Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Roots In the City: Growing More than Collard Greens in Miami

Some of the best collard greens that you will eat in the City of Miami were grown right here - in the Overtown Roots in the City garden - with compost from local restaurants. Yesterday, we launched a pilot composting program that will help reduce the waste going into our landfills and improve our community soil at the same time. The organic compost, also known as "black gold," is a rich, environmentally-friendly fertilizer alternative that the City will produce in bulk from waste collected from local restaurants. Volunteers and staff of the Roots in the City garden will use the compost and then sell their produce to local supermarkets.

When I toured the Overtown garden with Director and friend, Dr. Marvin Dunn, I remarked that it had been a long time since I had eaten collard greens. Now, after enjoying Dr. Dunn's collard greens (picked just yesterday), I join my staff in thanking him for some of the best collards we have ever tasted.
The Roots in the City project is another example of how residents, government and the private sector can work together to improve our neighborhoods, create green jobs and make a lasting difference for the environment.

The Miami New Times covered the press conference HERE.
For more information on the project, please visit the Roots In the City website HERE.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Mexican President in Miami for the 15th Annual Latin Trade Symposium

President Calderon of Mexico made his first visit to the City of Miami this weekend. President Calderon was here to receive the BRAVO Business Award for “Leader of the Year,” as part of the 15th Annual Latin Trade Symposium. The Symposium, organized in partnership with the Inter-American Development Bank and the Americas Society/Council of the Americas, focuses on the hemisphere’s response to the global economic crisis and how Latin American companies are giving back to their communities. The event brought more than 300 international business, government and social leaders to Downtown Miami.
In the last eight years, Miami has truly become the epicenter of the Americas. It was an honor to welcome the Mexican President and the Latin Trade Symposium to the Magic City.
For more information about the City of Miami in the international context, please visit the Mayor's International Council website HERE.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

City of Miami Unveils Eco-Friendly Landscaping at City Hall, Dinner Key

City Hall is now home to hundreds of Florida native and Florida Friendly trees, plants and grasses. I invite you to come see this new, ecologically responsible landscaping at Dinner Key. This project, which was made possible at zero cost to taxpayers, makes our City Hall a model for sustainable greening practices, beautifying Dinner Key with plants that will significantly reduce our water consumption, storm-water runoff and reliance on fossil fuels used for maintenance. It is a step to return our city to its roots and an example of the new requirements outlined in thelandscaping ordinance that passed on October 22nd.

Today, 50% of the drinking water in Miami is used for irrigation. That's horrendous and it's irresponsible. In South Florida, water is one of our most precious resources. Increasing salt water intrusion and decreasing precipitation are threatening to further reduce our drinking water supply, but there is much we can do. We live in a tropical paradise, home to beautiful plants and trees that require minimal watering or fertilizers. I hope that you will have the opportunity to visit the historic open space of Dinner Key, the site of our City Hall, and see for yourself how sustainable design might work for your home or business.

This project is the result of the hard work and dedication of city staff, members of the Green Commission and the talented work of Southern Blossoms and BOMA Miami. Like so much of what we have done to increase our tree canopy over the last eight years, it was made possible by The Home Depot Foundation. The Home Depot Foundation has granted our city $1 million towards sustainable initiatives, helping us to plant more than 8,000 new street trees, provide fruit trees to residents, and promote eco-friendly practices through the OurGreenMiami.org campaign.

I am also honored to have worked with ACT - the Alliance for Community Trees, on this project. ACT works with 160 cities like ours across the country, promoting grass-roots programs to protect America’s urban forest. Today, ACT joined us to celebrate our city’s newest public landscaping project and to award me with the “Mayor of Trees” Award. It has been a privilege to partner with them and I thank them for their support.

Materials and services were also provided by Botanics Wholesale, Netafirm, Sunset Sod, D’Ultimate Bahoe Service, Affordable Irrigation and EBS Engineering.

We have a responsibility to each other and to future generations to conserve our natural resources. You can learn more about sustainable design in landscaping at OurGreenMiami.org.


Tuesday, October 27, 2009

President Announces $200million to Expand Energy Smart Miami Program

Today, President Obama has committed $200million to expanding the Energy Smart Miami throughout the State of Florida. The grant, funded by the Recovery Act, will bring 6,000 green jobs to Florida, stimulating our green economy and promoting increased energy efficiency and reliability for residences and businesses. The announcement is part of the Administration’s $3.4 billion commitment to spurring the transition to Smart Grid, investing in alternative and renewable energy, ending our addiction to foreign oil, addressing the global climate crisis and jumpstarting the green economy.

Within the next two years, Florida Power & Light will install 2.6 million smart meters and other advanced monitoring systems in homes and businesses. Smart meters allow you to see where you are using the most energy and to manage your electricity bills accordingly. One day soon, you will be able to manage your energy consumption with the click of your mouse or even by sending a simple text message. This technology will also improve the reliabilty of your electrical service and help prevent or reduce brownouts.

Energy Smart Miami, now Energy Smart Florida, is the result of a model public-private partnership of the City of Miami, FPL, Cisco Systems, General Electric and Silver Spring Networks. This program is helping to support the integration of renewable energy into our electrical grid, help us all make more informed choices about our energy use and move our city and state into the 21st century.
Learn more about the program at www.energysmartmiami.com.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Miami Primed for Investment, New Drill Down Report Shows

Today marked a milestone for the City Miami with the release of the SocialCompact Drill Down Report, which shows that our city's neighborhoods are both bigger and carry more spending power than previously thought. In other words, the City of Miami has more than 137,000 more people than the Census projected. As much as we have been able to accomplish in the last 8 years in terms of poverty reduction and financial literacy, the DrillDown may be the most significant project of my administration. By demonstrating the real number of people in our community and their real income, this study tells banks and retailers, investors and the federal government, that Miami truly is primed for investment.

This report, which you can read in full HERE, indicates that the City of Miami has more than 500,000 residents and is therefore eligible for millions of dollars in federal dollars for our residents that we have not received. It also indicates that several of our city's neighborhoods are 'leaking' their income dollars; residents spending their money outside of their neighborhood or the city. This means that in neighborhoods like Wynwood, where the household income is as much as 186% more than the last Census showed, there is an opportunity to attract local banks, services and employers that may not have considered this district before.

I would like to thank Social Compact for their extremely important work and both the Citi and John S. and James L. Knight Foundations for the support that made this possible. Now, it is up to us. I call on you to join me in the next year and be an advocate for our city - let us work together to ensure that our residents get counted accurately in the 2010 Census.

For more information about the report, click HERE. You can learn more about City of Miami poverty reduction programs at www.ACCESSMiamiJobs.com.


Friday, October 23, 2009

Miami 21 Adopted by the City Commission

Today is a historic day for the City of Miami and for the future of planning in the United States. Miami 21, the blueprint for a sustainable Miami, was adopted by the City Commission. We are proud that Miami is the first large U.S. city to adopt a citywide comprehensive zoning code based on the principles of Smart Growth and New Urbanism. With this important step, we are laying the foundation for a better, more walkable, bikeable and livable City of Miami.

I would like to thank Elizabeth Plater-Zyberk, Ana Gelabert-Sanchez and everyone at DPZ and in our Planning Department, for their exceptional dedication and hard work on this project. It has been an honor to work with them on Miami 21. I would also like to thank the thousands of Miamians who have participated in the most democratically produced document in our city's history. Thank you for being a part of this process to define the future of the city we love.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Univision Profiles Miami in 'Think Green, Act Green' Segment

Recently, I was interviewed by Univision for a segment titled, "Piensa Verde, Actua Verde" (Think Green, Act Green). The piece highlights the solar panels and retrofit of City Hall, our water conservation efforts and the Tree Master Plan, among other green initiatives. You can view the entire piece on the Univision website, HERE.

To learn more about the City's sustainable initiatives, please visit www.miamigov.com/MSI.