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District 12 Newsletter
Commissioner Jose District 12 e-Newsletter

Dear residents,

As we approach the end of summer, my colleagues and I are in the midst of analyzing the Mayor's proposed budget for FY 2011-2012. With a $409 million budget gap to address, difficult decisions must be made that may reduce County services and eliminate jobs.

I encourage you to get in touch with my office should you have questions or suggestions about the budget. The final approved budget affects every resident and your opinions matter. You can easily view the proposed budget on Miami-Dade's website.

The first public hearing regarding the budget is scheduled for Thursday, September 8, 2011 at 5:01 p.m. at County Hall.

Sincerely,

Commissioner Jose 'Pepe' Diaz

July 2011
Commissioner Diaz organizes public meetings on Jackson Hospital Governance Task Force recommendations

Commissioner Diaz, who serves as the Chairman of the County's Public Safety & Healthcare Administration Committee, wanted to ensure all Miami-Dade residents were able to voice their opinions and concerns regarding the 18 recommendations made by the Hospital Governance Task Force on Miami-Dade's County hospital, Jackson Health System. The Hospital Governance Task Force was created by the Board of County Commissioners to study and present recommendations on the governance structure of Jackson. For this reason, Commissioner Diaz urged his colleagues to hold public meetings in their districts. Commissioner Diaz will be hosting a public meeting in his district on Thursday, August 4 at 6 p.m. at Jorge Mas Canosa Youth Center, 250 SW 114th Avenue, in Sweetwater. Residents wishing to view the recommendations by the Governance Task Force can view them onlineMore>>

Wage Theft Ordinance works for you

Commissioner Diaz is happy to announce the success of the 'Wage Theft' ordinance that he co-sponsored last year. The first annual fiscal report on wage theft was just released, showing the County's Department of Small Business Development (SBD), who oversees the wage theft ordinance, has settled 97 claims totaling $268,984.20 in wage claims awarded to employees. Currently, the department has 76 cases pending. Since last year, the department has had 995 complaints filed, but only 515 of those cases met the criteria for the County to file a claim. SBD also forwarded 59 other cases to the Department of Labor and other agencies, and took 529 inquiries that were non-claim related.

The Wage Theft Ordinance was created to make it easier for employees to take legal action against employers who fail to pay them. This ordinance also made Miami-Dade the first county in the nation to adopt a countywide wage theft law. For more information on the Wage Theft Ordinance, please visit SBD's website.

"Wall of Heroes" to honor military men and women soon to be reality

Commissioner Diaz, who is the County's military liaison, proposed legislation that would honor our local men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who have died in Iraq or Afghanistan while serving in Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom. The Commission approved the item during on July 7.

At least 35 local military personnel have been killed while serving their country. The 'Wall of Heroes' will be installed on the southeastern wall of the interior lobby of the Stephen P. Clark Center. A plaque will have a dedication, as well as a list all of the names of these men and women with details about each one's rank, branch of service, and operation in which they served. The design options of the 'Wall of Heroes' will be discussed by the full Board of County Commissioners at a later date. More>>

Commissioner Diaz issues statement on the NFL lockout ending

Commissioner Diaz, who serves as the Chairman of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, was glad to hear football season will soon start again after NFL owners and players reached an agreement on July 25. Commissioner Diaz, a huge Miami Dolphin fan, can't wait to see his favorite team in action. More>>

Commissioner Diaz speaks at annual "Doing Business with the Military" Workshop

On July 22, Commissioner Diaz gave the welcoming remarks at the annual 'Doing Business with the Military' workshop/expo event that took place at the Intercontinental at Doral Miami Hotel. The event had over 100 companies participating, including Miami-Dade County, and featured Florida Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll and United States Air Force General Douglas M. Fraser from the U.S Southern Command as guest speakers. Currently, the military industry has an annual impact of $3.6 billion in Miami-Dade County and the workshop/expo gave businesses a chance to network and learn about obtaining military contracts. The event was sponsored by the Miami-Dade Defense Alliance, a program of The Beacon Council.

Chairman Joe A. Martinez and Commissioner Diaz perform community service as part of their friendly NBA wager with Mayor of Dallas

After losing a friendly NBA wager with the City of Dallas Mayor Dwaine Caraway, Commissioner Diaz and Chairman Martinez shipped some Miami goodies to the mayor, and performed a community service in Dirk Nowitzki Dallas Mavericks jerseys. On July 15, the commissioners joined the children from Miami Children's Hospital's oncology and hematology departments to create a masterpiece in the arts and crafts play room - all while wearing the jerseys. The pediatric patients were eager to teach Commissioner Diaz and Chairman Martinez how to draw. The commissioners have already sent Mayor Caraway crabs from local favorite Joe's Stone Crab, a box of Cuban pastries, and hand-rolled cigars from Cuban Crafters, all part of the friendly NBA wager with Mayor Caraway. More>>

Commissioner Diaz wishes wounded veterans good luck as they head to Tour De France event

On June 29, Commissioner Diaz joined American Airlines, the Honor Guard from the Miami-Dade Police Department, and Customs and Borders Protection at Miami International Airport for a send-off celebration for 28 wounded war veterans from Miami, traveling to France to take part in a series of Ride 2 Recovery events. American Airlines, Air Compassion for veterans and United Healthcare provided transportation for a total of 147 wounded warriors to participate in the Ride 2 Recovery event. More>>

Commissioner Diaz welcomes British military ship

Commissioner Diaz welcomed the captain and crew of the Royal Navy's HMS Dauntless as it docked at the Port of Miami on July 21. The ship is a 500-foot-long Type 45 air-warfare destroyer and has 240 crew members.  The crew was returning from a mission and stopped in Miami-Dade for some rest and relaxation. Commissioner Diaz also presented the ship's Captain Richard Powell with a distinguished visitor certificate and the Key to the County. Aside from its naval technology, the HMS Dauntless is known for its reference in the film Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl.

Last year, Commissioner Diaz sponsored a program that welcomes and promotes military ships, soldiers and sailors visiting Miami-Dade County. The Commissioner gave a special thanks to the Florida Marlins for providing free tickets to some of the crew members for a Friday night game, where the Marlins took on the New York Mets.

Commissioner Diaz welcomes inbound trade mission from Guatemala

On July 18, Commissioner Diaz served as the keynote speaker to welcome an inbound trade mission delegation from Guatemala at the Florida Foreign Trade Association luncheon. Commissioner Diaz stressed the importance Guatemala plays in international trade and in the economic well-being of Miami-Dade County. He spoke about strengthening our relationship and the important role the Port of Miami and Miami International Airport play in making Miami-Dade County not only the logical choice, but also the ideal location to do business. Commissioner Diaz promised to do his part to ensure a two-way trade with Guatemala. For more information on the Florida Foreign Trade Association, please visit their website at www.ffta.com.

Towing and knowing your rights

Do you feel you might be a target of unfair towing practices? Make sure you check the County's Consumer Services Department (CSD) first. The Miami-Dade County Towing Ordinance requires all persons and businesses engaged in the recovery, towing or removal of vehicles to be licensed by the CSD.  The ordinance also requires all towers to meet safety equipment requirements, maintain adequate insurance coverage, and comply with vehicle signage, identification and advertising requirements.  It also establishes maximum rates for 'non-consent' towing services. If you have a towing-related question or wish to file a complaint about a tower, contact CSD's Consumer Mediation Center via telephone at 305-375-3677 or online at www.miamidade.gov/csd.

CSD reminds consumers of 2011 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

The Miami-Dade Consumer Services Department (CSD) wants to remind residents of the 2011 Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday scheduled from August 12-14, 2011. Last month, Governor Rick Scott signed a bill creating a three day tax free weekend for shoppers that provides a tax break on clothing and school supplies.  The law mandates that no sales-tax be collected on the sale of clothing, wallets, or bags, including handbags, backpacks, fanny packs, and diaper bags.  The sale excludes briefcases, suitcases, and other garment bags, having a sales price of $75 or less, or on sales of certain school supplies having a sales price of $15.  The tax free weekend begins at 12:01 a.m. on August 12, and ends at 11:59 p.m. on August 14.  To view a complete list of tax-exempt items click here.

August is Military Appreciation Month at Zoo Miami

Zoo Miami will be showing its appreciation during August to the honorable men and women who have served and are serving in our military.  During Zoo Miami's Military Appreciation Month, any active-duty member or veteran presenting a valid military I.D. will be able to take advantage of one of these offers:

  • Enter the zoo with a 'buy one, get one free' admission. This offer is valid for up to six people and expires August 31, 2011.
  • 15% off the Annual Pass to Zoo Miami valid for 365 days of admission.
  • Zoo Miami provides a 25% off regular adult or child admission for all military members year-round. Identification is required at time of admission purchase.
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 began June 2011 and will 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.

Affordable health care within reach

Miami-Dade County has launched a new online pre-screening tool to help people obtain health insurance. In less than 5 minutes, County residents can find out if they qualify for premium assistance in paying for their health insurance. By answering some simple questions, residents can find out whether Miami-Dade County's new Health Insurance Assistance program which provides premium assistance for Blue Cross and Blue Shield's Miami-Dade Blue, is for them. Just click on Health Insurance Assistance today and see if you qualify.

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 or contact the Miami-Dade Community Action Agency at 786-469-4600.

Upcoming events

September 3, 2011 - 4th Annual Kids & Families Foundation Motorcycle Run at Sun Life Stadium, starting at 2 p.m. To purchase tickets, please visit www.marlins.com/motomadness or call Rene Sardina for more information at 786-486-6066.

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

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