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District 12 Newsletter
Commissioner Jose District 12 e-Newsletter

Dear residents,

It’s official – the Miami HEAT are our NBA champions! As Chairman of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, I officially congratulated the team on a job well done this season. The NBA Finals were incredible to watch and the HEAT truly deserved their victory. Congratulations once again to the team. Miami-Dade is ready to cheer you on next season!

On another note, I wish you and your families a fun and safe Independence Day. As we celebrate, take the time to remember our Founding Fathers for the sacrifices they made for our freedom.


Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz

June 2012
Commissioner Diaz sponsors no-kill shelter legislation

At the Public Safety and Healthcare Administration Committee on June 12, Commissioner Diaz, an animal lover and owner of four dogs, sponsored a resolution that will hopefully make Miami-Dade Animal Services a no-kill shelter. This would guarantee that 90 percent of the animals housed must be saved. The commissioner’s resolution requests that the Mayor and administration report back to the Commission within 180 days on the financial feasibility to implement a no-kill shelter and other life-saving programs that would support this plan. 

The resolution also calls for recognition of the “No Kill Equation,” a model which includes comprehensive adoption programs, free-roaming cat trap/neuter/return programs, affordable spay/neuter services, large-scale volunteer foster care programs, rescue group transfers, proactive pet retention programs, proactive pet redemptions, medical and behavioral programs, public relations/community involvement, and volunteer programs. While the commissioner’s resolution passed in committee, the item will be presented to the full Board of County Commission for a final vote on July 3, 2012. More>>

Commissioner Diaz seeks barriers at shopping centers to prevent tragedies

At the Infrastructure and Land Use Committee on June 13, Commissioner Diaz got the green light on an ordinance he hopes will save lives and make it safer for pedestrians visiting shopping centers.  The commissioner’s ordinance requires anti-ram fixtures to be placed in shopping centers when head-in parking is located adjacent to a storefront installation. The fixtures would be installed along the outer edge of the sidewalk to visually and physically separate the vehicular and pedestrian areas. 

Commissioner Diaz sponsored the item after being approached by Juan Carlos Albelo, father of Laymet Albelo, the victim of a fatal accident at a Bird Road shopping center last August. Both Laymet and Celeste Gaitan were killed at Bird Point Plaza on SW 40th Street and 134th Avenue when the driver of an SUV lost control and crashed his car into a storefront where the two women were sitting outside. Celeste was seven months pregnant at the time of the accident and efforts to save her unborn child were unsuccessful. This item will be considered by the full Board on July 3, 2012. The father of Laymet Albelo was grateful to Commissioner Diaz for sponsoring this resolution and hopes this resolution prevent other families from suffering a similar loss. More>>

New skate park and basketball courts at North Trail Park

Commissioner Diaz’s staff and Miami-Dade Parks Director Jack Kardys were on hand on June 16 for the groundbreaking of a new skateboard park and basketball courts at North Trail Park. The commissioner had advocated for improvements and was thrilled the project is finally becoming a reality. The park, located at 780 NW 127th Avenue, will have a new 120 x 120’ concrete skate court plaza, including skateboarding fixtures and covered spectator bleachers.  The park’s old basketball courts will also be replaced with new ones, with high-efficiency sports lighting and 178 new parking spaces. The total project cost is $1,081,500, provided by the “Building Better Communities” General Obligation Bond Program. For more information about this park, please visit www.miamidade.gov/parks.

Commissioner Diaz salutes our future service men and women at "Our Community Salutes" event

As the military liaison for Miami-Dade County, Commissioner Diaz attended the “Our Community Salutes” ceremony on June 2 at Jungle Island, which recognized and honored high school students who are ready to take the oath to serve their country. Commissioner Diaz spoke to hundreds of graduates and thanked them for enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces. He also took a moment to thank their parents for supporting their children in this decision despite the difficult times they will be face.

The event was attended by high ranking military officials. Joseph D. Kernan, U.S. Navy Vice Admiral and Military Deputy Commander of U.S. Southern Command in Miami, led the group in their oath. The new recruits consisted of 87 future Army soldiers, 95 Marines, 21 Airmen, and 84 Navy sailors. Many of them will leave for training in the coming months. Our Community Salutes (OCS) is a national, non-profit organization created to recognize and honor graduating high school students (and their parents) who plan to enlist in the armed services after graduation.

Commissioner Diaz attends Safe Harbor legislation bill signing

Commissioner Diaz has been a strong advocate for protecting victims of human trafficking, sponsoring several sex trafficking laws like the Florida Safe Harbor Act. The legislation recognizes commercially sexually exploited children as victims of a crime, not criminals, and ensures increasing penalties on traffickers.  On June 12, Commissioner Diaz joined Kristi House, State representatives, colleagues and Governor Rick Scott for the ceremonial signing of HB99 AND HB7049 at Kristi House.

Kristi House serves as the Children's Advocacy Center for all of Miami-Dade County and is dedicated to providing a healing environment for young victims of sexual abuse and their families. This approach includes coordinating client families’ involvement with legal, medical and mental health systems, limiting the number of interviews to reduce the trauma associated with retelling the story, and ensuring that no child falls through the cracks. With Commissioner Diaz’s help, Kristi House will open an emergency shelter and drop-in center for sexually exploited children. Under the direction of Program Manager Sandy Skelaney, Kristi House will be one of the first agencies in the state to implement Safe Harbor. For more information or to register for training, visit the Kristi House website at www.kristihouse.org.

25th Street Viaduct groundbreaking

On June 13, Commissioner Diaz joined other elected officials for the 25th Street Viaduct groundbreaking ceremony. This project is aimed at providing a vital connection to not only help with the traffic flow in and out of the West Cargo Area at Miami International Airport, but also will alleviate the traffic flow in Doral. The viaduct will be elevated about 30 feet along the north side of 25th Street and will connect with the existing east viaduct. The project will go over the Palmetto Expressway and down just east of NW 82 Avenue. It will have one eastbound and one westbound 15-foot lanes with two 8- and 6-foot shoulders. The viaduct’s estimated cost is $58 million and the entire project is expected to be completed three and a half years. While traffic in the area will be hectic for a couple of weeks, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) is encouraging people traveling in the Doral area to seek alternative routes until this phase is complete. For more information on this project or view alternative routes, call 511 or log on to www.fl511.com.

Commissioner Diaz throws first pitch at Miami Marlins game

In honor of “Military Mondays,” the Miami Marlins asked Commissioner Diaz to throw out the first pitch of the Miami Marlins game against the Boston Red Sox on June 11. Commissioner Diaz was honored and cheered the Miami Marlins to a victory of 4-1. GO MARLINS!

National Basketball Association partners up with Miami Heat to better community

Commissioner Diaz, who serves as the Chairman of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, was pleased to take part in the “NBA Cares” Learn & Play Center event that took place on June 18 at the Miami Springs Community Center. Every year during the championship games, NBA Cares joins the participating teams and sponsors to perform a project that benefits the community. Sponsors this year included like State Farm Insurance and Hewlett Packard.

Miami Heat and other NBA players joined NBA Commissioner David Stern as they unveiled the renovations done by NBA Cares at the Miami Springs Community Center. The center now has 13 new computers, a library with walls are painted in Miami Heat colors and pictures of current players, a new TV, and all sorts of games for children to play. NBA Cares, the league’s global outreach initiative, addresses important social issues such as education, youth and family development, and health and wellness. The NBA and its teams support a range of programs that affect communities.  The Miami Springs Center has become one of 711 centers the NBA has created in 23 countries. Since the program was launched in 2005, the league and teams have raised more than $190 million for charity.

Commissioner Diaz serves as keynote speaker at annual Medley Chamber of Commerce

During the Town of Medley Chamber of Commerce monthly meeting on June 14, Commissioner Diaz discussed with business owners some of the projects Miami-Dade County is working on that their companies may find useful. The commissioner also spoke to them about the “Joint Forces Initiative,” a program spearheaded by First Lady Michelle Obama. Commissioner Diaz informed business owners present that through this special initiative, businesses who hire veterans can receive a tax credit of up to $9,600 per veteran hired. If you are a business owner and would like to hire a veteran, please visit www.beaconcouncil.com/mdda or www.southfloridaredcross.org for more information. For more information on business assistance from the County, please visit www.miamidade.gov/business.

Commissioner Diaz delivers commencement speech at 2012 graduation

Commissioner Diaz was honored to deliver the commencement speech at the eighth grade graduation of Miami Springs Middle School on June 5. The commissioner’s speech was based on the popular book The Hunger Games and focused on the determination of the main character, Katniss, and her focus to win so she could go back to her sister. The commissioner spoke about the sacrifices people have to make to reach their goals and how the students needed to learn from their teachers and peers to improve their skills and become successful. He said the students might come across some tough obstacles like Katniss did, but they should never give up and focus on the bigger picture – preparing themselves for a better future through education. The commissioner thanks Principal Javier Perez and Ms. Elizabeth Taylor-Martinez for inviting him deliver the commencement speech.

Enjoy free admission and a variety of activities at the Deering Estate at Cutler's Fee-Free "P.L.A.Y." Days

The Deering Estate at Cutler will offer free admission to all guests on Saturday, July 21, Saturday, August 18, and Saturday, September 15 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. as part of their annual Fee-Free “P.L.A.Y.” Days. Guests can enjoy complimentary admission as well as hands on eco-art activities, science discovery programs, and historic house tours – all for free! The GroveHouse Artists Exhibit will also be on display through August 31 in the Richmond Cottage and Stone House. Spend the entire day and have a picnic on the main lawn facing Biscayne Bay!The Fee-Free “P.L.A.Y.” Days were created to honor the Deering Estate’s partner organizations and the community. On Saturday, July 21 we will honor the Village of Palmetto Bay and its residents. On Saturday, August 18 we will honor teachers and environmental educators. On Saturday, September 15 we will honor the Scouts. For more information on the Deering Estate's educational and cultural programs, please visit www.deeringestate.org.

Small Business Development promotes website to help contractors recruit workers

Small Business Development (SBD), under the Business Affairs Division of the Department of Regulatory and Economic Resources, has partnered with the South Florida Workforce Investment Board (SFWIB) and launched an initiative to assist contractors fulfill recruitment and hiring needs for capital improvement projects. SBD has created a link on their website that allows contractors to post job openings electronically. The link is a tool for contractors to fulfill the job posting requirements set by Miami-Dade County.   The new initiative will allow SFWIB to match the job requirements submitted by contractors to the available workforce. In addition, residents interested in posting information for potential employment consideration may complete a questionnaire electronically. The intent is to provide a place for the community to submit information for potential employment consideration. The information that is provided will be made available to awarded prime trade contractors who may require that skill set.  For further information, please contact Veronica Clark at 305-375-4770.

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.

Overnight road closures will begin on State Road 836 (the Dolphin Expressway) at 826 (the Palmetto Expressway) so crews can work on the bridge over the roadway. Through July 6, all eastbound traffic on 836 will be detoured to southbound 826 from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m. On Fridays during the period, the closings will occur between midnight and 5:30 a.m. The SR 826 southbound ramp to eastbound SR 836 will also be closed during this time frame.

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.
Contact us

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

District Office
8345 NW 12th Street
Miami, FL 33126


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