Sunday, June 19, 2011

Surf and Turf

At sunset this past father's day, some folks on the beach must have thought the Town of Surfside was a bit early with their Fourth of July fireworks display.

Who but the residents of this slow-paced seaside town would know that the celebration was for the much anticipated soft opening of our grand new community center.

Nearly six years ago, setting aside a nostalgia for worn and familiar, town interests bullishly moved forward with the costly controversial demolition of a perfectly old building and the new construction of a bigger, better oasis. Trouble was the ambitious plan was often compared to the re-invention of the wheel. The project seemed to languish with the southern drawl of small town bureaucracy, distracting promise of a sunnier tomorrow and finally the sentimental loss of a fragile connectedness with neighbors.

The heat was on to get work done on time for the promised grand opening. With hardhat nipping and tucking frenzy, manual labor pressed the site into service and the official ribbon cutting went off without a hitch, kinda.

One interior space puzzlingly resembling a Sobe sitting room, a charming long-time resident stood confounded by the new glass enclosure smelling very now where our quiet old library once stood. She made a graceful perplexing smile when i told her we were standing in what will one day be a virtual media center with kindles.

Volunteers dressed in commemorative tee's hurriedly posed for a snapshot before scurrying for cover from impending thunderhead storms. Soon after an Early Lightning Warning Siren system was triggered signaling the evacuation command with 'the russians are coming' screeching blasts.

Father figures of Surfside, Mayor Dietch and Cub Scout Master Howard ushered in the new era of community vitality. These guys are comfortably smart, fair, casual and reassuring.

Surfy and Turfy, locals gather in support of the not so wild side.

Time will tell how well this shiny new shell will accommodate the diverse needs and desires of the residents who fund its existence. Our next big ticket item is the revamping of the town plumbing.



  1. Oh Lordy , the town plumbing


    Since the birth of America, men and women have fought and died to protect our nation, our democracy, and our right to vote. On July Fourth we celebrate our national independence, and we salute and remember those who have sacrificed to enable our citizens to live in a free society. Our community here in Surfside has traditionally recognized Independence Day, Veterans Day, and Memorial Day and honored our nation, its military and veterans, through times of both war and peace and we are proud of our town’s long standing ideals. If only they weren’t being disrespected by our own town government.

    On this day in 2011 we must sadly recognize that right here in our own community, the Town of Surfside, we are being denied the right to vote. Denied the very rights that Independence Day is all about. Town officials have adamantly refused to comply with the Town Charter and as a result we have not been allowed to have a referendum - no public votes - on critically important matters such as:

    -- dozens of no-bid contracts given out, siphoning off & depleting the town’s savings

    -- the needless demolition and destruction of the beautiful, historic Community Center

    -- the expenditure of millions of dollars of town savings (far more than is being admitted to by Town Hall) for demolition and to build a new and smaller Community Center with no Auditorium or Library, to be run on a deficit basis

    -- the sell-out and complete changing of the Town's zoning code to vastly increase allowable development, density and congestion

    -- the Town going into debt for 16 million dollars plus 9 million in interest and fees to
    replace the entire water and sewer system to expand capacity for future development in Bal Harbour and Surfside while simultaneously soaking Surfside residents with enormously increased, oppressive water and sewer bills

    Surfside is being run far more like a dictatorship than as a participatory democracy. Town officials provide cover for the drain of town money, and they let developers write zoning laws to suit their agenda. Special interests reign and manipulate all official decisions. It is a disgrace that we have been refused the right to vote on such crucial issues. The community has been permanently damaged as a result. We can and must fight back to have our Town Hall return to the ways of the Public Interest and to abandon its current priority of serving special Interests at our expense. Our wallets, and our quality of life, are being ripped off!

  3. North Miami is building a much larger community center with gym and expansive rooms and space for alot less than Surfside paid for its tiny building and pool. The Surfside bill draining taxpayers' money has now hit over 10 million, including the insane repetitive plans and studies and designs, demolition, construction, and overruns and change orders (that remain hidden by the Dietch administration). Burkett's gang and Dietch's gang (with many of the same members and red handed town hall insiders and favored outsiders) have fleeced Surfside and thumbed their nose at its residents. Follow the money through all of its filthy back doors.