Fraternal Order of Police – Lodge 63 Endorses My Candidacy!

I am proud and honored to have received the backing of our local Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 63, the representatives of our Miami Shores Police Department law enforcement professionals – thank you for your support!

Did you know that our Miami Shores Village Police officers voted to have the F.O.P. represent them?  Here’s a little more about the F.O.P. and what they stand for:

The Fraternal Order of Police is the world’s largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers, with more than 330,000 members in more than 2,200 lodges. We are the voice of those who dedicate their lives to protecting and serving our communities. We are committed to improving the working conditions of law enforcement officers and the safety of those we serve through education, legislation, information, community involvement, and employee representation. No one knows the dangers and the difficulties faced by today’s police officers better than another officer, and no one knows police officers better than the FOP.

We have an exceptional group of committed law enforcement and public safety professionals working for us here in Miami Shores Village – and I’m looking forward to working with them for the greater good of our community.

Pets – Who Do You Share Your House With?

I thought I’d share some pictures of our pets – right now we have two rescued (and spayed) indoor cats.

This is Catalina – she’s almost 16 years old!  Jamie rescued her from a construction site in Hialeah back in 2001.  She was the runt of a litter and was pretty much abandoned by her kitty mommy.  She was tiny and covered in fleas.  Here she is looking pretty today:

This is Fiona – she’s the sweet (and shy) one.  We adopted her after moving in together back in 2003.  Wow – she’s almost 14 years old… she’s a real love bug, and still terrified of the kids (we’re working on it).  Here’s what she looks like today…

And here’s what she looked like back in 2004.  Who’s that handsome young man holding her? 🙂

Now for a trip down memory lane – this was my first cat, Columbus.  We adopted him when I was only 6 years old.  Here he is as an old guy hanging out on the front porch in Miami Shores:

And what pet display would be complete without a picture of a dog wearing sunglasses?  Here is Max – mom rescued her here in Miami during my freshman year of college.  She was quite the character – always in the pool, digging under the fence, running down the block… she even lived in Gainesville with Kevin for a few years.  She would have loved the new dog park!

Here’s to all our current pets and the ones we loved who have passed on.

Make sure to give your furry friends a big hug and kiss today!

I Support the Community Center Bond Issue on the April 18 2017 Ballot – it’s OK if You Don’t!

I recently received an email from an old friend who I ran into on the campaign trail:

Hey Sean,
Good seeing you… Question, what’s your position on the community center project? Looks like a huge price tag without a significant about of vision/direction from the council. Renovations are needed but we do not have the same tax basis as Key Biscayne or Aventura to support a similar sized facility. Tx.

Unless you’ve been away on vacation for a few months, I’m sure you’ve listened to or participated in some energetic conversations about the proposed bond issue to fund a new community center.  As a citizen, a voter, and a candidate for Village Council, I’ve been giving this issue a lot of thought my self!  So, I sat down and started writing – here’s how I replied to my friend:

Great question and I agree with your assessment. Now, in the next election I think we’re voting for two things – (1) whether or not to authorize the issuance of bonds and (2) who we trust to run this process regardless of whether or not (1) passes. I personally feel along the lines of John Ise and his Biscayne Times article: that the council, with the help of the community, will work together to create the right solution for the right price through some deliberation.

However, I also completely understand those who feel that they aren’t ready to trust that process and want to explore the idea further before authorizing that kind of bond issuing authority. I feel a bit that way myself!

As far as renovating it, from what I understand, that would require bringing the whole facility, with all its current flaws in overall design for the way it’s used, up to code.  I think we can all agree that we need to build something better, and something with some parking so we’re not depending on the church parking lot or causing a bad situation for those who live near it. Even the little things, like the pick-up / drop-off lane they put in front of Miami Shores Elementary, can help with that too.  

But we do not need to build a ‘Taj Mahal’ and we need to go through a process of public input, design, creating some options for input at different budget levels, and giving the people a choice for input and letting the council decide from there.

If we pass the bond issue, we just need to work (whether I get elected or not!) to make sure the process works as described above; and, comes out somewhere at a level that the community is happy with – a real informed decision, not rushed, well thought-through and properly analyzed.

If we don’t pass the bond issue, we need to look at ways of funding the above process, which I honestly think we can do; and, then just go through the right process and then put a funding mechanism back on the ballot after that (we can always schedule an election) at an amount the people feel comfortable with.

Sorry I know that’s a little long-winded but I’ve really been thinking this through and you’re the first person I’ve shared this with in writing. Please let me know if that makes sense to you!

Talk soon,

What I do know is this – 85 years of hard work and investment went into making Miami Shores this place that we all love to live in together – we can’t stop working hard and making investments if we want it to stay that way.  I think we all agree on that – it’s just a matter of how we get there.

So, I respect those who want to go ahead and approve the bond authorization so we can get on with the design process – and I respect those who want to go through more of the process first.  We are also about to elect 3 of the 5 members of the Village Council, so we need to make sure we vote for 3 people who we trust to work with the 2 sitting council people to listen to and work with the citizens of Miami Shores and to guide us through the process.

What I would *love* to hear are your ideas about the future of the community center!  Our diversity of people and ideas is a real strength of this village – we must embrace that diversity and use it to our advantage!  I have a few ideas myself for the community center that I would like to see be part of the design.

My first thought is that while people have been really focused on the recreational aspects of the new center, we shouldn’t forget that this is a “community” center we’re talking about.  For instance, Miami Shores has an aging population that is growing right along side our influx of new families (and children).  This is a great opportunity to make sure we have a next generation Senior Center right here in Miami Shores!  This article talks about the advantages of having the senior center right there with the rest of the community center – great idea that opens up some amazing opportunities for both seniors and youth.

And I know so many of us are concerned about sustainability and resiliency.  Why don’t we build something where the entire first floor is parking?  And, why don’t we make sure this is a LEED certified,  solar powered, and very energy efficient facility?  We could have a drop off lane that runs through building and takes that traffic off the main road there – really enhancing the experience of the people already living there.  Then we could remove the on street parking; imaging lush landscaping and a bike path, etc. running along the perimeter of the new facility.

These are just ideas – and they need to be combined with all of *your* ideas, prioritized, priced out, and debated together.  I know we can build something great by working together on this!

In summary, regardless of how you feel about the bond issue, I respect your position.  Just in case you haven’t seen the actual language on the ballot issue, here it is:

Bond referendum for a new Community Center and associated recreation facilities for Miami Shores Village

Shall Miami Shores Village issue general obligation debt through general obligation bonds or other similar indebtedness not to exceed $20,000,000, issuable in one or more series, maturing not later than thirty years from their issuance dates, bearing interest not exceeding the maximum allowable by law, payable from ad valorem taxes levied by the Village, to provide for the design, construction and equipping of a new community center and associated recreation facilities?”

Please share your thoughts with me!  Concerned about maintenance?  About the future budget?  About how we manage / utilize / maintain the current aquatic center and our other shared assets?  So am I!  Let’s do something about it!

Send me your thoughts at and I will make sure your voice is heard.

When People Ask Why I’m Running…

There are a lot of reasons why I am running, and a lot of things I’m looking forward to working on and getting done. But, to summarize, I would say I’m running because I want to help broaden the participation of our villagers in running Miami Shores and in shaping our shared future. Our community’s diversity of people and ideas is one of its greatest assets. I grew up here, and now I am raising my family here – with any luck, my children will do the same. I want to make sure that all of our citizens are involved in shaping the future of our village through the electoral process, participating on the various boards and commissions, attending council and board meetings, and communicating with their neighbors and village officials.
With South Florida changing all around us, we must help our village grow and adapt in a way that is compatible with the dreams and desires of our residents. The Miami Shores Council needs to help chart the course – to be flexible, forward-looking, unafraid to experiment – and most importantly, able to work together to meet new challenges.
We must continue to invest in and modernize our Village’s services, as well plan for and facilitate the smart development of our downtown, our parks, and our other shared assets (such as Brockway Memorial Library, our Community Center, and our Country Club). We must strive to ensure that these investments add value to the lives and experiences of all of our residents. We can only truly accomplish great things by working together.