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Thursday, May 17, 2018

Bidding Adieu to the BID?

Tuesday's meeting at the Sailing Club

Grove 2030 had a forum Tuesday night, regarding the Coconut Grove BID called, "Bidding Adieu?: The Once and Future Coconut Grove Business Improvement District."

The BID is up for renewal, after having a 10 year run. Members of the BID were present to answer questions along with some folks from the city and also our district Commissioner Ken Russell, who is chairman of the BID.

The main gist of the meeting seemed to be residents wanting to take part in the BID, but alas, it's a business group - the Business Improvement District and the property owners in the Center Grove assess themselves to support the BID. Residents do not pay into it and the BID covers basically 18 blocks in the Central Business District. But residents feel that the small group and small area, affects the much larger area, meaning the residential areas.

Nicole Singletary, current BID director, admitted that they don't engage the community and most people are not even sure of what they do. I have tried over the years to engage with them but they always seemed to be a closed secret society. 

There was a time when people were thrown off boards and committees for speaking their minds. They were just gone in the middle of the night. Sort of a hit job. I think things have changed now that we have a new commissioner and new administration at the BID and those dark, slimy days are over.

I was removed from their email list years ago and to this day am not a part of that. I was told once by a lady who worked there, "Tom, you are not a merchant, you are not getting back on the mailing list." One day I'll tell you the story of how evil they were. Maybe I can have people send in their "me too" stories of how they were mistreated and shunned.

I bring this up because at the Tuesday meeting, Nicole said that anyone can come to the meetings and speak. That is how residents can get their issues heard according to Nicole. Residents may not be a part of the committees and pay into the BID, but they can be heard and they can sit in on meetings. The BID is a government organization that operates under the Sunshine Law. I have not found that to be the case over the years. In the past it was a small circle of bullies who controlled everything, Boss Tweed style, if you spoke up, you were banished, but hopefully these days things are different.

I'm happy to say that after all these years I am still standing (cue the Elton John song) and those bullies who felt they were all that, are long gone and forgotten.

Please note: I believe Nicole about the residents being able to participate in the BID, I am not questioning her sincerity, and I believe that the current BID crew and our commissioner are excellent people, I am just saying that it was not like this in the past.

For linking to this one story, just click on the time it was posted & just this story will open for sharing - only through social media. Not copying and pasting.


Anonymous al crespo said...


I guess this is my que to pop up and say, Hey, how bad was the BID? I can tell you how bad it was, they once secretly moved their meeting from City hall to Grove isle in an effort to keep me away, but I figured they were up to something and tailed Ron Nelson and crashed the meeting. Those and other tales, including names can be found at: http://original.thecrespogramreport.com/Site_10/BID_MASTER_PAGE.html

May 17, 2018 5:59 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is amazing how everything on this blog has a negative spin on it. I was at the meeting Tuesday night and it was very positive. Nicole answered every question sincerely and stated multiple times that the community is always welcome to discuss issues with her and attend their meetings. If people aren't attending the meetings to voice their concerns .. how is that the fault of the BID?

It seems like the Grapevine has issues with a lot of people and organizations throughout the Grove. Perhaps the real problem lies with you and not everyone else.

I'm going to assume that you aren't going to post this comment but I certainly hope you at least read it and stop trying to put a negative spin on everyone and everything. The Grove is changing - you might like or dislike the changes - but that isn't going to stop it from changing. You can choose to continue to be negative about everything or you can choose to be positive. I understand, human nature and it is much easier to find the problems in everything and so much harder to actually find solutions to those problems. Stop being part of the problem and start being part of the solution. You have a voice that people tune in to hear...use it in a positive manner instead of just bitching ALL OF THE TIME.

May 17, 2018 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears both Tom and Al have negative 1st hand experience regarding the Coconut Grove BID. And if I remember correctly didn't our BID pay out an astronomically high amount to the owner of that billboard sitting above Crook & Crook on US1 & 27th avenue who did not live in the Grove or 33133 Zip., and is it true that our BID is willfully transferring a $5,000,000.00 surplus from Grove BID, to the City of Miami?

May 17, 2018 9:21 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

Sorry Anonymous 9:21 (the first one), if you don't like to hear the truth, go over and read the Chamber of Commerce or BID websites, they'll give you all the fairy dust you're looking for.

And be proud. Sign your name in the future if you truly believe what you are saying.

May 17, 2018 9:53 AM  
Blogger Grapevine said...

I would like to make one thing clear. I think Nicole, the current BID staff and our current commissioner Ken Russell are excellent and honest people.

The only reason I had brought up the past BID business was that Nicole is saying that it is an open group to the community, which it should be, but in the past it was not. Or rather, they chose who was "in" and who wasn't.

I take Nicole at her word and am pleased with the "new" BID and enjoyed the Tuesday meeting.

That's all.

May 17, 2018 11:31 AM  
Anonymous al crespo said...

I haven't a clue what's going on with the BID nowadays, but you all should remember that as a business group it was started with the specific intention of making it an exclusively white/latin business group.

Go back and look at the minutes of the City Commission meeting when they purposely stated that they didn't want to go anywhere south of 32nd Ave and Grand Avenue - which is the border of the West Grove - when the BID was formed, and then look at the Grove today.

Consider that what you've got in the Grove Business District today are the results of 10 years of a very small handful of self-interested men,led by a lying weasel Pay-For Play Commissioner doing whatever they wanted. They pissed away money, acted like gangsters and don't think for a minute that Commissioner "Selfie Boy" is gonna be there to save you, because come next year, he might be gone. He already tried to leave you with his aborted run for Congress, so don't pin your hopes on him.

May 17, 2018 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It used to be that if you were not members of the board you were literally kicked out and given the cold shoulder all the time. Is Art Noriega of MPA still member of the board and if so why?

May 17, 2018 5:52 PM  

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