Friday, November 13, 2015

BREAKING STORY: County Commissioners: Please Vote No to Theft of Agriculture Money. By Geniusofdespair

I was ushered into a County Conference room with a small group of Environmentalists years ago, was it 2007? When was that stupid bond issue? We were there to get money in the bond issue for the PDR program, farmers were working their own front (county website describing the PDR Program):

Purchase of Development Rights

Miami-Dade County's agricultural lands are a unique and economically important resource. On September 20, 2007, the Board of County Commissioners adopted a resolution creating the County’s Purchase of Development Rights (PDR) Program. The PDR Program implements the will of Miami-Dade County voters by utilizing General Obligation Bond funds to preserve agricultural land. This program serves as one mechanism for farmland preservation by providing the County with the ability to purchase residential development rights from willing property owners, ensuring that the related properties remain undeveloped and available for agricultural uses.

I went down to the county to beg for money all those years ago. I think this was the only time I did beg the County for money. Between the environmentalists and the farmers, we got the money in the bond, $30 Million. Good.

Now my farmer friend reported to me that at today's meeting of the Economic Prosperity Committee they want to take $6,000,000 of that money for Ludlam Trail, he said:
Transferring funds from the Purchase of Development Rights program to fund the Ludlam Trail is a theft that cannot be allowed to happen! Myself and many others worked hard and convinced many others to vote for this bond issue. At a time when open space, natural areas, and rural agricultural lands have been systematically reduced in the county it is beyond reason to approve this transfer.

Agriculture in Miami Dade is constantly under pressure due to suburban sprawl, rising costs and regulations. Now, we are faced with a Oriental Fruit Fly quarantine which is having a devastating economic impact on growers. This proposed transfer of funds is a slap in the face to the many citizens who voted for this program and will hurt those farmers who work hard to maintain viable agriculture which is a major part of our county.

Please consider voting this proposal down.

He is too polite. I say NO NO NO. Although Ludlam Trail is worthy, this is like taking money from Everglades National Park to give it to Biscayne National Park, it is liking choosing to clean water or clean air, Peter to pay Paul (you get it?). This PDR money is to be held to buy development rights. If it is sitting there it is waiting it should be. The farmers were waiting for the downturn to pass, now there are applications pending for the money from a few farmers. So it is working and it is one of the only ways we have of saving farmland. It is so important. We need to preserve this land. It has to be there when farmers apply for it. KEEP YOUR HANDS OFF IT COMMISSIONERS. I think the meeting is today at 2. Do I have to drag myself downtown. Really? On a Friday? To go home in rush hour? Shame on whoever thought this up for torturing me. I should be under my covers on Friday the 13th.

As a postscript: Mayor Gimenez took a loan of $10,000,000 from this PDR pot to put sand on a beach (beach renourishment program or as I call it the climate change denial program).  BUT, THIS IS NOT A LOAN. THIS LUDLAM TRAIL IDEA TAKES THE MONEY. The Ludlam Trail people did not ask for this and knew nothing about it. This was a bad idea by the mayor. Leave the money pot alone. I bet the Mayor will never repay it. As for Commissioner Sosa, she said it was not her idea, it came from the department -- she said further "It was me looking and working with the employees of the departments looking for alternative funding to prevent construction in all residential areas next to the line with the hope to make it green and a real trail." The Mayor is saying, according to his office, he knew nothing about it, it came directly from Sosa, Charles LaPradd said the same. Jennifer Moon had to find the money for Rebeca. Is Rebeca being thrown under the bus? The Mayor's Departments had to alert him on what was going on.

Postscript 2: Did the citizens committee in charge of changes to these bond funds approve the change? I called Nan Markowitz, in charge of  GOB to find out. Waiting to hear back. This story isn't over.


Anonymous said...

It's not only a theft of OUR funds, it is a blatant misrepresentation of the Bond issue itself. How many times is this BCC going to use this bond money for things the VOTERS and the TAXPAYERS DID NOT APPROVE! Talk about bait and switch, continually. This is Bond money is being used as a special interest piggy bank. This current mayor and commission don't even blink when they shift funds away from the intent of the Bond. This is wrong. It's only too bad I don't have Braman money to sue the pants off this this County. The voters approved specific items when they approved the Bond. If Ludlam needs money, get a new bond, do not take money from an existing one. The short shortsightedness of this commission to continually not recognize our agricultural land as our food supply, especially as we head in to Thanksgiving where our Redland Raised is probably on a lot of tables throughout the Country. Shameful at best, theft at worst!

Anonymous said...

It is so typical that Mayor Gimenez will pit constituencies against each other ... he HAS TO GO.

Anonymous said...

What do the Ludlam Trail people want to do with the $6 million? Is it to pay consultants for more fancy plans that could never be executed like the bs extravagances planned for Museum Park and the Underline? Which are things that benefit the developers planning to make a killing with upzoning scaling Ludlam Trail and underline?

Anonymous said...

Why not use the Environmentally Endangered Lands funds? Oh yeah, there aren't any.

Anonymous said...

In other farming news. Waste Management is a new farmer in the county commissioner's eyes.

Waste managers want to grow Mount Trashmore in Eastern South Dade.

A Miami-Dade County landfill wants to expand its territory to nearby wetlands before space maxes out.

The Miami Herald reports the landfill on south Biscayne Bay is expected to fill up by 2029. Waste Management Inc. spokeswoman Dawn McCormick says the company wants to expand its dump to keep the landfill open by 2050.

However, the county's Division of Environmental Resources Management has recommended rejecting the expansion, saying the land is meant for a $164 million restoration project to help fix the Everglades.

McCormick says Waste Management Inc. believed it was not encroaching on any Everglades work. She says they need to work with Division of Environmental Resources Management to clarify their understanding of the boundaries.

The landfill first opened in 1993 to handle construction debris from Hurricane Andrew.

Anonymous said...

Stay on the subject above anons The PDR Program will keep food on your table

Pat Bonner Milone said...

I sent a letter this morning to all commissioner and Redland friends to OPPOSE this.

-----Original Message-----
From: Milone
To: District10 ; district12 ; District11 ; district8 ; district9 ; district4 ; district5 ; district6 ; district7 ; district13 ; District1 ; district2 ; district3
Sent: Fri, Nov 13, 2015 8:46 am
Subject: Economic Prosperity Committee to steal $7 MILLION from Miami-Dade Farmers?

Dear Miami-Dade County Commissioners,

I implore you to OPPOSE Commissioner Sosa's proposal to funnel $7,000,000 from the Purchase of Development Rights
into the Ludlam Trail Project.

With all the other assaults on Agricultural lands, you're going to throw this into the mix?!
Don't do it!

1.FDOT proposes to build the Krome Kracken, a high volume highway that, IF ALLOWED, would funnel 4 lanes of traffic congestion into REDLAND (not a safe solution!).
2.MDX proses to EXPAND 836 west to Krome ... and beyond ... which will affect REDLAND & WETLANDS.
3. Developers and carpet-bagger land investors are in an aggressive INSURGENCY to obliterate REDLAND with high density, water sucking suburban sprawl!

These General Obligation Bond funds were approved by the voters specifically for that purpose, and cannot legally be diverted. It's also your moral obligation to support the Redland farmers and growers in our community, a unique and valuable asset to our county.

Save our agriculture, save open spaces and wetlands, SAVE REDLAND AGRICULTURAL AREA.

Pat Bonner Milone
Redland resident and advocate

P.S. And note, that once again, an issue so vital to the EXTREME SW community of Redalnd will be discussed at the EXTREME FAR EAST of the DOWNTOWN MIAMI government center ... instead of the SOUTH DADE Government Center! This in itself is inappropriate and immoral.

Diane Lawrence said...

I have no business getting into this discussion and I refuse to remain anonymous. I am amazed at how quickly the quality of life has exited Miami-Dade County! The high rises are disgusting, especially around Dadeland and downtown Miami. It's all about profit for developers. The farms in South Dade are incredibly important to this area and to the country. Mayor Gimenez refuses to raise property taxes by one penny and we all suffer from it in one way or another -- unmowed parks, streets in need of repair. His partner in crime, Gov. Rick Scott, and all the conservatives are only interested in enforcing their conservative views and won't raise taxes on the wealthy. So, County Commission, keep the funds to save our farm lands and raise taxes to fund projects like the Ludlam Trail. And, for gosh sakes, don't let MDX build any more roads leading to the Everglades and to South Dade. ENOUGH ALREADY!

Anonymous said...

Thank you Daniella for fighting for Redland and our farmers.