There is significant interest in the issue of the Miami Beach Convention Center new building. A presentation of the whole issue was offered at the TMBC today, Tuesday, August the 6, 2013.
The names of the participants have not been mentioned on purpose to avoid undue problems, since the issue was not ventilated in a favorable way for the interested parties; mainly the City authorities and the prospective developers.
As has been well informed, the two bidders involved in the development of the convention center has been reduced to only one. Such decision from the City Mayor and the Commissioners is being immensely criticized by many interested citizens who actively participate in the conversations and the City meetings.
The opposition to the development of the Center, as informed by well versed and interested individuals, is strong, to the point of taking the face of being close to a scandal.
Questions regarding the expenses, criticism about the many meetings on the subject, the suggestions that there may be fraudulent activity, were raised, which is nothing new and is growing at accelerated paces.
Among other close to accusation remarks: it has been suggested that some type of irregular, not to say delinquent, activity is occurring or has occurred while deciding who, between the two prospective developing firms will be the final winner of the contract.
The most insulting thing that is occurring while the decision of the awarding of the contract is taking effect, is the lack of mention about the benefit for the dutiful voters and taxpayers who reside in the City. The greatest preoccupation is directed to the welfare of the tourists or visitors. Of course the main preoccupation is about the benefit to the participants or visitors, and the conventioneers, when the Center is finally developed, if ever.
So, the residents don’t count and are treated in a shabby way and have not been given the opportunity to express their opinion about what is happening in their City. So the discussions among the Commissioners, the Mayor, and the City Manager excluded the regular citizens or would be participants. They have not been given the courtesy of expressing their opinions, while in one of the meetings a long discussion was related to the price of the hotel rooms, as if it were the main point.
Most of the talk is about the benefit for visitors, businesses, and mainly hotels, while parking and transportation take the appearance of being a business transaction in which the residents don’t count, but will be the ones who will front the expenses for the development of such accommodations. Decisions are directed to the ones who will receive the contract for such activities.
It is important to mention that parking and transportation in Miami Beach are a type of insulting gangster activity in which the citizens are made to pay extra for even entering to places with parking meters.
The renting of city parking spaces in front of restaurants and other businesses is enormous and the City, as I have been informed, receives peanuts, giving the authority of renting such spaces using parking attendants to the restaurants or other businesses. Such abuse is overwhelming and hopefully will be investigated as being one of the greatest types of abuse and delinquency ever.
The talk about millions and billions of dollars is covered by informing that such money will come from the charges to the conventioneers, the hotels, restaurants, and related businesses. It has not been acknowledged that such money belongs to the taxpayers and that such taxpayers voted for the commissioners’ elections, therefore it is the duty of the Mayor and Commissioners to ask their constituents about the use of any money entering the coffers of the City.
Then , the talk of a referendum to decide if the convention center is a real need for the City is covered and sheltered by continuously mentioning that it is a need that will enhance the value of our Miami Beach City.
The truth of the fact is that Miami Beach is a very small area and we do not need to compete with other cities that have convention centers because the convention centers in other cities are bringing crime and prostitution while the residents have not gained any benefit other than belonging to a corrupted city with enormous traffic problems, few or no parking spaces, and that provides benefits and profits for a selected group only.
Today in the news it was announced that two Mayors of the so many small cities in the Miami/Dade area have been incarcerated by the FBI for irregularities. I wonder if it will happen to our City since the accusations are turning more and more sour by the day.
Almost all the participants in today’s TMBC meeting who had the opportunity to express their opinion, making comments and asking questions, were applauded by the audience. It gives the impression that the opposition to the development of the convention center is enormous. Such development is being seen as a failure and that it has to be stopped before we enter into a real unsolvable mess in which we will have to pay with our dollars while the persons directing this City will be replaced by one of the many candidates, who will have to bear the responsibility.
To summarize, I have to inform that the convention center, as it has been planed, is full of mistakes: it is too large in relation to the size of our so small beach, the expenses are overwhelmingly large, and the need to bring more people, traffic, and the lack of parking is erroneous and an insult for the taxpayers and voters.
Few or no statements are mentioned related to the benefit for the residents. It has been mentioned in the so many reunions we have been having related to the development of the convention center. The greatest being the preoccupation of the speakers about the benefits for the visitors, conventioneers, businesses, including of course hotels, but over passing the benefit for the resident taxpayers.
It appears to be a waste of time and money and smells as another irregularity close to delinquency since the awarding of the contract is and has been criticized over and over, giving the impression that there has been favoritism and even favors exchanged.
Unfortunately, most of the residents are not really interested in the future of the City because they are sort of visitors themselves. The interested residents, however, are not happy with the way this issue is being handled despite the fact that on many occasions the Art Basel, as an example, has been mentioned as being an advancement for the City. In reality, Art Basel has been a cash cow for the ones who instituted such exhibition, the benefit for the City is yet to be seen. It is also a well known fact that the benefits derived from the building of more stadiums does not now and will not benefit the residents, because while our children and perhaps a large part of the population are rather ignorant and careless.
So, we have to decide if convention centers and stadiums are the answer for the intellectual development of our people, with an emphasis on our children. Or are we leading to having a population of ball players, and low class artists, instead of having well educated people eager to follow morals and principles rather than following superficialities. To end I will ask . . . Will the development of the convention center reduce the rate of crime we are suffering at the present? - Alejandro “EL CONDOR” Arce