Miami-Dade Legislative Item
File Number: 082648
   Clerk's Official Copy   

File Number: 082648 File Type: Resolution Status: Adopted
Version: 0 Reference: R-972-08 Control: Board of County Commissioners
File Name: PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN AID TO HURRICANE CARRIBEAN COUNTRIES Introduced: 9/18/2008
Requester: NONE Cost: Final Action: 9/16/2008
Agenda Date: 9/16/2008 Agenda Item Number: 11A4
Notes: THIS IS FINAL VERSION AS ADOPTED Title: RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR TO DEVELOP A MECHANISM FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN AID TO THE COUNTRIES IN THE CARIBBEAN THAT HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED BY TROPICAL STORM FAY AND HURRICANES HANNA, GUSTAV, AND IKE; ENCOURAGING ALL COUNTY EMPLOYEES AND RESIDENTS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE HUMANITARIAN RELIEF EFFORTS; AND DIRECTING THE MAYOR TO PARTNER WITH OTHER AGENCIES IN CARRYING OUT THESE HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS [SEE ORIGINAL ITEM UNDER FILE NO. 082609]
Indexes: HUMANITARIAN AID
  HURRICANE RECOVERY
Sponsors: Barbara J. Jordan, Prime Sponsor
  Jose "Pepe" Diaz, Co-Sponsor
  Audrey M. Edmonson, Co-Sponsor
  Sally A. Heyman, Co-Sponsor
  Dennis C. Moss, Co-Sponsor
  Dorrin D. Rolle, Co-Sponsor
Sunset Provision: No Effective Date: Expiration Date:
Registered Lobbyist: None Listed


Legislative History

Acting Body Date Agenda Item Action Sent To Due Date Returned Pass/Fail

County Attorney 9/18/2008 Assigned Shannon D. Summerset 9/18/2008

Board of County Commissioners 9/16/2008 11A4 AMENDED Adopted as amended P
REPORT: At the request of Vice-Chairwoman Jordan, County Attorney Cuevas read into the record the following proposed amended language: “Now therefore, be it resolved by the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County, Florida. This Board directs the County Mayor to develop a mechanism for Miami-Dade County to provide direct Humanitarian Aide to the people living in Caribbean countries that have been devastated by Tropical Storm Fay, and Hurricanes Hanna, Gustavo and Ike where Federal Government policy and polices of the countries that permit such aid such as Haiti, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Mayor is further directed to develop a mechanism directing humanitarian aide to the people of Cuba, which would become available if the Federal Government announces it will authorize direct humanitarian aide to the people of Cuba. All County employees and residents are encouraged to support and participate in these humanitarian relief efforts. The Mayor is also directed to work with community organizations in carrying out these humanitarian efforts.” Commissioner Jordan noted, basically, the intent of this item was to initiate the County’s efforts to provide humanitarian aide to those Caribbean Islands hit hardest by Hurricane Ike. At Chairman Barreiro’s request, County Attorney Cuevas re-read the portion of the amendment pertaining to Cuba. In response to Chairman Barreiro’s question whether the plan to be developed by the Mayor would require Board approval; County Attorney Cuevas noted the language as written did not provide for Board approval of the plan. Commissioner Souto noted his concerns pertained to underlying issues concerning Cuba, and having to forfeit his voting rights for some control over the Mayor’s plan. Chairman Barreiro stated he felt the amended language relative to Cuba provided a level of comfort, as long as the Mayor worked with the Federal Government in developing a plan, and followed a proper process approved by the Federal Government. Commissioner Sosa questioned if this plan would include providing aide to the victims of Hurricane Ike in the U.S. Gulf Coast who suffered great losses as well. She also asked for clarification on whether the Board would be approving a budget line-item, a fund allocation or would ask the Mayor to prepare a plan requesting community donations. She expressed concern that the language in this item lacked guidance for the Administration, and felt it should be more specific. Vice Chairwoman Jordan noted this process was no different than the process in the item recently approved to provide humanitarian aide to Haiti, except it included other Caribbean Islands and ensured the actions of the Federal Government relative to Cuba were respected. She noted a resolution adopted after Hurricane Katrina, established a fund to respond to U.S. domestic victims on the Gulf Coast, which the County Commissioners could continue contributing to. Commissioner Sosa stated she understood the County Commissioners made allocations from their office funds for Hurricane Katrina victims, and she wanted to clarify this process to ensure the intent was to approve a budget line-item; or to allocate from Commission District discretionary office funds or to ask the community for donations. Commissioner Edmonson advised that she already requested an item be prepared to reactivate the process and account established for Hurricane Katrina victims in order to respond to the victims of Hurricane Ike on the Gulf Coast. Vice Chairwoman Jordan clarified the process used for Haiti announced to the public that the County was beginning its humanitarian aide drive, and that all fire and police departments would be available for the community to drop off donations. She encouraged her colleagues to continue allocating to the Fund established after Hurricane Katrina since those funds could be tripled by World Vision. Commissioner Seijas expressed appreciation to Vice Chairwoman Jordan for caring for the people of Cuba. She pointed out the U.S. Government offered $5 million in aide to Cuba, which was refused by the Cuban Government. She noted this was not an issue about control, but about trust and caring for one another. She also noted her trust in the amended language and in the County’s Administration to follow the appropriate process and come back with a plan. Commissioner Diaz commended Vice Chairwoman Jordan for this resolution, which he supported. He emphasized the importance of everyone working together and remembering the County’s economy relied on the import/exports of the Caribbean Islands. The important issues were to carry out a humanitarian effort and have respect for those people, he noted. Commissioner Sorenson expressed appreciation to Vice Chairwoman Jordan for her consideration of neighboring nations that were currently suffering and some very poor. She stated she felt the best method would be to encourage the County’s community to provide humanitarian aide. She expressed some concern with tax dollars being used for this purpose, since the County had needs as well, but noted the process should be carefully balanced. She agreed the County needed to be concern for its neighboring nations. Commissioner Gimenez spoke in support of this item, but felt it should be amended further to include language providing that the Mayor outline an all encompassing procedure that provided humanitarian aid wherever it was needed. Vice Chairwoman Jordan stated she preferred this resolution be restricted to the Caribbean Islands to ensure the process moved quickly to provide needed resources as soon as possible. She reminded everyone of a forthcoming item sponsored by Commissioner Edmonson that would respond to the domestic issues. She noted the need for the County to provide immediate assistance to the victims in the Caribbean nations was much more of an emergency, and she preferred to protect the integrity of this item. Commissioner Moss asked that he be listed as a co-sponsor to this item, and as a co-sponsor to the forthcoming item sponsored by Commissioner Edmonson. He stated he felt this resolution would assist the community in understanding the needs and sensitivity of neighboring countries. He also stated he felt the County’s communities had enough compassion to assist both the victims in the neighboring Caribbean Islands as well as those in the Gulf Coast. Commissioner Sosa allocated $2,000 from District 6 Office Funds to provide Humanitarian aid to Hurricane Ike victims living in the Caribbean Islands. Commissioner Rolle allocated $2,000 from District 2 Office Funds to provide Humanitarian aid to Hurricane Ike victims living in the Caribbean Islands. He noted he sponsored an item several years ago to provide surplus equipment to Islands devastated by hurricanes, but incurred some obstacles. He noted Haiti needed some surplus heavy equipment (earth movers) to help repair their infrastructure. Commissioner Edmonson expressed appreciation to her colleagues for supporting this item. She noted, prior to Hurricane Ike, she and Commissioners Jordan and Moss had the privilege of traveling to Haiti and found the situation in Haiti to be terrible, with people still living on their roof tops. She stated the Board needed to move quickly on this item so aide could be provided to Haiti as soon as possible. Commissioner Souto noted he was not opposed to providing humanitarian aide to the Caribbean Islands since many of his friends and family members still lived there. He noted he once lived in Cuba, and was very familiar with these nations; however, Cuba’s political system was much different than Haiti’s and he feared the Cuban Government would only take advantage of the resources provided for the Cuban people. He stated he could support this item if Cuba was separated out and the humanitarian aide was administered by church organizations. He noted he could not support giving aide to the Cuban people that would only be used by the Cuban Administration. Commissioner Seijas pointed out the Catholic Church had delivered aide to Cuba for many years at great cost. She noted the intent of this item was not to deliver aide to a communistic government without control. She noted she believed the language in the item was appropriately written, and that the County Administration would come up with the appropriate plan. Commissioner Diaz pointed out those agencies that provide humanitarian aide to needy countries were licensed by the U.S. Government. He concurred with the comments of Commissioner Souto that churches would be a great vehicle to deliver aide, which might be the vehicle the Mayor chooses. Commissioner Diaz noted he asked to be listed as a co-sponsor of this item and supported it because he felt the issue was about humanitarian relief for suffering people who could not be ignored. Commissioner Heyman suggested, when developing a mechanism for directing aide to the Caribbean Islands, the Mayor consider the mechanism currently in place by Dr. Barth Green and Jackson Memorial Hospital, which provided medical supplies and doctors to Haiti, and would help expedite this process without efforts duplicated and would ensure the aid went to the right places. Chairman Barreiro suggested it would be a huge level of comfort to many in this community if the County Mayor considered using churches as a vehicle for getting aide to Cuba. Upon conclusion of the discussion, the Board adopted the foregoing proposed resolution as amended to add the following language: “Now therefore, be it resolved by the Board of County Commissioners of Miami-Dade County, Florida. This Board directs the County Mayor to develop a mechanism for Miami-Dade County to provide direct Humanitarian Aide to the people living in Caribbean countries that have been devastated by Tropical Storm Fay, and Hurricanes Hanna, Gustavo and Ike where Federal Government policy and polices of the countries that permit such aid such as Haiti, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Mayor is further directed to develop a mechanism directing humanitarian aide to the people of Cuba, which would become available if the Federal Government announces it will authorize direct humanitarian aide to the people of Cuba. All County employees and residents are encouraged to support and participate in these humanitarian relief efforts. The Mayor is also directed to work with community organizations in carrying out these humanitarian efforts.” Later in the meeting, Commissioner Rolle recognized several Haitian Mayors present in the audience, who arrived in Miami today to attend the annual National Leadership Conference of Haitian Mayors held this week in Downtown Miami. He acknowledged their expressed appreciation to the Board of County Commissioners (BCC) for adopting the foregoing resolution. He noted this year’s Conference of Haitian Mayors was sponsored by the American Airlines, the World Conference of Mayors, Florida Memorial University and himself; and the event would feature informative leadership workshops, roundtable discussions and hands-on activities to assist 140 Haitian Mayors and municipalities in developing ways to better serve their constituents. Commissioner Jordan explained the foregoing resolution adopted by the BCC this morning. She noted the BCC recognized the suffering and devastation endured by Haiti as a result of four hurricanes, and committed to provide humanitarian aide to those Caribbean Islands impacted the hardest. She expressed appreciation to the Haitian Mayors for being present at today’s meeting. Commissioner Sorenson spoke in French to the Haitian Mayors present in the audience. Commissioner Edmonson expressed appreciation to the Mayors of Haiti for being present today and for informing the BCC of the devastation suffered by Haiti. She also expressed appreciation to her colleagues for supporting her and Vice Chairwoman Jordan in adopting this resolution. Commissioner Edmonson noted it was an honor to assist Haiti, and she hoped the County Commission would have an opportunity to meet with each Haitian Mayor someday under better circumstances. Commissioner Moss expressed his appreciation to the Mayors of Haiti present today, and asked those Mayors, whom he met while visiting Haiti, to stand and be recognized. Commissioner Moss also recognized Mr. Joseph “Billie” Louise from GALATA, Inc and expressed appreciation to him for helping the County Commissioners better understand the needs of Haiti. Mayor Jean Frantz Theodat, of Tabarre, Haiti, appeared on behalf of his colleagues, and expressed appreciation to the BCC for passing a resolution to help Haiti. He noted it was good to know that Haiti had friends in Miami-Dade County that could help them in tough times. He stated he expected the Mayors of Haiti and Miami-Dade County Commissioners would have a chance to work together in good times as well. Mr. Joseph G. “Billie” Louise, Executive Director, GALATA, Inc, Homestead, Florida, appeared on behalf of the Haitian population, and expressed appreciation to Commissioner Moss for his dependability in assisting the Haitian community of South Florida, and to Commissioners Rolle and Sorenson as well. He stated he felt this resolution was the best solution for Haiti, and hoped that one day Haiti would be part of a Marshall Plan. He also expressed appreciation to Florida International University (FIU), Florida Memorial University (FMU) and to Mayor Otis Wallace, City of Florida City for their support. An unidentified female Haitian Mayor appeared and expressed her appreciation to the BCC for keeping Haiti close to their hearts and helping them. She noted her colleagues could feel better knowing the Haitian people were being cared for by loving people. Commissioner Rolle reminded his colleagues that the 2008 National Leadership Conference of Haitian Mayors would be held this week at the Hilton Hotel in Downtown Miami, from September 17 through September 19, 2008; and invited them to attend.

Legislative Text


TITLE
RESOLUTION DIRECTING THE COUNTY MAYOR TO DEVELOP A MECHANISM FOR MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TO PROVIDE HUMANITARIAN AID TO THE COUNTRIES IN THE CARIBBEAN THAT HAVE BEEN DEVASTATED BY TROPICAL STORM FAY AND HURRICANES HANNA, GUSTAV, AND IKE; ENCOURAGING ALL COUNTY EMPLOYEES AND RESIDENTS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY TO PARTICIPATE IN THE HUMANITARIAN RELIEF EFFORTS; AND DIRECTING THE MAYOR TO PARTNER WITH OTHER AGENCIES IN CARRYING OUT THESE HUMANITARIAN EFFORTS

BODY
WHEREAS, prior to Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricanes Hanna, Gustav, and Ike, many Caribbean countries were suffering the devastation caused by escalating food prices and food shortages; and
WHEREAS, in many cases the storms have made an already grim situation abysmal; and
WHEREAS, these storms have caused extensive flooding, mudslides, loss of life and damaged or destroyed over one hundred thousand homes, displacing millions; and
WHEREAS, in light of this extreme devastation being faced by our neighbors in these Caribbean countries it is incumbent upon this County to offer assistance,
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED BY THE BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY, FLORIDA, that this Board directs the County Mayor to develop a mechanism for Miami-Dade County to provide direct humanitarian aid to the people living in Caribbean countries that have been devastated by Tropical Storm Fay and Hurricanes Hanna, Gustav, and Ike, where federal government policy and the policies of the countries permit such aid such as Haiti, the Bahamas, the Dominican Republic, and the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Mayor is further directed to develop a mechanism to provide direct humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba which can become available if the federal government announces that it will authorize direct humanitarian aid to the people of Cuba. All County employees and residents of Miami-Dade County are encouraged to support and participate in the humanitarian relief efforts. The Mayor is also directed to work and partner with relief organizations in carrying out these humanitarian efforts.



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