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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

He asks, "What has happened to The Miami Herald?"

Activist  and businessman Steve Kneapler sent the following Letter to the Editor to The Miami Herald, regarding their editorial, which was in favor of the Grove Bay waterfront project. I have to admit that when I read the editorial, I too wondered if The Herald editors really looked at the project or are they just in favor of everything that is pro-development? After all, they did sell their own home to Genting, the large casino group who wants to put a casino right there on the water. I suspect the Herald editors wouldn't mind if a casino went in on the water in the Grove either. And remember, the way the lease is set up on the Grove Bay vote, they can flip it overnight if they wish. What if they flip it to Genting? Then what?

From Steve Kneapler:

Re: Your "Opinion" dated 10/21/2013 
“Open Up Miami’s Waterfront on Coconut Grove”

I was one of the five members on the selection committee for the City’s RFP 12-13-001. 

Reflecting on your written opinion, it seems to me that the editorial staff and the two reporters that wrote an article before your opinion was published did not do any real homework and fact checking.

That’s not my opinion, but a statement of fact based on the article, your opinion, and my complete knowledge of the facts.

I ask you, did anyone from the Herald read the published RFP # 12-13-001, cover to cover including all attachments? 

Did anyone from the Herald read all the interim drafts to see the changes made between the first draft and the final RFP and attachments that were issued? 

Did anyone from the Herald read all the attachments to the final RFP and the related addendums and attachments after the RFP was issued but before the two (one subsequently withdrew) proposals were submitted by 2 PM on 5/10/2013? 

Has anyone from the Herald compared the lease and attachments that the city commission voted on 7/25/2013, albeit in direct conflict with the RFP and our city charter (for example the gambling clause in section 2.7 of the lease, regardless of any communications by the district 2 commissioner or the developer) to the final RFP and related attachments and addendums that the selection committee voted on? 

Has anyone from the Herald read the agenda package for the 7/25/2013 commission meeting to see if all required documents necessary by our charter were attached? 

Has anyone from the Herald fact checked the winning (only) proposal against the RFP, its addendums and attachments? 

Has anyone from the Herald compared what is currently being circulated by our District 2 Commissioner to what the winning proposer agreed to do in its submission on 5/10/2013 and voted on by the selection committee on 5/26/2013? 

Is anyone from the Herald aware that the City is actually proposing a charter amendment on this particular subject in the upcoming election in direct violation of the City’s charter, which by its very nature is deceitful, let alone illegal? 

I have been a proud member of this community for almost 74 years, while I have disagreed with some of your opinions ideologically, they, until the past few years, were at least BALANCED, I ask you, ”WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MIAMI HERALD”?

Steve Kneapler
Coconut Grove, FL

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12 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

How did Mr. Kneapler qualify to be appointed to the Waterfront RFP Selection Committee? Is it not a conflict of interest, due to the fact that he used to be the manager of Monty Trainers just down the street? Rumor has it that he was also a participant in one of the five RFP’s from last year that where tossed. He had been dismissed as manager but has recently returned, now under new ownership. Why on earth was he requested by City Manager Johnny Martinez to head the last Waterfront RFP Selection Committee? There were five on the Committee and all of them except him, felt that this project exceeded the Sasaki Master Plan and the City’s RFP desires. Perhaps someone that is responsible for enforcing ethics violations at the City of Miami or at MDC should look into this matter.

October 30, 2013 2:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Troopers are always ready to discredit and assassinate the character of anyone asking a simple question.

October 30, 2013 5:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kneapler has benefited for many years from his restaurant on the waterfront and he's about the LAST person who wants to see any competition in his neck of the woods. He's spent alot of energy over the years making sure he remains that only option. I think there's much more power and validity coming from someone else, so the Stop Grove Bay group should come up with an alternative.

October 30, 2013 5:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought the vote on the waterfront project was county-wide. When I went to vote today, I was told it was for Coconut Grove residents only.

October 30, 2013 5:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether this is a good project or not, giving anyone control of this piece of property for 50-80 years is a bad business decision.

October 30, 2013 5:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Regardless of what Kneapler's motivations are, the point that he is making is that the Miami Herald does not do investigative reporting anymore on this or the numerous other cases where the public deserves to know the unbiased facts. Fortunately, blog writers have stepped up to fill the void in some cases but without a "Fourth Estate" that is unbiased and incorruptible then the democratic process is in trouble. Given the manner in which the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County politicians have operated in the past and continue to operate, I'd suggest we are in very big trouble. Vote No and send the politicians a message that this style of business is unacceptable.

October 30, 2013 9:44 PM  
Anonymous JB said...

I would imagine Anonymous 9:44pm that if the Miami Herald asked voters to vote No on the Waterfront plan, you would be singing their praises and saying how wonderful they are.

Maybe the Miami Herald actually, like many others, see the merit in the proposal. They see that this is an opportunity that should be grasped and not wasted.

If you don't agree with their Editorial endorsement, write them a letter or don't buy the paper anymore. Don't accuse them of bias and laziness simply because you don't agree with them. There are plenty of good and dedicated people who write for the Herald.

October 30, 2013 10:05 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Check out the waterfront 2nd floor at Monty's Plaza. It's been empty for years, ever since Monty's Stonecrab failed. So, if we already have a waterfront 2nd floor restaurant with a fantastic view that can't keep its doors open in Coconut Grove which is leased from the city, why on earth do we need three more???? Shouldn't we be making the development that has already happened work? As far as the Herald, they have been "overlooking" the failed ethics of Regalado and Sarnoff for years. Its a little late in calling them out now.

October 31, 2013 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear JB...

FYI, I don't buy the Herald anymore and I certainly don't rely on them to report the FACTS on this or any other issue in our community. They have SOLD out to their advertisers, the development community. So I ascribe very little value to the Herald's recommendations for candidates, projects or anything else. Would it please me for them to identify the pros and cons with this deal and provide a fair an balance review of this project, absolutely. The Herald's headline for their editorial (Open Up Miami's Waterfront on Coconut Grove) was an attempt to obfuscate (to confuse) the issue. This project does not open up the waterfront any more than the existing single-story buildings it will replace, actually it will block more of the waterfront and skyline. They wrote thsi editorial for the uninformed in an attempt to persuade them to support this. 3rd paragraph states: "the mix of an open-air restaurant and two others that would have floor-to-ceiling views of the waterfront, along with a pedestrian walkway that would connect residents and visitors to Biscayne Bay and a new pier, is long overdue." If you've been to the Charthouse or Scottie's recently you will see the they have beautiful view already but perhaps not the three-story massive structure that will overpower the waterfront that the new project proposes. The next paragraph goes on to tie the Grove Bay project to the 17 acre park that is being built where the convention center currently is. Again a blatant attempt to suggest that the tow are linked which they are not. Vote No for this and we will still have a beautiful 17 acre park adjacent to it and two single-story waterfront restaurants that provides excellent/unfettered access to the Bay. The editorial goes on about oil and sticky goo...You would think this was written by some PR firm attempting to sell their product to an unsuspecting public. Ha! JB... You seem to have read the editorial. Please do us all a favor and tell us why my read of the editorial is inaccurate. As to your comment of "an opportunity to be grasped and not wasted"... When this project is rejected by the voters, you can be assured that our District 2 Commissioner and his minions have a plan B but my hope is that they are chastened and remember that they were elected to represent the desires and interests of the people of Coconut Grove, District 2. One can hope...

October 31, 2013 8:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

JB...You sound a lot like the "shill" referenced in previous posts. I have to give credit to Sarnoff and the developer for using the blogs to push their agenda. My guess is that the posts are being produced by a political PR firm attempting to manage the message. But maybe not...You could just be like many of the misinformed within our community that Sarnoff is relying on to push this and his other projects through.

October 31, 2013 9:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon 7:55 AM.... Agreed! Also walk through the breezeway between the Seaplane hangers and Fresh Market and check out the retail space that has sat vacant for the past 8 years (Fresh Market open in 2005). Why? No market demand? Is the master lessor paying rent to the City for this space? My guess is that it's about 10,000 SF so at a conservative rent of $20/SF NNN over 8 years that would be $1.6 million is "lost" rent. BTW, the master lessor of this space are the same guys that make up Grove Bay Investment Group, LLC who are behind this new project. Is there a provision that if you can't or don't lease it (i.e.squander it) then you have to give it back to the City? The answer is no. These are the type of things that should be included into a lease that was negotiated in the City's (taxpayers) bast interests. Vote NO and let's try again and come up with a plan that gives the CIty the control to maximize the value of it's assets rather than hand them to political insiders for 80 years to do as they wish.

October 31, 2013 9:20 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Grove isn't doing too great (business-wise) and there's plenty of empty retail space. Oh yea, adding more retail space seems like a GREAT idea.

October 31, 2013 9:45 AM  

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