HURRICANE IRMA: REBUILDING TOGETHER

To My Fellow Residents:

The past week has been one of the most difficult we’ve faced in a long time. 

Hurricane Irma inflicted severe damage on most of South Florida, and Coral Gables suffered significantly as a result.  We’ve all noticed disheartening damage to The City Beautiful, including the landscaping of our homes.  We faced significant stress pre, during and post this storm, worrying about our loved ones as Irma bore down on us; and suffered through the massive inconvenience of widespread power outages.

Personally, I was not immune to any of this.  I welcomed 15 family members into my home to bunker down together last weekend, and we watched with great horror as the storm destroyed so much.  I too lost power for several days, which was thankfully restored less than 24 hours ago.  That said, I know many of you are still without electricity and I empathize with your predicament.  For that reason, as your Mayor I am doing everything in my power to remedy this situation as quickly as possible.  Here are a few steps we’ve taken as your elected officials:

  • We convened an emergency Commission meeting yesterday to deal specifically with the hurricane aftermath.
  • We demanded that FPL attend to discuss their response, and presented our issues directly to them.  Although I am extremely grateful for the individual efforts of FPL employees and partners to help under difficult conditions, I expressed my dismay with their company-wide planning and performance in restoring power to our residents.
  • We collectively complained to FPL about the lack of proper infrastructure for our City such as the many old telephone poles that broke in half.
  • We demanded that FPL stop misinforming residents about who is responsible for dealing with power lines tangled in trees. Our residents must not be endangered because of misinformation or lack of performance.
  • I voted to support a motion to explore placing our power lines underground, as other South Florida municipalities have, to ensure we avoid these problems in the future.
  • I made a motion that passed unanimously to have the City Attorney explore a law suit against FPL. We would be the first Florida city to consider such a possibility.
  • We will continue to work diligently to advance pickup of debris as quickly as we can, working within the strict guidelines dictated by FEMA.

Although the storm is behind us and (thankfully) we are safe, the cleanup and rebuilding will be a long road ahead. I intend to lead this process, and relentlessly advocate on your behalf until our power, lush vegetation, and quality of life are fully restored.