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Discussion Starter #61
Looks like Miami-Dade County likes the Port Tunnel too...

Not sure why they can't just approve the tunnel independent of the other spending on projects that may or may not be necessary, but what the hell do I know...
That's not to diminish the impact of Tuesday's vote.
After the vote, Alvarez told reporters that the most expensive item included in the city-county spending plan -- a $914 million port tunnel -- will almost certainly be built now.
Only a week ago, the tunnel's future was in doubt.
To help fund the tunnel, Miami is proposing an expansion of its Community Redevelopment Agencies. That expansion must be approved at advertised public meetings, but Alvarez was confident nothing will sidetrack it. ''I'm very optimistic,'' he said
 
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Interesting read:

http://www.miamiherald.com/top_stories/story/361164.html

DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT

In Chicago's revival, a model for Miami?

With his package of downtown development projects, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz hopes to emulate Chicago's pattern of resurgence.

BY ANDRES VIGLUCCI
[email protected]

CHICAGO -- Not long ago, this great Midwestern city's downtown -- the place where the American skyscraper was perfected and first proliferated, no less -- found itself staggering on its once sturdy legs, like some punch-drunk boxer.

The splendid architecture was worn, the Loop a dark ghost town after 6, when thousands of daytime workers decamped for the suburbs. Desolation spread: tumbledown warehouses, industrial carcasses, panhandlers, sagging neighborhoods. Some big projects -- office towers, a massive new public library -- did little to arrest the swoon.

Then something remarkable happened. Chicago squared its Broad Shoulders and got back its swagger.

And therein, Miami Mayor Manny Diaz believes, lies a lesson worth emulating for the city he leads, suspended halfway between decline and revival:

In the past decade and a half, the nation's third-largest city has undergone a resurgence under Mayor Richard M. Daley, who has invested hundreds of millions in bold plans, beautification, parks, culture and hard-core infrastructure as a way to attract business, development and -- most important -- the vital throngs of people, people, people who today make Chicago's streets and neighborhoods among the liveliest in the country.

It's the template that Diaz, who often invokes Chicago and the Daley administration as a model, hopes to put in place in Miami. Here, much like Chicago years ago, downtown largely shuts down after dark even amid an unprecedented, but troubled, high-rise condo boom.

This month, Diaz won city and county approval of a $2.9 billion financing scheme for a package of major projects, including a new bayfront Museum Park, a new home for baseball's Florida Marlins, seed money for a streetcar line, and a seaport tunnel meant to enhance downtown's livability by removing the scourge of speeding semis from its streets.

Getting the long-stalled projects moving, Diaz said, will be critical to downtown's future, cementing the kinds of urban amenities, alluring streets and public confidence that would ensure that those thousands of new condos are, sooner or later, filled.

Diaz, who counts Daley as a friend after several visits, points to Chicago as proof that assertive public investments, often in the face of public skepticism, pay off.

''It's density, moving people into your urban core,'' Diaz said in an interview. ``See what Chicago looks like today. You see their river and see our river. You see how ours could look. That took time.''

``We're just getting started, but someday you will see thousands of people walking down Brickell and Biscayne Boulevard, just as you do on Michigan Avenue.''

APPLES AND ORANGES?

But can the Chicago model really be replicated in Miami, with a population of less than 400,000, a fraction of Chicago's 2.8 million, and with far less wealth and resources -- including a truncated public-transit system that pales next to Chicago's famed El trains?

Chicago's vitality is undeniable. Regular corruption scandals and severe climate aside, it may be today the country's most livable major city, some urban experts say.

To be sure, there are pockets of trouble. Long stretches of the fabled, mostly black South Side remain as desolate as anything in Detroit. Gentrification and Daley's tear-downs of dysfunctional public-housing projects have pushed many poor residents to the city's edges, creating new ghettos on Chicago's western and southern flanks.

And even as the city strives to land the 2016 Olympics, its transit system runs deficits that will require a bailout.

But even Daley's critics concede that Chicago has survived the collapse of its meat-processing and manufacturing industries in stellar fashion.

''It's not perfect for everyone, but on the whole, his mayoralty has left the city far more livable than ever before,'' said Blair Kamin, the Chicago Tribune's Pulitzer Prize-winning architecture critic.

Take, for instance, the city's ongoing demolition of housing projects, including the infamous Cabrini-Green high-rises north of downtown. As the last towers vanish, condos and town homes -- many affordable, others priced at $850,000 -- rise in their place. Next door, the once unthinkable: a shopping center, with Starbucks and Blockbuster Video.

CRIME ON DECLINE

Even some of the displaced left homeless, like 45-year-old Lee Grant, applaud. ''Daley's not giving us a place to stay,'' Grant said, only to add in the next breath: ``It's improved a whole lot around here. There was a lot of trouble, killing, gang-bangers. That's gone.''

Chicago is today a global city, with a humming economy as one of the nation's leading providers of financial and business services.

The Loop sizzles, even on a cold Thursday evening before Christmas. Despite snow and signs everywhere warning of falling ice, downtown was thronged with shoppers, tourists and lingering downtown workers. Bars and restaurants were mobbed. The city's famous orchestra was performing in its Michigan Avenue hall, and the venerable Art Institute of Chicago was busy.

Next to it, skaters packed the ice rink at the 3-year-old Millennium Park. Once controversial, the half-billion-dollar park is now an urban phenomenon, helping to lure millions of visitors with its monumental, interactive sculptures and its Frank Gehry-designed amphitheater.

''You see people on the street, seven days, late into the night. There used to be nothing,'' said Marlene Myers, 75, a near-lifelong Chicago resident rushing into the city's grand downtown cultural center, where she volunteers. ``It's just amazing.''

DRAWING PARALLELS

The parallels to Miami can be striking: Like Miami's, Chicago's is a waterfront downtown, split by a river once almost exclusively dedicated to industrial or maritime uses. Since at least the 1920s, a wall of skyscrapers has fronted the water in each. Fill has extended the land mass in each city's downtown, creating new public waterfront.

Daley, mayor since 1989, has encouraged a residential high-rise boom that has filled the Loop's skyline, and the banks of the Chicago River, with cranes and new towers, much as Diaz has in and around downtown Miami and the Miami River.

Where Chicago has Millennium Park, Diaz has pushed for Museum Park, which would replace underused Bicentennial Park with lush lawns and gardens and two new museum buildings.

Where Chicago used a reconstructed Soldier Field to anchor a Museum Campus knit from three existing institutions, Diaz hopes to capitalize on a new Marlins stadium on the site of the Orange Bowl in a different way: by luring commercial or mixed-use development with public incentives.

One large difference, of course, is that Chicago's vision is fully formed, while Miami's is but a blueprint.

How far can Miami mirror Chicago, which enjoys a rich tradition of architecture and planning, from the World's Fair of 1893 to the famed 1909 Plan of Chicago, in which architect Daniel Burnham and downtown power brokers gave shape to the modern city, and ensured that the lake shore would forever be open?

Can Diaz -- limited by law to two terms, with scarcely two years to go in office -- successfully emulate the accomplishments of Daley, a politician so powerful that critics compare him to an emperor?

Unlike Diaz, Daley directly administers the city, effectively controlling a vast bureaucracy that -- unlike the Miami mayor's portfolio -- includes Chicago's airports, buses and elevated trains, public housing and schools.

''Lots of mayors around the country want to be Daley,'' said Kamin, the architecture critic. ``But Daley's had almost 20 years to learn and refine. In his first couple of terms, Daley stumbled. There were lots of projects that didn't get off the ground. Trying to do all this at once is tough.''

When he took office, Daley inherited a city politically paralyzed by the racially tinged ''Council Wars'' between mostly white city aldermen and black Mayor Harold Washington. Chicago's famed meat-processing industry was disappearing, and the city was losing population. Crime was rampant.

STARTING OUT SMALL

After several false starts, Daley began to focus on small-scale ideas that bore outsize results. Most famously, he planted thousands of trees across the city, installed planters along the streets and in them put bright flowers. He made sure that the garbage was picked up on time, the snow cleared.

Then the city began to acquire, and demolish, derelict structures downtown, and made the land available for development. Downtown, with lots of vacant retail space, was rezoned to encourage housing development, said Daley's chief of staff, Lori Healey, formerly the city's planning commissioner.

Daley used a financing mechanism that his administration raised to high -- and controversial -- art: special taxing districts that use a technique called tax increment financing, or TIF, in areas eyed for redevelopment. Increases in property-tax revenue generated by the district are set aside to encourage redevelopment, by building sewers and streets, or subsidizing developers.

TIF money paid for a makeover of LaSalle Street, saving Chicago's version of Wall Street. TIF money paid for rehabs of historic buildings and theaters, creating a thriving Broadwaylike district. TIFs began to sprout all over the city, paying for streetscapes and lights, new transit stations, and aid to small businesses and homeowners.

TIFs provided incentives to lure corporate headquarters, including Boeing from Seattle and United Airlines from the suburbs.

''The mayor's strategy has been simple: You invest in neighborhoods through public facilities -- libraries, police stations, parks, residential -- and it attracts people, retail and development,'' Healey said.

``But you gotta have tools.''

TIF districts now number about 160, and this year they generated $500 million.

As it has expanded, however, Daley's use of the TIFs has come under fire by some critics, who say the spending is nearly impossible to track and has diverted revenue from the city's general fund while doing little for some poor neighborhoods.

Diaz's ambitious slate of projects relies on a nearly identical strategy: expanding two community redevelopment agencies -- special taxing districts covering Overtown/Park West and the Omni area -- which are expected to generate about $3 billion over two decades.

Despite questionable CRA spending in the past, Diaz vows that the money will be well spent.

''We can't dwell on past mistakes,'' he said. ``We now have a canvas that you can paint the way you want to. But you need to kick-start it.''
 

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Definitely sounds very encouraging. I'm very glad to constantly hear Diaz's support for Downtown's redevelopment, it's about time. If we were to follow in Chicago's footsteps, I can definitely see us getting the ultimate Downtown we've always dreamed of back again.
 

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Diaz has two years left only!?!?!?! And cant get re-elected!?!?
Oh man, that sounds really scary! Is there any other politician that will continue all of this? Is there anyway they could change that law?!

About the article though, sounds great, Ive always noticed the similarities with the water front downtowns and the river slicing through them. Miami can go to a better place but the leadership needs to be there.
 

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what can we do to attract and/or create more high paying jobs in S florida (and the rest of the state)?

we are way under represented in fortune 500 companies, and it seems like floriduh is destined to always be low paying :(
 

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Discussion Starter #68
what can we do to attract and/or create more high paying jobs in S florida (and the rest of the state)?
we are way under represented in fortune 500 companies, and it seems like floriduh is destined to always be low paying :(
Ummm....how about enhance Civic Center area. Maybe the University of Miami could think about some partnerships in the realm of $1 Billion.

We are underrepresented by Fortune 500 company headquarters and over represented by Entrepreneurs. Fine with me!
 
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what can we do to attract and/or create more high paying jobs in S florida (and the rest of the state)?

we are way under represented in fortune 500 companies, and it seems like floriduh is destined to always be low paying :(
It'll never be a hub of corporate headquarters like Atlanta or NYC but there's certainly no lack of regional offices that employ plenty of people in well-paying jobs.

The economy there is still largely service-based so salaries do tend to be lower. It's always been that way so I wouldn't expend too much time banging my head against the wall over it---it is what it is.

What can be done? First and foremost, education. South Florida sits pretty low on the national educational level totem pole so that's something that absolutely MUST change to see the kind of change you'd like. Without that, no chance.

I believe it will get better but am realistic about the dynamics as well. In the meantime I don't see the need for counterproductive terms such as "Floriduh." I'm sure you can do better than that...:cheers:
 

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with all the stupid policies they enact down here, floriduh is an understatement.

i also think education needs to be a priority, yet they keep cutting the funding!:eek:hno:
even today, miami is going to drop hundreds of millions on a stadium where people PLAY A GAME!!!! instead of on improving the schools. If it weren't for real, it would be hilarious.
 

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We NEED to improve our schools in Miami. We have some top-ranked national magnet high schools (DASH and MAST) and a lot of really good high (Palmetto and Coral Reef), middle and elementary schools but along with that we also have some very bad schools with bad grades (Hialeah, Carol City, and Norland). We need to get the average schools (Coral Gables, Miami Beach) to good and the really good ones to #1. We can do it, Miami-Dade County Public Schools is the 4th largest school system in the U.S. (after L.A., NYC, and trailing behind Chicago by a couple hundred), so we have the resources and the influence, we can do it if they work hard on attracting all the right things here.

On a random note, anyone know anything about Southside Elementary School in Brickell, it's a public K-8 school by Infinity I, but anyone know how it is or if they have plans on expanding it or building a high school for the Key Biscayne/Downtown students?
 

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Discussion Starter #72
i also think education needs to be a priority, yet they keep cutting the funding!:eek:hno:
even today, miami is going to drop hundreds of millions on a stadium where people PLAY A GAME!!!! instead of on improving the schools. If it weren't for real, it would be hilarious.
That is a great point. Many of the kids these days don't even know how to write a proper sentence.
I'll do my part by providing some tutoring and leadership for kids who don't know how to capitalize the first word in a sentence, the word I, and proper nouns.
 
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Discussion Starter #73
We need to get the average schools (Coral Gables, Miami Beach) to good and the really good ones to #1.
Average? All the schools in South Beach are A rated. You can't get a better rating than that.
Miami Beach Senior High is not A rated and needs improvement, but overall, Miami Beach Schools are great.
 
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Average? All the schools in South Beach are A rated. You can't get a better rating than that.
Miami Beach Senior High is not A rated and needs improvement, but overall, Miami Beach Schools are great.
I was referring to the high schools Coral Gables SHS and Miami Beach SHS.
 

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Discussion Starter #76
Speaking of Education...

Florida schools rank 14th nationally despite low spending level
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) – Jan. 10, 2008 – Florida’s schools ranked 14th nationally with a grade of C-plus on a report card issued Wednesday by Education Week magazine, although the state placed only 38th in public education spending.
Much of the credit for Florida’s overall finish – up from 31st last year – among the 50 states and District of Columbia goes to high marks for its teaching profession and system of standards, assessment and accountability. Those are two of six categories measured in the annual Quality Counts report.
“Given the financial resources of the state and the complexities of the state of Florida we are certainly on the right track,” said Florida Education Commissioner Eric Smith.
Smith, though, said Florida has much more to do.
“A grade of C-plus is not what I would want my kids to bring home from school,” he said. “While the highest grade is only a B, we’d like to be the first A.”
The report did little, though, to quiet critics of the state’s education policies.
“Florida has had one of the worst graduation rates in the country for years,” said House Democratic Leader Dan Gelber, D-Miami Beach. “Our teachers are paid woefully below the national average and our overall financing for public schools is pitiful.”
Gelber acknowledged the state’s high score for its assessment standards but said the report failed to “examine the impact these standards have had on Florida’s curriculum or, ultimately, achievement.”
Florida, though, also had a high seventh-place ranking in kindergarten through 12th grade achievement although the state received a grade of only C in that category. Florida was so high this year because the average national grade was a dismal D-plus.
Florida’s current achievement remained below average, but its high overall ranking in that category was due to “very strong improvements in recent years and relatively small poverty gaps,” the report says.
The biggest drag on Florida’s achievement grade was its 2004 graduation rate of only 60.5 percent – 45th nationally.
State education officials insist graduation rates on such national comparisons are based on unreliable statistical models while Florida obtains more accurate numbers by tracking every student. The state’s number for last year was 72.4 percent.
Another difference is that the state counts General Education Development and other special diplomas not included in national statistics.
The report was compiled by the magazine’s parent, Bethesda, Md.-based Editorial Projects in Education, with support from the Pew Center on the States, a research organization in Washington, D.C.
The B that Florida received for its teaching profession was good for fourth place nationally. Florida received high marks for its teacher testing requirements, performance evaluations, merit pay plan and bonus payments to teachers who earn national board certification.
Some lawmakers have questioned the 10 percent national board bonuses after a study showed students taught by board certified teachers don’t do noticeably better on standardized tests than other children. Smith and Gov. Charlie Crist, however, support them.
“Having a sister who has that national certification, I probably come to it with a bias,” Crist said. “We need to do everything we can to help our hardworking public school teachers.”
The state, though, fell short on overall teacher pay. Florida teachers earn only 85 cents for every dollar earned in 16 comparable jobs including accountant, architect, clergy, computer programmer, editor, reporter, insurance underwriter and registered nurse, according to the report.
Florida received its worst grade – a C-minus and 38th place ranking – for school finance. Florida’s per student spending of $7,539 in 2005 ranked 39th nationally. The state spent only 3 percent of taxable resources on public schools to rank 42nd. Florida’s finance system, though, got mostly good marks for equity.
Smith said the state’s success despite low funding wasn’t necessarily negative.
“What it really states is that the strategies and the processes that Florida has chosen to pursue are paying off,” Smith said. “There are states that are spending much more and are getting less of a return.”
Florida received an A-minus and placed 12th nationally – down from fourth last year – for standards, assessments and accountability. Florida has long been considered a leader in accountability and assessment.
Former Gov. Jeb Bush’s A-Plus program includes high-stakes standardized testing and annual grades used to reward and sanction individual schools.
Florida received a C-plus and 32nd ranking – one spot down from last year – in the chance of success category. It includes family income, parents’ educational level, whether parents speak fluent English and statewide income, employment and education levels. It also factors in student achievement.
The state received a C-plus and 12th ranking – also one down from last year – in the final category, transition and alignment of public school policies to early childhood and post-secondary education, the economy and work force.
Last year’s report did not include school finance and teaching profession assessments and it dropped letter grades. In 2006, Florida received in overall grade of B-minus but Education Week officials said no comparison can be made with this year because changes are made annually in the way grades are determined.
 

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Interesting little article:



http://www.miamiherald.com/news/breaking_news/story/381746.html

Study shows 'power' of S. Fla. multinationals

By JIM WYSS
[email protected]
South Florida is home to at least 1,183 multinational companies from 56 nations that collectively manage more than $202 billion in revenue, according to a study released Wednesday by WorldCity Business Magazine with the backing of the Beacon Council, Miami-Dade's economic development agency.

The study is the most thorough survey of South Florida's ''submerged'' multinational economy -- a sector often overshadowed by the glitzy tourism and real estate markets.

The study found 41 of South Florida's multinationals are billion-dollar companies. Of those, 27 are in Miami-Dade County, nine are in Broward County and five are in Palm Beach County.

''Whether it's a global headquarters like Burger King or a regional headquarters like HP Latin America, this study reveals the power and global reach of South Florida's multinational business community,'' said WorldCity Publisher Ian McCluskey.

If their combined revenue were measured as GDP, South Florida's multinationals would rank as the world's 46th largest economy, just behind Portugal and just ahead of Chile.

Topping the list are Office Depot, General Motors, Carnival Corp. and World Fuel Services -- all of which have revenue in excess of $10 billion and either have global or regional headquarters here.

The report, titled South Florida Global Economic Impact Study, will be officially unveiled Thursday.
 

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I was in Chicago recently and let me tell you, the Loop is still dead after 6 pm. (almost all restaurants are closed, even crappy McDonald's) and Chicago still has huge areas that look really scary. (the west and south sides) The only real changes I see is more condos north of the loop and Millennium park is great. (love that amphitheater) Don't believe evrything you read.
 

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Discussion Starter #79
I was in Chicago recently and let me tell you, the Loop is still dead after 6 pm. (almost all restaurants are closed, even crappy McDonald's) and Chicago still has huge areas that look really scary. (the west and south sides) The only real changes I see is more condos north of the loop and Millennium park is great. (love that amphitheater) Don't believe evrything you read.
You should have seen in 1995 when I lived there!!!
I was there last summer and believe me, Chicago has come a long way in the last 13 years.
 

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Filming brought $153 million to Dade in 2007, county data reveal

Filming brought $153 million to Dade in 2007, county data reveal

By Risa Polansky
Fueled largely by a growing Spanish-language sector, Miami-Dade's film and entertainment industry boomed in 2007 and should stay afloat in 2008, even with an ongoing screenwriter and potential actors' strike, industry players say.
The nearly 2,000 location productions filmed here last year contributed more than $153 million to the local economy, up 20% from 2006, according to the Miami-Dade Office of Film & Entertainment.
Feature films contributed more than $13 million locally, commercials $23 million, music videos $3.9 million and still shoots more than $36 million, film office data show.
"The growth area has been television," said Jeff Peel, office director, with Spanish-language productions on the rise.
Television shows contributed $77 million, with "telenovelas" accounting for more than $50 million.
Miami is becoming for Spanish-language production what Los Angeles is for mainstream film and television, said Raul Mateu, senior vice president of the William Morris talent agency in Miami Beach and director of the South Beach Comedy Festival.
"Seventeen years ago, there was no business, and five years ago, it wasn't really as big as it is todayÖ I think it's going to get better," he said. "On the Spanish TV side, corporate America is waking up to the power of this community around the country."
Advertisers, Mr. Mateu said, are beginning to demand "programming that reflects the American Hispanic population" rather than Spanish-language productions brought in from other countries.
This "translates to original productions," he said. "Miami is the beneficiary."
In a time of uncertainty for US production, with writers on strike and rumors of actors following suit later in the year, the spike in demand for Spanish-language production is "the really good news for Miami," Mr. Peel said.
The Latin sector is to be unaffected by the strikes, he said, and should remain strong in 2008.
Also because of the strikes, the early part of the year should bring a surge of mainstream production because "people are trying to get as much film and television product finished as they can" as the strikes begin to make an impact, Mr. Peel said. "Everyone in Hollywood is scrambling right now."
Several feature films are preparing for production here now, he said, including Fox 2000's "Marley and Me" directed by Miami native David Frankel and starring Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson, and Universal Pictures' "Chilled" with Renee Zellweger.
By June, however, it "may be a little bit dismal," Mr. Peel said, potentially affecting the filming of the second season of "Burn Notice," USA Network's new Miami-based hit.
Even facing a slump, industry players are taking note of Miami, Mr. Mateu said.
Executives from ABC, FOX, CBS and NBC descended on Miami Beach during this month's comedy festival to scout for new talent, he said, part of the goal in organizing the festival three years ago.
"Our theory, "if we build it, they will come,' has proved true," he said. "The festival going forward is going to be a big boon for the South Florida entertainment industry," known for bringing "key decision-makers in town to do business."
A $100 film permit application fee instated by the county office last year has not deterred industry players from doing business here, Mr. Peel said, citing no "negative fallout."
Some feared the locally unprecedented charge would drive production away, but, he said, "no one has said to me, "we're not coming because you're charging me 100 bucks."

http://www.miamitodaynews.com/news/080124/story3.shtml
 
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