Village should organize to take over Rickenbacker project

Editor’s Note: This letter was sent to Mayor Mike Davey and members of the Village Council, and also shared with Islander News for publication.

Dear Council Members.

Thank you for scheduling a meeting to discuss the privatization of the Rickenbacker. Unfortunately, I am away this week and will not be able to attend the Wednesday (Sept 1 at 6:30 p.m.) session. I am sending this note to the Village Clerk so she can include it as comments during the session.

As I wrote to you on July 9, it is imperative that we find a way to take control of the main lifeline for all Key Biscayne residents. Here are my two cents.

The time has come for Mayor Davey to be persuasive, firm and resolute with (Miami-Dade County Commissioner Raquel Regalado). Our Mayor needs to leverage the relationship he has built with her in order to assume a proactive leadership role, one that is sure to run against her public position on this matter. We must learn to respectfully disagree. She is our representative, not our buddy.

In a process full of contradictions, let’s demonstrate our ability to take the high road and replace this pretense of an RFP with a transparent, fair and participative process. From my perspective, this RFP is an opportunity for the Village to show its effective leadership to all the municipalities in South Florida. This is a chance for the Village to present a contrasting approach to the way Miami-Dade does business.

Unfortunately, as individuals we can’t participate in the process directly.We need to follow form and channel this effort through our municipal government. I am confident many of my neighbors and friends share this same sentiment. In the spirit of incorporation, let’s stand up for a righteous cause once again.

Therefore, I encourage you all Village Council members to consider this RFP as an opportunity for the Village to put forth a comprehensive plan focused on addressing the needs of the entire Miami-Dade community, instead of on the needs of career politicians and developers. After all, they all have publicly acknowledged the County's inability to manage a project as complex as this one. To this end, I recommend the Council considers a change in scope and approach.

With respect to the approach, I support the appointment of a task force empowered to put together an action plan for the Village to take control of the process. We need to oppose the current RFP process and then engage with all constituents in Miami-Dade with respect, honesty, and transparency, in order to regain the trust of the citizenry.

In regards to the scope, we ought to place a higher priority on the transportation elements of the causeway (reconstruction or replacement of the bridges and other road improvements), while listening to the needs of the greater community (recreational needs of pedestrians, cyclists and beachgoers). On this front, we should listen to all constituents, and follow a community outreach process -- as we have done multiple times with other infrastructure projects here..

Again, thank you for taking this step forward, but please do take actionable steps tomorrow. We need to act quickly, time is running out.


Juan Santaella


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