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Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Trolleygate Update ► The End Of The Line?

Artist rendering of the Coral Gables' diesel bus garage designed in a Bahamian style
Circle the court date: August 16th. 

At times it seems the wheels of justice turn ever so slowly. I posted An Introduction to Trolleygate just over 6 months ago. I followed up a few days later with The Trolleygate Dog And Pony Show, which documented the joke of a public information meeting conducted by (allegedly corrupt) Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff.

Ironically that was the very same day a lawsuit was launched by residents of Coconut Grove asking for an injunction to stop the neighbouring town of Coral Gables from building its polluting government vehicle maintenance facility in their residential neighbourhood. Ironic because it allowed Sarnoff to wriggle out of answering any of his VERY ANGRY constituents questions, since the issue was now in front of a judge. However, that didn't stop him from presenting his Dog & Pony Show, during which I watched a masterful performance by (allegedly corrupt) Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff.

Diesel bus disguised to look like an old-timey, non-polluting, trolly bus
In late February I documented Coral Gable's Modern Day Colonialism and Trolleygate and in March I spoke to plaintiff's lawyer Ralf Brookes for An Update On Sarnoff's Trolleygate aka Astor's Trolley Folly. In fact, I've been the only journalist who has been covering this story on an ongoing basis. That may be why I was sent the notice of hearing for August 16, 2013, along with the pleadings from both sides in the dispute.

My source tells me this hearing should decide all matters and the judge will issue a ruling one way or another. Either Coconut Grove gets stuck with a polluting government vehicle maintenance facility, or Astor Trolly LLC will have to find another location for this building; a facility promised to Coral Gables so that Astor Development (another tentacle of the same company) can develop the site of the current government vehicle maintenance facility in order to make millions of dollars for itself and Coral Gables. [This paragraph was massaged slightly after being published for clarity.]

Neighbours opposed to the polluting diesel bus garage are calling for a protest on August 16th on the courthouse steps at 73 West Flagler Street for 9 a.m.with the hearing set to begin at 10.

It will be interesting to see how the court rules. I've been told off the record by several someones-in-the-know that this building will never be used as a bus garage. That would be welcome relief to the economically poor, minority neighbourhood trying to stop it, but it then begs the question:

What will happen to the building, which is almost finished?

West Grove Residents Lose ► Polluting Bus Garage Will Go Ahead

Pictured below: 

Unveiling the One Grove Mural on March 3, 2013. immediately across the street from the polluting Trolleygate garage: