlos Alves, a noted muralist, to create a public art wall mural.  You can see Alves' work here.  It's nice to see the building making an investment sorely needed on the causeway.  I'm excited.  

A strident resident of North Bay Island read a pompous, entitled faux outrage, speech complaining that the police had ticketed cars blocking the roadways on North Bay Island.  She felt this was a grave injustice because well, hey, wbo cares about pedestrians and bicyclists?  She made a demand for an apology and a revocation of the tickets.  Be interesting to see if the Chief caves. He probably will since he owes his job to her and her husband.  

Last point on Good & Welfare, I challenged the commissioners to take a hike.  That is a walk around the islands.  I hope that the four of them will.  (Eddie Lim already turned it down.)  They will see things on the street, blocked sidewalks, cars parked in walkways, the 15 seconds you have to cross the Causeway, the dirt strewn around.  Maybe this will motivate them to start enforcing the laws.  I'll keep you posted.  

Conflict:  I had left by 10 PM but tuned in again around 12:30 AM to see Mario Garcia and Dennis Kelly loudly discussing what Garcia has documented as the administration's ignoring of the recommendations of the Business Development Board.  I strongly recommend you read Mario's Post here as he lays out the specific issues clearly in an open letter to the mayor.  

It is obvious to me that there is a major disconnect between the Business Development Board and the Administration.  The Board and the Administration seem to be working on the same goals but the administration is not including or acknowledging the Board's recommendations in their own  proposals and that's wrong.  Residents are volunteering their time and effort and this needs to respected and included in the administration's recommendations.  Ignoring the work is disrepectful and counter-productive.  I will note that none of the recommednations are demands, simply well thought out perspectives and that is the specific role of the boards.    Getting North Bay Village focused is a large scale effort and needs to be an inclusive priority for the administration.  

Kevin Vericker
February 16, 2013  

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