Saturday, April 18, 2015

Eye on Miami's Saturday Editorial Page: Turkey Point Hearings - Special Taxing Districts Op Ed. By Gimleteye and Geniusofdespair

Eye on Miami has replaced the Saturday Editorial Page of the Miami Herald - They do not have one
One of the very few chances for the public to be heard on the expansion of FPL Turkey Point and $24 billion of new nuclear reactors at sea level By Gimleteye

Mayors of three important South Florida municipalities (Tomas Regalado, City of Miami, Philip Stoddard, City of South Miami, and Cindy Lerner, Mayor of Pinecrest) are taking the lead in opposing the expansion of FPL's Turkey Point nuclear reactors. 

The public has very few opportunities to directly address the "deciders" on whether or not to allow the FPL plan to move forward. Here are two meetings and information related to public comments. Please take time to read the Environmental Impact Statement and comment directly on that document through the links provided below.

Turkey Point Nuclear Expansion: Meeting Information
These meetings will be hosted by U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
When: Wednesday, April 22, 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Where: Florida International University 
Stadium Club Room 
FIU Stadium 
11200 S.W. 8th Street, Miami
When: Thursday, April 23
First Session: 1:30-4:30 p.m. 
Second Session: 7:00 - 10:00 p.m.
Where: Hampton Inn and Suites 
Reef Room 
2855 N.E. 9th Street, Homestead, Florida 33033
Turkey Point Nuclear Expansion: Public Comment
By law the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission must take public comments into account. Public comments will be accepted until May 22, 2015.

Re: NUREG-2176
Cindy Bladey, 
Office of Administration 
Mail Stop: OWFN 12 H8 
U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
Washington, DC 20555–000
These meetings and comments are part of the federal licensing process and related to the recently released draft Environmental Impact Statement, available online at: This information is also online at the City of Miami’s website at:

A special taxing district is a mechanism used by communities, wherein property owners elect to pay special assessments levied on their properties in order to receive public services and/or improvements, which could not otherwise conveniently or equitably be provided.

In Miami-Dade County some of these services include, but are not limited to:
Street lighting, Security guard services, Guard houses, Lake maintenance."

The Public Works and Waste Management department controls Special Taxing District funds. The section was headed by Don Tok for many years. The rates of each district were reviewed every year according to cost and growth.

In 2011 when Mayor Carlos Gimenez merged the Public Works and Solid Waste Departments he promoted a group of Solid Waste employees that included a Director  (now Miramar City Manager), Assistant Director  and  a Chief. The listed individuals were put in place by Gimenez for political reasons and many think were not qualified to oversee the finances of the newly created department.

Assistant Director Chris Rose chose to maintain low or cut rates on the Special Taxing Districts without permission from the County Attorney's Office to make Gimenez look as a mayor intent on cutting taxes. The result is that after 3 years of low rates there is a multi million dollar deficit of Special Taxing District funds and an ongoing analysis has uncovered the comingling of funds from different Special Taxing districts- something strictly prohibited by county ordinance. As a result, today Don Tok is being forced to resign and Alina Hudak could also be forced to resign. Rose has already left the county to City of Miami and he is not acknowledging responsibility for the deficit of funds.

A meeting was held Friday 4:30 pm with the Mayor, Kathy Jackson Director of Audit, and Alina Hudak also AD's from the Public Works Dept. as they tried to find a solution to the deficit  problem. 

According to department employees, the Section  has been running on "cooked" numbers for the last three years.

Example: A district where citizens paid $5,000.00 in special taxes had their service cut to $1,000.00 and now the taxes must be raised to $9,000.00.

The backlash of this deficit will upset citizens from every area of the county. Do you have a guard booth? It will effect you.  This incident has occurred due to the promotion of what I think are unqualified employees and for political reasons by a mayor intent on "cutting taxes" as a reelection tool.

The Best of Miami Herald's Jim Morin this week.

Gossip or Truth?

The Miami Dade County Aviation Department is about to finalize a $7.5 million deal in Tuesday's committee meeting by the commissioners approving the deal. The system awarded was never tested at the requirements from the airport. The FAA will do its due diligence since it is funding the majority of the project. Once they find that the system has not been tested and the FOD detection system has shown that it can not perform to the standards required FAA will then pull the funding and MDAD will come to the county to bail them out. (comment left on our blog)


Anonymous said...

So if I understand this Special Taxing District debacle correctly, our taxes will be raised in the immediate future to offset the deficit created by the insane merging of two essential departments such as Public Works and Solid Waste Departments by Mayor Gimenez. Interesting how employee Christopher Rose has already high tailed to the City of Miami and now Mayor Gimenez must explain and justify the tax increase. These Special Taxing Districts are scattered all over Miami-Dade County and the tax increase will affect thousands of residents. Not a good sign for Gimenez, specially as he gets ready for reelection. Bet Raquel Regalado will be taking notes on this issue.

Geniusofdespair said...

Anyone know what transpired at Friday's meeting?

Anonymous said...

What transpired was an out of control Mayor Gimenez shouting at his staff and pointing fingers, threatening staff and looking for victims to layoff or transfer. Apparently Kathy Jackson, head of the Finance Department and a professional employee, stopped Gimenez cold on his tracks and told him they need to fix the problem not look for people to blame. No one is more responsible for this mess than Gimenez. He replaced a professional Public Works director named Esther Calas in 2011 and put in place Kathleen Woods-Richrdson, someone who is not even an engineer! Woods-Richardson was put in place because she helped pick up votes for Gimenez in the north end African American community. Woods-Richardson brought in an under qualified staff from Solid Waste that kept the Special Taxing District rates low to make Gimenez look as a "tax-cut administrator". At the end of the day we will now have to pay through our nose because the rates will have to go up. By the way, thanks for blogging this issue. I'm sure Mayor Gimenez and his public information employee Michael Hernandez will try to put their own spin to this.

X said...

^^ You think county auditor Cathy Jackson told Mayor Gimenez what to do?! LOL!

I have been watching the county for two decades and I have yet to see Jackson and her audit department uncover any financial impropriety or report anything of significance.

Anonymous said...

There has been a history of many departments in the county cooking the books. The transit dept. has been doing it for years. Just look at the old run down buses that were suppose to be replaced by the ½ cent tax. Instead the funds went to uncook the books. County government has been a bait and switch enterprise that keeps growing with the hope that more tax revenue will hide the lies and crooked booking.

Anonymous said...

The so-called scandal is about how some residents are angry that they cant afford to build a fancier guard shack on the entrance to their street. Excuse me, but what the hell are guard shacks doing on public streets in the first place?

When my husband and I first arrived in Miami, we took a Sunday drive to Star Island. We were met by a security guard at a guard shack who asked us what we were doing there and asked where we were going. I asked him if we were on a public street. He said yes. My husband then told him to go fuck himself and we drove on by like he wasn't there.

Guard shacks have no business on our public streets.

Anonymous said...

This deficit incident is one of dozens that occurs throughout county departments on a daily basis. Budget Director Jennifer Glazer-Moon's high salary and perks are incentives to play the standard budget numbers shell game and keep Gimenez in office. We had corruption under all previous county mayors going back to Clark but when it comes to corruption Gimenez has made those earlier mayors look like choir boys.

Anonymous said...

Understand that underlings do not set the policy. Cooking the books come from higher ups giving orders to underlings to carry out. The people to go after are the Department heads and above who order others to do the dirty work.

Anonymous said...

FPL, absolutely pathetic on solar power. This is the Sunshine State you nitwits!

Anonymous said...

Special Taxing Districts A special taxing district is a mechanism used by communities, wherein property owners elect to pay special assessments levied on their properties in order to receive public services and/or improvements, which could not otherwise conveniently or equitably be provided.
In Miami-Dade County some of these services include, but are not limited to: Street lighting Security guard services Guardhouses Lake maintenance To see if you pay special taxing district fees: Visit the Property Search application, and enter your address or folio number. On the page with the property's information, scroll down to the Featured Online Tools section and select Non-Ad Valorem Assessments. Interested in Creating a Special Taxing District? Homeowners or communities interested in creating a special taxing district may obtain detailed instructions and official petition packages from the Miami-Dade County Public Works and Waste Management Department, Special Taxing Districts Division, Stephen P. Clark Center, 111 NW 1st Street, Suite 1510, Miami, FL 33128.

Anonymous said...

Many parts of the county FPL still owns and operates the lights. Depends on the city and road involved.

FPL website:
After we install the lights, we will own and maintain the lighting system and simply charge you monthly for maintenance and
electric service. It’s easy and hassle-free.*
An FPL Lighting Agreement is required for an initial term of 10 years.

Anonymous said...

is there a more incompetent budget director than jennifer glazer moon? i doubt it!

Anonymous said...

This is the legacy left over by Mayor Carlos Alvarez! The strong mayor format! A once professional county government work pool reduced to a cattle farm headed by unqualified political lackeys intent on pleasing Mayor Gimenez to preserve their high paying jobs and without any concern for the public sector they serve or the employees under their command. This special taxing district mess is just the tip of the iceberg. The harm done by Gimenez and his sacred cow deputy mayors and directors will be felt for the next two decades.

Anonymous said...

not a single county employee mentioned in this article went through a competitive recruitment process. no one should be surprised that they are all incompetent.

Anonymous said...

All this does is give Gimenze's special interest friends who also control the commissioners more ammo to go out and push the incorporation efforts we keep seeing behind closed doors. At the same time have allowed and will continue to keep these public and private business ventures coming, these individuals who have raped into our tax dollars and made themselves millionaires and billionaires on our hard earned dollars. Lying, cheating, and swindling our future away just to keep up their lifestyles, a train that's just out of control and operated by puppets of the Special Interest sectors and we the brainless passengers only worrying about voting for Hilary the next and first female president! May God help us and step in, I love my mother's and sisters and I believe woman are more important than Men! But I wouldn't give that woman the time off day yet alone my vote, neither would I give the Regalado's the same. We need Honest, Straight Shooters, no Career politicians. Honest Anericans who's only concern is this countries recovery and future sustainability. Yes Gimenez has been the worst and most corrupt and that is all thanks to the many years of Trial and errors by the past ones, all the fixings that have been introduced to Law and ordinances that have allowed the rapes of Moral and ethical laws in our livelihoods, courts, Law, and schools. Let's elect those that care about us then, now, and in the Future!

Anonymous said...

Please accept this criticism from a long time reader. You've decided to publish a guest op ed with no name and absolutely no credibility. The writer has an axe to grind. The article is full of false information and slanderous statements. The current problems at special taxing aren't the fault of Kathleen Woods-Richardson, Chris Rose, or Aneisha Daniel. These are excellent public administrators - not political appointees. You lose credibility when you allow guests to write in this manner.

Geniusofdespair said...

I removed the names although the person who wrote this piece i do know well.