With the Palmetto Bay elections behind us and the new Village Hall operational, there is a feeling of change in the air. Arguably, that change is happening using the "town hall meeting." As usual, there is a bit of disagreement regarding the methodology; but there is no argument that Palmetto Bay residents stand to benefit from more opportunities to meet and discuss their needs.
Held February 1st, 2011 at the community room in Coral Reef Park, District 1 Councilman Patrick Fiori drew about 25 residents to discuss anything and everything.
The evening began with Fiori stating the town hall meeting was the first of many he wanted to hold and that this was his delivery on his campaign promise to facilitate a grassroots open dialog amongst Villagers. He went on to say this was for the benefit of all, not just District 1 residents.
The meeting lasted about 90 minutes with several topics, including:
- Traffic light timings and potential for left turn arrows at several places where streets meet US-1.
- Concern about ADA-compliance at the new Village Hall
- Concern about ADA violations at many businesses in the Village that allegedly have been missed or ignored by Village officials.
- Discussion about how important both public and private schools are to the Village's reputation, vibrancy, home values, etc. The point was made that we should facilitate regular meetings amongst principals of all Palmetto Bay schools to ensure we keep a healthy education environment.
- Wireless communication was brought up by yours truly. I pointed out that cellular service is becoming more and more critical to people's lives, yet the carriers have poor to non-existent service in many areas of Palmetto Bay. The answer is more cell towers. The problem is no one wants the eyesore. Healthy dialog ensued. At least the topic is being furthered...
While Fiori held the first of this term's Town Hall Meetings, it will not be the last. Vice Mayor Brian Pariser has set the next one for March 16.
The local newspaper picked up this story as well. My name and comments appear within the article.