When Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Grieco dared to defy Mayor Phillip “Fix It Phil” Levine, the latter lashed out in the media and on an email calling the sole dissenting vote on the 84% stormwater rate increase “playing politics.”
But it wasn’t enough. Like the jilted half of any bad break-up, Levine needs to vent against his former ally and slatemate. And over the weekend, the camera-loving mayor turned to YouTube to drive the point home on video.
This looks like a nasty divorce that just keeps getting worse. Maybe they need couples’ counseling.
“When I ran for office, I promised that you would be a part of every major conversation dealing with the issues that affect the future of Miami Beach,” he said, though Ladra is pretty sure that the residents were not included in any real meaningful conversation about this rate increase.
Is this what he calls being “part of every discussion?” An after the fact, “here’s what I’ve done for you?” Ladra doesn’t remember reading about any community hearings or workshops on the proposed near doubling of stormwater fees.
The Dictator Known As Levine goes on to say that one of those issues is the chronic street flooding that became a campaign issue last year and that “after years of talk and inaction, this year we decided to act.
“Together with five city commissioners and backed by the latest techniques in flood mitigation, we voted to fund one of this nation’s most aggressive efforts to address rising sea levels and chronic flooding,” Levine said.
There’s a little more detail about the plan for 65 pumping stations, 21 injection pumps and the reparation of one-way valves that will help the city return the bay water to the sea.
But the video isn’t really about the project. It’s really about justifying himself and vilifying Grieco for refusing to just accept that the only way to fund the fixes was by raising stormwater rates an average of $7 a month.
At last week’s meeting, and later to Ladra, Grieco said he wants to review the way stormwater fees are applied uniformly to everyone. In other words, the old lady in a $50,000 condo pays the same as the mogul in the $10 million mansion.
Grieco also said that there also might be other places in the budget to look.
Levine, a media mogul millionaire who is not used to anyone questioning him at his business, naturally did not like anyone on the dais bucking his plan. Or maybe even expressing any independent, individual thought.
“It was a very difficult but necessary decision. Because I don’t like raising fees or taxes. and I don’t like going half way to fix problems that have been neglected for to long,” he said on the video.
He forgot to mention that he doesn’t like to be second-guessed.
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