OH IRMA, LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE GONE AND LEFT US
IT WASN'T THE BEST OF TIMES, AND WITH EXCEPTIONS, IT WAS FAR FROM THE WORST OF TIMES, BUT FOR THE RESIDENTS OF MIAMI SHORES, AND ESPECIALLY THE SELF-ENTITLED AMONG US WHO HAVE BECOME CONDITIONED TO USING SOCIAL MEDIA TO WHINE ABOUT THE LATEST INTRUSION OF REAL LIFE ON THEIR PERCEIVED ENTITLEMENTS, THIS WAS A TIME WHEN A LITTLE LESS WHINING AND A LITTLE MORE SELF-RELIANCE COULD HAVE GONE A LONG WAY. IT WAS AFTER ALL A FUCKING HURRICANE WE WENT THROUGH, EVEN IF IT WAS ONLY A CATEGORY ONE
She also did the same thing in 2013, and reported that her net worth had slightly declined to $49,450.
SEPTEMBER 18 , 2017
We got very lucky this time. Instead of the category 4 or 5 hurricane that it looked like we would get clobbered by, we only got hit with a category 1 storm.
Yet, even though in relative terms we managed to get through this storm - and I'm speaking here of Miami-Dade County and north along the coast to Broward and Palm Beach Counties - with a lot less damage than we expected a week ago - the aftermath has revealed, as some have already pointed out, that Miami-Dade County is probably incapable of coping with any kind of storm above a category 1 or possibly a category 2, without serious, if not life threatening repercussions for a lot of folks, and with longer term problems that some local governments will be incapable of dealing with on a competent level.
At the same time, several reasonably good outcomes came from this storm. The building code seemed to have made a difference, and the impact windows also seem to have made a difference.
Even FP&L's claims to have spent billions in the years since Wilma seem to have had some positive results. That's doesn't mean that FP&L doesn't deserve a lot of the criticism that it's received in the days sine the storm passed us by, but I would caution everyone that long before you can attribute malice and criminality to the behavior of FP&L executives and employees, you've got more than enough examples of ignorance, stupidity and "shit happens" situations that can account for the failures to get your house lights back on.
It's also only fair to point out that 13 years ago when Wilma passed through it took me and my neighbors almost 4 weeks to get our electricity back. This time it took 6 days, and two of those days only occurred because of a "shit happens" situation.
FP&L deserves a lot of grief for a lot of things, and I'm sure that the line is forming up already to give it to them, but as badly as they might have been found to have behaved in certain respects, none of this excuses the failure and cowardice of numerous Village, City and County Commissioners through out the county who for years have been bullied by zealous advocates of a larger Tree Canopy for their communities, and who by refusing to adequately trim trees are in many cases the real reason you couldn't get your electricity turned on faster.
But first, because a week or two, or three from now we could be facing another hurricane, I want to start with a few helpful tips I learned about electricity and dealing with FP&L.
DEALING WITH FP&L TO GET YOUR ELECTRICTY BACK ASAP
The best thing that happens after a hurricane is that you start seeing electrical repair trucks from all over the country start cruising down the streets, and setting up in parking lots.
Here's what you need to know about what they are doing, and how they operate.
They start by doing a visual inspection of the Feeder Lines that run out from the numerous sub-stations. The Feeder lines provide electricity from the sub-stations to what are called Laterals, and the Laterals are the electric lines that in turn provide the electricity down the Residential lines to your house, apartment building or business.
The first thing that they and FP&L want to do is get as much electricity to as many people as quickly as possible, so the Feeders, Laterals and Residential that have not been damaged are made hot first, and if there are any problems, they move on without first stopping to start making fixes at that point. It's only after that this initial process takes place that these teams start focusing on repairing the damaged lines, again starting with the Feeders, then the Laterals and then the Residentals, and here's what everyone needs to know and understand about that process.
These teams DO NOT just Wiley-nilly show up in a neighborhood and start repairing the electric lines on their own.
Each one of these teams is assigned to a specific area, and each team is governed and directed by WORK ORDERS from FP&L, as to where to go, and what they are to do.
The entire system runs on WORK ORDERS.
What this means is that you can't just drive up to one of the teams parked in a parking lot close to your house, find the guy in charge, and tell him you want him to send one of his trucks over to your house or condo building. He can't do that.
SUGGESTION NUMBER ONE: Before the next storm arrives, get a copy of your electric bill, pull out your cell phone and install the FP&L cell phone app. As soon as you loose power, make that the very first call you make on your cell phone. Get your home, condo, apartment or business logged in ASAP.
The second thing you need to do, again, now before the next storm, is to contact your immediate neighbors and have them do the same thing.
Work on the principle that THE SQUEAKY WHEEL GETS THE OIL. GET YOUR ADDRESS LISTED ON THE WORK ORDER LIST ASAP.
You would think that since FP&L has such a sophisticated computer system that they can pretty much tell how much electricity every light bulb in your house is using, they'd be able to figure out on their own whether your house condo, etc, has power or not, but don't bet on it. They too rely on electricity, and sometimes the breaks in the lines defeat the smartest of computer systems.
The third thing you ALL need to do is, once the repair trucks have arrived and settled your area, is to go over and introduce yourselves to the person in charge of that team. Remember that most of these folks are from out of town, and maybe have not been in Miami before.
DON'T BE PUSHY, DON'T BE BOSSY, but offer as much information to that person, and whoever might be with him about your neighborhood, and provide them with your address - you might want to have previously printed it out on multiple sheets of paper so that you can hand them out - and also provide these folks with information about what businesses, hospitals, nursing homes, etc. might be close by. Work on the assumption that they're friendly Martians who just landed, and need your help in learning where they're at.
If you get lucky, and your lights get turned on quickly, then that's great. If you don't, then that's where working with your neighbors comes in. YOU DON'T WANT TO BECOME THE ASSHOLE THAT SHOWS UP EVERY HOUR WANTING TO KNOW IF A WORK ORDER HAS COME IN THAT INCLUDES YOUR HOUSE, CONDO BUILDING OR STREET.
The next thing you need to do, is to make sure if it seems that everyone around you is getting electricity and you're not, is to make sure that FP&L has not mistakenly listed your property as already having been repaired.
THAT HAPPENED TO ME AND THE OTHERS ON MY BLOCK, and it happened to a lot of other folks as well. That's where having developed a good relationship with the guy in charge of the team becomes important, because if you've reached a point where everyone else but your street is powered up, and he tells you that the word he's gotten from FP&L is that your street has been powered up, you then will need him to physically go and verify for himself that you're right and FP&L is wrong.
I have a number of other questions regarding process andFP&L that I'd like to talk with someone who worked - or works for FP&L - but for now this the information that I think is of critical importance that everyone who reads this understands about getting your power turned on as quickly as possible, and even then, given the amount of damage it still might take a while.
IT'S TIME TO TAKE ON THE TREE HUGGERS
Who doesn't want to live in a nice, lush looking community with lots of shade trees that provide an environmentally safe place for birds and butterfies and worms and even, or so the Tree Canopy supporters claim, reduces the temperature in the summer by one or two degrees,
We all want that right?
And if by chance you might have questions or doubts about some of these claims - especially the ones about the lowered temperatures, especially since August of this year was not only the hotest August on record, but also the hotest month on record, of just how much relief can we expect from temperatures that average middle 90's for most of the month because of a "tree canopy" - you'll have second thoughts about expressing those questions or thoughts at a public meeting for fear of being labeled as some nut case whose standing up against the environment.
Well folks, the time has come for a lot of people to realize that the bullying that has been going on by the Tree Huggers over the pruning of trees has got to come to a screeching halt!!!!!!!
IT'S TIME TO STAND THE FUCK UP AND MAKE IT CLEAR THAT BEING FOR THE ENVIORNMENT DOESN'T MEAN ALLOWING THESE TREE HUGGERS TO CAUSE YOU MORE GRIEF THAN YOU'LL BE GETTING FROM NATURE WITHOUT THEIR BULLSHIT!
The major reason in Miami Shores, and in many, if not most parts of Miami-Dade County for the electric lines going down, as well as the difficulty in getting electricity back is directly related to those big ass trees that local governments have been cowed into allowing to grow as they have for years without being pruned.
If you own a house, with a big yard and you want to grow 60-70 foot trees, and if when a hurricane comes along those trees fall on your house, then that's all on you.
If however, YOUR TREE falls on your neighbor's house, or falls on a telephone pole, or takes down electric lines or falls in an alley that blocks electric repair trucks from access, then you are not a good neighbor, and your claims of being an environmentalist are little more than selfish, self-serving, greedy and in contradiction to everything that makes one a good neighbor.
Miami Shores is full of trees that exceed the building heights in the Village Code. Below is just one example, that provides a revealing view of tangled branches and limbs that has obviously never been pruned, and is clearly taller than any building in the Village.
While the remnants of the surge was still coming on shore, residents from Miami Shores came out to take photos at the Baywalk
It's far from being the only such tree, and fortunately, this time out parts of it did not come crashing down. The same can't be said of another tree that was so large that they had to bring in this monster crane to lift what was left of it out of the yard.
All over Miami Shores, and I'm sure that the same thing happened from Pinecrest, to Kendall, to the City of Miami and elsewhere, trees came crashing down on telephone poles and electric lines.
In Miami Shores, because most of our electric lines are on telephone poles in alleys behind the houses, the trees and branches that came down not only took out power lines in places but also worse, blocked these alleys thereby making it impossible for electric repair trucks to do repairs.
Trees, especially unpruned trees in the alleys of Miami Shores was the single largest problem cited by everyone I spoke with from these out-of-state repair companies for why people were not able to get their power back quickly.
Compounding the problem in Miami Shores were the claims made to me by folks, including Village employees and an FP&L representative, that it was the responsibility of the Village to remove the trees and branches in the alleys so that the repair trucks could enter.
I had an opportunity to ask Village Manager Tom Benton about this later on Thursday evening when he and the Chief of Police were passing out ice donated to the Village by County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson - it seems that the Village managed not to spend a dime on either sand, sandbags OR ice before or after the storm for the residents, nor did it seem that Benton and the Chief had better things to do with their time than pass out ice that evening.
Benton denied that it was the Village's responsibility to clear the alleys, and instead he claimed that these out-of-state contractors also came with their own tree-trimming crews, and that the Village's responsibility was merely "to provide assistance."
Given their heavy responsibilities during this crisis, having the Chief of Police and the Village Manager standing in the street directing traffic and handing out ice seemed a misuse of resources, but then so did having the National Guard patrolling the streets on Miami Shores - even if there are some in our community who would gush over an 18 year old in a uniform and holding a loaded M16 standing in front of the local Starbucks - and then of course there was the putting of a Police Barricade at 96th Street and 10th Avenue to protect the supposedly richest residents of the Village from the hoi polloi who they figured with nothing better to do, and no electricity to do it with, would want to go cruising down their streets to pass the time.
NEXT TO THE WHINY TREE HUGGERS, THE SELF-ENTITLED ELITISTS AND MILLENNIALS IN MIAMI SHORES TAKE THE FUCKING CAKE
For as long as I've lived in Miami Shores I have marveled how a supposedly tiny little community in the middle of a large city that pretends to consider itself "progressive" can contain so many assholes, and whiny ones at that, who are completely clueless that their naked sense of self-entitlement only underscores their selfishness and lack of basic decency and humanity.
Since I've lived here, the "residents" first decided to block of the streets because "the criminal element" - otherwise known as them Black people - would then get confused if they entered the Village to rob and plunder them and then were too dumb to figure how to get out.
Over time that didn't prove to work out too well, but that didn't stop the really rich residents - like current Village Council member Alice Burch, who I revealed several months employed her own sense of self-entitlement to try and get her way with the board members of the Doctor's Charter School, and came close in the process to getting herself and several other board members jacked up on criminal misdemeanor charges for her efforts - from trying to get everyone to go along with sealing off the eastside of the Village and putting up a gate and guard on 96th Street and 10th Avenue.
That didn't succeed, and earlier this year as part of the local Village election, canvassers were alleged to have questioned folks on the Eastside about the possibility of reviving that scheme.
Also this year, Chief of Police Lystad at a February meeting of the Village Council made clear his view of the dangers that the residents of the Village faced from them same Black people when he said:
You could line up the entire Miami Shores Police Department across 96th Street and it wouldn't mean shit.
Just as bad, if not worse, is the cowardly, unsigned crap that was posted on the Village website attempting to justify this action after so many people started complaining.
When your Chief of Police proclaims that you're surrounded by a "criminal element" on all sides except the water, it's understandable that those who are by nature cautious, or incapable of rational and independent thought would gladly surrender themselves to the judgement and guidance of those elected officials they've chosen to entrust with their safety.
That's why you find so many worshipful comments on social media sites like Next Door from supposedly educated individuals who couldn't tell shit from Shinola, but none the less are willing at every opportunity to surrender their rights on the vaguest and filmiest of claims, as long as they're made by a guy in a uniform.
Other than pandering to a group of rich and largely white residents who live by the Bay, attempting to seal off the east side of the Village with this supposed armed guard bullshit on 96th Street was complete and utter nonsense.
On Thursday afternoon, I came across some Village workers trimming a tree on NE 1st Avenue. Here is the little video I shot of that.
The claim that "access to the area can be controlled at a single point," is laughably ridiculous. There's no wall that protects that part of the Village.
Drive up Biscayne Boulevard and you will see if that if you want to enter that part of the Village all you have to do is get somebody to drive you to where you want to enter, get out the car, and just walk onto any of the streets starting with 97th and going all the way to 104th.
Better yet, you can ride your bicycle over and get in that way.
The refusal of Tom Benton to take responsibility for this piece of unvarnished crap by putting his name on it is just one more in a long and growing list of examples of why he either needs to retires, or needs to be fired.
The handling of the lead-up to this storm - starting with an abject refusal by the Village to prune the trees in the alleys before the storm for fear of angering the Tree Huggers; the refusal to obtain at least several dump trucks of sand, and empty sandbags; the failure to obtain any shipments of ice after the storm and be forced to accept handouts from the Miami Police Department and County Commissioner Edmonson for the bags of ice that we did get; to the placement of this divisive and politically motivated armed security check point to keep some of our own residents out of parts of our Village are all part and parcel of someone who has lost touch with the realities of dealing with 21st century hurricanes.
And here's the best part.
Just before the storm arrived, the story goes that someone broke in the storage area where Miami Shores keeps its Public Works vehicles and tools, and stole all the chainsaws.
You can bet that the only "criminal element" involved in that crime was somebody on the Village payroll!
This is the end of Part I, of my comments about what took place before and after Hurricane Irma. On the list for Parts II and III are the way that poor people got treated, the self-serving politicians, the clueless TV reporters and everything else that pissed me off during the last week