South Florida Business Journal, Electric Vehicle charging spaces could be mandated in Miami-Dade developments

The Miami-Dade County Commission on Jan. 23 will consider mandating a certain number of electric vehicle charging spaces in new developments.

The ordinance would apply in the unincorporated areas of the county, which cover a significant portion of the population, and most of the undeveloped land. Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who sponsored the ordinance, said it would apply to developments submitted after the rule is passed, not retroactively. The rule would not apply to single-family homes, duplexes and townhouses, which all usually have access to electrical outlets near parking spaces, or to religious buildings.

There were 361,307 electric and plug-in vehicle sales in the United States in 2018, an 81 percent increase from the year before, according to Inside EVs. Telsa was responsible for over 50 percent of those sales, with Chevrolet in second. That was still less than 2 percent of overall U.S. auto sales in 2018.

Some automotive analysts project that electric vehicle sales will grow rapidly as more automakers, such as Volkswagen, General Motors, Hyundai and Ford, electrify a larger portion of their lineups. A study by the Edison Electric Institute and the Institute for Electric Innovation forecasted that 2 million electric vehicles will be on the road by early 2021, and that number will exceed 18 million by 2030. There were 1 million electric vehicles on the road at the end of 2018.

“We need to move more to electric vehicles,” Levine Cava said. “It’s good for the environment. It reduces our carbon footprint. More people are interested in electric charging and the more infrastructure we have, the better.”

One of the biggest barriers to electric vehicle adoption is the lack of charging stations. For people who live in complexes or towers, it’s hard to have a charging station installed in a parking area they don’t own. Mandating charging stations would give many more people the option to purchase an electric vehicle.

The lack of charging stations is also an issue in office buildings and business parks, where some employees might want to plug in their vehicles while they’re at work.

Initially, all projects that require nine or fewer off-street parking spaces must have at least one electric vehicle charging space or one electric vehicle-ready space, meaning full circuitry is installed so a charger could be connected at a later time. Projects with 10 or more off-street parking spaces must have at least 10 percent of their spaces ready for electric vehicle charging.

By Jan. 1, 2022, the requirement for the latter group would increase to 20 percent, but only after a public hearing confirms that there is enough demand from electric car users.

The ordinance doesn’t mandate that the electric vehicle-ready spaces have chargers installed, only that they be wired for a charger. However, vehicles can still charge at a lower voltage through a regular electrical outlet.

“Hopefully, it will create more excitement once the infrastructure is visible and it will be an incentive for people to think about charging up with electric cars,” Levine Cava said.

In addition, the ordinance would create official county signage for electric vehicle parking/charging spaces and establish traffic penalties for non-electric vehicles that park in them. Violators could have their vehicles towed and be subject to a non-moving violation fine.

Following the Jan. 23 vote, the ordinance must pass a committee hearing and then have another vote before the County Commission.

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Miami Herald: “Miami-Dade County can help federal workers caught in the shutdown”

President Trump’s shutdown has shed light on the troubling reality that millions of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. The shutdown, now the longest in history, has federal employees unable to cover basic costs. Putting aside monthly reserves for emergencies has been a financial nonstarter for too many.

While the new year often means resolutions and an opportunity to start anew, for 800,000 federal employees and their families, the shutdown has brought financial havoc.

What does this mean for our federally employed neighbors, family members and friends? They now need to rely on the financial support of family, max out credit cards or negotiate with landlords to cover rent and buy the basic necessities.

With the shutdown likely to continue, local government and nonprofits must play a role. We can lift each other up when resources are properly deployed and educational tools are put to use. Moments of crisis can also be a time to reflect on how to make financial stability a reality for every family.

In recent years, I have worked to create children’s savings accounts and promoted lending circles as viable and flexible tools for families to save for emergencies. Many of these ideas have been vetted by economic development researchers and recommended in a 2016 Prosperity Initiatives Action Plan, which was prepared in response to my legislation on Miami-Dade County Commission.

While the shutdown is inexcusable, it reminds us to revisit the asset-building solutions proposed in that report. Let’s implement these common-sense solutions to make our families more economically resilient.

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WLRN: “A New Study On Gender Pay Gap In Miami, Female Chef Panel & Meet PALO! On Live From The 305”

A new report called, “Women in Miami-Dade County Economic Participation, Opportunity and Equity 2018,” from Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center, found that women still make 15 percent less than men in Miami-Dade County, although efforts have been made to decrease the gender pay gap. Dr. Maria Ilcheva, the lead researcher of the report, and Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 8 Daniella Levine Cava explained on Sundial which fields the gap remains large and where progress can still be made.

Next, Sundial was joined by a panel of professional women in the culinary industry. Chef Adrianne Calvo is the owner of Adrianne’s Vineyard Restaurant in Miami. She wrote her fist cookbook as a teenager, opened her first restaurant at the age of 22 and hosts “Maximum Flavor” on NBC 6. Chef Brielle Frantelleone is the executive pastry chef of Chez Bon Bon on Miami Beach, was the recipient of a 2007 culinary James Beard scholarship and attended the Culinary Institute of America in New York City. They talked about the state of the workplace for female chefs in South Florida, how they got to their place in the business, shared some survival tips and where they see the future of the industry.

Also, we have another installment of Sundial’s Live from the 305 music series. We introduce our audience to the band behind our theme music:  the tropical Latin Funk band PALO! Steve Roitstein, keyboards player, and Leslie Cartaya, lead vocals,  share some memories of the band’s 15 years playing in Miami and how they put together the music for the show. PALO! will be performing at Ball and Chain on Friday.

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Caribbean Today: “County Commissioner Levine Cava Encourages all Eligible Returning Citizens to Register to Vote on Tuesday, the day Amendment 4 goes Into Effect”

MIAMI-DADE – Miami-Dade County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava went live on Facebook on Jan. 7 and shared the following statement encouraging all eligible returning citizens to register to vote on Tuesday, the day the Voter Restoration Amendment 4 goes into effect: 

“This is a time of celebration for all of us who value our great democracy and the constitutional right of every American citizen. Together we are creating a more inclusive democracy for everyone. I want every Floridian who is eligible to vote, to register to vote. If you are a returning citizen who has completed all portions of your sentence, I encourage you to register to vote on Tuesday. It is your right. It is your responsibility.” 

Eligible citizens can register to vote online at www.registertovoteflorida.gov.  

Watch Commissioner Levine Cava’s video here: https://www.facebook.com/CommissionerCava/publishing_tools/?section=PUBLISHED_POSTS&sort[0]=published_time_descending

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Miami Herald: “Miami-Dade women were closing the earnings gap with men. But has that progress stalled?”

Progress in closing the yawning chasm between the earnings of men and women appears to have stalled in Miami-Dade in the past couple of years, even as economic conditions for women improved marginally.

Those findings come from a new report commissioned by the county government and conducted by Florida International University’s Metropolitan Center. The study, based on U.S. Census Bureau data, found persistent and large gaps in the earnings of men and women across virtually all occupations in the county, from office and retail workers to engineers and lawyers.

In a perhaps even more worrisome conclusion, FIU’s researchers found that the gap in earnings between men and women grew since the university’s first study for the county on the subject two years ago. That initial study found that men earned 13 percent more than women in full-time jobs, an improvement over the 15-percent gap that existed in Miami-Dade in 2000.

The reason is related to overall wage stagnation, said the report’s principal author, FIU researcher Maria Ilcheva. While women’s earnings in Miami-Dade rose slightly in all occupations, men’s earnings grew a bit more. That difference accounts for the widened gap, she said.

The Miami-Dade earnings gap is somewhat narrower than the difference in earnings between men and women across the United States. Last year, the Pew Research Center reported that nationally women make 82 percent of what men do, a figure its researchers said has remained relatively stable for 15 years.

But a closer look at the local gap by FIU raises some troubling comparisons. The gender gap is even higher in professional occupations, as much as 47 percent in the legal field, and has in some cases grown over recent years, the report found.

Ilcheva stressed she’s not ready to say overall progress on closing the gender pay gap has stopped or is headed in reverse in Miami-Dade. She said such a broad conclusion would require more than two years of data. The report is based on 2016 Census Bureau data, the latest available at the time of its drafting, Ilcheva said.

Her research team has now started analyzing 2017 Census Bureau data in preparation for a third report later this year that may clarify the direction of the trend, Ilcheva said.

Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who sponsored the legislation funding the studies, said the persisting gaps underscore the need to understand the trend and shape an appropriate response.

“I don’t think we can rest on any laurels,” she said. “What’s important is shining a light on the fact that this gap still exists.”

The new report does highlight some positive trends, but also outlines the difficulties involved in figuring out the reasons for the persisting lag and coming up with solutions.

Women continue catching up to men in educational attainment. Miami-Dade women are now slightly outpacing men in graduating from college, the report notes. Just over 28 percent of women in the county now have bachelor’s degrees or higher, compared to 27.6 percent of men. Nationwide, one-third of U.S. adults had a bachelor’s degree or higher in 2016, according to the Census Bureau.

More young women, meanwhile, are choosing to study business, science and engineering, fields with higher pay scales than the careers in education, social and health assistance and the arts that most women with college degrees in Miami-Dade have elected in the past. The report says that of women with college degrees, 37.5 percent have degrees in science, engineering and related fields. That represents a significant increase, according to a chart in the report, though it does not specify how much. The percentage of female college graduates with degrees in business and the arts and humanities was flat compared to previous years.

But both those positives come with large caveats. Most of Miami-Dade’s women with college degrees still work in the lower-paying arts, education and humanities fields, which helps explain a portion of the persisting earnings gap, the report says.

And the higher the career pay scale, the report found, the bigger the gender earnings gap is. The report suggests the gaps are especially acute in some elite professional jobs in Miami-Dade. In law, women earn a median of $61,782, a full 47 percent less than men. In professional, scientific and management services, the gap was 27 percent, or a median of $33,038 for women and $45,500 for men.

That suggests that closing the educational gap by itself won’t solve the problem, and that continuing bias by employers may help explain the earnings gap’s stubborn persistence, Ilcheva said in an interview.

“Yes, there is a generational change that’s occurring,” Ilcheva said, referring to the growing interest among women in pursuing business and so-called STEM fields. “I don’t want to throw a bucket of cold water on that. But if you look at the occupations and earnings for business and engineering, there is still a large gap.”

In 2016, the most recent year for which data was available, women with bachelor’s degrees made 82 cents for every dollar earned by men with college degrees in Miami-Dade. The median for women was $51,908, compared with $76,662 for men. That’s a 32-percent gap, up from 27 percent in 2010, the report says.

The largest gap was in management, business, science and the arts, where men made 25.8 percent more than women. The smallest gap was in sales and office work, where men made 14.6 percent more.

The report pointedly avoids an explanation for the persisting gaps, noting that a lack of data on causes makes it hard to develop an explanation.

Some critics of efforts to address the earnings gap argue that it merely reflects choices by women to take less-demanding jobs, work fewer hours or eschew overtime or, in the case of professional jobs, to favor a “mommy track” that allows time off for child-rearing but brings lower compensation.

Ilcheva said an equally valid view may be that women confront a “motherhood penalty” imposed by employers who elect to pay them less to begin with, on the assumption they will be taking time off to have children or want to spend more time at home.

Other contributing factors for the overall earnings gap noted in the report include the fact that higher rates of women than men don’t work, and that most working women in Miami-Dade have part-time jobs.

“The only agreement that exists is that there isn’t a single reason for the gap,” Ilcheva said.

The Miami-Dade County Commission launched an effort to study the earnings gap issue locally in 2015, under an ordinance sponsored by Levine Cava. The reports go to the Miami-Dade Commisson for Women to develop recommendations to address it.

So far, that’s resulted in resolutions urging county agencies to do more to encourage and support STEM education and careers for young women and efforts to ensure gender equity in county contracting, among other initiatives.

The county has focused its efforts on its own workforce and vendors because the state bars it from passing legislation regulating wages, Levine Cava said. She noted the report found some success in lowering a longstanding salary gap between male and female county employees, from 14 percent in 2016 to 11.3 in 2018. One successful tactic has been making it easier for employees to highlight advanced degrees, which trigger higher pay.

When it comes to the private sector, Levine Cava said, she would like to see employers make formal, voluntary commitments to pay equity among men and women and monitor those efforts to ensure they work.

Ilcheva said the newest report suggests even more must be done to address persisting or even growing earnings gaps.

When Congress passed the Equal Pay Act prohibiting wage discrimination more than 50 years ago, she noted, the earnings gap was three times as large. At the gradual rate the Miami-Dade gender earnings gap had been narrowing as of two years ago, she noted, it would have taken women 30 years to catch up to men.

The question now, she said, is whether that will take even longer if that already slow progress is stalling.

“Obviously the gap has closed, but the fact that it still persists speaks to that it’s not just a matter of the occupation women choose, but that it needs a more conscious effort by employers and others to close that gap,” Ilcheva said.

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Miami’s Community Newsapers: “New nature-inspired play spaces open at Debbie Curtin Park!”

On Friday, Dec. 14, Miami-Dade Parks Director Maria I. Nardi and Miami-Dade County District 8 Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava gathered at Debbie Curtin Park, 22821 SW 112 Ave., Miami, to officially dedicated new recreation amenities designed to provide a more adventurous and eco-minded public play space for youth.  They were joined by the late Debbie Curtin’s husband Dan and family; Palm Glades Academy Principal Dr. Laura Ferreira Vesga and student representatives; Parks and District 8 staff, and neighborhood families.

The new development is part of Miami-Dade Parks’ massive shift from traditional playgrounds to using nature-inspired components in its designs. The aim is to encourage children to spend less time indoors on computers and watching television, and spend more time in Miami-Dade’s beautiful parks, where they can be active and let their imaginations soar! Featured is a new 2,900 square-foot children’s playground, with a play mound, double slides, swings, a climbing net and ropes, and musical instruments to play, among others. The playground rests on an engineered wood-fiber safety surface and is surrounded by “green” inspired looping pathways and nature play pockets with native landscaping and butterfly-attracting plants. There is also a new 6,000 square-foot basketball court, as well as an ADA accessible drinking fountain, trash receptacles, benches, and other seating areas.

Studies show that children exposed to green spaces have less stress, while being in natural environments encourages more physical activity, improves inquisitiveness and alertness, and helps to foster a sense of place and community. Access to green spaces, and even a view of green settings, was found to enhance peace, self-control, and self-discipline in inner-city youth. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, more time spent outdoors is related to reduced-rates of nearsightedness, also known as myopia, in children and adolescents.

“I am delighted to see these new nature-inspired recreation features at Debbie Curtin Park. This park is well on its way to becoming a wellspring for community activity. I look forward to seeing more residents and their children visiting this park daily for exercise, relaxation, and rejuvenation,” said Commissioner Levine Cava.

“Park development like this is focused on bettering the lives of people and the environment. These unique park spaces are inspiring residents and their children to be active and share special moments in the great outdoors, while experiencing the living ecosystems of green grass, plants, trees, flowers, and abundant wildlife,” said Parks Director Nardi.

The cost for this new development is approximately $476,000. Funding was provided by the Building Better Communities General Obligation Bond (BBC-GOB) Program and Impact Fees.

Other “nature-play” playgrounds in the Miami-Dade Parks system include: Tom Sawyer’s Play Island at Amelia Earhart Park, Country Lake Park, Greynolds Park (West site), Kings Meadow Park, Norman and Jean Reach Park, and Sunkist Park. Currently in the works are Biscayne Shores and Gardens Park. Future development will include Serena Lakes Park, Forest Lakes Park, and Camp Matecumbe.

Formerly known as Palm Glades Park, the 9.78-acre park was renamed and opened in 2010 as Debbie Curtin Park in memory of the late Team Metro Director Debbie Curtin. In 2016, the park added a one half-mile long walking path, a parking area, improved drainage, and Live Oak and flowering trees.

For directions, visit the Debbie Curtin Park web page or call 305-257-0310 (Homestead Air Reserve Park).

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