On September 6th, the City of Sweetwater submitted an application to the Clerk of the Board for the Annexation of portions of Fontainebleau and Westchester, which will now be sent to the Planning Advisory Board for analysis. We have been reporting for months about the city’s ambitious plans to expand its borders to take important and valuable areas of the communities of Fontainebleau and Westchester. We have taken measures to prevent that. Legislation is moving forward to prevent that.
Annexations should be made public, guided by referendum and public participation required. Several hearings must be part of the process. In other words, total transparency from day one of annexation talks, plans, conversation and agreements is totally indispensable.
Annexing the Engineering Campus would allow the City of Sweetwater to control all regulations that impact the Fontainebleau Campus, even if the community that is directly impacted by any noise emanating from engineering labs or any future traffic is the Community of Fontainebleau and its residents. We already had those problems, by the way. I personally met with Mark Rosenberg, the President of Florida International University on August 31st, at his home, to let him know that I had learned for the first time in The Miami Herald that he had been negotiating with the Mayor of Sweetwater to take portions of my Commission District and the unincorporated community that I represent in Fontainebleau and Westchester, without anyone consulting me or the residents, taxpayers and voters of these two communities that I represent, and which will be directly impacted by these secret negotiations. I asked him if this article in The Miami Herald was accurate and what his role was in Sweetwater’s annexation plans and he told me that while it was important to have a viable city across the street from the University campuses and that he was not involved in this annexation process. However, the City of Sweetwater’s annexation application package contains a letter from FIU President Mark Rosenberg dated March 27, 2012 where he expresses strong support for the City of Sweetwater’s annexation of a portion of the Community of Fontainebleau’s territory. The Fontainebleau people already had a MAC or application to incorporate into a city from about 10 years ago. The letter is addressed to the Board of County Commissioners. Although the letter is form March 27 it was never sent to the Commissioners. Now, it appears in the F.I.U. Annexation package. Why the secrecy over the letter and Pres. Rosenberg giving me erroneous information? There is no doubt that the letter from Rosenberg is the strangest part of the Sweetwater application for annexation of portions of District 10. Incredibly, they seem to be conspiring and negotiating in secrecy to take portions of District 10 that belong to Fontainebleau and Westchester. A university meddling in politics and going on a partnership with a city to invade communities? Is this America? What about “process!” What about transparency? What about the rights of voters and taxpayers?
Note: Sweetwater is in District 12
F.I.U. Main Campus is in District 11
F.I.U. Labs is in District 10
Westchester is in District 10
Fontainebleau is in District 10