Valentine’s Day week is big for Coral Gables, immigrants
Love is in the air. But just because it’s Valentine’s Day this week doesn’t mean we’ve taken a break from our love/hate relationship with local politics, right?
This week is chock full of events, government meetings and fundraisers — ending with nothing less than the much-anticipated (for some, dreaded) public hearing and Miami-Dade county commission come-to-Jesus meeting on Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s 180-degree turnaround on detainer requests for illegal immigrants. If last Tuesday is any indication of what we can expect, there will be dozens of people ready to blast the mayor for his decision to kowtow to President Donald Trump threats against sanctuary cities.
Read related story: Miami-Dade: Esteban Bovo cuts public speech on i-word
As always, please keep sending news about meetings, campaign rallies, political club powwows and other events to firstname.lastname@example.org. Show the Cortadito Calendar some love.
Oh, and happy Valentine’s Day.
MONDAY — Feb. 13
6 p.m. — A bunch of lawyers and Gene Prescott, the guy who owns the company that runs the Biltmore Hotel, will have a fundraiser for Coral Gables Commissioner Jeannett Slesnick, who is running for mayor. The legal hosts are Roland Sanchez-Medina, Tomas Gamba, Araly Herrera, Leslie Lott, Carlos Garcia, Ben Reid, Brian Barakat, Bruce Jay Colan, Gene Hernandez (once president of the Cuban American Bar Assocition), judicial kingmaker Hector Lombana and Steve Zack, former president of the American Bar Assocation (2010-2011). The list is illustrious if only because Ladra doesn’t think there’s one single land use attorney (read: lobbyist) among them. These are all business mergers and acquisitions, personal injury, criminal defense and intellectual property lawyers. Naturally. This is Jeannett Slesnick, we’re talking about…not the most development friendly elected, ya know? The party is on to about 7:30 at — where else? — Prescott’s digs, the Biltmore Hotel, 1200 Anastasia Ave.
6 p.m. — Meanwhile, also in Coral Gables: Residents will get their first community meeting on the creation of a South Dixie Highway Master Plan, a blueprint to find development and redevelopment opportunities along the 2.5 miles of U.S. 1 in the City Beautiful (more on that later). This meeting at the Holiday Inn, 1350 S. Dixie Hwy., is only the first of three meetings, so Slesnick can miss it for her shindig above. The other meetings are also at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Shannon Rolle Center, 3750 S. Dixie, and Thursday back at the Holiday Inn.
6:30 p.m. — Looks like Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez cancelled on the Women’s Republican Club of Miami Federated. The official reason is a schedule conflict. Unofficially: He doesn’t want to have to talk about his about-face on the federal detention requests (even though it would be a mostly friendly and Trump supportive crowd). But now the guest of the monthly meeting Monday is Allen J. Thompson of Americans for Fair Tax (fairtax.org or flfairtax.org), a non-partisan 501 C(4) organization. Thompson will talk about the FairTax Plan, which advocates for tax reform, including the replacement of income tax with a national sales tax. Members of the club can attend for free, guests must pay $10 — which pays for the “complimentary” appetizera at John Martin’s Irish Pub, 253 Miracle Mile.
TUESDAY — Feb. 14
9 a.m. — Coral Gables Commissioners will meet to consider the North Ponce Infill regulations for redevelopment between Douglas Road and Ponce de Leon in North Gables, to create a more visible “connection.” These regulations, by the way, allow for increased density of up to 75 units per acre. Is this going to encourage a condo canyon to North Ponce? There’s also an update on the status of the retirement board time certain at 9:45. There’s also an amendment to the city code removing the human resources director from the retirement board and add the director of labor relations and risk management. The commission meets at City Hall, 405 Biltmore Way.
WEDNESDAY — Feb. 15
6 p.m. — That second South Dixie Highway Master Plan meeting, again, is at the Rolle Center, 3750 S. Dixie.
6:30 p.m. — SAVE, formerly SAVE Dade, will have a political powwow on Wednesday for LGBT activism in a post-Trump America. “On November 9th, SAVE promised that despite the rise of Donald Trump, we would mount an all-out fight to keep Florida moving forward on LGBTQ equality,” reads the Facebook invite. “2017 presents a huge [cute!] opportunity to lay the groundwork to win back Florida – and SAVE knows how to win here, But first we want to hear from you.” The human rights organization boasts having won 14 pro-equality seats and getting pro-equality legislation passed at dozens of towns and cities across the state. But there is much work to do, especially now. The townhall titled “Save Your Rights in the Trump Era,” is at CIC, 1951 NW 7th Ave., Suite 600.
THURSDAY — Feb. 16
5:30 p.m. — The elected leaders in Cutler Bay must got money burning a hole in their collective pocket. They are having a workshop Thursday on the “visioning” for the town for the next two years and, apparently, that includes the “acquisition of property,” (more on that later) according to the agenda, which is pretty much that. One line: “Visioning for next two years — acquisition of property.” The meeting is at Town Hall, 10720 Caribbean Blvd.
6 p.m. — The people who love the South Dade Pine Rocklands will have their monthly meeting at the Tropical Audobon Society, 5530 Sunset Dr., to discuss their ongoing efforts to save the little patch of environmentally endandered land near Zoo Miami.
6 p.m. — Last chance to have a say in the shaping of a new “Coral Gables Corridor” at the last town hall on the South Dixie Highway Master Plan at the Holiday Inn, 1350 South Dixie Hwy.
6 p.m. — In Miami Beach, residents are getting increasingly organized against a City Hall that seems indifferent to their demands. Miami Beach United will have a panel discussion Thursday to let residents know about their “rights to know” what decisions and plans are being made by their city electeds and the administration. Speakers include former City Commissioner Jorge Exposito, Stop The Train Chairman Robert Landsburgh, activist Mark Needle, former commission candidate Mark Samuelian and Glenda Phipps of the North Beach Neighborhood Alliance. It’s at the Miami Beach Woman’s Club, 2401 Pine Tree Drive.
FRIDAY — Feb. 17
10 a.m. — This is it. We saved the best for last and end the week with the meeting to end all meetings — the Miami-Dade County Commission meeting to ratify or reject the mayor’s immigration detainer requests directive. If there is a quorum, that is. There are rumors already that there won’t be — which seems like a strategic move if they already know there won’t be. Was that the plan all along? Every single commissioner should make an effort to be there, whether they support the mayor’s measure or not. Every district deserves to be represented in a matter that affects so many lives. Ladra can’t imagine that commissioners would be so descarado as to not come to the meeting and force a cancellation due to not having a quorum. Especially after so many people were not allowed to speak last week. They’re going to delay them again? Not smart. Expect this meeting to happen and to go long as both the pro-immigrant side and the pro-Trump side finally have their say. County commissioners could send a strong message to the mayor if they vote to do anything other than what he said — and they should. If only to send that message that he cannot act in a totalitarian fashion. It is one thing to be a strong mayor, and it is another entirely to be a tyrant. Even Commissioner Sally Heyman, who at first had supported the mayor’s actions, seemed to have an about-face of her own Sunday on WPLG’s This Week In South Florida, where she said she hoped someone would sue the county and force the decision to be made in the courts. It’s going to be an interesting way to end the week.