Life and times of Key Biscayne florida


July 24th, 2014

Caplan working to schedule special meeting on park petition


 petition to ban domestic animals from 530 Crandon Boulevard has the 667 signatures it needs to move forward, and now it’s up to the Village Council to take action: either approve the proposed ordinance, or submit the measure to voters.
Mayor Frank Caplan initially called a special meeting for this past Tuesday, July 22, but then had to cancel it due to a lack of a quorum.
The Council is currently on its summer hiatus.
Caplan, who was out of town but in close contact with the Village Manager, Clerk and Attorney, said he continues to work on a date. “Apart from my being out of town, we cannot achieve a quorum for the 22nd,” said the Mayor, who would have had to participate in the meeting by phone and therefore wouldn’t have counted toward a quorum. “I am working through the task and alternatives before our Council, including process and timing considerations.”
Timing considerations are key:
If the Council does not approve the ordinance – which seems likely with Caplan, Vice Mayor Michael Davey and Council member Michael Kelly already publicly speaking out against it and only Council member Jim Taintor going on the record with support – the Village would have to submit the measure to the Miami-Dade County Elections Department by August 5 in order for it to appear as a referendum on the November 4 general election ballot.
The Council legally has until mid-September to take action on the petition, i.e. 45 days after it was declared valid by the Elections Department last Friday, July 25.
The July 25 confirmation was actually the petitioners’ second stab at a legally sufficient petition: they submitted the first batch of signatures earlier this month, but on Tuesday, July 15, were told some had been rejected, leaving them 11 short.
Petitioners’ group spokesman Carlos Fernandez said he sent a Notice of Intention to Amend the next day, stating in an email to Village Clerk Conchita Alvarez, “I will anticipate filing the new batch of petitions no later than [Thursday, July 17]. It will include new petition signatures as well as some requests for change of signatures with the new signature on a petition.”
Indeed, on the 17th, the committee provided the Clerk’s office with 66 additional signatures.
“This should cover us nicely,” Fernandez said.
Village officials ensured he would hear a verdict from the County shortly – Manager John Gilbert, in an email to Fernandez, stated he forwarded the new signatures to the Elections Department immediately via a Village runner early in the afternoon of the 17th – and by the next day, Elections Department officials had already confirmed the petition as sufficient.
Now, with Caplan still working to schedule a special meeting, that’s currently where things stand – but Fernandez made it clear the petitioners are not resting on their laurels.
He acknowledged the fate of the referendum is in the hands of the Council and therefore out of his group’s control, so volunteers are turning their attention toward promoting and supporting Council candidates who would further their position.
“What is within our control going forward is the election of Council members in November,” he said, noting three seats are open.
First and foremost, Fernandez said, his group will push to support Taintor in his reelection bid. “He has not only been a strong supporter of our position on the dog park issue, but as a longtime resident he brings his knowledge and experience of the issues facing Key Biscayne, which when added to his personal qualities, merit our strong support,” Fernandez remarked.
He also indicated the group would support Caplan if he decides to seek a Council seat.
He noted Caplan is term-limited from running for Mayor again, but could run for Council, and, “During his term in office he has shown his leadership qualities, inclination for seeking consensus and a unique insight into many important issues facing the Village. It would be a pity to lose all that knowledge and experience that he could contribute as a member of the Council.”
As for the final open seat, Fernandez, who himself ran for Council in 2012, said, “We need to find a candidate that will represent the will of the voters.”

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