If you are having trouble viewing this email, please click here.
District 12 Newsletter
Commissioner Jose District 12 e-Newsletter
Dear residents:

As some of you may have learned, a little over a week ago I underwent an emergency procedure to remove a brain tumor that was discovered by my physician. Thanks to the expertise of Dr. Sergio Gonzalez-Arias and staff at Baptist Hospital, the tumor was successfully removed and I am now in recovery.

This has certainly been a daunting time for me and my family. However, I am eternally grateful for the well wishes I have received from my constituents and residents across Miami-Dade County. Thank you for your support. Rest assured, things will continue to run smoothly in District 12 and I should be back to my post in no time.

Sincerely,
Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz
District 12

May 2011
Push for safe houses for sexually-exploited minors in Miami-Dade County

At the May 10th Public Safety and Healthcare Administration Committee,  on which Commissioner Diaz serves as the Chairman, the committee approved his resolution to create safe houses for sexually-exploited children and teenagers. The resolutions calls for the County to locate unused space, leases, buildings, lots or any other property that could potentially be used for a safe house. Commissioner Diaz is also asking for any grants or funding that the County can apply to this project.

It is estimated that about 293,000 youths in the United States are currently at risk of becoming victims of commercial sexual exploitation. Trudy Novicki, Executive Director of Kristi House, said the situation of human trafficking in Miami is extremely serious, with the FBI naming Miami as one of the top 13 hubs for domestic minor sex trafficking in the United States. The resolutions also calls for the County to work with local partners to identify ways in which Miami-Dade County can assist children who have been sexually exploited. The Commissioner's resolution was co-sponsored by each member of the committee and will be heard by the full Board of County Commissioners at a later date which has yet to be determined. More>>

Substance K2 legislation sponsored by Commissioner Diaz gets approved by Florida Legislature

Commissioner Diaz celebrated upon hearing the Florida Legislature passed his resolution urging the State and the Florida Attorney General to ban the sale, use and possession of K2 and any other synthetic marijuana-like drugs in the State of Florida. As a father of three children, Commissioner Diaz was concerned when he heard K2 could be easily purchased in tobacco shops, retail stores, and on-line, marketed as incense or 'fake weed.'

K2 or 'Spice' is a mixture of herbs and spices that is typically sprayed with a synthetic compound chemically similar to THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. Apart from being classified as a Florida Schedule I Controlled Substance, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has also placed K2 and other synthetic marijuana on the Federal Schedule I. Commissioner Diaz, an advocate for stricter drug laws, also received support from the Florida Legislature in 2007 when they also supported the ban of Salvia divinorum. Salvia divinorum is a herb from Mexico and was also being sold in tobacco shops, retail stores and on-line, giving teenagers easy access. Studies show Salvia divinorum had the same effects as using marijuana. More>>

Commissioner Diaz statement regarding the death of Osama bin Laden

As the military liaison for Miami-Dade County who also served in the United States Marine Corps, Commissioner Diaz issued a statement regarding the death of Osama bin Laden on May 2. More>>

Be Hurricane Ready

Hurricane Season starts June 1 and residents should start preparing now for a potential storm to hit Miami-Dade. Miami-Dade County has put together a resource guide online to assist residents in knowing what to do before, during, and after a storm. For more information, contact Commissioner Diaz's office or call 3-1-1.

Military members and families join Commissioner at annual "Armed Forces Appreciation Day"

Several military members and their families joined Commissioner Diaz at his annual 'Armed Forces Appreciation Day' event at Countyline Dragway on May 21. The event allowed free entry for military members and their families. Everyone enjoyed free food and drinks. At the event, the families of 11 local military personnel killed in action this past year also attended and received a warm welcome. Last year, the families received Miami-Dade County's Medal of Valor, which is the County's equivalent to the Purple Heart.

Commission staff handed out several certificates of appreciation to people who made this event possible:  Anthony Munoz, the owner of Countyline Dragway for hosting the event; Jorge de Cardenas and Oscar de Cardenas for donating all the food and the drinks; and Keith Whitbeck for donating the delicious dessert.

Commissioner Diaz honored by Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation

Commissioner Diaz was honored by the Miami Coalition Against Breed Specific Legislation on May 14 with the 'Public Servant Award.'  Commissioner Diaz was honored for his compassion, dedication and courage in fighting breed specific legislation and saving thousands of innocent dogs' lives.

Through the years, Commissioner Diaz has advocated legislation for animals and recently headed addressing the virus outbreak at Miami-Dade Animal Services in Medley. Because all the dogs and puppies from the facility had to find homes, Commissioner Diaz allowed Animal Services to waive adoption fees to encourage residents to adopt the dogs and puppies. The event took place at the group's annual BBQ event at C.B. Smith Park in Pembroke Pines.

Commissioner Diaz greets members of Maritime Safety and Security Team Miami as they return home from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba

On May 13, Commissioner Diaz, who serves as the County's military liaison,  joined family and friends at Homestead Air Reserve Base in Homestead to greet 80 Coast Guard personnel, all members of the Martime Safety and Security Team (MSST). The team had been deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in support of Operation Enduring Freedom for six months. During their deployment, the members of the MSST Miami utilized their skills and expertise to conduct anti-terrorism and force protection for U.S. operations by using a variety of boats, weapons and tactics.

The MSSTs were created after the attacks of 9/11 by the Maritime Transportation Safety Act of 2002. The mission of these specialized units is to safeguard the public and protect vessels, harbors, ports, facilities and cargo in waters subject to the jurisdiction of the United States from destruction, loss, or injury from crime or terrorist activity.

Commissioner Diaz holds third town hall meeting to discuss Charter amendments

Miami Voice PAC joined Commissioner Diaz at Westland Gardens Park in Hialeah Gardens on May 19 to let residents voice their opinions and receive their input the Miami-Dade Charter questions on the ballot for the May 24 special election. This is the third town hall meeting Commissioner Diaz hosted in his district regarding this matter and over 30 residents took part in this discussion. As with the other two town hall meetings, the Commissioner's office handed out informational packets and a summary of what each of the six proposed charter questions meant.

Commissioner Diaz welcomes USA Judo World Cup to Doral

On May 2 at a press conference, Commissioner Diaz, who serves as the Chairman of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission was joined by Jose Humberto Rodriguez, CEO OF USA Judo, Mike Sophia from the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, John Ruiz, President and CEO of LaLey Sports, and Mayor of City of Doral Mayor Juan Carlos Bermudez to announce the City of Doral and Miami-Dade County will host the USA Judo World Cup for a second year on July 1 at the Doral Golf Resort & Spa. This event will serve as a qualifier for the 2012 London Summer Olympic Games. For more information on this event, please visit www.judoworldcupmiami.com or www.usjudo.org.

Commissioner Diaz participates in "Career Day" at Miami-Dade Public School in Sweetwater

Commissioner Diaz went back to school to participate in 'Career Day' at Sweetwater Elementary School. The Commissioner visited third and fifth grade classes to explain what he does as the Miami-Dade County Commissioner of District 12 and how local government works. Besides answering questions from the students, the Commissioner also asked the students questions about their future and encouraged them to learn as much as possible, stating education is key in their future endeavors.

"Beat the Hurricane Season Rush" on Bulky Waste Pickups

With hurricane season just around the corner, the Miami-Dade County Department of Solid Waste Management (DSWM) reminds customers now is the time to get rid of yard trash and other bulky items.  Single family households in unincorporated Miami-Dade County and the cities of Aventura, Cutler Bay, Doral, Miami Gardens, Miami Lakes, Palmetto Bay, Pinecrest, and Sunny Isles Beach who receive full DSWM residential waste collection services can request two bulky waste pickups of up to 25 cubic yards each during the fiscal year (October 1st through September 30th).  Some of the items allowed for bulky waste pickups include sofas, mattresses, patio furniture, white goods (appliances such as stoves, refrigerators, water heaters, washing machines, dryers) and tree cuttings (must be no more than 5 ft. in length). 

Customers are reminded to schedule a bulky waste pickup before placing items on the curbside, by calling 3-1-1 or requesting a bulky waste pickup online at www.miamidade.gov/dswm.  For more information on the DSWM's bulky waste pickup service, please visit the DSWM website at www.miamidade.gov/dswm or dial 3-1-1, the County's Answer Center. 

Miami-Dade Public Library System will offer free vision screening for children ages 5-17 years old

The Miami-Dade Public Library System and Davis Vision's Focus on America program will be offering free vision care for children ages 5-17 from Thursday, June 9 - Saturday, June 11 at four convenient branch locations. Screenings are available for children who have little or no vision insurance and nothing is required to receive a free vision screening. If the screening indicates that a child needs further care, he or she will be provided with a voucher for free follow-up services including a comprehensive eye exam and eyeglasses (if needed). The voucher must be presented at Visionworks to receive follow-up services. For more information, call 305-751-8687. For information about Davis Vision's Focus on America project, contact communityrelations@davisvision.com. The four locations include South Dade Regional Library, Homestead Branch, Lemon City Branch Library and North Dade Regional. For exact locations, dates and times, please call 3-1-1.

Miami-Dade County is asking residents to spay or neuter their pets

Animal Services is excited to announce additional donor-subsidized surgery days for Miami-Dade County residents.  In an effort to help control the pet overpopulation problem, Miami-Dade Animal Services will offer donor-subsidized ($25 owner co-pay) spay/neuter services every Monday and Tuesday for dogs and ($15 owner co-pay) spay/neuter surgeries for cats every Thursday and Friday at the Animal Services shelter located at 7401 NW 74th Street, Miami, FL 33166. This starts on April 4th with check-in starting at 7:30 a.m. This is first come, first served basis. For more information, please visit www.miamidade.gov/animals or call 3-1-1.

SR 836/Dolphin Expressway closures

On November 30, 2009, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) District Six in partnership with the Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) began a reconstruction project of the State Road (S.R.) 826 (Palmetto Expressway) and S.R. 836 (Dolphin Expressway) Interchange. Now that construction has begun, there will be many upcoming lane and ramp closures on the Dolphin Expressway. For more information about construction-related activities, please contact Oscar Gonzalez at 786-280-0983 or via e-mail at ogonzalez@mrgmiami.com. General information can be found at www.826-836.com. Motorists are encouraged to call 511 before they drive, or log on to www.fl511.com for real-time traffic and lane closure information.

Florida Department of Transportation Projects

The Florida Department of Transportation will be conducting a landscaping project along SR 826/Palmetto Expressway from the FEC Railroad Track to West 42nd Street. The scope of work will include planting of native trees, palms shrubs, and ground cover on the existing grade along grass areas of the interchange and along the shoulders adjacent to the entrance and exit ramps. The project is anticipated to begin November 2010 and is expected to last approximately 240 days.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also developing a project which will construct a new sidewalk along SR 948/NW 36th Street from NW 79th Avenue to NW 74th Avenue. The project will provide a safe pedestrian path along NW 36th Street through the Palmetto Expressway Interchange. The new sidewalk will connect the existing sidewalk on the north and south side of NW 36th Street. It will also provide a median through the interchange. The project includes pedestrian signals, guardrails on both sides of the median, replacement of bridge railing, pedestrian crossing warning signs, new pavement markings and pedestrian ramps. This project is anticipated to begin June 2011 and last approximately 200 days.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also working on a landscaping project along 836/Palmetto Expressway from NW 62nd Street to 81 Street. The project will improve the appearance of the roadway by enhancing the canopy along 826 by planting trees, palms and shrubs on the roadside and ramps. This project will start August 2011 and will last approximately 200 days.

Upcoming District 12 Projects

Other projects include the construction of a traffic signal at NW 97th Avenue and NW 17th Street, which started in February 2011, and another at NW 12th Street and 124th Path which started April 2011. Both traffic signals are expected to be operational in 90 days.

Intersection of 138 Street and NW 113 Avenue to be closed
The Miami-Dade County Public Works Department will be closing the intersection of NW 138 Street and NW 113 Avenue the weekend of April 30th through May 1st to perform drainage work for the subject project.  This area is an industrial area and public works will be working during the weekend to minimize the traffic impact.

Tamiami Canal Park
Construction will start in a week for the Tamiami Canal Park project and is expected to be completed in three months. Tamiami Canal Park is located between Tamiami Canal on the south and SW 7th Street on the north side. Its length stretches from SW 122 Avenue to SW 119 Avenue. This project will provide for new drainage improvements, a 10-foot asphalt walkway, connections to existing neighborhood sidewalks, landscape screening shrubs, fencing and site furniture. When completed, this project will provide the surrounding neighborhood a nice ADA accessible walking path with benches along the way to sit and enjoy the views. 

Affordable health care within reach

Miami-Dade residents can get help paying their Miami-Dade Blue premiums. Residents who meet certain income requirements may qualify for the Miami-Dade Health Insurance Utilization Program (MDHIUP) which provides assistance with a portion of the monthly premiums households pay for Miami-Dade Blue. For more information about the Miami-Dade Health Insurance Utilization Program, visit a federally qualified health center, www.miamidade.gov/ochp or call 3-1-1.

Make your home Weather Wise! Adobe Acrobat Logo

Miami-Dade's Community Action Agency (CAA) is offering qualified homeowners the opportunity to participate in its Weatherization Assistance Program. Applicants may be eligible to receive free weatherization services that will make their homes more energy efficient and reduce energy costs. For more information, contact the CAA at 786-469-4600 or visit its website.

Need assistance paying your utility bills?

The Miami-Dade Community Action Agency's (CAA) Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) is currently assisting eligible residents with payment of their gas or electric bills.  The program assists individuals who are experiencing an increase in their energy bill due to the weather as well as individuals with final notices or those who have had their services disconnected.  Applications for LIHEAP are available Monday through Friday at CAA Service Centers like the Hialeah Service Center, 300 E. First Avenue, or the Sweetwater Service Center, 250 SW 114 Avenue. For a complete list of all the CAA Service Centers or to download the application, please visit the County's website at www.miamidade.gov/caa/liheap.asp  or contact the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency at 786-469-4600.

Mark your calendar for upcoming events!

June 23, 2011 - Commissioner Diaz hosts 'Energy Saving Workshop' from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Jorge Mas Canosa Youth Center, 250 SW 114th Avenue in Sweetwater. To register for this event, please call 3-1-1 or visit green.miamidade.gov

Contact us

Downtown Office
Stephen P. Clark Center
111 NW First Street, Suite 320
Miami, FL 33128
305-375-4343

District Office
8345 NW 12th Street
Miami, FL 33126
305-599-1200

district12@miamidade.gov

You are receiving this e-mail from the Office of Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz. If you no longer wish to receive these updates, please respond to this e-mail with the word "Remove" in the subject line.

Delivering Excellence Every Day