We have been barraged by mailers and phone calls saying “Vote for me.” My inner voice always replies, “Don’t tell me what you promise to do; show me what you have done.” Fortunately, there is a candidate for Palmetto Bay Village Council whose accomplishments and qualifications are indisputable. Henry Clifford has been my Palmetto Bay neighbor for over 35 years and I have seen him repeatedly stand shoulder to shoulder with our neighbors fighting for low-density residential zoning, traffic control, responsible business development and all of the other issues that make our community a desirable place to live.
A retired fire-rescue lieutenant, Henry has spent his entire adult life dealing with life and death issues for the benefit of others. With a master’s degree in plant pathology, Henry has devoted countless hours of his volunteer time to helping make Palmetto Bay a Tree City USA. As chairman of the Palmetto Bay Tree Advisory Committee and member of five other citizen volunteer committees, Henry has always worked to be part of the solution, not part of the problem. He has donated many hours to the improvement of the landscaping of Coral Reef Park. He is now involved in an effort to bring the Fairchild Million Orchid Project to Palmetto Bay.
While most are content doing nothing and then complaining, Henry has actively contributed at numerous council meetings from the very beginning of our village’s existence. He has a solid reputation for civility, even among those with whom he may disagree. His civic involvement did not begin on the day he decided to run for office. He has been working to make Palmetto Bay better since day one. If you want to know what Henry will do, just look at what he has done.
James Woodard, Palmetto Bay
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Vote for Flinn in Palmetto Bay
As a long-time community advocate living in Palmetto Bay, I am very disappointed in the maneuverings occurring in the village’s election process. I know each of the candidates from my community work and cannot help but wonder what is going in our little world.
While I appreciate the efforts of the current council (not entirely, since I find some of them anti-homeowner), I sense that our village has gone from the Village of Parks and a happy family-oriented community to a conflict-ridden Village of Darkness.
I have watched the interaction of the candidates, not only for the past few years, but throughout this campaign season. It goes without saying that Eugene Flinn looks to be excited and wanting to be mayor for all the right reasons. He is experienced and led Palmetto Bay through some rough waters in our early years.
As I listen to the village meetings, I find it sad that so many community activities which made the village a great place to raise my kids have gotten lost in the political shuffle. The bickering and finger pointing between the current council and their friends is childish and just plain stupid.
Our neighborhoods are being hit with break-ins. My car’s tail light was shot with a BB gun narrowly missing me as I loaded the trunk. And congestion along Old Cutler and throughout our community is now at gridlock earlier than ever before. It can only get worse as more density encroaches on our community. How many people, how much traffic and private schools can we endure and still be able to drive to work or accomplish our daily activities as a resident?
From where I sit, Flinn is the only candidate prepared to bring us back to our roots. Eugene understands what it takes to make a community a hometown; he is a fiscal conservative; he is a forward thinker with the energy to build coalitions with other governmental entities to shape and strengthen the village’s future.
Flinn has great discernment and had great outcomes for us when he was our founding leader.
Suz Rice, Palmetto Bay
Vote for Bell in Cutler Bay
I urge all of my neighbors, to vote based on your own experiences and research versus the slander and misrepresentation flying around in the Cutler Bay elections. Many nasty things are being said in this campaign for mayor. Recently some of us received a poisonous discourse in the form of a letter against Councilwoman Peggy Bell from our outbound mayor.
To this discourse I would like to retort and share my personal experiences and observations over the course of the last couple of years as a Cutler Bay resident. Firstly, on several occasions I have witnessed Bell meeting with residents and working late into the night on her personal time to address town issues of crime, police response time, traffic control, code enforcement, and town development. Moreover, Ms. Bell is one of the few politicians I have ever met that distributes her direct cell phone number to residents as to open the lines of communication between us and our elected leaders. Not only does she provide a manner in which to call her, she readily and happily answers calls on the weekends, weeknights, and during the business day. To this end I recall calling her late on a Sunday regarding a traffic accident resulting from reckless driving in our community. Not only did she answer, she engaged town management and police command staff to ensure that the interest of our community was served, even in the off hours of the weekend.
It is clear to me that Bell is at our service and disposition as a leader of the community. It is clearer to me that she embodies the qualities for a mayor we would all like to see: that of a concerned neighbor and fellow citizen. However, I implore my neighbors, to inquire for yourselves and challenge the sources of information currently circulating in our community. We owe it to ourselves to elect officials based on our own knowledge and experience, not on the opinion, interest, or bias of others.
Robert J. Fortunato Jr., Cutler Bay
Bell had good reason to skip debate
Peggy Bell did not debate opponent Art Nanni at the October meeting of Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay. According to a quote from her, she didn’t think it would be “fair.” I have known Bell since incorporation days, when I met her going door to door, to tell citizens about the possibility of incorporation. She asked me to put an “I Love Cutler Bay” sign on my lawn and to vote for incorporation. I did both, and have participated on official town advisory committees, ever since, including the logo selection committee, the Charter Revision Commission and currently the Parks and Recreation committee. Bell is our committee’s Town Council liaison.
I have never known Bell to shy away from communication with our citizens, night or day, weekday or weekends and while she is on vacation, all because she wants to be a public servant. In fact, Peggy canceled her vacation flight to debate Art Nanni on Aug. 7 at an event sponsored by the Economic Development Council, which I attended along with several hundred others. She debated Art Nanni again at Cutler Bay Business Association on Oct. 9.
Here’s why I think she may have declined the invitation from Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay. According to the Florida Department of State, Art Nanni, Peggy’s opponent, in the upcoming mayoral race, is listed as an inactive member and director of the Concerned Citizens.
All candidates have to choose their appearances to make the best use of their time and also consider where they feel that they will have an unbiased forum. I can imagine that it might be difficult for Bell to think that she is debating in an unbiased environment, when Art Nanni, her opponent, is a member and leader in the group sponsoring the debate, whether currently active or not.
Teresa “Terry” C. Long, Cutler Bay
Caribbean Blvd. detour was bad idea
The diversion of traffic onto Ridgeland Drive for the Caribbean Boulevard reconstruction project is astonishingly ill-advised. According to your People’s Transportation Plan, of 2011, approximately 2,700 vehicles traveled between Franjo Road and 87th Avenue on Caribbean Boulevard every day. To have selected Ridgeland Drive, a winding, narrow street with no sidewalks, is beyond belief. This decision have ruined what has to be the number one non-park area in this town that people exercise safely in. At any given moment before the construction project it was not uncommon to see people walking, jogging, biking, rollerblading, walking dogs, walking to school bus stops, as they went around Whispering Pines Lake. Why would anyone have chosen a street like this with no sidewalks and no place to go when traffic is zipping past trying to make up time, and with a sharp blind corner?
Town officials are elected to provide safe decisions for their community, not to build legacies to be remembered by. Somebody in authority must step up and make proper decisions. We are weeks away from Halloween, and the diverted traffic will directly impact the Halloween festivities this year. Last year we had 4,000 children visit because this was such a safe place for Halloween. But now it looks like we will be dealing with the Halloween horror nights of diverted traffic weaving through the children. We all hope that we don’t just have to deal with a detour of a detour for just one night.
In December, the community comes together for a Holiday Hayride for girl scouts and families, and a golf-cart light parade. The idea of children on Christmas morning enjoy their new toys or riding their new bikes with the traffic as it is will not be happening this year.
Are town officials waiting for someone to be hit by a car before they do something!
The town must find better solutions for detours that are safer. That is why they were elected. If not, maybe it’s time to elect new officials to make proper decisions for people’s safety.
Randy Erion, Cutler Bay
Vote for Kraft in Pinecrest
After living in Pinecrest for 32 years, serving on the original Pinecrest Charter Committee and supporting incorporation, I have never felt the need to get involved in village politics. Recently, District 2 Village Council candidate Doug Kraft visited my wife and me in our home to solicit our vote in the upcoming election. We liked what we heard and saw. Kraft, with a solid record of public and military service, has a lovely family with five children, five pets, and his wife is a respected medical doctor. At the end of our discussion we permitted Kraft to place his election sign in our front yard.
When we returned from a short vacation, we found a sign for Kraft’s opponent, Jeffrey “Doc” Solomon, placed next to Kraft’s sign without our authorization. I’ve also noticed that a significant number of Kraft’s signs that I observed in the past have been disappearing from front yards throughout the area. All of that notwithstanding, what prompted this letter is what Solomon printed on his Facebook, alleging twice that Kraft has “no personal integrity”.
Like many Americans I am disheartened at the low level that political discourse has sunk to in America with an “attack dog political mentality” permeating Washington, Tallahassee and most states. I am particularly troubled to see it here in my hometown. I don’t know Kraft very well, but I am a good enough judge of character to know that he is not lacking integrity. I hope Pinecrest voters will send a strong message in this election and to future Pinecrest candidates that we are more interested in honesty and substance then we are in personal, demeaning attacks.
Merrett R. Stierheim, Pinecrest
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