Sunday, March 17, 2013

Lynda Bell, County Commissioner, Has To Go ... by gimleteye

County Commissioner District 8 Lynda Bell really deserves a challenger.

Eye On Miami has been tracking the Bell dealings from city hall in Homestead to county hall.

There is, apparently, a backlash against Bell on the county commission -- even among the unreformable majority. The latest, last week, was the rejection of a resolution that would have set a miserable precedent of individual commissioners intervening to carve out exceptions to the law for individual citizens. As amazing as this sounds, the following resolution was actually offered: seeking to exempt certain people from enforcement actions.

What voters need to understand about the economic crisis is this: instead of a turn toward accountability, the entire apparatus of government shifted even further away from accountability.

The Bell resolution is a fine example. Bell -- and the unreformable majority -- have ignored decades of history in the western region of Miami-Dade County known as the 8.5 Square Mile Area. The area is susceptible to flooding. To enable the possibility of re-watering the east Everglades, including within the boundaries of the national park, in the 1980's, plans were crafted to protect the area from development. It didn't stop the worst anti-federal, anti-environmental jihad west of the Rockies from taking place, right in Miami-Dade's backyard.

Over the years, special interests -- mainly big farmers, big developers, and other components of the Growth Machine -- chipped away at every structure built from compromise, political dialogue, and negotiation. At the very end of the line you get exactly what appears: County Commissioner Lynda Bell.

Bell's first initiative, after being elected to office in 2010, was to attack the county environmental resources department. The department is still known as DERM, as if the simple act of articulating the phrase is defiance against the serial assaults against environmental budgets and agency mission. DERM had no defenders -- Mayor Carlos Gimenez gave the whittled down agency a broom closet to work in -- , despite the fact that Miami-Dade County borders some of the most sensitive environmental lands in the nation. That is what we have come to.

That is what we came to, until Lynda Bell.

Today Bell has tried to bully fellow commissioners, as if to channel the spirit and role of Natacha Seijas, the long-serving county commissioner from Hialeah who was recently recalled by voters. But the unreformable majority may not be so willing to simply roll over, the way it did in the boom years when the money, the champagne, the dinners out, the condos and platted subdivisions were flowing as fast as mortgages out of US Century Bank to insiders.

It is all in the record.


WHEREAS, in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma in 2005, Miami-Dade County was in a state of emergency, there was a great deal of property destruction, and circumstances may have been chaotic; and (BOO HOO on that one, we all went through it we don't get laws sponsored on our behalf) WHEREAS, in this aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, some property owners in the 8.5 square mile area and in the C-9 basin accepted deposits of mulched or shredded hurricane debris onto their properties; and

WHEREAS, in 2012, the Miami-Dade County Wetlands Advisory Task Force recommended that Miami-Dade County provide a one-time resolution for property owners who accepted mulched hurricane debris associated with the 2005 Hurricane Wilma storm season; and (NOTE: THIS WAS A LYNDA BELL ORCHESTRATED TASK FORCE EXCLUDING REPRESENTATIVES FROM ANY ENVIRONMENTAL GROUP). WHEREAS, much of this mulched hurricane debris contained plastics and other trash, along with vegetative debris; and WHEREAS, some of these deposits of mulched hurricane debris constituted environmental violations of Chapter 24 of the Code of Miami-Dade County, including filling wetlands without a permit and improper disposal of solid waste onto properties, and some property owners may not have known that they were violating the law; and

WHEREAS, the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office criminally prosecuted contractors who were directly linked to these deposits of mulched hurricane debris onto private property in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma, and those unscrupulous contractors were forced to pay to clean up the environmental violations linked to them; and WHEREAS, if the contractors who dumped mulched hurricane debris on particular properties could not be found, or if the property owners could not identify which contractor brought them the mulch, Miami-Dade County brought civil environmental enforcement actions in order to clean up those properties and bring them into compliance with Chapter 24 of the Code of Miami-Dade County; and

WHEREAS, now, more than seven years after Hurricane Wilma, there are less than 10 open civil enforcement cases involving property owners who accepted this mulched hurricane debris onto their properties in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma; and

WHEREAS, recognizing that these particular environmental violations arose during a unique time of emergency and crisis, and in the interest of efficiency, including limited enforcement resources, this Board may wish to direct the Mayor or Mayor’s designee to refrain from further enforcement against the property owners in the few remaining enforcement cases involving said mulched hurricane debris;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that the Mayor or Mayor’s designee is hereby directed to refrain from further enforcement against the property owners in the few remaining environmental enforcement actions for deposits of mulched hurricane debris that took place in the aftermath of Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The folio numbers for those nine remaining enforcement actions are listed as follows: 30-5821-000-0153; 30-5815-000-0140; 30-5815-000-1150; 30-5815-000-1610; 30-5828-000-3831; 30-5822-000-0050; 30-5822-000-0112; 30-2911-001-0301; and 30-2913-001-0490. This resolution, however, shall not relieve those property owners from otherwise complying with the Code of Miami-Dade County, including but not limited to the provisions of Chapter 24 and storm water retention regulations.

The Prime Sponsor of the foregoing resolution is Commissioner Lynda Bell.


Anonymous said...

Lynda Bells exist in epidemic proportions, at all levels of our government, from municipalities to the federal government. Until we find ethical citizens who are interested in running for public office, to restore accountability to government; Lynda Bell is our future.

Anonymous said...

She is a train wreck.

Anonymous said...

People are finally waking up to the fact that she is a cancer. It is a shame that so many women voted for her because they feel that District 8 is a woman's seat.

Anonymous said...

I do have a suggestion. It may be wise to find candidates and vet their positions known on the public record before supporting any, man or women. Also, it is a must to pool financial resources to get behind someone because this is a non partisan race (or it is supposed to be) direct party contributions aren't going to really help until your at a polling place and the commissioner candidate name shows up on either party recommended list. There's no way special interest money won't pour in to Bell and this district is just impossible to walk even if someone started today.

Bell must go but we must be careful who to support going forward. I personally won't support any candidate right or left too far in either party. I will support a candidate with a good environmental position and a firm anti sprawls stance for starters.

Anonymous said...

To crystalize this, my take away is that this is the process whereby environmentally sensitive land is purposely degraded into a brownfield by willfully polluting it. Once degraded, it can be developed? Is that a good synopsis. If so, Bell is supporting that activity? Sad. Folks will start to understand why this matters when their water bills go up significantly. Sounds like a small thing, but its not. The ripple effect, you know.

Geniusofdespair said...

Thank you for your thoughtful comment. Eye on Miami did research on all the candidates in District 8 and wrote about their positions, endorsements, campaign financing, etc. If voters are not doing their homework we will never get good candidates. If neighbors don't talk to each other about the local elections we will not have change. 9 times out of 10 I have to tell people who their county commissioner is because they don't know.

Anonymous said...

I am quite concern about all this rock mining and development in my neighborhood. I would suggest to the Redland residents to start checking your acres for sinkholes.
Yesterday, I noticed an opening in the ground that just developed. It was not there last year.

Anonymous said...

Redland seems to be a lone ranger at times fighting this rock mining stuff. We fought hard against the infamous Martinez proposal allowing the expansion of rock mining operations. There is also so much illegal activity rock mining on a much smaller scale in areas, it's hard to find unless one is in a helicopter. As to the Brownfield issue that is a very interesting item you brought up and also add that there is federal grant money available, kind of like the CRA which ties back to Bell and her nonsense with her husband take $25K from them after she approved their CRA budget for Homestead.

In any event adding to what GoD said, yes, EoM does seriously vet candidates but how do we spread the word throughout district 8? That is a very good issue once a candidate is found to literally blast the candiate all over the place. Bell will never be able to debate on issues so I suspect she will pull a Fresen and just not show up or not answer questions!

District 8 needs representation. Palmetto Bay is incorporated and she seems more interested there than anywhere else. I'd venture DuBois will write the mortgage on a new house there for her with the imaginary profits from the Redland Hotel and she can run for mayor and destroy Deering, the mangroves and no more wetland flood protection!

Anonymous said...

With Block captains. People have to canvas their own neighborhoods.

Anonymous said...

Is there anyone intrested in running in district 8 she is up for reelection in 2014

Anonymous said...

I have spoken to several individuals close to commisioner bell and word has it that she is going to make a run against rep joe garcia , she has strong power from tallahassee.

Geniusofdespair said...

too funny...

Anonymous said...

Well I guess Tallahassee does not want to get on LIFE SUPPORT like District 8 and the entire county. Therefore,Tallahassee will try and dump her at the national level just to get rid of her. Please spare the nation this misery and embarrassment that Lynda Bell can cause. This entire nation will hate us.

Anonymous said...

How about Bell moving to Alaska and making a run for Governor there? Or, locally she can move to Palmetto Bay and run for Mayor there. Having her run for office anywhere other than the County works for me. It would be quite funny if she ran for State Rep. I'm not sure if she's in 119 or 120 but they're both GOP held already and neither one of those are term limited yet. Her train wreck of a record from Homestead to Dist. 8 to the County in general is so bad, she probably wouldn't even make it through a GOP primary against Garcia. I'd even donate to her if she resigned from her commission seat to make that run or run for anything other than the further destruction of the County! You have to wonder what the GOPers thought of Ms. Tea Party when she voted yes to use taxpayer funds for the Dolphins?

Anonymous said...

Why are you picking on Palmetto Bay? She's already doing damage there to a nice little town. Her supporters tear the town apart for sport to ensure her survival. Let her run for a higher seat and the Peter Principal will rule.