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April 25, 2019 Miami City Commission 3600 Pan American Drive Miami, FL 33133 To: City of Miami Commission Chair Ken Russell and Commissioners Carollo, Gort, Hardemon, Reyes Ro: SR.2 5588 “Little Haiti Revitalization Trust” Dear Honorable Chair and Commissioners, We are writing to request that the second hearing of the proposed Little Haiti Revitalization Trust (the “Trust’), on the agenda for hearing on April 25, 2019, be deferred, so the following objections are considered and corresponding changes can be made. In its current conception, the proposed body is problematic for several reasons, which need to be addressed before any such body is approved and given form. First of all, we object to how the Trust came about - an entirely new bureaucratic engine formed solely for the purpose of facilitating the granting of a rezoning for a single private development project, the Magic City Innovation District Special Area Plan. The hastily-composed proposal to create a Trust fo accommodate a negotiated arrangement with the developers of this project on one hand ignores the need for community discussion in the creation of such a Trust and on the other lets the developers of the project whose rezoning was the impetus for the Trust off the hook for their obligations to both the City and residents of Little Haiti for the impacts of their massive project. We think this is a clear case of the “tail wagging the dog,” Such a Trust, while in itself not necessarily a bad thing, should be the result of a community conversation so that the Little Haiti residents who are the intended beneficiaries of such a Trust have the ability to understand its purpose, how it is composed and how they may participate in it. Otherwise, we will be setting a problematic precedent for further private developments to create their own custom-made bureaucratic bodies, all to be administered through the City of Miami—without the taxpayers’ express approval That said, we also have concerns with the following aspects of the Trust as itis currently configure: 1. Composition. In its current conception, all members of the board but one would be appointed by a single ‘Commissioner, the Commissioner of District 5. A new statutory body created under the jurisdiction of the City of Miami should not be answerable to the grace and favor of a single Commissioner. This creates the obvious potential for appointees to make decisions at the Commissioner's behest. Nevertheless, this is also problematic because members can by the same token all be dismissed and replaced by the one Commissioner, with the potential for ‘noncompliant’ members to be removed, Instead, board members should be elected by residents of the community in a transparent process, and Commissioners may nominate residents for such an election. We do, however, welcome and applaud the inclusion of a youth member between the ages of 15-18 years old to be a part of the Trust. If the election is absolutely not possible (and if not, we would like to know the reasons why not), then the Trust board should be comprised of ten members - six appointees of all the Commissioners and the Mayor, and four seats to be filled by Little Haiti residents—chosen by Little Haiti residents. Mombers of this trust should be elected or appointed every two years. Anything less would undermine the spirit of democracy in which this type of Trust must be designed 2, Accountability and Oversight. The scope, purposes and projected uses of the proposed Trust's funds are vague and general. If indeed this Trust will be serving as a proposed replacement for specific and objectively measurable community benefits, including affordable or workforce housing, offered in exchange for being allowed to tack on extra density and height beyond what the zoning code allows by right, any and all trust funds would need to be specific and objectively measurably devoted to specific equivalent affordable or workforce housing benefits. Additionally, it should be stipulated that any funds assigned to a proposed trust would need to be bound to be allocated to projects, not salaries. For the sake of safeguarding the Trust's assets, any staffing costs that come from the Trust funds must not exceed 5% of the Trust's assets at the time of hiring 3, Community participation. As presently conceived, the Trust proposal gives virtually no ability for the ‘community to meaningfully participate in the operation of the Trust, apart from submitting names for the board. Such a body should have a clearly defined process of gathering and incorporating community input into how the Trust's funds are administered. Administration of funds should be responsive to community-defined priorities to truly be accountable. In addition to pro forma auditing and oversight by the City Commission, Mayor and City Manager, the Little Haiti residents should be empowered to seek review of the Trust’s activities, 4, Permanence / staying power. As a custom-tailored body governed by ordinance, this proposed Trust has a sunset provision that is far shorter than, for example, the timeline of disbursal of funds outlined in the development agreement of the Magic City SAP. This sunset provision creates a disturbingly easy ‘out’ without guidelines for why the Trust may be dissolved. The proposed Trust, assuming it were sincerely for the benefit of Little Haiti residents, should have permanence to give it legitimacy and assure the long-term stewardship of Its resources for the benefit of the community residents. This scheme allows for a disturbingly easy dissolution of the body without any guidelines for why the Trust may be dissolved. The lack of permanence raises questions about the underlying purpose for which the Trust is being created, given its genesis through a negotiation about a particular development. fa real, embedded, community-ted trust were to be created and maintained within the City’s bureaucracy, it should remain in place to be sure itis active as long as there are residents of Little Halt We urge the Commissioners to consider these objections/concems and defer this proposal at second hearing to give time to resolve the above serious concerns. A hasty decision on this will ultimately frustrate the very purpose that such a Trust should be created for in the first place — to benefit and support the low-income residents of Little Haiti who need it the most. Sincerely, Marleine Bastien, Family Action Network Movement /Haitian Women of Miami \el Bien Aime, Little Haiti Homeowner Bernard Bien Aime, Little Haiti Homeowner Trenise Bryant, Miami Workers Center / Miami Climate Alliance Frances Colon, concerned resident, Little Haiti Michael Clarkson, Konscious Kontractors Sasha Forbes, National Resources Development Council Danielle Goodman, concerned resident Alana Greer, Community Justice Project Valencia Gunder, Make the Homeless Smile Cynthia Hernandez, South Florida AFL-CIO Meena Jagannath, Community Justice Project Tomas Kennedy, FLIC Votes / Florida Immigrant Coalition Jack Lieberman, South Florida Labor Community Alliance ‘Adrian Madriz, Struggle for Miami's Affordable and Sustainable Housing (SMASH) Andrea Mercado, Nev Florida Majority David McDougal, founding member, Miami Climate Alliance Marcia Olivo, Miami Workers Center Tessa Paison, Florida Immigrant Coalition Gilbert Placeres, Engage Miami Daniella Pierre, Miami-Dade NAACP Maria Rodriguez, Florida Immigrant Coalition Jessica Saint-Fleur, Little Haiti resident Isabel Sousa, Florida Immigrant Coalition Melissa Taveras, concerned resident of the City of Miami Honorable Councilwoman Caroline Williams, Miami-Dade Community Council 8 Subarea 82 Cc: City Manager Emilio T. Gonzalez; City Planning and Zoning Director Francisco Garcia Iglesias; City Clerk ‘Todd Hannon; Mayor Francis Suarez