Sunday, October 15, 2006

What's the Real Reason Commissioner Seijas wants her Water-- Could it be... COMMUNISTS?

At first, when commissioner Natacha Seijas voted last week to postpone making a decision on granting a permit to the $480 million Island Gardens project because she wanted the developer to come back and prove to her that it wouldn't suck up too much of the county's precious water supply, we didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Actually, we started out laughing and then began crying uncontrollably because we know that as long as we have representatives like Ms. Seijas, as a business community we will never be taken seriously.

"I am worried that the high volume of fresh water the marina would use might result in the demand for potable drinking water not being met," Ms. Seijas said with a straight face.

So, with that pronouncement, the developers, and representatives from the City of Miami-- including Mayor Manny Diaz and City Manager Pete Hernandez-- were all told, after three consecutive postponements, to come back one more time. To be fair, Ms. Seijas was joined by other commissioners, who, after five years and 40 public meetings, still have questions about the project. But it was her monkey wrench question that caught our attention and, after recovering from our crying jag, made us ask, Why?

Our research has turned up two possible reasons:
  1. Ms. Seijas needs the water for "her" pool and for irrigation. It seems she has some major projects going on in her district in west Dade. Amelia Earhart Park is getting a new sports complex with four soccer fields and a new aquatic center. Of course, the soccer fields will need to be watered heavily to keep them from turning brown and an "aquatic center" by any other description is nothing more than a big freaking pool.
  2. Ms. Seijas, a fervent anti-Communist from way back, secretly doesn't want the Island Gardens project to go through because Chinese Communists will be operating the Shangri-La Hotel, one of two hotels included in the Watson Island development. The luxury Shangri-La Hotel chain is based in Hong Kong and the Miami unit will be the first in the U.S.-- unless of course the developer can't prove his project will suck dry all of her precious water.
Still, you got to give the developers credit for being patient. They've been working diligently since 2001 in getting approvals from various city, county, state and Federal agencies regarding all matters from protecting the environment to protecting the views of a few disgruntled homeowners on Venetian Isle. But it is still not good enough for the obstructionists sitting on the county commission. If this kind of behavior continues, it will become increasingly difficult to attract businesses, large or small, accustomed to conducting their affairs in a professional manner that are not subject to the ditzy whims of a few elected officials. As much as we would love to bestow an MVB Poopy Head Hat to the other commissioners who voted yet again to postpone granting a construction permit, we can't just give them away willy-nilly. No, they have to really earn them or else the "award" becomes meaningless.

So, thanks to her "Dr. Strangelove" take on the matter, we bestow upon Ms. Seijas her second MVB Poopy Head Hat, which, for all those keeping count, puts her at the top of the heap.

(Please note MVB has stated previously that, although we are not enamored with the design of the Island Gardens project-- we think it lacks the defining grand architectural gesture that Miami sorely needs and deserves for that prime piece of public real estate-- our aversion to BS is stronger and we will continue to call it like it is.)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Certainly, there are issues with the Island Gardens Mega Yacht Marina that go way beyond what the folks on the County Commission can comprehend, and Ms. Seijas' comments are beyond the bizzare border. However, what now delays the permits are the environmental and social issues that it poses. All the players have given the green light to the developer except for Miami-Dade County DERM. Some of the issues that plague the project are the destruction of many acres of seagrass habitat, including the critical habitat for Johnson's seagrass (a threatened species as of 1998, under the ESA of 1973), as well as issues concerning water quality,manatees, I-395 traffic, essential fish habitat, vessel traffic (and of course, groundings) and the loss of public access to this area except for those who would like to walk along and stare at rich people with their mega-yachts at the bar.

Clearly, the Commission is a roadblock for the project to move forward, BUT the project in itself is nightmarish for the reasons above. It is time that Miami shed that obnoxious/materialist "me, me, me" facade and get on with saving the very environments that bring people here in the first place. Biscayne Bay already has enough problems with unskilled/uneducated boaters. Biscayne Bay will look even more beautiful speckled with multi-gazillion dollar vessels and "crop circle" propeller scars in it, don't you think??!!