The Coalition to Rescue Paradise is represented by attorney Vincent Damian, who helped lead a similar fight in Coral Gables. In that struggle officials began construction on an expensive administrative annex to city hall. The resulting outcry translated into a rebellion at the polls in which voters ousted the mayor and two commissioners. A new administration then stopped the project at a considerable cost to the city. Damian doesn't believe Key Biscayne's leaders have learned anything from the Gables experience. "There is something about many politicians that once they get into office they think they know more than their constituents," he notes.
The Key Biscayne coalition asked Circuit Judge Celeste Hardee Muir to halt the project. When the village council belatedly agreed to a public hearing regarding the zoning (scheduled for this past Tuesday, October 23), the judge ruled the coalition had to wait until after the meeting before she would hear the case. Lawyer Damian hopes the council will rescind the building permits, halt the project, and hold public hearings on the future of the site. He disagrees with those who say it's too late to stop the project. "They have already spent about $4 million," he points out. "Do they want to spend another $26 million for something that will be uncomfortable and unpleasant for everybody for the rest of their lives, or admit your mistake and swallow the costs?"