A seven-member West Kendall Municipal Advisory Committee (MAC) conducted its initial meeting at Kendale Lakes Branch Library on Apr. 23 to explore the potential of incorporating an area south of Kendall Drive (SW 88th Street) and west of SW 137th Avenue.
Three women and four men make-up the board appointed by Miami-Dade Commissioner Juan C. Zapata to study advantages and disadvantages of a new city of West Kendall, extending west from SW137th Avenue past Krome (SW 177th) Avenue to SW 237th Avenue, between Kendall Drive and SW 152nd Street.
Normally, MAC studies can take from six months to several years, depending upon the complexity of documentation to determine self-supporting revenue potential of independent municipal functions (policing, public works, city administration, local planning and zoning) while the county retains trash pickup, sewer and water, libraries, transit and similar county-wide services.
The public is welcome to attend all MAC meetings.
MEET THE MAC COMMITTEE MEMBERS:
Monica Colucci, 41, said her “desire to serve on the West Kendall MAC stems from her belief that in order for democracy to work, citizens must take active roles in their communities in order to benefit the well-being of others.
Colucci earned her bachelor’s degree in Elementary Education and a master’sin Educational Leadership from Florida International University. She has been a teacher in the Miami-Dade County Public School System for 20 years.
Actively involved in her school’s Leadership Team, she serves as the head of three different departments, mentors and trains teachers.
She also has served as a consultant for the University of Miami’s “Science For All” program which included writing science lessons to be utilized district-wide, speaking at symposiums and is co-authoring a book, Science for English Language Learners.
Wilson Cristancho, 49, declared that he wants “to improve the community of West Kendall significantly — underline significantly — as a resident of the area for 30 years.”
An international business executive and senior engineer, Cristancho has over 20 years experience managing dynamic information technology and global telecommunications for major U.S., European and Latin American companies.
A graduate of Barry University with a BS in Computer Science and its Executive MBA Program, he later received telecommunication management certification from the University of Miami Tech Institute Program. Currently founder and principal at Network Communications, an IT consulting firm, he was Ericsson Regional Manager of the Americas for the Division of Internet applications.
During a diversified career of prior multi-media applications with such companies as Great Western Financial Services and Western Diversified Insurance (John Alden Health), he co-founded the South Florida Networking Group, served as a Miami Autism volunteer and as a member of South Florida Business Chambers of Commerce and International Trade and local initiatives.
Married and father of three, he has resided in the Lakes of the Meadow for the past 20 years.
Libby Perez said she wants to weigh “the pros and cons of incorporation, representing the best interests of the Kendall community and helping make West Kendall a vibrant and great place to live for my family, neighbors and future generations.”
Perez, a West Kendall resident since 1986, is an education activist, small business owner and community advocate, currently serving as vice president/treasurer of the Kendall Federation of Homeowner Associations, vice president of the Falcon Music Society and committee member of Operation Turnaround.
She is PTSA past president at Jane S. Roberts K-8 Center and PTSA secretary at John A. Ferguson High School and parentvolunteer of the schools’ EESAC (Education Excellence School Advisory Council) and community coordinator of the Professional Chess Services Association as well as the Tournament Planning Committee member for the Florida Scholastic Chess League.
Presently, she is president of the South Florida League of United Latin American Citizens, Council #7232, and a member of the Spanish American League Against Discrimination.
With her husband, Adolfo, she co-owns Alutech Corporation, a successful aluminum door manufacturing company open since 1988.
Born in Oriente, Cuba and immigrating to Miami in 1968, she studied business administration and received her Associate in Arts in Political Science from Miami Dade College, later attending the University of Miami “Leadership Program” studying Computer Science.
“I am serving on the West Kendall MAC so that we can have a say in the way our community looks and feels,” said Enrique Piniero, 49, adding, “All most of us really want is a safe, clean, walkable neighborhood where our families can work, play and raise a family.
This can be accomplished through thoughtful and prudent planning by the residents who actually live and work here every day.”
A broker/principal of Ros Realty Group Inc., a full-service real estate brokerage, Piniero is a graduate of Florida International University with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration, majoring in Real Estate and Finance.
Currently, he serves as board chair of the Southeast Florida Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, a board member of the Florida International University Alumni Association and a member of the Miami-Dade County Affordable Housing Advisory Board.
As a longtime homeowner, Raul Pino, 48, said he “has a vested interest in this process” and wants to make sure the best interests of all homeowners and residents remain a top priority for everyone’s quality of life.”
A resident of Deer Creek II, Pino, attended Miami Dade College and Florida International University, pursuing studies in architecture and hospitality management. He has worked in the hospitality industry for nearly 30 years with Marriott International and recently ventured out on his own launching a hotel development company named 5 Star Associates LLC.
A board member of the Doral Business Council, he currently serves as its chair and was involved in the formation of the West Dade Homeowner’s Coalition where he serves as vice president, past civic involvements that he said led him to participate in the West Kendall MAC process.
A resident living north of Bird Road, Jose Rodriquez, 52, looks to “bring an identity to West Kendall and have the mayor and commissioners live amongst the rest of us so they have a vested interest in the betterment of the community.
“Also, I would like to improve many of the areas the county has been ignoring for a long time — better parks, code enforcement and police officers that represent an area, not the whole county,” he said. “Every area that has incorporated in the 20 years is much better off now than when they were part of the county.”
Rodriquez who holds a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from Florida International University has been employed for the City of Miami for the past 26 years in finance and budgeting. Serving as vice president of Concerned Citizens of West Dade for the past 20 years, he said, “We have fought for quality of life issues against bad zoning in West Dade and West Kendall.”
Erika Santamaria said she decided to serve on the MAC “to improve roadways and drainage systems in the area, increase open space/park system for our children, improve public transportation (with) bus stops/benches, and overal build a community where it is safe to enjoy our homes and what the surrounding area has to offer to residents and visitors alike.”
Santamaria moved to Miami in 1998 from Washington, DC, to attend the University of Miami, later completing her studies at Florida International University majoring in Business Administration with a minor in International Business.
She first served the Village of Pinecrest in 2001 as the assistant village clerk, later achieving the nationally accredited status of Certified Municipal Clerk and will soon receive the highest status of Master Municipal Clerk. For five subsequent years, she served the Town of Cutler Bay until resigning in 2010 to become a new mother. In mid 2011, she was appointed as the Town Clerk of the Town of Southwest Ranches in Broward County, serving for approximately three years until appointed by the city council for the City of Miami Springs in January 2014.
During her years of service in local government she gained experience in the budgeting process, charter review and development, supervising and conducting municipal elections, building/planning and zoning processes and a knowledge of all departments within local governments.
Santamaria is a member of the International Institute of Municipal Clerks, Florida Association of City Clerks, Miami- Dade County Municipal Clerks Association, Broward Municipal Clerks Association and Association of Records Managers and Administrators.
In 2004, she and her husband “fell in love” with West Kendall which they now call “home” moving to the area from Westchester.