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Thursday, January 28, 2016

Clearing things up

Please allow me to set the record straight:

1)    I am not a St. Stephen’s Day School parent.
2)    I am not a member of the St. Stephen’s “Board of Directors” though I did serve briefly as a trustee more than a decade ago  -- long before any thought of the present soccer court.
3)    I was never involved in any manner in the planning, promotion, or construction of the Peacock soccer facility.
4)    I was never involved in any manner in the negotiations leading to the school’s lease agreement  with the City of Miami for use of that facility.
5)    The Friends of Peacock Park, of which I am a founding member, never opposed roller hockey within the park and did not “rally” for its ouster.
6)    I am indeed a member of the soccer community, and though I have never used Peacock’s soccer facility, I am happy to report that it appears to be widely available for public use, for free.
7)    The Friends of Peacock Park remains a vocal civic advocate, most recently meeting with city officials to lobby for new policies to protect its grass playing surface from festival-related damage.

I can only speculate as to why my name has been linked with this facility, and so I will. Way back in 2003 The Friends of Peacock Park aggressively opposed a plan -- pushed by former District 2 Commissioner Johnny Winton -- to carve out a section of the park, remove a stand of trees and construct a permanent, concrete roller hockey facility. Paving green space was not progress, we argued. And we won that battle.

A year later, in 2004, the Friends hosted a community charrette for Peacock Park attended by more than 60 people, including at least one irate, disruptive and self-described  “hockey mom” who to this day seems to take pleasure in unfairly distorting my record as an advocate for parks and community space.  The grudge she holds for our opposition to the hockey rink will not die.
This is not the first time this women  has leveled these baseless and vindictive charges in the Grapevine. I’d like to encourage Tom Falco to better screen the anonymous missives within his blog that seem to serve only to damage a reputation and to falsely inflame readers on matters of important community interest.

David Villano
Coconut Grove

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13 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

As a Land Use and Zoning attorney, I can tell you that there is no gray area here. Whether the gate is locked or unlocked, the leasing of the public park land is indeed 100% illegal, and in a court of law a civic organization representing the taxpayers, such as the Friends of Peacock Park, would prevail. - Jack Abrams

January 29, 2016 3:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Guess its time for Mr. Russell to pay attention to other parks that are not just in front of his house!

January 29, 2016 8:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's interesting, Jack. What makes it illegal for the City of Miami, with approval of the city council, to enter into a lease agreement for the sublease of park lands? Because there would seem to be multiple instances of that in every city. And I've

January 29, 2016 9:33 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

David,

Your opening points lead me to believe that you are attempting to deceive. Also, you do realize that the basketball and soccer fields are paved, right? So then your choice is between sports, not between clear cutting & paving vs. natural grass and trees, but between sports.

Try being honest with yourself, then you might be able to do so with others.

Oh, and I'm neither a mom, nor do I know who you are; rather, I'm a reader, and I read between your lines.

Also, you flatly lie when you say that the facilities "are widely available for public use and free." You need to either do your research, or stop intentionally spreading misinformation.

That park is open to the public from 8-10. It can be reserved for $200 per hour, per city officials, however, it is reserved by some groups from 6-8, who for some reason pay nothing.

These are facts.

January 29, 2016 11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Saint Stephens owned all of the once federally protected land where the tacky Cloisters on the Bay now are. Over the years greedy pastors sold it off little by little to give themselves and their holy cohorts fat raises in the name of the Lord.

Then they committed another crime by destroying one of Miami's most precious historical and cultural assets, the original Saint Stephen's Chapel, which would have been 108 years old now, so that they could build tacky leasable commercial space to further line their pockets.

And now they think that they can steal our public land to remedy the space dilemma that they clearly brought on themselves. This is elitism at it's finest. No wonder people don't go to church anymore.

January 29, 2016 2:01 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


The rule of law that governs land dedicated to public use in the State of Florida, in Miami Dade County and in the City of Miami dictates that public park space be forever used and maintained for the general public, and for the free use of the public, at all times.

There are several legal precedents that would support this and Saint Stephens Episcopal Day School is not above the law.

It is the civic duty of The "Friends" of Peacock Park to hold a public meeting to discuss pending legal action against the City of Miami.

I suggest that the owner of this blog post the date and time of said meeting here for the benefit of the general public.

January 29, 2016 2:35 PM  
Anonymous swlip said...

A lot of people seem to feel comfortable making what could be construed as libelous statements on these comment threads. But that's just the Grove, where no degree of invective is too harsh, and no conspiracy theory is too nutty.

January 29, 2016 4:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, how shady. I see why Dave is attempting to distance himself from Saint Stephens, but as a founder of the Friends Peacock Park, it is his duty to remedy the situation.

January 29, 2016 7:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

A Public Park is a freaking Public Park. Or should be. Open to the Public, that is.

January 30, 2016 9:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So what plans does Mr. Russell have to return the entire Peacock Park to the public? What are his plans to prohibit our public streets to be used for any gated event, especially the Grove Art Fair that excluded most lower income families?

January 30, 2016 2:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Ken Russell ran for commissioner, he told you he was a "businessman". Please remember that and don't expect a socialist.

January 31, 2016 11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Friends of Peacock Park are simply a non-profit organization. They DO NOT run the park...Peacock Park is run by the City of Miami. The City calls the shots and makes the money.

January 31, 2016 2:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's nice to see that Ken stopped reading and caring about people's legitimate concerns as soon as he got elected. During the 2 years prior to his election, he was reading and commenting every week. now, he can't be bothered. Typical hack.

Meet the new Commish, same as the old Commish.

February 01, 2016 11:42 AM  

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