Immediate Action Needed! Now is the Time For all Good Residents to Come to the Aid of Their Community! Now an attempted cover-up! Enough is enough. Alonso and Heid must go. Please read and act per the last paragraph.
I recently authored a Letter to the Editor in the Gazette and on MS.com harshly criticizing City Manager William Alonso and City Planner Chris Heid for their dereliction of duty by not charging the applicable fees to developers of the old Circle Theater property for the use of public parking spots. In the official city documents that they created; it clearly states that a fee SHALL be paid. Yet Alonso, Heid, and then city attorney Espino, the architects of the disastrous Gateway District, neglected/refused to establish such a payment which could have amounted to a million dollars or more. Please read the detailed reporting on this and related issues on miamispring.com.
And the beat goes on. Soon after that public criticism came out, Alonso decided to defend their position by posting patently and easily contradicted false statements on the official City of Miami Springs Instagram account. Nestor Suarez of MiamiSprings.com has broken down those statements in detail and documented how absurdly misleading and untrue they are. The falsehoods that Alonso posted on Instagram are still there weeks later. Do any other city and elected officials read city Instagram posts? Do they agree and stand by what Alonso wrote as honest and truthful? If not, have they taken any measures to correct it or have it taken down? From a legal standpoint, what does our city attorney think about the veracity of Alonso’s official statements?
The April 25th council meeting was where Alonso and Heid were fully exposed for the violation of their fiduciary responsibility to the residents that cost our community hundreds of thousands if not a million dollars or more because they failed to extract the fee for the public parking they gave away to the developers. The discussion of those fees comes up at about 1:55 on the video and continues for close to an hour.
Alonso and Heid danced around the subject but eventually, they “confessed” their dereliction of duty on the record as quoted in MS.com. For instance, Heid came right out and stated; “We wish we had established a fee and charged them something. But we didn’t.” But was there a true mea culpa or a sincere expression of remorse? Nah. Their position was more like; well, s..t happens, better luck to the residents next time. Furthermore, some of the discussion topics contradict Alonso when he recently dug himself a bigger hole and arrogantly posted false information on the city’s Instagram site. For instance, Alonso knew full well it was untrue when he wrote that developers were “providing” 26 on-street parking spots. In truth, the developers were TAKING 26 spots belonging to the public after Alonso and Heid gave them away. Likewise, Alonso’s statement that “this project did not require any fee since it exceeded the parking required under the parking study” is absurdly dishonest because the project didn’t “exceed” the parking requirements until Alonso and Heid gave them the 26 public parking spots! And again, their own documents state clearly that there SHALL be a fee for use of public parking and they admitted on the record that they should have charged fees. There was much discussion at the meeting on what those fees should be and estimates ranged from a minimum of 20k to a more acceptable 40k or more per spot. Do the math. 26 spots multiplied by $20,000 and $40,000 comes to $520,00 and $1,040,000 respectively. There’s that potential million-dollar fee that Alonso dismissively and dishonestly tried to discredit when he stated; “there has been misinformation posted online about a supposed $1 million parking fee.”
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It’s often said that the “cover-up is worse than the crime.” This ongoing scandal and disaster are no longer just about negligence and costly dereliction of duty. Miami Springs City Manager William Alonso has now engaged in an attempted public cover-up by what can only be described as lying. When is enough, enough? When will the council take action? At what point will the lack of action and accountability by the council amount to tacit approval and acceptance of incompetence and dishonesty? This sordid scandal is a festering sore that threatens the integrity and credibility of everyone in city hall who fails to impose accountability. Alonso and Heid have appallingly betrayed the public trust and they need to go.
MiamiSprings.com publisher Nestor Suarez and I have publicly called for Alonso’s resignation. But however loud our voices may be, we are only two people. The only way for positive reform to take place is for residents to be engaged and speak out. Apathy will continue to allow damage to our community’s quality of life. It’s up to each one of you to act. Is it worth 5 minutes of your time to help protect our precious community? It’s very simple really. Review the documented facts and evidence here and at MiamiSprings.com. If you agree that Miami Springs would be better served with a new City Manager and Planner, tell the council. NOW is the time to document your concerns on the record to each council member by email. The next council meeting is on June 13th. Before then, I am emailing this letter to each council member and the city clerk so it will be entered into the record. All concerned residents need to do the same with their own message. Thank you.