Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Did Mayor Manny Diaz and the LBA bypass County Commissioner Natacha Seijas on the mega-deal? by gimleteye

The Miami Herald editorial page prints pro and anti statements relative to the Mayor Manny Diaz' deal—expanding the Community Redevelopment Agencies for billionaires to help billionaires.

But the more interesting point is buried in the front page story, with de facto chair of the county commission, Natacha Seijas, huffily complaining that she wasn’t properly advised—not the way that her minions in county agencies brief her on every passing detail related to construction, development, elections, and the environment.

On the editorial page, the LBA lobbyist praised the deal effusively. Is it possible that the big deal was cooked up with the de facto chair of the county commission on the sidelines?

"It makes me angry," said commissioner Natacha Seijas, according to the Miami Herald: "... at 3:30 PM she had not been provided 'a single piece of paper'. Interesting.

I’ve paid attention to anonymous commenters on our blog, that Seijas’ day as the power center at the county is over. Until now, there has been little evidence along those lines.

The political equations are relevant because the majority of African American county commissioners (Rolle, Edmunson, and Jordan—especially--whose districts are meant to benefit from the Community Redevelopment Agencies in question) have always lined up behind Seijas who, for her part, has carried the Latin Builders campaign fundraising baton. The bargain went like this: she kept them flush while they gave approving votes for zoning changes in West and South Dade, where the LBA production homebuilders were minting millions.

The irredeemable majority cobbled around that set of interests has dominated the Miami-Dade county commission for decades. Seijas sits astride its totem pole, or, sat.

It's possible that Seijas' moaning in the Herald is disinformation. That would make sense if Seijas wants to innoculate herself against prosecution based on violations of the Sunshine Act: everyone knows that the big votes on the county commission are micro-managed by lobbyists beforehand, if not through direct meetings between the principals in violation of the law.

On the other hand, it could be that Seijas used the Herald to telegraph to the powers that be that her needs require attention. But if that is true, it reinforces the view that her power in waning. It is not Seijas' style to have any use for the Herald at all.

Mayor Diaz is a more sophisticated politician than Seijas, whose bare knuckles approach has attracted a disagreeable amount of attention. For her part, Seijas couldn't care less what other people think (unless those people are collecting petitions against her at Publix) and so long as those people are not her supporters in the construction and development industry related to suburban sprawl.

And if Seijas' day is done, that may be the crux of it: the suburban sprawl machine that Seijas represents is dead in the water. The local production homebuilders who form the core of the local Latin Builders Association are having a very tough time, and 2008 and 2009 aren't going to be any better. The centimillionaire contingent may have better things to do, than call on Seijas.

Some may be over-leveraged, some may be willing to invest as vultures (but not in the suburbs), and some may want to sit out this nasty downturn, counting their money in the south of France, or the Bahamas, or Spain, or on horse estates in the northeast.

There is no constituency with cash to burn, except the biggest of the land speculators. Then, too, with municipal and county budgets crashing and with the state of Florida unlikely to support developers' applications outside the UDB, the land speculators aren't as powerful as they were only a few years ago when they could direct infrastructure investment wherever they wanted.

On the other hand, the cities are where the development action will be, once the great real estate implosion reverses.

In the meantime, all attention is focused on where the money is to be made today. If there are billionaires from Dubai or Turkey who want to buy Miami-- they will be buying in the core where all those see-through condos will be selling for forty cents on the dollar and not the urban fringe, where the billionaires have already been burned by subprime mortgage investments.

Face it: the suburbs are dead for new money.

And in that case, who needs Seijas except Hialeah?


Anonymous said...

This whole Mega Deal thing will pass this morning. The majority of the BOCCs will vote "Yes".
On the Mayor's "Veto", it will get reversed as Comm Heyman will flip and claim her original vote was wrong.

Anonymous said...

And the award for best supporting acteress in a dramatic role goes to...Nat...

I'm sure the public uproar from the consitituents in District 4, who need a Lowes 32 miles away in district 12, was overwhelming, and caused Sally to change her vote.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous #1 deserves 'A' for foresight. Moderate must have seen all Heymans voters bailing out of Home Depot and running to Hialeah to the nearest Lowes.

Here's the Herald link:

The commission just overrode the veto on the UDB Items....

I would call that a NEWS FLASH, however, I don't think it is a total surprise to those people who know who controls what.

Sally Heyman was the flip vote! What's with that?

She awoke this morning and felt like voting differently? Maybe she forgot how she voted last time?

Maybe, she made a mistake last time? Today she corrected the error of her ways?

Could it have been a staged event all along to show the Mayor who is boss?

Time to look to the state for help on this one. Again.

Time to give Ms.Heyman more coffee to wake her up! Hmmmm. Maybe, it ought to be served with some vitamins that pump the memory.


Anonymous said...

You just saw the reason to vote for Florida Hometown Democracy. Pray that enough other voters do, too!

Geniusofdespair said...

Yes, Hometown democracy folks.

But don't discount the Dept. of Community Affairs. They need to get comments from the public. Send an email with your comments to:

and copy to

Talk about the UDB, traffic, growth, etc.

Anonymous said...

Love that Pic!!!

Anonymous said...

We should be so lucky that Seijas is loosing her grip. Did not look like it at Tuesday's BCC meeting. But never fear, there will be someone just as mean to take her place. Water guru that she has become voted to override the mayor's veto of the CDMP applications. Her green-washing is fading but you have to watch her in action to notice it. She has learned to mumble her pro-development votes and tone-down the retoric thinking she can slip by.
Maybe Joe Martinez will be the new Seijas, although he is not near as smart. Heard he is quietly canvassing voters to test a run for Mayor. Heaven help us!

Anonymous said...

I am glad Seijas's days counted. Hialeah's seniors don't need her anymore. I hope they vote against her next year's election

Geniusofdespair said...

Poor unsuspecting person...she will be reelected for sure.