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Friday, August 28, 2015

Miami Boat Show protest is Saturday

While the Miami International Boat Show may be pushing plans forward to relocate to Virginia Key, dozens of environmental and community groups are coming together to stop it with a ‘Save Virginia Key’ rally on Saturday, August 29.   Thousands of protesters are expected to attend. Their message to the city is that public land is not up for the highest bidder.

Miami's Voices for Conservation is hosting the event, members from The Sierra Club, Tropical Audubon Society, Biscayne Bay Coalition, Urban Environmental League of Greater Miami, Village of Key Biscayne, etc. will be out in full force to urge City and County leaders to move the boat show away from Virginia Key, which houses Miami’s most sensitive and prized ecosystem. This rally comes just weeks after the Boat Show illegally cleared 500 feet of protected mangroves to pave way for its relocation. 

According to Laura Reynolds of the Tropical Audubon Society, the public has been shut out of a process that will use public land and cost taxpayers millions. Additionally, it flies in the face of the publicly approved Master Plan which promised redevelopment of the Marine Stadium, public waterfront access and year-round green space.

The rally is Saturday, August 29, 2015 @ 10:00 am at 3501 Rickenbacker Causeway.

Activist Charles Corda sent out a few emails claiming that the Miami Rowing Club, which is right near the Marine Stadium/Boat Show property, has been told to close for the day. He blames the City for doing this and namely Commissioner Sarnoff.

I called the Commissioner's office and spoke with Ron Nelson, Sarnoff's chief of staff. He said he knew nothing about Sarnoff or the City sending out a threatening letter and as a personal member of the Rowing Club himself, he said the club is not against the Boat Show, that they look forward to the show and the Flex Park that will be part of the property. Ron said that the club may even have a tent at the boat show sharing info about their club.

An email that went out from the Miami Rowing Club is below, it seems that they are concerned about their relationship with the city. So it's all about them receiving compensation for the inconvenience of the Boat Show and about renewing good terms with their city lease. It is interesting to note that the email states that "the City met this morning and has made the decision . . ."



          "MRC WILL BE CLOSED THIS SATURDAY, AUGUST 29TH
The City met this morning and has made the decision to close the facility due to the silent protest and demonstrations. We have been advised, and you may have received,  notice that there will be a demonstration this Saturday in our basin to protest the effect of the Boat Show on Virginia Key. 
The MRC Board does not support this protest and we want you to be aware of the important reasons why.  
THE SECURITY OF MRC'S FUTURE COULD BE COMPROMISED The club is working out the details of the renewal of our agreement with the City as well as potential compensation for the inconvenience of the Boat Show and we don't want to endanger that process as it greatly affects the club's future.  The agreement is up for renewal next month and negotiations have commenced.   
INDIVIDUAL ACTION MUST NOT BE AS A MRC MEMBER Any membership participation in the demonstration would not be viewed positively and could endanger our ongoing negotiations with the City.  Having said that, the club can't, and won't, prevent anyone from expressing their personal opinion.  If you join in the demonstration, please do so as an individual and not as a member of MRC.  
We hope you will respect and be considerate of the club's position. " 

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