Thursday, October 23, 2014

Cutler Bay & Palmetto Bay - Two Wayward Towns. Guest Post By HowLowCanItGo

 Lobbyist and Politicians Run Amok in our Piece of Paradise

I'm a Hispanic Environmentalist citizen of South Dade, Cutler Bay. I moved here in 1995 from the Gables area so I have witnessed many changes to include incorporation and quite a bit of unwise development. Yes I was one of those who foolishly thought local home rule would be a good thing overall, although I had reservations. I should have trusted my gut. But before incorporation we saw rampant and unsustainable development of open spaces rubber stamped by Miami-Dade County government, so how much worse could it get?!

I chose to move south due to the affordable  housing market and the open green space character of the Old Cutler Road corridor and all that beautiful open land to the south and east of our historical road. Those were the days when traffic jams were caused by thousands of land crabs and by the caring residents not wanting to crush them in their summer migration over Old Cutler as the land crabs  searched for food and fodder in the open land and pine rocklands. Today there are only a few land crabs but there certainly are plenty of traffic jams, daily. So home rule to me meant that citizens of the area could positively influence their city governments to suppress unbridled and environmentally  unfriendly development.

Then something happened.

Lobbyists moved into our cities along Old Cutler, well not physically moved in as none of them live here but in effect their devastating influence did.  And today what we have are local city governments and town councils controlled from behind the scenes by shadow politicians, the lobbyists and the interests they represent. In Cutler Bay alone there is one current council member with ties to second rate lobbyist Jose Luis Castillo, Sue Loyzelle. She has been known to fight hard in chambers for Castillo projects.

Currently running are Peggy Bell and Ed Wolmers both being managed by that same Castillo. The Cutler Bay council has five members, so three is all Castillo needs: Bell, Wolmers, and Loyzelle. Castillo has been heard saying, indirect quote, once the current government of Cutler Bay is gone, I will own that town. We will know soon enough. 

And don't think Palmetto Bay is immune from the lobbyist-ebola virus, call it the Eblobbyist virus. Palmetto Bay has 2 infected by Castillo: Cunningham and Dubois. Tim Schaffer, he is another story. But he will vote with them. He said at a county meeting last week, supporting Wayne Rosen,  the tax base of Palmetto Bay is mostly residents, as if that is a bad thing.

So should the Castillo voting block breakout in November  because you vote for Castillo Candidates in Cutler Bay and Palmetto Bay, every zoning change, variance, accommodation to a development plan, and any other related favor that comes up when Castillo's hand is in it, will have a free pass.

Some of you may need proof of the strings that have become attached to our candidates and politicians so let me offer some evidence. In the latest disclosure by Peggy Bell of her campaign of contributors here are some highlights:

• Jose Castillo/Green Point Group, $3300 - lobbyist for 9 acre property next to Cutler Wetlands on SW 184 St and Old Cutler Rd. He will lobby for a change in zoning from RU 1 residential to Mixed Use, which means they can build ANYTHING the Cutler Bay Council approves, to include a 3-4 story strip mall. This zoning change application is already in process and the issue will be heard shortly after the elections.
• Juan Mayol, $ 1000 - Attorney and lobbyist for 9 acre property next to Cutler Wetlands on SW 184 st and Old Cutler Rd. Working with Jose Castillo.
• Howard Nelson, $200 - Lawyer for property owner of above 9 acre property, also lawyer that represented same property owner in past negotiations with SFWMD where SFWMD bought adjoining 129 acres Coastal Wetlands currently under restoration. District paid 24 million for the 129 acres and now same greedy property owner wants even more for the other 9 acres by getting the zoning change which will immediately inflate the price of the land.
• Brian Bilzin, $200 - Lawyer for property owner of above 9 acre property…
• Sue Loyzelle, $50 - Current Cutler bay Council member, also managed by Castillo in the last election, lobbied hard for Castillo and developers of another unpopular project in Cutler Bay, the mega Publix shopping center in the potato field. Issue is not resolved and will likely be back up for votes in upcoming term of the council.

Citizens of South Dade we must free our towns (you too Homestead) from the toxic strings of these outside lobbyists and developers. This is a puppet show gone deadly viral and Castillo's hand is maneuvering the politician puppets who are sick with ego, power, and self interest and love for this modern day Svengali with his linen clothes and expensive watches.  If he only managed campaigns, it wouldn't be so bad. It is the lobbying of the same people he manages that is toxic.

Do not vote for any candidate with ties to Castillo and his clan. Castillo has been involved absentee ballot fraudsters under arrest, supported and managed horrible individuals in the past such as Lynda Bell, Mark Bell and Natacha Seijas. And now he intends to control our local politics until they have paved over every inch of green space with hot asphalt and cold concrete, and nothing and I mean nothing lives in that!


Anonymous said...

It can go a lot lower.

Anonymous said...

I wish Castillo would get nailed for absentee ballot fraud. That would be the end of him. He works these campaigns out of his Greenpoint office.

Anonymous said...

If candidates are accepting money from Bilzen and Howard Nelson it is a clear message that their vote has already been bought and paid for.

Anonymous said...

Peggy Bell is very aware of how hard the community fought to keep those wetlands from being developed. Since she is now taking money from exactly the individuals that the community fought it is a blatant betrayal.

Anonymous said...

This is a great piece of information. I remember the land crabs crossing OLD CUTLER ROAD and cutting our maypop tires. I have not seen a land crab in 25 years. That is since the development in that area. Its sad and disgusting. I too am an environmentalist.

Anonymous said...

In Palmetto Bay, the influence of Castillo on the Village Council is a real threat.

Castillo managed Vice Mayor Dubois' campaign, he is consultant to at least one another candidate's campaign, and he is actively and directly managing Karyn Cunningham's campaign.

If both candidates are elected;they will join Dubois on the council and will become a MAJORITY vote on the council with direct ties to Castillo, the lobbyist.

This is why all candidates with ties to Castillo must be rejected outright by Palmetto Bay voters.

If Karyn Cunningham is elected to seat 1, Castillo will have the keys to the candy store.

Castillo will then have unrestrained influence over the affairs of the Palmetto Bay Village Council.

Anonymous said...

Fausto Gomez, lobbyist, has been seen with Jose Castillo and Karyn Cunningham for the last two days at the Palmetto Bay early voting polling place at Coral Reef Library.

It would appear that Ms. Cunningham, who appears to be behind in the election, has engaged the services of ANOTHER LOBBYIST to protect her win- at-all-costs campaign.

The real cost will be to Palmetto residents whose interests may be compromised again by the influence of her clique of lobbyists.

Anonymous said...

In Group 3 I am voting for Jim Shedd he recently knocked on my door. Mr. Shedd is a Vietnam Vet a retired DEA agent , I wiill say that the Miami Herald who i consider a SPECIAL INTEREST GROUP, showed their leaning towards other candidates but I am voting for Shedd. It's a shame when you can't even trust the Herald to report fairly.

Anonymous said...

You can add the City of South Miami to that list of wayward towns. Our city commission hired the old town manager that they fired from Cutler Bay; the Cutler Bay citizens were so fed up they demanded that he be fired. We're seeing the same political and legislative manipulation that's taking place in Palmetto Bay as well. The South Miami city manager's wife is the Town Clerk at Palmetto Bay. God help us all, the "heavy lifting" is well under way to super-size our zoning and land use regulations.

Anonymous said...

Cutler Bay citizens had nothing to do with the manager's departure from the Village. A family tragedy and a noxious mayor (see today's Herald) caused him to ASK the council to terminate him.

Anonymous said...

Mr Alexander was an arrogant town manager who thought he knew better than anyone in the local community what was best for Cutler Bay. His attitude...these local yokes and rough necks need me to tell them and decide for them what is best for them. I well remember the one conversation I was able to have with him on a local land issue on which the grass roots citizens ultimately prevailed and for which he was against. He looked at me so dismissively that day when I asked him his vision on it and then stated bluntly as if to discourage us that our camp would not prevail on it in the end. Well we did prevail in the end and now he's gone. GOOD RIDDINS to him and his arrogance. He deserves to be in the insane asylum which is South Miami government. And let it be a lesson to all Cutler Bay town staff and politicians to not let hubris and other bad influences get the best of you. Ultimately you answer to the collective wishes of your citizens, not to lobbyists, out of town LLCs and their slick lawyers, and greedy land speculators. Before you make important decisions which will impact our lands FOREVER do everything within your power above and beyond to reach out to the broadest scope of your community residents. Do this in a proactive manner and in the full sunshine. Cause you can bet that the other greedy side will be reaching out to you and they prefer to do it in the shadows which is where they operate best.

Anonymous said...

Saw a campaign ad for Karen Cunningham on TV last night. In it she was jogging through Palmetto Bay, I assume. But that strange shadow that followed her on the video? Ah...Castillo.