Sen. Javier Miami-Dade County Commissioner
“Let’s be proud of our community, let’s keep it safe and clean.”
As your County Commissioner, I would like to inform you about the local • Widening of SW 97th Ave. from SW 40th St. to SW 56th St. to include
issues that impact your family and your community, as well as some of the landscaped medians, bicycle paths and decorative street lights
projects that we completed in 2008. As you will read in this newsletter, this • Enhanced landscaping of Bird Road, Coral Way and SW 87th Avenue with
has been a particularly contentious year, where I repeatedly defended you decorative ground cover and shrubs
as a tax payer and as a voter, against a County establishment that continues • Repair of broken sidewalks and installation of new sidewalks in the area from
to make the same historical mistakes with expensive public projects and that SW 24th St. to SW 40th St. and from SW 97th Ave. to the Palmetto
refuses to listen to the voice of reason and the wisdom coming from the voters • Repair of broken sidewalks and installation of new sidewalks in the area from
and tax payers of this community. I am only one vote in a legislative body SW 24th St. to SW 20th St. and from SW 81st Ave. to SW 83rd Ave.
of thirteen, but I will continue to speak up on your behalf, defend your hard • Repair of broken sidewalks and installation of new sidewalks in the area from
earned money from being wasted and publicly denounce any wrong doing by SW 40th St. to 48th St. and from SW 97th Ave. to 102nd Ave.
your government. One vote may not be enough to change business as usual • Repair of broken sidewalks and installation of new sidewalks in the area from
at the County, but one very loud voice with the help of the press and the help SW 37th St. to SW 38th St. and from 99th Ct. to SW 102nd Ave.
of the people will let them know that the public is watching and will eventually • Repair of broken sidewalks in the area from SW 72nd St. to SW 88th St. and
hold them accountable. from SW 127th Ave. to SW 137th Ave.
• Repair of broken sidewalks and installation of new sidewalks in the area from
The most important issue facing our county and our nation is our economy. SW 24th St. to SW 32nd St. from SW 107th Ave. to SW 102nd Ave.
I invite you to read the article in this newsletter that explains why I have • Repair of broken sidewalks along SW 135th Ave. from SW 62nd St. to SW
vehemently opposed the so called “Mega Plan” of ambitious luxury projects 65th Ln.
like the Port Tunnel, Museum Park and the new Baseball Stadium at the • Repair of broken sidewalks along SW 114th Ave. from SW 32nd St. to 40th St.
former Orange Bowl site. The article explains the poll that we conducted in • Repair of broken sidewalks and installation of new sidewalks in the area from
Westchester, Fontainebleau, Kendall and other areas of unincorporated Miami- the Florida Turnpike to SW 122nd Ave. and from SW 93 St. to SW 99th St.
Dade County to let elected officials and the media know how you feel about all • Repair of broken sidewalks in the Community of Calusa and the Kenlands
these issues. If the politicians won’t listen to the people, I will continue to use • Planting of shade trees in Calusa
all the means within my reach like polls, the print media, radio programs and • Major landscaping project in Royale Green
television programs to voice the concerns of the residents and tax payers in • Road resurfacing and traffic circles in Westwood Lakes
this community. The People are demanding fiscal restraint with their taxes and • Drainage improvements on SW 103 Ct., from 9th Ter. to 11th Ter.
assistance with the issues that really impact them directly in their pockets and • Drainage improvements on SW 58th Ter., from SW 144th Pl. to the end of
in their neighborhoods. There is another article concerning the ½ percent sales the cul-de-sac
tax approved by the voters in 2002 for the grandiose Metrorail expansion plans • Drainage improvements on SW 94th Ter. from SW 122nd Ave. to the end of
and the County’s failure to be forthright about the real costs of these projects. the cul-de-sac drainage project under construction in the area of SW 63rd
It sounds familiar doesn’t it? Those who pushed for this tax over-promised and Ter. to SW 71st Ln. and from SW 143rd Pl. to SW 147th Ave.
over-sold this as a cure-all antidote for Miami-Dade County’s traffic problems. • Drainage project scheduled this year for Coral Way between SW 118th Ave. and
Many of you will recall that I publicly opposed this Transit tax in 2002 as well. SW 122nd Ave. and for Miller Road between SW 127th Ave. and 132nd Ave.
With my background in business and economics, I understand that during • Kendall Soccer Park Phase 2 (completion of remaining illuminated soccer
tough times, one of the ways for government to stimulate the local economy fields, walking path, bathrooms and parking)
is through public works construction projects that create jobs. This is why • Second phase in the redevelopment of Southern Estates Park, which
I continue to support the construction of sidewalks, drainage improvements, included the installation of tennis courts, the relocation of the baseball field,
road safety projects and parks projects for your children and grandchildren. the completion of the illuminated walking path, the installation of additional
These types of projects directly benefit the tax payers and homeowners who parking, and the installation of an irrigation system for the grass field and
are subsidizing the construction, while helping small businesses contracted landscape trees
by the County provide jobs to local workers. Public works construction • Construction of three sheltered domino pavilions at Francisco Park at the
plans like these do not create a huge public debt for future generations and West Dade Regional Library
do not require millions of dollars in public subsidies every year just to keep • Completed new tennis courts and toddler playground/Tot Lot at Blue Lakes Park
their doors open, lights on, and air-conditioner running. Remember that the • Refurbished Tennis Courts at Westwood Park
Florida Marlins currently have a stadium to play in. Every single museum that • Installed a new decorative wood fence along the SW 82nd Ave. perimeter of
wants a new building at Museum Park currently has an existing home. The the park
Port of Miami is easily accessed by a bridge. We all would love to have a • Completed an artistic fence around Women’s Park
bigger more luxurious house, new furniture, and maybe a more expensive car. • Installed pool heaters and funded renovations of the pools at Tropical Estate
However, when the economy is so uncertain, we have to live within our means pool and Rockway pool
and not take out a second mortgage on our house or accumulate debt on our • Landscaped and installed new electronic marquee sign at the Bird Road
credit cards to purchase more than we can afford. If the Federal Government entrance to Tropical Park and secured voter approval for a small cultural fine
wants to undertake costly public works projects in our County to stimulate the arts center at Tropical Park.
economy, we welcome any assistance, but they should not count with your We will continue replacing broken sidewalks and installing new sidewalks in
money or my money. neighborhoods throughout District 10. I have authorized and earmarked funding
Among the major capital projects we were able to complete this year are: to install new sidewalks where currently none exist and repair any broken
• Illumination of SW 82nd Ave. between SW 40th St. and 56th St. next to sidewalks or sidewalks patched with asphalt in the following neighborhoods:
Tropical Park Bird Road to Miller Road and from 97th Ave. to 82nd Avenue; Coral Way to
• Illumination of SW 132nd Ave. between SW 42nd St. and SW 56th St. Tamiami Trail from 77th Ave. to 92nd Ave.; Village Green from Coral Way to
• Improvements in the illumination of SW 117th Ave. between SW 40th St. and Bird Road and from 118th Ave. to 127th Ave.; Kendale Lakes Neighborhood
SW 24th St. from SW 56 St. to 72 St. and from 127th Ave. to 147th Ave.; and any other
• The construction of traffic circles at SW 84th Ave. and 32nd St., SW 92nd individual neighborhood sidewalk project that has been requested by letter or
Ave. and 28th St. and SW 84th St. and SW 114th Ave. telephone call to my office in the past couple of years.
• The installation of new traffic signals at SW 137th Ave. & 68th St. and 9500 Please contact my office and let me know of any problems in your neighborhood
Fontainebleau Blvd. including non-functioning street lights, large trash piles, abandoned house,
• Installation of a guardrail and reconfiguration of the bicycle path along overgrown yards, abandoned shopping carts, graffiti, etc. I need your help to
Snapper Creek Drive from SW 112th Ave. to SW 107th Ave. identify problems in your community and to preserve the quality of life in your
• Resurfacing of the roads in the area from SW 40th St. to SW 32nd St. and neighborhood.
from the Palmetto to SW 82nd Ave.
• Resurfacing of SW 39th St. from 92nd Ave. to 97th Ave. Sincerely,
• Resurfacing of SW 107th Ave. and SW 80th St.
• Installation of brick pavers on the swales combined with landscaped islands
on SW 39th St. from 97th Ave. to 92nd Ave. and on SW 114th Ave. from SW
40th St. to SW 38th St. widening and traffic improvements along SW 127th
Ave. from 88th St. to SW 120th St. Commissioner Javier Souto,
• Traffic improvements on SW 137th Ave. alleviating traffic by creating capacity Chairman Recreation and Cultural Affairs Committee (Parks - Libraries - Museums)
on left turn lanes between SW 88th St. and SW 72nd St. firstname.lastname@example.org
The 2008 SunPost 50
The most influential South Floridians, for better or worse
The 2008 SunPost 50 April 24, 08
When Miami Mayor Manny Diaz had just about everybody convinced that his
controversial $2.9 billion downtown redevelopment plan would save the city, it was
District 10 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto, along with a few others,
who voted against the agreement and supported the sentiments of car dealer
Norman Braman, which ultimately morphed into a lawsuit. Souto reasoned that
voters should indeed decide whether they want a new baseball stadium. Imagine
that — an elected official who actually cares what the people want!
Read the Miami SunPost at www.miamisunpost.com
Commissioner Souto Explains His Opposition to the
“Mega Plan” of Downtown Projects
Our County has been extremely slow to react to the steady downward spiral in hospital to serve all the residents of this community, providing daycare for
our economy. I have vehemently opposed the Mega Plan of ambitious luxury children of working families, improving transit and traffic congestion in this
projects like the Port Tunnel, Museum Park and the new Baseball Stadium at community or to reduce the public debt obligation and offer homeowners
the former Orange Bowl site. I have voiced my objections publicly through some much needed property tax relief. In light of the financial hardships
the press, since County Hall has turned a deaf ear to any voice of reason or that my constituents are facing and which will grow worse as the economic
any attempt to slow down this $2 billion local plan, which will commit your tax recession deepens, I cannot vote to build a professional sports stadium for
dollars and that of your children and grandchildren’s to build these projects a multi-millionaire team owner. Joe Robbie built Dolphins Stadium with his
which seem to me to be more luxuries than necessities. My objections to own money and Wayne Huizenga spent millions of dollars of his own money
the construction of these facilities are that the plan used to finance all these to remodel Dolphin Stadium.
projects is based on a growing tourism based economy (tourism taxes) and
real-estate economy (Community Redevelopment Area - CRA financing). We need to re-evaluate our limited resources and focus them on serving
New construction for residential and commercial properties has come to a our most vulnerable residents through our public hospital, Jackson Memorial
halt with the collapsing economy and banking industry, which means little Hospital, which will become an ever growing haven for the increasing ranks
new revenue generated for CRA financed projects. The tourism dollars and of the unemployed, the elderly and retirees that can’t make ends meet, and
passenger fees that pay for the Airport expansion, Seaport cruise terminal the poor and the homeless families that we expect to have in this community
expansion, Museum Park and the Baseball Stadium depend on a healthy with continued layoffs and foreclosures.
tourism economy, which is going to be severely impacted by the collapsing Despite my objections and concerns regarding the “Mega Plan” of projects, I
economy, rising fuel crises, bank failures, shrinking credit markets, collapsing wanted to know how the tax payers and residents of this community feel about
stock markets in Europe and Asia, etc. this issue. This is why I commissioned a poll by the Metropolitan Center at
The financing plan projected healthy attendance figures in order to pay back Florida International University in February that showed that even back then,
the bonds issued to construct these facilities and sustain the expensive costs before gasoline prices began to rise and the stock market and banking industry
to operate these facilities which cost millions of dollars to operate because collapsed, 72.1 percent polled were extremely or very concerned about the
of utility, security, maintenance and personnel costs. If you ask consumers national economy, 62.2 percent were extremely concerned about job security
today how much of their family’s budget they can spare on purchasing and 43.8 percent felt that the County was heading in the wrong direction. In
entrances to the museums at Museum Park or attending a Marlins baseball February, opposition for the Port Tunnel was 57.5 percent, opposition for
game, I would venture to guess that the numbers would be very low. Museum Park was 63.6 percent and opposition for the baseball stadium was
60.9 percent. Opposition to those projects today would probably be even
I continue to hear that the funds used for the stadium can only be used for greater, because the public has common sense and understand that you
this type of activity. In fact this is disingenuous, because the “Mega Plan” don’t build major projects that benefit a handful of folks and that depend on
proposal captures hundreds of millions of dollars of property taxes generated consumers and families to spend their spare family budgets during difficult
by real-estate growth in the downtown area (Community Redevelopment economic times on luxury items like visiting a museum or attending a sporting
Area Financing). These property taxes could have been used to lower the event, let alone purchasing season tickets.
property tax burden or pay for services for the taxpayer. Instead, the “Mega
Plan” proposal uses these property taxes to pay off the bonds used to build Under agreement with the Marlins for the new stadium, the County will pay
the Performing Arts Center in order to release $347 million in tourism dollars $347 million; the City of Miami will contribute $23 million to include $10
that were pledged to secure the bonds used to build the Performing Arts million for demolition, plus an additional $94 million for a stadium parking
Center, for the Marlins Stadium. In essence, since all the tourism tax dollars garage; and the Marlins will use rent payments to the County to produce
were already pledged to the Miami Heat Arena and the Performing Arts its $155 million share, for a total price tag of $619 million, not including the
Center, the plan took property taxes that could have gone to pay for police value of the land provided by the City of Miami and the substantial costs of
services, health care, child care, parks programs for children or to reduce the the multi-million infrastructure improvement required around the Stadium to
property tax burden on tax payers to pay tourism debt, so that the politicians provide access to the site and mitigate traffic congestion around downtown
could claim that only tourism taxes were used to pay for the stadium and that Miami. There is only $389 million set aside for actual construction of the
this money could not be used for anything else. This CRA money is intended baseball stadium and a paltry $4.2 million to furnish the stadium. We have
for housing and economic development in the County’s most impoverished experienced cost overruns with the Performing Arts Center in excess of
neighborhoods in the African American Community. However, we use these $300 million and costs overruns at Miami International Airport that exceed
funds to retire the debt for the Performing Arts Center, build a park full of $1 billion with a Capital “B” over original projections. However, in a deal with
museums, and build a baseball stadium. Hardly any go to housing and the magnitude of a sports stadium, the Marlins are only setting aside an
economic development for the poor. This is a repeat of the controversial use abysmal $20 million for cost overruns. Who will pay the costs overruns a
of federal Community Development Block Grant monies meant for the poor year after construction begins and, when they are near two-thirds completion
to provide a controversial loan to build Parrot Jungle on Watson Island. This of the stadium, come back and say that they need an additional $200 million
facility, like Museum Park, was supposed to draw thousands of tourists from to complete the project? Almost all publicly financed Major League Baseball
cruise ships and Miami Beach, yet the actual attendance figures were so stadiums built in recent years have experienced significant cost overruns.
bleak that they defaulted on their loan in less than a year. Why was this multi-billion dollar proposal never presented to voters? We
There is another $50 million in property tax-supported General Obligation had four countywide elections this year, including a Presidential election with
Bonds that were included in the financing of the baseball stadium, which a record voter turnout, so the question could have been easily added to one
I felt could be better used during these difficult economic times for rental of these ballots.
housing for the elderly or poor, increasing service capacity at our public
2 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto, District 10
Coming in March 2009 - Miami International
Agriculture & Livestock Exposition
Hundreds of visitors from Latin America visited the
Agricultural and Cattle Show. There were delegations
from Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Panama
and many other countries, which purchased cattle,
horses, genetic materials, tractors, trucks and other
The most important aspect of the Agricultural and Cattle
Show was the large number of positive reviews and
free publicity that Miami-Dade County received both
internationally and nationally, with news headlines such
as “Miami aims to become an agricultural business
center” and “Miami wishes to devote itself now to
agricultural business.” International Internet sites
that promoted the show and Miami-Dade County’s
agriculture industry throughout the world included:
From left: Miami Dade Parks Dept. Director Jack Noticias Latino of Microsoft Networks (MSN), Yahoo
Kardys, Assistant Director Port of Miami Juan Noticias en Español, Yahoo Finanzas España, Noticias
Kuryla, Miami Dade Agriculture Manager Charles en Español de America On Line (AOL), Periodista
LaPradd, Commissioner Javier Souto, Florida Digital, Terra.Com Noticias, Cotizalia.Com de España,
Commissioner of Agriculture Charles Bronson. La Nación.Com de Paraguay, El Comercio.Com del
Ecuador, Prensa.Com, La Prensa Grafica.Com de El
On Friday, March 20 through Sunday, March 22 of this Salvador, y Panamá News Brief.Com de Panamá. The
year, the Ronald Reagan Equestrian Center at Tropical Convention and Visitors Bureau pays a lot of money
Park (Bird Road & the Palmetto Expressway) will for the volume of positive publicity and positive news
serve as the host site for the “2009 Miami International that this event generated for the City of Miami and
Agriculture & Livestock Exposition.” Admission to Miami-Dade County in Europe and Latin America.
the event is free. There will be exhibitions of horses
jumping obstacles, University of Miami Equestrian One commodity which will always be in demand
Team, Paso Fino horse show, livestock auctions, throughout the world is cattle, livestock, grains, fruits
tractors and equipment, petting zoos, pig races, goat and vegetables. As South Dade and Florida’s agri-
milking contest, bounce houses, food, live music business industry become major international players,
and wholesome entertainment for the entire family. the positive economic impact will benefit our free trade
This year’s show will feature an expanded farmer’s zone, our sea port and our international airport. The
market, with an opportunity to purchase and sample revenues from the agri-business sector in Miami-Dade
local fruits, vegetables, ornamental plants, tropical County surpass 2.5 billion dollars a year.
fish, western wear, arts and crafts, local wines, and
Once again everyone is invited to attend this event
full of fun and unique activities for families. It is an
According to all visitors, exhibitors, livestock farmers, opportunity for children to see horse shows, cattle
and hosts, last year’s show was a resounding success judging, learn to milk a cow or a goat, enjoy an old
with more than 20,000 local residents and foreign fashion hay ride, shop at a farmer’s market, discover
visitors attending and enjoying an educational and our rich agricultural based traditions and learn about
healthy family outing. Over 240 heads of cattle were preserving farm lands and the environment.
exhibited by 34 breeders from the State of Florida.
2008 Annual Newsletter 3
Commissioner Javier Souto Your County Commissioner for District 10
New Sidewalks throughout District New Recreation Building at Tropical Estates Park
Sunset Senior High School Sign Dedication Miller Dreams II Sign Dedication Southwest Senior High School Sign Dedication
Winston Park Community Sign Dedication Horse Country Community Sign Dedication Royale Green Community Sign Dedication
Domino Park Dedication (West Dade Regional Library) New Domino Park at West Dade Regional Library
Snapper Creek Townhouses Sign Dedication New Traffic Circle on SW 92 Avenue in Village Green Estates Sign Dedication
4 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto, District 10
More than one hundred thousand voters approve the
New Cultural and Arts Center
On Tuesday, August 26, the residents of Miami- million cultural center had been previously funded
Dade County voiced their overwhelming support by voter approved bonds, so the vote in August
for a new Cultural and Arts Center in Tropical Park, did not result in any new taxes.
which was approved by 64.12 percent of the voters
(104,000 votes) countywide. I have repeatedly This will be a signature facility in Tropical Park and
stated publicly that the voters have to approve the aesthetically capture the essence of Miami-Dade
$2 billion “Mega Plan” of projects. This is why I felt County’s rich multi-cultural community. The plan
comfortable in seeking the approval of the voters is to construct this Culture and Arts Center near
for a small facility at Tropical Park. This new $8 Bird Road so it will not impact any open space
or recreational areas of Tropical Park. This way it
will increase the enjoyment of this park by adding
music, dance and other cultural-related activities
to the existing sports and recreational programs
currently available at Tropical Park.
The new Cultural Center will offer instructional
classes in several artistic forms to adolescents,
advanced students and seniors. The center will inclined, but they too can use our public parks to
have a 300-seat community auditorium for plays, pursue an interest in cultural and artistic activities
ballet and musical concerts offered by local like dancing, ballet, playing a musical instrument,
groups and schools; a gallery and open-air areas theater, painting or drawing. This facility will also
for music and acting; art studies and classrooms; offer after school programs where students will
ceramics, a dance studio and dance laboratories; receive guidance to do their homework first and
areas for instrumental music and choir practice; then practice different artistic disciplines offered
an art gallery, and a culinary arts center. Parks are by the center. The Tropical Park Art and Culture
not only venues for sports, but also for recreational Center will offer a summer program for children
activities. Not all children and adults are athletically and adolescents.
Commissioner Souto and Miami-Dade host its most successful
Inter-American Conference of Mayors
More than 650 Mayors from 25 countries in North forwarders and custom brokers and our exporters.
America, Central America, South America and Finally, it allows us to showcase Miami as an
the Caribbean attended the Fourteenth Annual international tourist destination with our wonderful
Inter-American Conference of Mayors. The first beaches, our new performing arts center, our
Inter-American Conference of Mayors was held in museums like Vizcaya, Miami Metro Zoo, our world
Washington, D.C., in 1994 attended by less than class golf courses, tennis centers and marinas, etc.
100 people, and co-sponsored by the USAID, IDB, to some very influential dignitaries. The benefit to
the Organization of American States and the World our community is great and the cost is minimal. We
Bank. Miami-Dade County hosted the second are bringing important officials from all these nations
Inter-American Conference in 1995 and it was so to Miami and providing them with an opportunity to
successful, that Miami was designated the permanent conduct business in our community. Best of all, the
site for the annual conference. Since 1995 we have Mayors pay for their own airline tickets and their
held 13 of these meetings. Commissioner Souto is hotel expenses.
and has been the conduit to bringing this important
event to our County that reinforces our economy The Inter-American Conference to Mayors is
and our prestige. sponsored by Miami-Dade County and coordinated
(L-R) Dr. Allan Rosenbaum, Director of IPMCS, by Dr. Allan Rosenbaum, Director of Florida
It reinforces our position in the Western Hemisphere Commissioner Souto and Cristina Rodriguez Acosta, International University’s Institute for Public
as the United States’ gateway for business and Asst. Dir. of IPMCS. Management and Community Service (IPMCS).
international trade with Latin America and the industry materials and supplies, motor vehicles, Located in the Department of Public Administration
Caribbean. It has generated millions of dollars tractors and equipment, aircrafts and aircraft parts at FIU, the IPMCS coordinates training programs
of direct and indirect business opportunities for and supplies, computer and high tech equipment, and technical assistance for various countries in the
our community, as well as created employment furniture, appliances, garments and clothing, etc. world. Established in 1994, the Institute has trained
opportunities in our community. Also has a significant It allows us to showcase our international trade thousands of public servants to be more effective,
impact on Miami–Dade County’s economy, because infrastructure such as Miami International Airport, transparent and responsive.
as the host, it allows us to promote our wholesale and the Port of Miami, the Miami River, our international
retail products and commodities including building banking industry, our steamship lines, our freight
New Apartments for Elderly in Westchester, Now a Reality
On May 23, 2008 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier D. Souto, Mayor Carlos A. Alvarez and Congressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart participated in the
groundbreaking ceremony of Postmaster Apartments. This private/public partnership is the first affordable housing development for the elderly since the
U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development took over its control. The event took place at the Postmaster Apartments, 8800 SW 8th Street. The
monthly payments will range from $261 to $716. Postmaster Apartments is expected to be completed in April, 2009.
2008 Annual Newsletter 5
Commissioner Souto Demands Accountability on the
“People Transportation Plan” & the ½ percent Sales Tax
On November 5, 2002 the voters of Miami-Dade County were asked to million miles, and they only delivered 11 million miles at most and now have
approve the People’s Transportation Plan, requesting a ½ percent sales begun to reduce that number. They promised to the voters to increase the bus
tax in order to enhance Metro Bus services throughout Miami Dade County, fleet by placing 635 additional buses on the street, and again they have failed
improve neighborhood roads and highways and provide five new Metrorail to deliver on this promise.
transit lines to West Dade, Kendall, Florida City, Miami Beach and to the
Broward County line. Under the People’s Transportation Plan’s $17 billion After six years of collecting almost $1 billion from the tax payers, Miami-Dade
dollar business proposal, Miami-Dade County committed to adding more County could have delivered to the people a world class mass transit system
buses and routes, improving service, expanding rapid transit and creating using state of the art buses that resemble Metrorail trains on wheels and
thousands of transportation and construction-related jobs over the next 25 sheltered bus stops, including air-conditioned stations at major intersections,
years. similar to the transit system in Curitiba, Brazil along with bus-only rapid transit
lanes and other road improvements. You could have probably increased the
As I prognosticated in 2002, those who pushed for this tax over-promised and bus route grid to reduce walking distances in residential neighborhoods and
over-sold this as a cure-all antidote to Miami-Dade County’s traffic problems. increased the frequency of bus service at every location. However, we have
This is why I publicly opposed this sales tax referendum, although I usually very little to show for all these tax monies collected from Miami-Dade County
don’t oppose referendums. tax payers and the hopes of funding these five Metrorail projects using federal
and state matching funds is realistically all but non-existent with the national
The voters were promised five new Metrorail corridors, when the ½ percent economy continuing to decline and both the federal and state government
sales tax could not even pay for the cost of building one of these Metrorail cutting their budgets to the bare bones. Even if these federal funding programs
corridors. They were over relying on most of the monies for these grandiose are restored and Miami-Dade County is allowed to compete for these funds,
Metrorail expansion plans coming from the federal government (60 percent of you are looking at a process that would take dozens of years to see the fruits,
the funds) and the state government (25 percent of the funds). When you rely between actually receiving the federal funds, acquiring the corridor through
so heavily on most of your funding coming from federal and state competitive eminent domain, design and actual construction. Meanwhile, our bus system
grants, then all your plans are nothing but false expectations or dreams. The will continue to decline into one of the worst systems in the world, congestion
proponents did not tell the people that funding under these federal programs on our streets will continue to get worse and gas prices will continue to
is through a very competitive process with little guarantee of award. This escalate well into the next decade, while we wait for the promised trains.
process for soliciting federal dollars for rail projects has become even more
competitive as funding has been reduced to fund the cost of the war abroad. The only rightful solution to this dilemma is to go back out to the voters and
The State of Florida has also been forced to make massive multi-billion dollar be honest with them for a change. Explain to them that there is insufficient
budget cuts this year because of declining sales tax receipts with an economy money to provide first class bus service and rail service.
heading into recession. The only Metrorail project currently being advanced
for federal funding, of the five rapid transit lines promised to the voters under
the ballot question, does not even meet the federal standards for rider-ship
and thus has been rejected for funding. This is the 9.5-mile extension of the
Metrorail system along NW 27th Avenue which will allow Broward County
residents to board Metrorail at a new NW 215th Street (County line) station
and commute to work in Downtown Miami. The Orange Line project may
alleviate the traffic commute and the traffic congestion for those Broward
County motorists and taxpayers who choose to live in Broward and drive
down I-95 every morning to work in Miami, while those Miami-Dade County
residents and motorists who have been paying this tax since 2002 are forced
to continue to put up with the traffic congestion as they commute from West
Dade, Kendall, Westchester, Fontainebleau, Sweetwater and South Dade
Now in order to fund this Metrorail expansion, the Miami-Dade County Transit
Department raised the fare on the existing bus and Metrorail system by 50
cents, a 33 percent tax increase on the poorest segment of our community.
Furthermore, to pour more salt into the wound, the department eliminated bus
routes and reduced frequency on other remaining bus routes. The referendum
question asked the voters to approve a plan for expanding bus service by 17
In an effort to reduce the high volume of litter at bus stops throughout
his district, Commissioner Souto began purchasing litter cans with
savings from his office budget almost ten years ago and now has
placed 400 litter cans at bus stops throughout his district.
Grants Available for Small Businesses in Commission District 10
There is $150,000 available to assist small businesses (less than 7
employees) located in Commissioner Souto’s District for the 2009
calendar year. This program was initiated five years ago with 132
businesses that were awarded an average grant of $5,000 each since
2004. These grants can be used by small businesses for purchasing
equipment, purchasing inventory or office supplies, paying insurance
premiums, minor renovations or advertising.
You can contact the Commissioner’s office at 305-222-2116 to obtain
an application for a grant in January. This is a competitive process and
all applications will be ranked and recommended for funding by an
6 Miami-Dade County Commissioner Javier Souto, District 10
Commissioner Souto Opposed to State Widening of Bird Road to Eight Lanes
The State of Florida Department of Transportation from the adjacent residential community. However,
plans to widen SW 40 Street (Bird Road) to eight my office has had to field angry calls from tax payers
lanes of traffic by eliminating the landscaped medians ever since these monuments to government waste
and trees and adding a traffic lane behind the were placed in my district.
current sidewalk along Tropical Park. This will make
this portion of Bird Road wider than most highways Bird Road is a roadway already severely impacted
including the Florida Turnpike, State Road 836, State by the FDOT widening of Bird Road from four to six
Road 974, State Road 112 and U.S. 1 - Dixie Highway. lanes between the Palmetto and the Turnpike during
A little over twelve years ago the State widened SW the mid-1990s, which wiped out almost all green
40 Street from four lanes to six lanes with the promise space and tree canopy leaving a barren corridor
that it would alleviate traffic congestion. Instead it of asphalt and concrete with no mitigation for these
created an expressway in the heart of a community Widening of Bird Road to eight lanes creates danger- impacts on Westchester. Despite a decade of my
and brought more traffic, more speeding, while it ous condition in front of Tropical Park requesting on behalf of the community that FDOT and
eliminated all the green space and tree canopy along the State mitigate for their impact on Westchester to
Bird Road making it one of the least attractive corridors in the County. Without accommodate Countywide traffic flow through our community, little has been done.
notifying the impacted neighbors or the Community, the Florida Department of Lacking State support to improve Bird Road, on March 22, 2006 the Board of County
Transportation was scheduled to commence widening Bird Road on November Commissioners passed a resolution to organize a charrette for the area around
3rd, until County Officials found out when the State began root pruning all the red Bird Road that lies between the Florida Turnpike and the Palmetto Expressway. I
and yellow Poinciana trees in the center of Bird Road. The State plans call for sponsored this legislation that led to the creation of a Steering Committee whose
removing all the trees, shrubs and ground covers from the medians, and 15 feet members are all stake-holder’s in the community. The Steering Committee’s role
into Tropical Park. is to guide the process of urban planning by encompassing the concerns and
issues of the area. The Committee has held monthly public meetings and weekend
The traffic engineers of the Florida Department of Transportation love asphalt workshops with the community. The purpose of the study is to develop a long-term
and concrete, so their usual solution to traffic congestion is to keep adding traffic vision for this major east/west corridor that is pedestrian friendly, visually cohesive,
lanes, while eliminating green space, tree canopy and the character and charm commercially vibrant and creates a unique identity of the Westchester area. Now the
of a community. In reality the expansion of a street does not reduce congestion of Florida Department of Transportation is trying once again to push through another
traffic, the more lanes of traffic you add to a street or highway, the more the corridor project with total disregard to the impacted community of Westchester and all the
acts like a magnet attracting more traffic congestion, which in turn perpetuates time and money invested by Miami-Dade County and the members of the Bird Road
more traffic lanes. Just take a look at the volume of congestion during rush hour Charrette Task Force.
on the eight lane stretch of Kendall Drive (SW 88 Street) from the Florida Turnpike
to SW 127th Avenue. Ask the residents of Kendall how well traffic flows every There is a serious safety issue that has not been addressed by FDOT with the
evening as congestion backs up from the Florida Turnpike to Winston Park at 132 proposed widening of Bird Road into a major 8 lane highway in front of Tropical
Avenue, where it reduces back down to six lanes. Ask the residents of Los Angeles, Park, between the Palmetto and SW 82 Avenue. Currently it takes over 40 seconds
California or Houston, Texas, where the highways have grown to 26 traffic lanes on a brisk walk to cross the existing 6 lanes of road in front of Tropical Park and
wide, with the El Toro Y Highway or the Katy Freeway in Houston, Texas. probably over a minute for the elderly, the disabled and for a mother pushing a
baby stroller. This project by the Florida Department of Transportation in front of
This is not the first time the Florida Department of Transportation has moved forward Tropical Park is a grave danger to the pedestrians coming into the park. Apparently,
with projects in Westchester, without briefing the elected County Commissioner or pedestrians are not important to these engineers from the Florida Department of
making sure that the project was explained to the impacted residential and business Transportation.
community. When FDOT completed the Palmetto widening at the Tamiami exit, it
spent $1.2 million in public funds to construct two massive towers with bowls on I have written two letters to Governor Charlie Crist explaining the aesthetic
top that are visible from the Palmetto in Unincorporated Miami Dade County at the and environmental impact of the project, but the most concerning factor is the
North entrance to the Community of Westchester. The towers, which are out of pedestrian safety issues that an 8-lane highway will raise. Residents opposed
scale with the single family one story homes in Westchester, where these towers to the project are gathering signatures on a petition which will be delivered to
were built, say: "Welcome - City of Miami," when in fact the entire area West of Governor Crist. Anyone who desires a petition to circulate among family, friends
the Palmetto is Unincorporated Miami Dade County. Although these two massive and neighbors can contact our office at 222-2116 and we will be glad to fax, email
structures are in my district, no one bothered to contact my office or seek input or mail a copy of the petition.
Commissioner Javier Souto travels throughout his District in a Mobile
Office to meet with neighborhood residents every monday
Every Monday, from 1:00 pm to 5:00 p.m., Commissioner Javier Souto and his
assistants provide a roving district office in neighborhoods throughout his district.
This mobile office travels to four different locations in the district every month.
In order to make himself more accessible to his constituents, the Commissioner
and his assistants travel in a bus converted into a district office to different
locations throughout Commission District 10, which includes Westchester, Kendall,
Fontainebleau, Kendale Lakes, Calusa, Winston Park, The Kenlands, Royale
Green, Village Green, and Horse Country. Information on all county services and
programs, as well as assistance with problems related to any county agency, will be
provided at this mobile office. For more information, please contact Commissioner
Javier Souto at 305-222-2116.
“Saturday In The Park”
with Commissioner Souto
Commissioner Souto began his “Saturdays at the Park”
program in January of 2005 and has been visiting a different
park in his district every Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 10:30
p.m. He meets with the residents within his district to listen
to their concerns. It provides residents who work during the
week an opportunity to meet their Commissioner. It also
allows residents to come together and meet their neighbors
within their neighborhood park.
2008 Annual Newsletter 7
SENATOR JAvIER SOuTO
111 N.W. FIRST STREET, SUITE 320
MIAMI, FLORIDA 33128-1963
Downtown Office: District Office:
111 N.W. 1st Street • Suite 320 9766 Coral Way • Suite 1 Don't toss it out.
Miami, FL 33128 Miami, FL 33165 Toss it in.
Phone: 305-375-4835 Fax: 305-375-3456 Phone: 305-222-2116 Fax: 305-222-2120
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org Protect the Environment!
Office Hours: 9 AM - 5 PM, Mon. - Fri. Office Hours: 9 AM - 5 PM, Mon. - Fri.
The Souto Family