Take Note Coral Gables Commissioners: Unpleasant, but Necessary for the Taxpayers

This is probably hurting the firefighter chiefs and officers more than it is hurting the lower ranks.  The upper limit on retirement is unpleasant, but essential.  It is too bad that firefighter unions were so greedy–they are to blame equally with politicians that get us into this stew.

“It’s a very painful time for us,” said Robert Suarez, president of the Miami Association of Firefighters. “Our firefighters are very upset. We are looking at 20 to 30 percent pay cuts. The attendance of the mayor and commissioners would have created a hostile event out of something that is very positive.”

Firefighter salaries were cut between 5 and 12 percent. But after factoring in cuts to other bonuses for education or specialized jobs, union leaders say the actual cuts are more than double. Pensions were also capped at a $100,000 a year payout. The moves were designed to help close a $105 million city budget hole and avoid laying off one-third of the city’s workforce.

via At union’s request, Miami leaders stay away from new fire station – Miami-Dade – MiamiHerald.com.

Miami House Price Index

Note the housing index from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) for the Miami metropolitan area showing here the 1st Quart of 2007 at an index level of 413.78 and to the end of the 2nd Quarter of 2010 at 235.04.  In other words, the index in 2010 is 56 percent of that of 2007.

An index level of 235 is about where the level was in 2003.  You can get a ton of information at the FHFA.

The following information is by year and quarter.

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2007 1 413.78 414.24 (1st Quarter 2007)

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2007 2 415.63 414.15

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2007 3 404.47 403.32

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2007 4 400 397.21

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2008 1 365.42 365.89

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2008 2 327.92 326.92

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2008 3 292.38 291.5

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2008 4 269.27 267.23

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2009 1 228.18 228.53

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2009 2 235.25 234.69

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2009 3 244.22 243.31

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2009 4 235.79 233.94

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2010 1 233.86 234.33

33124 “Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall, FL (MSAD)” 2010 2 235.47 235.04 (2nd Quarter 2010)

Miami’s Unsafe Drivers

Not hard to guess where Miami and South Florida are ranked in a list of 200 cities of “safe” drivers.    If I wrote #171 out of 200 would you believe me?  See for yourself.  Hialeah is even worse than Miami.

Survey: Allstate lists America’s safest driving cities [w/video] — Autoblog.

Unions Slam Mayor

The police and firefighters resounding show their lack of respect for taxpayers.  They think themselves indispensable and owed a great salary by the citizens.  If we all are a family, we all have to share the sacrifice.  (PS. This is about the City of Miami.)

City consultants…proposed cost saving measures including reduced salaries for every employee making more than $39,000, topping out with 12 percent cuts for everyone hauling in more than $120,000 a year. They suggested upping the retirement age, and adding larger deductables to health care plans.

Then the union bosses came to the podium to share their thoughts on the measures. The messages were not measured.

via Unions Slam Mayor, Commission Over Proposed Pay and Benefit Cuts – Miami News – Riptide 2.0.

Miami in the Global Cities Index 2010

Find where Miami is in a list of 60.

(Okay–its 33rd and that’s not bad with its 58th by population and 54th by GDP.)  How did they get to 33? It must be Miami Beach, or could it be Coral Gables?

Global Cities 2010: The Rankings | Foreign Policy.

Miami as an Amusement Park–Gigantic Billboards Approved

At first I thought it was a joke that a local government would approve two gigantic signs in downtown Miami next to culture arts centers that cost the citizens nearly $500 million.

This Miami as an amusement park.  This is Miami under the so-called Miami 21, the new zoning code to transform the city of Miami into a beautiful, pedestrian-friendly, new center city.

Siffin’s media towers get green light – South Florida Business Journal.

Compare three South Florida Mayors: Alvarez, Diaz and Slesnick

Three important mayors in South Florida are due a comparison.

Mayor Alvarez (Miami-Dade County) fought to get a strong mayor form of government and he has used this power to increase salaries of colleagues and employees at the highest levels in the Mayor’s office and heads of the police force; this at a time in which literally hundreds of employees and positions will be dropped.

Mayor Diaz (City of Miami) has taken on the financial crisis to present a strongly, austere budget, he is holding the line on tax increases and he is threatening the police union with reductions unless they go along with contract changes.

Mayor Slesnick (Coral Gables) strongly favors a city spending increase returning to amounts of two years ago when taxes reductions were forced on the city (thanks to Florida legislation); the initial presentation of a large millage increase 20 percent, lowered to 14 percent in the first budget hearing; the imposition of a fire fee, and a new fee on emergency medical services in the city. The Mayor is satisfied with a modicum of positions cuts, a healthy capital projects budget and merit increases to the employees in the middle of a financial crisis.