August saw the former Miami-Dade Mayor adding another $250,000. That pushes Penelas over the $1.4 million mark since April as he mulls a run at his old job. The committee maintains nearly all of that money after expenses.Continue reading
We are just a little more than a year away from electing a new mayor for Miami-Dade County.
The election will take place in August of 2020 and there will be a crowded field of candidates, including former mayor Alex Penelas and current county commissioners Xavier Suarez and Esteban Bovo.
One candidate who has declared and is running hard is County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava.
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County officials voted unanimously Wednesday to move forward legislation supporting the start of hemp production in Miami-Dade County.Continue reading
Imagine a world where a calendar year for a working woman lasted 457 days while a calendar year for a working man remained at 365 days. Even if the woman and man were given the same pay, one could imagine the financial struggles that the woman would face if she were forced to stretch her annual salary over an additional three months.Continue reading
Over the last year, a number of studies and local media reports have shown how the cost of living in Miami-Dade continues to rise while wages remain stagnant. Recently, the Herald profiled Ana Rodríguez, who survived decades as a political prisoner in Cuba only to face foreclosure in Miami. At a summit on Poverty Solutions in December, hosted by Catalyst Miami (the organization I founded 25 years ago to help solve problems like this one), residents, community leaders, academics and public officials agreed that housing affordability is at a critical crossroads in Miami-Dade.Continue reading
Officials and the public called for action Tuesday following the release of a report that provided increased evidence that water from cooling canals for Florida Power & Light Co.’s Turkey Point nuclear plant is polluting the Biscayne Aquifer and Biscayne National Park.
Increased levels of radioactive materials in Biscayne Bay, incredibly high salinity levels and harmful algae bloom caused by other chemicals and heightened temperature levels pose a serious threat to the fragile coastal ecosystem in the area and the freshwater drinking supply that serves more than 3 million people in the greater Miami area, according to the latest findings of the Miami-Dade County Department of Environmental Resource Management.
At their regular meeting Tuesday, county commissioners and county Mayor Carlos Gimenez requested meetings and more detailed progress reports on the issue and said they are committed to securing a long-term solution, as they discussed the latest report and also reviewed and adopted another they had commissioned from the University of Miami.
“The reality is that water is a no-touch subject in our county,” Commissioner Rebeca Sosa said. “We as a county have to protect the most important treasure that we have.”
Gimenez said the cooling canal system is one that would not be approved today or for two new reactors FPL has gained state approval to build, and said it is time to move forward with a long-term solution and “enter the 21st century.”
Public speakers — representing environmental groups, interested businesses and the general public — urged the county to issue a notice of violation to the utility to compel steps to halt and remediate the damage, which the studies trace to FPL being allowed to modify equipment starting in 2012 that “uprated” Turkey Point to increase production by 15 percent.
“This study confirms that FPL miscalculated the impact uprating Turkey Point’s reactors to generate more power would cause. So this self-inflicted emergency has caused uncontrollable temperatures and an algal bloom and very high salinities,” Laura Reynolds of the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy said in statement that closely echoed her comments to the commission. “And FPL’s self-prescribed remedy for this emergency, sanctioned by the [Florida] Department of Environmental Protection and the South Florida Water Management, has now moved that plume into the surface waters of a national park further violating the law.”
State Rep. Jose Javier Rodriguez, D-Miami, issued a statement saying it is time for federal intervention, calling upon the Environmental Protection Agency to take emergency remedial action in light of the county’s finding that levels of tritium, an isotope of hydrogen being used as a tracer to track the cooling canal water, is present in Biscayne Bay at 215 times the levels typically found in the ocean.
“Enough is enough,” Rodriguez said. “For years our state regulators have failed to take seriously the threat to our public safety, to our drinking water and to our environment posed by FP&L’s actions at Turkey Point. Evidence revealed this week of radioactive material in Biscayne Bay is the last straw, and I join those calling on the U.S. EPA to step in and do what our state regulators have so far refused to do — protect the public.”
FPL has been working with county environmental officials since October under a consent agreement reached after the county issued a notice of violation regarding pollution outside of the power plant’s property.
Answering questions from Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, who had requested the county report in December, DERM Assistant Director Lee Hefty said preliminary tests have been completed on the first of a planned series of extraction pumps intended to pull the hypersalinated water from the Biscayne Aquifer to be disposed of via deep well injection.
FPL estimates that Turkey Point spews out 600,000 pounds of salt a day, while the South Florida Water Management District said it may be closer to 3 million pounds.
Further enforcement action appears likely, Hefty told the commissioners, and another consent agreement could be reached if FPL again expresses willingness to cooperate.
At Tuesday’s meeting, FPL environmental services director Matt Raffenberg said the utility is truly behind the consent agreement and has worked hard to already reduce the salinity and algae in the cooling canals to 2015 levels.
“As a company, we have been very focused on this as far back as 2010 to collect the data so we could make informed decisions about how to improve the water quality in the canals and the groundwater,” he told the commissioners.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava toured the county’s Coordinated Victims Assistance Center Monday. She wanted to showcase how $7 million in tax funds from the county are spent to help domestic violence victims.
Violet Felipe-Diaz, a domestic violence victim advocate for CVAC, says about 350 victims sign in per month in Miami-Dade — and 85 percent of those victims are women.
“Understand that these ladies get into an abusive relationship, they leave, and then they go back. So that’s why we get so many returning clients,” Felipe-Diaz says.
CVAC offers these victims about 35 services free of charge — protective orders, divorce filings and mental health counseling, to list a few. They’ve even repaired automobiles.
“We hear all the time the abuser put sugar in her tank to keep her from going to work,” says Felipe-Diaz.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Levine Cava says she’s impressed with the amount of services CVAC offers to local victims.
“Help is here. This is a warm, engaging place. Everything is done to make it easy to access,” says Levine Cava.
The commissioner says this visit was meant to demonstrate how the county is helping women as March — Women’s History Month — comes to a close.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has unveiled a video showcasing her four-day canoeing trip through Everglades National Park called Postcards from the Everglades.
The commissioner was accompanied by her husband and two children, Everglades National Park acting superintendent Bob Krumenaker and Miami-Dade County EcoAdventures lead naturalist Ernie Lynk. The video details the trek through the national park and showcases the beauty and importance of this unique ecosystem.
“The Everglades is one of a kind and so many Miami-Dade residents are unaware that it is in our own backyard,” Commissioner Levine Cava said. “There are countless opportunities to explore the Everglades and develop a robust tourism industry around it, beginning with locals visiting this unique natural resource.”
The video includes “postcards” that explain the importance of the Everglades to local communities and to the entire state. It also underscores the commissioner’s legislative agenda, including the use of Amendment 1 funds for water and endangered land preservation.
“Besides its natural beauty, the health of Everglades National Park is essential to our future. It is the primary source of water for all Miami-Dade County residents and a third of Floridians,” Commissioner Levine Cava said. “I couldn’t think of a better way to mark my installation as county commissioner than by raising awareness about the importance of restoring and protecting this natural resource. We have only one Everglades and it is up to us to protect it and ensure that future generations have the same access to its beauty and resources.
“This video highlights these issues and I hope that it will bring attention to the importance of the Everglades in our community,” the commissioner explained. “I would like to thank the County Information and Outreach Department for putting this beautiful video together.”
Postcards from the Everglades. can be found in the February edition of the District 8 newsletter, on the Commissioner’s Facebook and Twitter pages or on YouTube.
Miami-DadeCounty Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava, elected to the District 8 seat in fall 2014, formally opened her office at the South Dade Government Center on Saturday, Feb. 21, with a high school band as well as many guests and supporters attending.
Commissioner Levine Cava, who had promised during her campaign to return the District 8 office to that location, was clearly excited about the event and its significance. The office had been in a private shopping center the previous four years.
“It was really such an honor and privilege to be elected to serve this great district, and now we’ve brought our offices back to South Dade, more in the center of the district, and we’re trying to bring back services to South Dade,” she said.
“We want to make sure that the people of South Dade get their fair share and today is a great example. We’re going to see what we can do to bring back some of the critical services to people.”
Levine Cava said that going downtown for services in not convenient and is time consuming.
“We are fortunate, we do have the busway; we do have Metrorail. Those are great services for downtown, but commuting is everyone’s worst nightmare,” she said. “And we’re trying to fix that problem, too. We’re really trying to bring some common sense and real commitment to the transit system.”
The Junior ROTC Color Guard and Jazz Band from Miami Southridge Senior High participated in the event and Palmetto Bay Mayor Eugene Flinn and Cutler Bay’s Mayor Peggy Bell and Vice Mayor Ernie Sochin attended.
“I think it’s really wonderful that Commissioner Levine Cava has brought the office of the County Commission District 8 back to the Government Center,” Mayor Bell said. “That’s an important place for our residents to be able to find all of the services in the same spot. I want to congratulate her. We’re very excited, the Town of Cutler Bay, about working with our commissioner for the betterment of all of the residents of District 8.”
As part of the opening there was a county services fair with nearly two dozen county departments providing information about Public Works, Transit, Animal Services, Miami-Dade Police, Miami-Dade Fire and other areas. The commissioner’s office hosted a light bulb and showerhead exchange, as well, and attendees dropped off book donations for children and incarcerated adults, and cell phones for victims of domestic violence.
Flinn also was pleased with the restoration of the District 8 office to its original location.
“Starting here, reopening these offices down here in Cutler Bay, bringing the county services here is great,” Mayor Flinn said. “If you have an issue, you can go upstairs and meet with your county commissioner, so it’s a one-stop shop again, and that’s good for the residents.”
In her brief speech Commissioner Levine Cava thanked the students of Southridge High School, Homestead Hospital for their sponsorship, and Catering by Les for providing the refreshments.
The District 8 office will be open Monday- Friday from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. To contact the office call 305-378-6677, 305-375-5218 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. In addition to the South Dade Government Center office, Commissioner Levine Cava holds monthly office hours the second Wednesday of every month at Homestead City Hall.