Response to City Commission Chairman’s Press Release

City of Miami Commission Chairman Marc Sarnoff released a statement yesterday in regards to the tragic death of cyclist Christopher Lecanne last Sunday on the Rickenbacker Causeway at the hands of a drunk driver.  I agree with the Chairman’s position on the systemic problems revealed by this situation and would strongly support any measures he introduces to address the gaps exposed in our emergency response services. However, in his press release, the Chairman states:

“This tragedy highlights the dangers our cyclists and runners face each day on our roads from careless and drunk drivers. Next Thursday, Jan 28th at 5pm, the City Commission will decide whether or not to extend the hours alcohol in local bars from 3am to 5am. I’ve already received hundreds of emails from local cyclists warning of the danger, since so many rides on the Rickenbacker originate in Coconut Grove. This was even before the tragedy with Mr. Lecanne. I urge anyone with concerns to attend this important meeting to ensure their voice is heard by Commissioners. It is our duty to keep our roads safe.”

The attempt by Chairman Sarnoff to politicize this tragedy is unfortunate and inappropriate.  This incident allegedly occurred after the driver had been out in the downtown area at one of the 24 hour establishments that are permitted elsewhere in the Chairman’s district. The driver had numerous moving violations and this tragic accident points out the need to punish bad behavior when it occurs rather than preemptively restricting the actions of law-abiding customers. Pushing this into the debate about Coconut Grove’s Special District restriction on establishments serving alcohol underscores the Chairman’s determination to prevent the changes desired by a majority of his constituents. Both the Village Council and Chamber of Commerce have overwhelmingly voted against his position.

This is a reflection of the unfortunate political climate surrounding this divisive issue. Looking forward, I hope we can rise above this level of discourse to find an acceptable compromise to the controversy gripping our community. In these tough times, the City’s time and resources would be better spent addressing the current financial crisis, investigations by the SEC and the culture of corruption that plagues our politics. Hopefully, under the Mayor’s leadership, economic growth will be promoted by the City, not stifled.

-Stephen Murray

17 Responses to “Response to City Commission Chairman’s Press Release”
  1. Anonymous says:

    Stephen, you left out that 23 Homeowner Associations (MNU) in the City of Miami voted to restrict the serving of alcohol to 3 am. There is concern among many folks that extending the bars to 5 am helps promote alcohol consumption in our community. Driving under the influence is not a political issue, it’s a social issue.

  2. RL says:

    If 23 homeowner associations voted this, then why is only Cococnut Grove under the 3 am law, why not the whole City?

  3. Anonymous says:

    Please provide the name of the homeowner’s associations. NONE of them notified the CGVC when they requested input and there has been no press coverage of this.

  4. Anonymous says:

    No problem, all the Grove ever wanted was parity. Have Sarnoff make 3 am across the city now and this issue is moot. It will never happen.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Sarnoff has every right to bring up the tragic incident on the Rickenbacker. This is excatly what we are concerned about with drivers leaving bars at the same time we are riding. Don’t be such a punk steven murray. seriously. i saw the link to your post, and you truly come accross as a moron. you jackass.

  6. Anonymous says:

    Stephen Murray hates cyclists! You are such an idiot. Who the hell are you to tell us that serving alcohol late will make for a better community. You are such a loser!

  7. Anonymous says:

    Stephen Murray=Douchebag

  8. Anonymous says:

    Heading out for a ride now. Meet at Johnny Rockets and head to Rickenbacker. If ignorant assholes like this guy get their way, we are moving our rides south. Do you know how much money we bring to the grove, you spaz? Seriously, you are such a hateful douche! Plus that crooked smile you have in that picture makes you look like a total doofus. I’m not trying to be mean, but really, is that the best picture you could find?

  9. Anonymous says:

    I know this dude from school. total geek and corny as hell. He is a very wierd guy and now he’s trying to tell us how to live our life. Get a life you dweeb!

  10. Anonymous says:

    First of all I do not see a huge negative impact between 3:00 and 5:00 AM for revenue. Second if they stop serving liqour at 3:00, those party goers might head home before majority of the cyclists and runners start their training. I sometimes park in Sunset Place’s garage 4:30 AM on Saturdays and can’t even tell you how people drive in the garage intoxicated. I can’t even imagine what they do when they are on the open roads. Third Coconut Grove is not the entertainment district West of Biscayne, hence not the 24 hour club permit. Some parts of town are more suitable for 24 hour license or 5 COP license than others. Party goers in the Grove have to drive in many winding Grove Streets before they can hit a mojor highway, street and these winding streets are populated by cyclists. As a politician Mr. Sarnoff can’t make all of us happy all the time but it is not true that he is “using” the tragedy as a political tool. Have you even heard about the 3,000+ cyclists came from all over Miami-Dade and Broward Counties to attend the memorial ride last Sunday? It is an important issue and needs to be solved NOW

  11. Liliana Dones says:

    Unfortunately drunk driving happens at all hours of the day. It can happen after a block party ends at 11 pm, for instance, or after leaving a park or street festival at 6 pm in which beer and rum sales were encouraged all day. It can happen when leaving a private party, and sadly, it most often happens just by leaving home, for those who are determined to drink will do so at any hour of day.

    If our City officials truly felt that by limiting the hours of serving alcohol it would help to curtail drunk driving, then they should go beyond limiting it in only Downtown Coconut Grove, and extend the SAME A.M. closing time to all of Miami, and then do everything in their power to convince their colleagues in the County Commission to do the same for the entire Miami-Dade County. It is the fair and just thing to do. To just limit it to downtown Coconut Grove is to continue to kill off our businesses, and even the value of our residential community.

    While on the subject of safety to cyclists and pedestrians from irresponsible drivers, the Commission should also look into banning the use of cell phones by drivers, with the same seriousness as if they were drunk drivers, as they have done in the City of Bogota, Colombia (the same city from which Miami borrowed its Bike Miami program). Anyone caught on a cell phone while behind the wheel, is subjected to a stiff fine. — Liliana Dones

  12. Manatee5391 says:

    To all the anons ( SM, RN, and the rest of Sarnoff’s office )

    All the name calling in the world doesn’t change the fact that Mark Sarnoff is a self serving hypocrite.
    He absolutely IS using this horrible tragedy to advance his choke hold on Grove businesses and it’s disgusting!!!! How dare you Marc!
    I can’t wait for the asshole and his pathetic lemmings to rally at City Hall on thursday.
    The “great communicator” and grandson of General Sarnoff will have to explain why it is that Club Space, which sits plum in the middle of his district is allow to stay open 24 HOURS A DAY. Yes, that’s correct, 24hours to sell alcohol a day. Don’t let that prick tell anyone with a straight face that they’re “no residents” at that end of town.
    There’s just not very many of the one’s with the right skin color to concern him. He’s an elitest, plain and simple.
    Club Space has more police calls in 6 months than all the restaurant and bars in the Grove put together for a whole year!! Explain that Sue, Ron or anyone else.
    I didn’t think so.

  13. Anonymous says:

    I’m an avid cyclist here in the Grove and I find it offensive that anyone would use this accident to gain political advantage one way or another.
    If Marc and Co. really wanted to do something to curb the drunk driving here in south Fla. they’d push to make those hundred or so bars that opperate in Marc’s district close early just like the Grove.
    All you bikers know that it makes no sense whatsoever to limit drinking in a tiny sliver of the commissioner’s district if the true goal is to prevent drunk driving.
    He should do it EVERYWHERE in his district.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Stephen has more integrity in his little finger than Mark has in his whole body.

  15. Anonymous says:

    Hey anon 9:41am,
    You’re logic as absurd. For your information, South Miami has 8 places now with 5am licenses.
    Why is it wrong to demand that everywhere in the city stop the sale of alcohol at 3:00am?
    Your statement that those other areas that you mentioned are “more suitable for 24 hour and 5 cop liquer licenses” is asinine. Why?
    I live downtown on Biscayne Blvd. and so do thousands of others.
    Shouldn’t we be afforded the same protections as Marc’s neighborhood? Or are you an elitest like the commish?

  16. Anonymous says:

    Anon 5:56am…
    Really,is that the best you can do,
    make fun of a person’s picture?
    Let me explain how stupid you truly are. Your threat of taking your dollars “south” to spend is laughable. FYI, “south” bars are allowed to sell alcohol til 5:00am dumbass, but someone who actually uses the word “spaz” probably didn’t get the memo. You sir are the douche bag for posting ridiculous rants on subject matter you clearly know nothing about.
    PLEASE take your business elsewhere, we’ve got enough morons around here as it is,

  17. Tom says:

    The Clubs in the 24 hour district are the most dangerous. People are driving long distances to reach these clubs. I live in this neighborhood. I see the parking lots full of cars. People are drinking until all hours of the morning and the driving home. This is not a neighborhood where people walk from hotels. Marc Sarnoff if you truly cared about safety in the community you would have these clubs to stop serving alcohol at 3am.

    Let’s unite, join Concerned Miami Voters:!/group.php?gid=289289811466&ref=ts

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  • Disclaimer

    The contents of this blog do not reflect the opinions of the Coconut Grove Village Council, the Democratic National Committee, the Florida Democratic Party, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, or any elected official or organization referenced herein.

    All opinions are exclusively those of Stephen Murray.

    All content (c) 2010 Stephen Murray

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    Blog Layout and Design: Cassie Oswald (

    Banner Photo Credit: Lindsay Brown for The Miami Hurricane

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