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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

An open letter to Comm. Michelle Spence-Jones

Dear Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones,

We Grovites (the majority anyway) do not prefer a park to the Burn Notice studio at the Coconut Grove Expo Center. In fact, most Grovites prefer the studio and would like to see it remain as a movie and tv facility in Coconut Grove. We would love to be a little version of Culver City, in California.

You were fed a load of crap, and I'm sure you know that, and at some out of the way, illegal un-Sunshine Law sort of way, you were read the riot act and told to change your stance on how you felt about Burn Notice. At first you felt the Wynwood studio was not the proper place, at this point in time anyway, you also felt that jobs and business were being conducted in the Grove, so what was the sense in moving it all away?

Then, in the flip of a second, you changed. Why? And I have to laugh at your h
ypocrisy, because if anyone in your own district spoke of removing a major money making and job creating industry, you would be the first to cry foul very loudly. And for you to sit at the commission meeting and say, "Well, the Grove residents apparently would prefer a park," while staring at hundreds of people protesting against the park in that very audience. How dare you!

And while many of us put the "nut" in Coconut Grove, we are not nuts. We know what we like and don't like. We don't like trees removed for no reason at all other than to line someone's pockets. We don't like industry like Burn Notice removed to place another park in between two parks, we don't like being told what to do and when to do it. But until the powers that be in the Grove have the balls to stand up to bullying, this is going to be the fate of the Grove.

Even the Mayor, who I like very much, was seen on the tv news saying that the park is the number one issue and it must proceed. And that Coconut Grove residents mandated the park, so it must be done. THE PARK IS THE NUMBER ONE ISSUE? How about putting more cops on the streets and filling up the empty storefronts and things like that being made the number one issue? Not throwing out the only business in town that is thriving and paying the City $240,000 per year, too! Last time I looked the city was broke. Yet a park costing taxpayers $1.8 or more is the NUMBER ONE ISSUE?

The residents also mandated that the trees be left alone and that we have free parking on the streets, and more police presence, but that doesn't happen. All of a sudden the residents must have a park because they asked for one many years ago? They also asked for Burn Notice to stay. And more people asked for that than for another park in our park-filled village.

NBC 6 did a poll, 98% of the voters chose Burn Notice over the park. When do voters' voices ever get heard in Miami? Thousands of letters and emails have gone out to the City Commission, asking that Burn Notice be permitted to stay and film in the village. That falls on deaf ears. Why? When is one single politician in this city (county?) going to listen to the taxpayers and voters?

I think the real nuttiness is that we are killing the trees in one area of the Grove, then killing a crucial business in another area to replant trees. Think about it. It sounds more like busy work and a total waste of tax payer dollars than actual projects that make sense.

When even the rest of the City Commission is bullied into saying and voting the way they don't feel in their own hearts, how is anything going to change around here?

There is talk of huge towers going in the Coconut Grove Bank land, there is also the same talk about the Fuddruckers building in the Center Grove. The Grove is sinking fast and people stand by and watch. Peacocks were removed from the north Grove again, trees are scheduled to be cut down for no apparent reason. And this is all because people want to bitch and moan but they don't want to vote when they have that huge power to make a difference.

Will the last sane person grab the last coconut (and peacock, and tree) on their way out.

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Anonymous Annemarie said...

Amen, brother!

July 31, 2012 8:43 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well said. The only way for Grovites to be heard is to rise up and be heard. Attend commission meetings and village council meetings? No. Sit outside City Hall and Sarnoff's house making noise, holding up signs, whatever. A massive show of support is needed. The Mayor says the park is the number one issue? Its time for a massive gathering in order to SHOW him and those in power what Grovites want.

July 31, 2012 8:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I meant to say: "The only way for Grovites to be heard is to rise up and make some noise."

July 31, 2012 9:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

But they won't even rise up off their butts to go out and vote!

July 31, 2012 9:19 AM  
Anonymous Al Crespo said...

Well, well, well. Is the sleeping giant beginning to wake up?

It's nice to read these little rants, and watch folks get all indignant, but the real truth as to whether hundreds, or thousands of Groveites are finally "Mad As Hell," will only become a reality if they demand that the City Finance Director, and the Asset Manager, and the head of CIP show up at a meeting like they had about the crime issues, and start explaining the city budget, the mismangement of city owned properties and where the millions of dollas in Capital Improvements have reallt been spent. There are reasons why the city continues to rack up $40-$50 million deficits, and until folks start demanding some real answers, with real numbers that document these continued losses, then all you're doing is circle jerking.

Then, you might want to demand an all day Sunshine Meeting of the entire City Commission to make them start discussing some of the real, short and long term policy issues that need to be discussed on how to tackle the REAL structural financial problems that plague the city, instead of the grandstanding, largely irrelevant pandering that passed for a public policy debate on the issue of the millage at the last Commission Meeting

You also might want to start paying attention to all the fraud and waste that goes on on a daily basis in the City of Miami. Tens of millions of dollars have been wasted, misspent, or outright stolen in the last 8-10 years, and none of you folks have seemed in the least bit interested in showing any concern where any of that money went.

If you REALLY care about your city, then you need to start acting like it, and start taking some time to taking on the responsibility of becoming "citizens."

If instead, your focus continues to be worrying about the trees and a cable TV show, then nothing will happen, because the corrupt politicians at City Hall will figure that if that's all you're worried about, then they can continue to do what they want with impunity.

Wake Up Folks! Start focusing on the real issues! The $2.9 million in unpaid taxes, and $333,492 in unpaid fuel revenues by Grove Key Marina should tell you that there are some very real and serious problems in the way that the City of Miami is being managed!

al crespo

July 31, 2012 9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Al Crespo makes many good points, but it's even simpler than that.

"When is one single politician in this city (county?) going to listen to the taxpayers and voters?"

The answer is: when that politician *IS* one of the taxpayers and voters.

I'm new to the Grove, but I can already see a neighborhood in flux. Residents need to stop complaining online and get behind a local candidate who will make decisions on behalf of Grove residents. If 98% of residents feel a certain way about on issue, then put your money where your mouth is. That's how the system works. If people don't vote and new political candidates aren't viable, then move to a place where they are. But it shouldn't come to that. Instead of ranting online, how about grooming a local candidate for the next Commissioner election (or however that works)? Protests rarely work -- there's too much money at stake for the politicians. You need better representation. Period.

July 31, 2012 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im sorry but kepping burn notice is not the problem.the problem is there are no major dance clubs anymore in the might think its not important but look at south beach look at brikell.if they had no clubs local would not even go anymore cause locals dont even go there anymore to get sun its to expensive fun just a few hours of rays.sunset place got rid of marinos and martini bar and its starting to become a ghost town aswell.wake up and get the clubs back and the rest will follow.burn notice is a cute little sucks anyways.

July 31, 2012 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When are the next elections?

July 31, 2012 10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

" then all you're doing is circle jerking."

Lol, good way of putting it.

July 31, 2012 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"sunset place got rid of marinos and martini bar"

Those 2 places closed down on their own due to declining service and/or people just grew tired of them. Martini bar went down hill fast in its last few weeks.

July 31, 2012 11:10 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree people are finally realizing that they need to be herd and to go out and vote. WE need to make this happen. This is a very big lesson leanered by those that did not vote. I hope it is not to late. I am concerned about the old fudge Rockers location it is a huge block one of the the biggiest parcels sold. If a condo goes there it will destroy the whole grove. GO OUT AND VOTE GO OUT AND SUPPORT.... SAY NO TO SARNOFF

July 31, 2012 11:19 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally! Please get behind this.

I was interested in noting all the talk of selling buildings. This may not be a private park, but it is being developed for developers.

Mr. Sarnoff says he's not corrupt. Corruption can be as simple as listening and do what the monied developers want. It may be about his own home values.

The commissioners represent all of Miami. If all of Miami feels this is important than they need to reconsider this.

Has anyone contacted the State Atty. General's office regarding the last meeting and the sunshine laws and private negotiations that Mr. Sarnoff want to hold between the Producers and himself.

July 31, 2012 11:22 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

The elections were 8 months ago. Only 8% of you felt like voting that day. It was a nice 75 degree November day, not a cloud in the sky, the two weeks of early voting also had the same weather. There was no excuse for anyone not to vote. But 92% of registered voters didn't vote.

July 31, 2012 11:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Majority of Grovites?"

I've never watched Burn Notice, but I do enjoy walking around the Grove and having access to viewing the water. I completely support the idea for a park along the waterfront and I look forward to taking my walks there when its completed.

I went out to vote on election day and voted for Sarnoff and am quite pleased with the job he's done.

July 31, 2012 11:45 AM  
Blogger Sledge said...

I also voted, and in this case agree with a WATER VIEW where there are NONE in the entire Grove 5 mile Bayshore land. Except for a few feet at Seminole ramp.

It's part of the Waterfront Plan, remember?

Again, walk or drive from the circle to Key Biscayne.

Tell me where you see the freaking wate.

Open up Peacock Park to water views, move the sailors club, get rid of the EYE SORE called "Expo Center"

I suspect most of the people who post here have personal interests and jobs there (I've been attending the City Hall circus demonstrations, they leave as soon as the topic is over)

For the most part, and on the long run, FREE a unique Water View there.

That's what's right. It will also generate a lot of tourism dollars, since we cannot see the WATER on Coconut Grove.(unless you really know your way around and deep inside 3 parks)

Carlos Iglesia.

July 31, 2012 12:15 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Many agree with Majority.

The convention center has been underused for years -- give us a park with water views!

The playhouse has been underused for years because it is too big. Give us a smaller playhouse that can be profitable and sustainable!

Get rid of the sailing club that is reserved for the very few and not for the Grove at large, although it sits on what could be a prime location for the locals.

Changes are needed.

July 31, 2012 12:22 PM  

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