Miami commissioners come together for major meeting

COCONUT GROVE, Fla. (WSVN) — The City of Miami commissioners are overseeing a loaded agenda, including several controversial topics.

One such topic brought up earlier was to resume issuing red-light camera citations following a 3-2 decision by city commissioners to set up a special appeals board to address ticket disputes.

A state law that went into effect July 1 requires cities with the traffic monitors to establish an appeals board. Motorists looking to dispute red-light citations previously had to do so in a county court.

Coral Gables, Davie and Hollywood have already created their appeals board. Doral officials are considering nixing the controversial program.

Under the new stipulations, drivers would pay an additional $85 fee if their dispute is unsuccessful. Motorists who fail to show up to their hearing or refuse to pay their fine would be unable to renew their vehicle registration until payment is remitted.

“South Floridians can rest assured that when they’re driving on the streets, they’re gonna be a lot safer,” Marc Buoniconti of the Miami Project to Cure Paralysis said. “What we’ve always said was if you don’t run a red light, you don’t break the law, you’re not gonna get a ticket.”

Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones was also in attendance, a day after the third district court of appeals ruled she could not seek a third term, despite being suspended for much of her second term. Spence-Jones said she respects the court’s decision, though she feels she did not receive two full terms. “I believe that whatever is meant for you, you’re gonna have no matter what,” Spence-Jones said. “I’ve learned to not get stuck on things, you just continue to push through.”

The biggest turnout of the day was a group supporting the historic designation of the 66-year-old Saint Jude Melkite Catholic Church in Brickell. “We consider it a landmark,” Peter Fernandez said, “just like the Freedom Tower, the Torch of Friendship in Biscayne Boulevard. It’s a very meaningful place. We just want to guarantee it for generations to come.”

Against the designation is the church itself. A statement was released earlier before the board: “We must have the freedom to expand the structure to adapt it to the requirements of our worship and to accommodate it to a larger congregation.”

The item for the Catholic Church will be held later tonight at 7 p.m.

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