This is the time for our regular Tuesday morning post, but we cannot do it. This morning is about mourning. It’s so sad, it’s heartbreaking, and it happened in our own home state, Florida. Our hearts go out to the Orlando shooting victims and their families. We don’t know if this was a terror attack or a hate crime, but we do know it’s a crime against human kind.
Be strong America, be strong Florida, be strong Orlando. We will not let the evil take over the good. From our offices in Miami Beach, Plantation, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach, and many more, we send our condolences to Orlando. We will not be cowed by barbaric killers.
He was born as Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr, in 1942. He died exactly a week ago, but his name, the name he took as an adult, Muhammad Ali, will be remembered forever, as what many consider to be the best professional boxer to have ever lived.
Ali had a special connection to Florida. He announced he was changing his name while staying in Miami Beach. Also, it was in Miami Beach when he became a champion for the first time, at the age of mere 22, when he won the Sonny Liston title in a dramatic fight vs Floyd Patterson. Ali temporarily lost his eyesight during the fight and managed to keep standing a whole round of boxing while blinded, and then regained his sight to the next round. He then won the fight in a TKO, after Patterson did not answer the bell ring at the end of the 7th round. That fight was one of many Ali had in Miami Beach.
Ali was known to take political stands and was never afraid of taking a stand. When he was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease he never tried to hide it. Many will remember him struggling to light the Olympic cauldron in Atlanta 1996. Ali, once an Olympic champion (1960, Rome), did it proudly, not letting his evident disease to stop him.And now Miami Beach will honor this great boxer. Mayor Phillip Levine announced this week that “to honor his iconic bout with Sonny Liston at the Miami Beach Convention Center, I am proposing renaming Convention Center Drive to Muhammad Ali Drive,”. The vote was unanimous.
It’s no news that it’s raining if you’re with us here in Florida. It’s as if the hurricane season took a look at the calendar and said: oh, it’s June, let’s roll. Colin is the first tropical storm to make landfall in Florida since 2013. The forecast is: rain, rain and rain.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared state of emergency for parts of the state, icluding 34 counties, among them Nassau, Duval, and Flaglar. Schools closed early yesterday, and graduations ceremonies that were meant to be held today are postponed.
report on the storm (press on photo for link)
Tropical storm Colin made landfall yesterday, and it crossed northern Florida and southeast Georgia last night. While South Florida will dodge much of Colin’s wrath, there’s still a reason for concern: it will continue to rain heavily and the big question will be whether South Florida’s over-worked flood control system can handle more rain. From our offices in Miami, Miami Beach, Boca Raton, West Palm Beach and many more around these regions, we sure do hope so!
Florida might be the sunshine state, but when it comes to the Miami based ice hokey team, the Florida Panthers, it’s a song of fire and ice. Yes people, it just got hotter on the ice:
The Panthers have announced they will change their logo and uniforms long ago, as they felt the long time design was becoming outdated. The new outfit was revealed last night, in an impressing Jersey Unveil event. One of the biggest changes noticed was the logo: the leaping panther that has been the team’s logo for almost 25 years, has been swapped with a panther’s head, inspired by the 101th Airborne Division logo.
The long anticipated change, has sparked some heated discussions online, when long time fans claimed the outfit shouldn’t be changed and already called for the “retro jersey” to come back. The fan’s disappointment is natural, as history shows that every time a sports team changes appearance it takes a while until everyone gets used to it. Don’t worry Panther’s fans, it will grow on you. It really is a cool outfit.
After the recent blowback from the estimated 80,000 person large beachside event on Miami Beach, city commissioners are taking measures to curb and control future “high impact events.” Scenes of trash strewn beaches full of plastic floatation devices and empty beer bottles, were posted all over social media with neighbors up in arms over the utter disregard of revelers. These embarrassing scenes of chaos to Miami’s pristine beaches lead to the recent push by the City to draft an ordinance that would ban coolers, tents and other large objects from beach areas. It would also impose a fee of $100 for non-residents to park on Miami Beach during big events.
At a Wednesday night meeting city commissioners sided with Mayor Philip Levine’s proposal to appoint a panel that will look into ways to regulate major events like Floatopia and the Air and Sea Show which takes place for the first time on Miami Beach on Memorial Day weekend next year. However, any ordinance coming out of the panel would have to be carefully worded because much of the beach land belongs to the state of Florida and Miami Beach officials couldn’t close the beach even if they wanted to. This fact is likely to further raise the frustrations of residents as the city would have to pick up the bill on “high impact events.” As seen recently when the City spent an estimated $60,000 on police overtime and cleanup after Floatopia.
A shocking occurrence of vandalism rocked the Boca Raton community earlier this month. Two religious prayer scrolls on the doorways were stolen. Authorities have chalked it up to the possibility of it being linked to the fact that Chabad of East Boca Raton’s plans to expand the religious center. This may have spiked the attention of local residents interested in reducing noise, traffic and big developments in their community. The shift to vandalism has been shocking to many as discourse on this expansion issues may have been explored and deemed a failure.
The city of Boca Raton has given Chabad permission to build a new synagogue on one of the city’s main roads. The $10 million, 18,000-square-foot project exceeds the city’s height limit and will be the first religious institution built on Boca’s beachside. Authorities are not investigating the theft as a hate crime and it may be more likely that it’s related to the ongoing controversy between the Chabad and some Boca Raton residents. The project, at the East Boca Raton Chabad House, has been called one of the most contentious construction projects in the history of the city. It is at the center of a federal lawsuit filed by two Boca Raton residents against the city in February.
Are you a Boca Raton or Florida resident? If so, what are your thoughts on Chabad’s plans for expansion?
Chances are you’re familiar with with Floatopia if you’re a Miami Beach resident, but for those of you that are not residents, Floatopia is a huge raft party that draws thousands revelers to South Beach. The massive event drew crowds of more than 100,000 people with many of these people leaving behind their floatation devices and littering local beaches with beer bottles, cans and other garbage.
The disregard for beaches has raised ire and frustration with many residents as cleanup continued overnight and beaches continued to be trashed today. The popular event began in 2012 and has continued to draw larger crowds year after year. The idea is that attendees bring floats and simply chill out in the water en masse. It also leads to a large party atmosphere on the beach.
City officials seems determined to bring an end to Floatopia as it is not a city-sanctioned event that draws their crowds and volunteers through social media. Mayor Philip Levine seemed so determined to put an end to event that he posted ‘Never Again’ with a picture of the party on Twitter.
Buying older smaller homes, knocking them down, and building bigger, luxurious places isn’t a new business – it’s called flipping a home and it happens from coast to coast. The increasing development of Miami’s beachfront is in part due to the massive influx of foreign dollars coming into the area.
Developers are tearing down Miami Beach’s older homes at an unprecedented rate to make room for sprawling newer domiciles. Before 2011, less than half -dozen homeowners per year sent in applications to demolish their pre-1942 house but in 2012-2013 residents asked for permission to tear down 24 of them, 38 applied for demolition permits in 2014, and last year, 34 property owners submitted requests to demolish old homes. In their place, houses boast everything from water slides to fingerprint-access wine rooms have been erected and then sold, often to cash buyers with no plans to move in.
To many concerned residents and preservationists, this is a disturbing trend that threatens the unique thumbprint of Miami’s architectural history. The Mediterranean-style homes and the world renowned Art Deco district is what makes up Miami’s charm and whimsy. Many residents are up in arms over the complete disregard for this fact. Residents have been spurred into lawsuits and fights over absentee investors and flippant developers that frequently ignore city rules. Even the feds have become so concerned by this troubling trend that they’ve been tracking the money trails of more than $1 million in investments in Miami-Dade County. The recent leak of the Panama Papers has detailed the corruption of government officials and politicians around the world and much of that money made it’s way to the beaches of Miami.
These huge sums of money have been changing the way Miami Beach looks and the type of buyers it attracts. The popularity of the the housing market is attracting more and more foreign dollars so it’s incumbent upon residents to pay close attention and remain active in their community in order to preserve the way of life they know and love.
Some Commissioners have been disappointed by the quality of administrative services from the Fort Lauderdale City Commission. These “serious shortcomings” include staff grievances and dissatisfied employees, and lengthy delays for people trying to get permits for building purposes or even something as simple as replacing windows and doors. The slow pace of things at the City can hurt the local economy and fixes are being sought.
As for how long it takes to get things done, City Manager Feldman said the city’s rules are “very convoluted to get things moving here.” He said he has very little spending authority for a city of Fort Lauderdale’s size, which eats up staff time preparing agenda items on very small dollar amounts to get commission approval, mentioning a $5,720 item on the evening’s agenda.
Feldman also said the city’s request-for-proposal process means once commissioners decide on a course of action, it takes six to eight months just to get the process going.
Roberts and Seiler said Feldman should bring forward proposed changes if there are regulations that can be modified to make the city work more efficiently. Seiler asked Feldman and City Attorney Cynthia Everett to come back with proposals that can be addressed by amending an ordinance or through a charter change referendum.
Sales Tax Increase up for a vote
Fort Lauderdale commissioners voted to put a sales tax increase on the November ballot, becoming the first city in Broward County.
The commission on Tuesday favored a cities-supported penny increase in the sales tax to pay for infrastructure needs. In order for the referendum to get on the ballot, similar resolutions will have to be approved by city commissions representing a majority of the county’s population.
While the vote was unanimous, commissioners said they would be willing to rescind it if Broward County commissioners come up with an alternate sales tax referendum for transportation-related issues.
County commissioners on Tuesday weren’t able to reach a decision about that plan. The county proposal would give cities 25 percent of the sales tax revenue; cities have asked for 35 percent.
One of Miami Beach’s main attractions is it’s architecture. With the energy of the sun and colors to rival a rainbow, Miami Beach architecture is one of a kind. You don’t have to be an architect to appreciate the city’s Art Deco and Miami Modern sensibility. Real and curvy, most buildings are in condition that would make their original architects proud. Miami has the largest number of deco buildings in the world, so for many, the deco architecture is a draw for tourism. It is part of the cultural makeup of Miami and a living testament to its rich history. The vintage homes of yesteryear add to the personality that is so uniquely Miami Beach – unfortunately this history is being threatened by new eyesore houses and vacant mosquito infested lots.
Fortunately, three Miami Beach commissioners want to create exemptions in their city’s ethics ordinance that will enable more architects and landscapers to sit on municipal committees – exemptions that will have to be approved by Miami Beach voters. On Wednesday, commissioners, sitting as the Land Use and Development Committee, will require all single-family home plans to be reviewed by the Design Review Board or another architectural board prior to demolition work. Right now, only homes located in historic districts or homes built prior to 1942 are reviewed. Currently the board’s agenda is already dominated by applications from homeowners and developers who wish to replace their pre-1942 homes with something else, or, at least, alter them. As a solution, an architectural review panel has been explored which would be made up of professional architects, in which house plans are quickly and efficiently reviewed by city staff. But for that to happen, committee members felt they need to enable more architects and landscapers to sit on boards.
With efficient monitoring of new developments in the Miami Beach area, the cultural significance of Miami’s deco past can be preserved and continued for future generations.