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WATSON ISLAND BATTLE BETWEEN MIAMI BEACH AND MIAMI HEATS UP

MIAMI BEACH CONTENDS THAT CITY OF MIAMI REFUSES TO PROVIDE INFORMATION AND/OR DOCUMENTS ON CAUSEWAY TRAFFIC STUDY - GEE, WHY IS THAT A SURPRISE - GIVEN THAT THE GATEKEEPER FOR THE DOCUMENTS IS CITY ATTORNEY VICTORIA MENDEZ

JANUARY 13, 2016

The battle over the Island Gardens mega-resort and marina project on Watson Island looks like it’s going to heat up again in 2016.


The City of Miami Beach has been upset over the increased traffic bottleneck that they believe will result once the project has been completed, and for almost a year they’ve been arguing back and forth with the City of Miami about this, especially over the failure of the City’s refusal to provide what they claim is important information needed for them to complete their study.


I’ve written in the past about the misbehavior of the City Attorney’s Office, especially citing the 260 page memorandum that Sam Dubbin, the attorney for  the group Coalition Against Causeway Chaos, filed as part of the group’s lawsuit against the city last year detailing a laundry list of misbehavior in complying, or rather, NOT COMPLYING with the various public records request that the group had made. (You can read Dubbin’s memo HERE.)


The issue of a study on how all of the new traffic generated by this mega-resort would impact the southernmost access to Miami Beach has been a central concern, and from June of 2013 thru May of 2014 the Causeway Group attempted to obtain copies of any and all documents that might have included a copy of a new 2013 traffic study done in conjunction with the Related Group’s appearance before the Miami City Commission to announce that they were becoming partners in this project.


Several months later, the Related Group had second thoughts and withdrew from the project, but the study remained a secret until Assistant City Manager Alice Bravo appeared before the Florida Cabinet on May 13, 2014.


It was at that meeting that Bravo revealed for the first time that a new traffic study had been done, and in her brief presentation she made it appear that the study had been conducted by the city.


        “Just to address a number of items that were brought up

        previously, there was a discussion about the need to update

        a traffic study. Traffic study was updated in November of

        2013 that showed a favorable outcome, and more specifically,

        this is a project that was part of our downtown DRI, development

        of regional impact, and also was approved as a MUSP, a major

        use permit, through the City of Miami, and what basically did

        in 2004 is establish this as baseline level traffic condition for

        other projects that may be planned in the future. So in essence,

        the traffic resulting from this project should be accounted for

        and any other future developments.”


On January 13, 2015, Bravo was deposed as part of the Causeway’s group’s public record’s lawsuit, and admitted under oath that the so-called study she spoke about in the quote above was one that she had been handed the morning of the meeting by Natalie Goulet, a representative of the Flagstone Group, who are the developers of the Watson Island Group, and that the study had actually been prepared by the Related Group.

There’s nothing like a traffic study prepared by a major developer with a self-interest in getting all that he can get from the City of Miami to inspire assurances that the public best interests are being protected.


Alice Bravo during her time with the City of Miami has demonstrated on numerous occasions that when given a choice between protecting the public’s interest, or screwing the public every which possible in order to serve the interests of deep pocket developers and the Pay For Play system that was created by former Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff - who received tens of thousands of dollars in donations from Jorge Perez’s many companies - she was always ready with a dildo in her hand to screw the public, unless of course I showed up with a camera to get them in a photo together.

It was the revelation of this supposed traffic study prepared by the Related Group, as well as other evidence of misbehavior and chicanery by the City of Miami that prompted the City of Miami Beach to conduct its own traffic story, and led to the letter sent by Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales to the city on Tuesday.

The letter from Jimmy Morales was sent on January 11th. On the morning of January 12th, this is the response he received from Miami City Attorney Victoria Mendez:

From: "Mendez, Victoria"

Date: January 12, 2016 at 8:35:57 AM EST

Subject: Re: Island Gardens MUSP Modification Request Package Dated 1-14-15

Thank you. I thought we had sent you a response. We will follow up.

Victoria Méndez, City Attorney

If the intention of the City Attorney was to comply with the City of Miami Beach’s request for the documents they asked for she could have sent an email message that read:


         ‘I thought we had sent you a response, but since it seems

        that we might not have done so, attached you will find the

        information you requested from us.’


It’s pretty easy to comply with a request for documents when you acknowledge that the documents requested have already been complied and allegedly sent, but then again this is Victoria Mendez, the City Attorney of Miami we’re talking about here, and she’s demonstrated that when it comes to Florida’s Public Record Law, she uses it to wipe her ass.


It’s Miami, Bitches!

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