Beautiful Visitor to Our Neighborhood

Enjoying this beautiful visitor to our neighborhood in this time of COVID staying at home.

This is a view of essential micro-environments for wildlife near the Doctors Hospital valet parking lot here in Coral Gables, FL.

PROTECT THE MANATEES: Feeding at Coral Gables Canal, Doctors Hospital

The dense green buffer on the parking lot at Doctors Hospital is a place on the canal for feeding and rest for manatees that seek out warmer and quieter waters during the winter. Many manatees and their calves are seen there during the months and feeding directly off the plants that grow out over the water along the edge of the canal in Coral Gables. This is clear and important environmental benefit for many wildlife along this quiet narrow stretch of the canal that deserves serious permanent protection.

See Miami-Dade County protection guidelines cited below:

Manatees and cold weather manatees live in Miami-Dade County year-round, but during the winter, large numbers of manatees move south or to springs and heated discharges from power plants. Manatees suffer from the cold when water temperatures fall below 68 degrees. They may become ill or die if they are unable to find refuge in warmer waters over a prolonged period. In Miami-Dade, canals and rivers that are influenced by warmer groundwater flows provide refuge for cold-stressed manatees. It is important that manatees be able to reach these shelters and rest in them with little or no disturbance from human activities. The best way to help manatees in cold weather is to avoid disturbing them, watch for signs of stress or injury and notify the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission of any manatee in distress.

Manatee Protection – Miami-Dade County

Neighborhood Light Contamination: DOCTORS HOSPITAL

This is the existing night time light contamination from Doctors Hospital, penetrating through the city-owned valet parking lot and penetrating through a very dense green buffer along the Coral Gables Waterway. The alternation, removal and installation of new landscaping may very significantly increase light contamination to the neighbors. Also, it is not known at this date if the city will allow for additional lighting on the future expanded parking lot after it is sold to Baptist Health, as planned.

Doctors Hospital: No Green Buffer (2008)

These 2008 images show the Coral Gables-owned municipal parking lot #24 that was leased to Doctors Hospital since the late 1980’s. The lease contract requires that the hospital maintain the landscaping, which should hide the view of the building and sustain a green buffer in the neighborhood. Here in 2008 there was neither.

This is suggestive of what the valet parking lot may look like in the future if not carefully managed and overseen by the City of Coral Gables.

Doctors Hospital 2008

Green Buffer Hides Doctors Hospital from Neighbors

Green Buffer, Coral Gables Waterway

This photo shows that the Doctors Hospital buildings are completely out of view of the neighbors; and many neighbors have renovated their houses over the years to favor this natural untouched view of the canal.

It is projected that the hospital will eliminate appreciable green areas, thereby, increasing noise, light pollution, views of parked cars and traffic, buildings with lighting, street lighting, disturbing wildlife, decreasing property values….

Environmental Initiatives Statement: City of Coral Gables

The City of Coral Gables recognizes that sustainability must be a key focus of the City’s policies and services, with targeted investments in energy, water and waste efficiency. Creating this sustainable city requires a commitment of leadership and coordination across the organization. Whereas, the City will consider the environmental impacts of its operations, and develop creative and practical solutions that will minimize our ecological footprint. We will integrate sustainability in the places residents and employees live, work and play, and provide the guidance and resources for our businesses and citizens. The City is committed to strategic and comprehensive sustainability planning throughout all departments and divisions. We will design, build and maintain our facilities, parks and streets to the highest of standards that promote efficiency and safety for our residents, visitors and employees. We will integrate technology to monitor and track our environmental investments, and will review our performance and cost savings. We will support businesses and organizations that are aligned with our mission, and foster relationships and opportunities with key institutions. By advancing these local sustainability initiatives, we will improve the environmental, social and economic health of Coral Gables.

City of Coral Gables – Environmental Initiatives

Coral Gables Waterway Green Neighborhood Buffer

Environment and Wildlife on Coral Gables Waterway

The City of Coral Gables is negotiating the sale of a green area environment and the Doctors Hospital valet parking lot.

In this green buffer environment there resides wildlife including feeding manatees, an occasional alligator, ducks, turtles, herons, fish, among others. Boaters visit the canal that ends at the Pisano Ave Bridge by the University of Miami.

Some typical wildlife residents and visitors to the area for feeding, reproduction and rest are as follows:

Manatee

Protect the Canal Green Environment

A dense green buffer (shown here in part on the Coral Gables Canal near the University of Miami, abutting the Doctors Hospital parking leased from the City of Coral Gables) provides significant community, environmental and ambient benefits to residents and homeowners in the City of Coral Gables.

The many community benefits of the green area:

  • Provide wildlife habitat (birds, fish, reptiles, manatees…) diversity
  • Traffic calming and noise mitigation
  • Impeding views of car traffic, valet parking, buses and ambulances
  • Impeding view of Doctors Hospital buildings
  • Mitigate Doctors Hospital lighting
  • Wind and temperature mitigation in storms and hurricanes
  • CO2 capture
  • Favor canal users’ recreational boating and fishing
  • Bolster local property values

The City of Coral Gables is negotiating the sale of the parking lot land to Baptist Health (Doctors Hospital). This could lead to a reduction in the green environmental buffer for the local residents and visual invasion of Doctors Hospital into the quiet neighborhood.

It is hoped that the City of Coral Gables will fortify the residents by setting clear limits on future land use. Otherwise, this raises questions about the sale of the property.

The city should prohibit the construction of structures (buildings, walls..) of any kind on the land and guarantee the future maintenance and sustainability of landscaping just as dense and beneficial as the existing green buffer. A mechanism to regularly review the maintenance and sustainability of the green area should be considered.

CANAL VIEW HOSPITAL AND PARKING HIDDEN

Endangered Green Area: Overview

This is a satellite view of the Doctors Hospital (Baptist Health) parking lot leased from the City of Coral Gables showing the lot and the green barrier between the lot and the neighborhood streets (Granada, Carillo, Pisano).

The City of Coral Gables plans the sale of the parking lot and the green area to Baptist Health for an estimated $3.0 million.

The green buffer hides views of the Doctors Hospital building, traffic and parked cars from the area residents and supplies numerous environmental benefits.

It is worrying that Doctors Hospital will re-landscape the area with the subsequent loss of the environment and local property values.

The City of Coral Gables should require that no buildings or other construction (walls) be allowed on the property and that the green buffer be fully retained or significantly improved.

If the City of Coral Gables cannot ensure the permanency of the dense green buffer then the land sale may be questioned.

City of Coral Gables FL on Sustainability, the Environment and Climate Change Response

A very recent resolution of the City Commission:

RESOLUTION NO. 2020-
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COMMISSION OF THE CITY OF CORAL GABLES, FLORIDA, DECLARING A CLIMATE EMERGENCY, AND URGING THE STATE OF FLORIDA AND THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT TO PROVIDE FOR RESILIENT AND SUSTAINABLE COMMUNITIES AND PROPER STEWARDSHIP OF THE ENVIRONMENT

This is the description of City of Coral Gables sustainability and environmental initiatives:

The City of Coral Gables recognizes that sustainability must be a key focus of the City’s policies and services, with targeted investments in energy, water and waste efficiency. Creating this sustainable city requires a commitment of leadership and coordination across the organization. Whereas, the City will consider the environmental impacts of its operations, and develop creative and practical solutions that will minimize our ecological footprint. We will integrate sustainability in the places residents and employees live, work and play, and provide the guidance and resources for our businesses and citizens.

https://www.coralgables.com/sustainability

Green Goals in the City of Coral Gables:

The City of Coral Gables will take measurable steps towards becoming a “sustainable” community by providing a healthy setting for residents, workers, property owners and visitors and increase awareness of green development practices and ways to have a significant impact on the City’s environment including the following: protecting the quality of air, water, land and other natural resources; conserving native vegetation, fish, wildlife and worldwide ecosystems; minimize the carbon footprint; and reduce greenhouse emissions.

https://evogov.s3.amazonaws.com/media/91/media/165649.pdf

City of Coral Gables–The Environment

In recent years the City of Coral Gables has introduced a number of valuable sustainable development and environmentally relevant policies and programs.  Recently, the City Commission has approved a statement of its concerns for mitigating climate change effects. There is a strong concern for the protection of green areas, preparation for sea level rises and ensuring sound environmental principles in all programs and projects.

Coral Gables Canal near Doctors Hospital

Systemic Racism as Public Policy and Education

Lessons that deal with critical race theory and the “1619 Project” are not welcome in Florida’s public schools following a State Board of Education vote on Thursday.

At the request of Gov. Ron DeSantis, the board unanimously adopted a rule that, in the words of member Tom Grady, emphasizes historical facts over “fiction, projects or theory masquerading as fact.”

Grady offered an amendment that spelled out critical race theory and the “1619 Project” as examples of two well-known educational approaches that would not be acceptable in classrooms.

Florida rules for teaching history ban critical race theory | Miami Herald

HOW THE RICH BUY ELECTIONS and POLITICIANS

The super PAC supporting Democrat Andrew Yang’s mayoral campaign in New York City has been funded almost exclusively by finance industry executives who have donated tens of millions of dollars to super PACs that supported President Trump and other national Republicans, according to records from the New York Board of Elections. 

While nearly all of the leading Democratic mayoral candidates are participating in the New York City public campaign financing program, including Yang, super PACs are still allowed to spend independently in support of their campaigns. Ahead of the June 22 primary, the pro-Yang Comeback PAC released its first ad today.

GOP Megadonors Fund Andrew Yang Super PAC – Sludge

This is a marvelous demonstration on how dark money and the super-wealthy can strongly influence the outcome of an election, affect the campaign issues and work against voters by their power over the candidates.

This is why there can be a popular mass wanting to support an issue overwhelmed by private and corporate money.

Mike Mena’s Coral Gables land deal looks shady; residents ask for his head – Political Cortadito

Coral Gables Vice Mayor Mike Mena is under fire for his vote last week to sell a city-owned parcel used as a surface parking lot near the Village of Merrick Park to his bosses in a no-bid secret deal that nobody knew was coming. Some residents are asking for his resignation.

“Mena knew he was doing something wrong and tried to cover his tracks,” Coral Gables resident and former U.S. District Attorney Leon Kellner wrote in an op-ed piece published in Community Newspapers and Gables Insider.

“At the commission meeting he blurted out that his vote would not make a difference because he said he knew there were four ‘yes’ votes from the mayor and three other commissioners. That’s uncanny,” Kellner wrote, “given Florida’s strict Sunshine Laws which prohibit commissioners from speaking to each other in private about city business.

“So, how did he know the other commissioners would vote in favor of the sale?”

Mike Mena’s Coral Gables land deal looks shady; residents ask for his head – Political Cortadito

OPINION (Thomas Kennedy): Ron DeSantis Is an Authoritarian

Ron DeSantis increasingly acts like an authoritarian rather than a governor elected by a razor-thin margin of about 30,000 votes. We are seeing the end of a legislative session that can only be described as a direct assault on Floridians.

Republicans in the state legislature passed bills that bully trans kids that want to play sports, criminalize protesting, suppress the right to vote, raised sales taxes for consumers, and blocked raising unemployment benefits for those who are still struggling through the pandemic.

While doing nothing to better the lives of Floridians, DeSantis and his acolytes were busy trying to distract the public by passing a silly and likely unconstitutional bill going after social media companies for “deplatforming” candidates running statewide in the state.

OPINION: Ron DeSantis Is an Authoritarian

Mask rules at Dadeland, Dolphin and other Miami malls | Miami Herald

Now that the CDC says it’s OK for fully vaccinated people to not wear a mask in most places, some South Florida businesses are ending their mandates while others are keeping it for now. But what about malls, filled with stores and restaurants that have different policies? Here’s a guide:

Mask rules at Dadeland, Dolphin and other Miami malls | Miami Herald

CDC MASK REC’D

The CDC mask recommendation is an invitation to anti-vaxers, anti-maskers to continue as is.

Now we can’t trust people without masks unless vaccination can be proven.

Keep wearing a mask.

Now Starbucks, Walmart, others are giving free reign to anti-masking.

OVERDEVELOPMENT PROMOTED BY THE COMMISSION OF CORAL GABLES

This clearly demonstrates that the city selling its land to a developer, just ADDS TO THE OVERDEVELOPMENT, OVERBUILDING TREND IN CORAL GABLES. The solution–stop selling public land to developers.

The Coral Gables City Commission voted Tuesday to move forward with a plan to sell a public parking lot for $3.5 million to a developer that would join the property with two adjacent lots for a new project.

But a wrinkle came up during the meeting: The partners behind the listed buyer — Delaware-registered JRFQ Holdings, LLC. — also own the MSP Recovery Law Firm where Vice Mayor Michael Mena has been employed since July 2019.

Gables commissioner voted to sell city property to his bosses | Miami Herald