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Elvis Cruz

I know this sounds strange, but I swear it’s true - a coconut palm ban in Miami!

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Elvis Cruz

Dear Friends and Fellow Palm Enthusiasts, 

I know this sounds strange, but I swear it’s true.

The City of Miami, Florida has banned the planting of coconut palms on Miami’s streets!

How do I know this?

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About a year and a half ago I planted the baby coconut palm you see in this picture, in a circular street median near my house, to replace one that a City of Miami truck had knocked over.  (I planted that felled coconut back in 1991, as well as the tall one you see next to the baby.)

Three months ago the City of Miami issued me a “Notice of Violation - Potential Property Lien”, with a possible $500 a day fine, for allegedly having planted that baby coconut palm without a permit.  (It turned out I actually do have a permit, but the city doesn’t seem inclined to honor it.  There are some strange plot twists to this story.)  

During my subsequent conversations with the city they told me that they banned the coconut palm from the City of Miami’s streets, and possibly its parks as well!

You can read a newspaper story about this bizarre episode by clicking here.

The whole scenario was so weird that I asked to appear before the Miami City Commission.  

You can watch my presentation to the Miami City Commission here.  The video is about a half-hour long.

(Once you get to that website, scroll about halfway down the list of agenda items and click on the second of two items labled “PA.4 Personal Appearance - Elvis Cruz")

 

===

 

The coconut palm has been planted on Miami’s streets for longer than the 120 years Miami has existed.

It is an iconic part of Miami’s history, image and culture.

And, oddly enough, at the same time the City of Miami is prosecuting me for having planted a coconut palm on a street, the City of Miami itself has been planting coconut palms on its streets!

Here’s a couple of examples:

 

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These coconut palms were recently planted on NW North River Drive at approx 5 avenue, as part of a city street project.

 

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This trio of coconut palms was very recently planted on 27th Avenue and Tigertail.  

Has the city banned private citizens from getting permits to plant the coconut palm on neighborhood streets, while continuing to plant them itself?  Or is it a case of one department of the city not knowing what another is doing?  

Or, as some have told me, is one particular outspoken citizen being selectively targeted?

 

DSCN1864.thumb.JPG.ad989ef6c19f262e77815

It gets even weirder.  Above you can see that the City of Miami has just planted at least a dozen large, mature coconut palms around its new dock master building, right next to Miami City Hall.

A double standard?

As Miami City Commissioner Ken Russell noted in this newspaper interview, one of the largest local purchasers of coconut palms is the City of Miami itself!

The coconut ban was instituted by the city administration, with no public notice, public hearing or public input.  As I was told by a city official, it is a policy, not a law.  It has never been voted on by the Miami City Commission.  It was done without our elected representative’s knowledge or consent.  It is not written in the city code.

Why did the city administration ban the coconut palm?  Fear of possible liability from falling coconuts, they said.  But that can be easily solved by not planting them next to parking spaces, and by letting freelance harvesters pick them.  (There are coconut harvesters who will come and pick coconuts for free; they then sell them to restaurants or markets.)

Understandably, the good citizens of Coconut Grove have been particularly displeased about the ban.  

They certainly don’t want the city to ban the coconut from Coconut Grove!

A Coconut Grove homeowner’s association passed a resolution asking to end the ban.  And one Coconut Grove resident has started an on-line petition to end the ban. 

Could you please help?   

Please click here to sign the petition to keep the coconut palm in Miami and in Coconut Grove.  And feel free to add your comments.

Signing the petition takes less than a minute, but it will help protect over 120 years of history and tradition.

(If the petition website puts you on a mailing list you can easily unsubscribe.)

Please feel encouraged to forward this email to anyone you think might care about protecting palm trees and Miami’s cultural heritage!

Thank you very much, 

Elvis Cruz

 

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Ben1

Unbelievable, really. Good luck with your petition!

 

I remember the scenery when I traveled to Miami in 2011. And there would be something missing definitely!

 

Completely incomprehensible that they continue planting coconuts themself. 

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Brad Mondel

Glady signed the petition, what evidence supports their claims? When visiting Miami the coconuts give the city an ambience and feel that no other city can match in the continental United States. 

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Elvis Cruz
39 minutes ago, Ben1 said:

Unbelievable, really. Good luck with your petition!

 

I remember the scenery when I traveled to Miami in 2011. And there would be something missing definitely!

 

Completely incomprehensible that they continue planting coconuts themself. 

Thanks, Ben.   Yes, this situation is beyond bizarre.

Your support is much appreciated.

 

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Elvis Cruz
30 minutes ago, Brad Mondel said:

Glady signed the petition, what evidence supports their claims? When visiting Miami the coconuts give the city an ambience and feel that no other city can match in the continental United States. 

Brad, at the hearing the City staff mentioned liability but they did not give any specifics as to incidents or evidence.

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Silas_Sancona

Also signed this petition.

Hard to believe that something like this would even come up considering how iconic this palm is. Think about how many people ..both native Floridians, and tourists from all over the US and world come to Miami and surrounding areas each year to enjoy many a coconutty scene while out painting the town. Easily the one thing i wanted to see the first time i visited the area many years ago. I doubt South Beach would be such a hot spot, nor Miami Vice been so popular in the 80's without coconut filled back drops.

Agree that there seems to be a sort of  "we can.. but you can't/ will pay $$$$/ loose everything if you do" double standard here. The fact that the city even chose to enact such a ban without a high degree of public input/sample balloting shows why so many people across the board get really frustrated with how city issues are handled. I hope many more people sign the petition and show those who made a very shady decision how much love there is for the city's cocos.

As id mentioned in the "comment" section on the petition, there are many.. many more significant issues Miami, and Florida itself needs to get to work on. This concern shouldn't have even have been a speck on the radar.

Edited by Silas_Sancona

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Jeff Searle

I signed this petition yesterday at the request of Elvis in an email he sent to me. And I am now asking all of our palm talk members to please consider in supporting this cause as well. Elvis has taken upon himself for many years to help in the beautification in and around Miami for many years in these plantings. Why.....for the same reason we all love our palms. They add beauty and charm to our local communities. So, I ask again, please support his fight with the city and sign the petition. Thank you.

Jeff

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Kim

Thank YOU, Elvis Cruz, for looking out for the best interests of the city of Miami.  Petition signed! (And I am not one for signing many petitions.)

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realarch

Signed!

Tim

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jardinierpalmiertrat

i signed today. Good luck!:greenthumb:

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doranakandawatta

Seen from swiss mountains, this issue looks strange.

I can't understand what is the issue with cocos nucifera:

Falling of the nuci when the tree doesn't fera anymore ripe fruits?

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doranakandawatta

Ah Yes,…. flying fruits…!

Maybe the City of Miami should come to Villa Bentota and enjoy the coconut grove there: no fruit falling on the tourists , never!

It seems to me that Royal palm fronds falling can be an issue as well, do you have royal palms avenue in Miami? How do they control the leaves?

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Vari805

Signed!  Best of luck Elvis!

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DoomsDave
7 hours ago, Elvis Cruz said:

Brad, at the hearing the City staff mentioned liability but they did not give any specifics as to incidents or evidence.

The fear is what could happen, not what does. (Usually.)

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DoomsDave

I signed it, but I wonder if the fact the I'm in California will make a difference . . . .

Good luck, Elvis!

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PalmatierMeg

Signed. Dave, doesn't matter where you live. People visit Miami from all over the world. Politicians and pencil-necks understand the language of money.

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Cindy Adair

I strongly support Elvis in his passion for keeping the coconuts in Miami and happily signed this petition.

This city will not be the same without its iconic trees!

I listened to the long video and was most impressed with the insanity of the city's strange position against the logic of Elvis's presentation.

Truly truth stranger than fiction!

As a city who thrives on tourism dollars, numbers from potential travelers all over the world count. Add your voice.

I happen to be in Miami right now and can attest to the beauty of these classic trees. 

Please pass this on to any tree lovers and let Miami move on to dealing with real problems.

 

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TikiRick

Signed with passion, Elvis. 

Let's replace the Miami city commissioners with 

coconut palms. 

  • Upvote 2

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Mr. Coconut Palm

I am fuming mad, ENRAGED EVEN that they would consider such a thing, much less actually enact such a ban.  I have to go to bed now to get up and go to work tomorrow, but I will certainly sign the petition tomorrow and give them quite an earful from the coconut man himself!  I love coconut palms.  They are my favorite of all plants.

John

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RedRabbit

Thanks for bringing this to everyone's attention Elvis. I understand their position, but as a palm enthusiast I'm not supportive of their cause...

Pro tip, when you sign stuff like this use a temp email: https://www.guerrillamail.com/ 

 

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JungleGina
23 hours ago, doranakandawatta said:

Ah Yes,…. flying fruits…!

Maybe the City of Miami should come to Villa Bentota and enjoy the coconut grove there: no fruit falling on the tourists , never!

It seems to me that Royal palm fronds falling can be an issue as well, do you have royal palms avenue in Miami? How do they control the leaves?

Here in Sarasota, the City is planting Royals right next to on-street parking spots in expensive areas. I can't wait to see one of those boots fall through a windshield.

Signed the petition btw. Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

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sur4z

I signed and typed a comment

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asimegusta

I signed the petition today. The fact administration made the policy without getting consent or enacting it into code, just shows they well know they don't have a leg to stand on.

 

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Mandrew968
On 5/26/2016, 5:31:40, DoomsDave said:

I signed it, but I wonder if the fact the I'm in California will make a difference . . . .

Good luck, Elvis!

Why wouldn't it? You are in the tourist category, not resident. Both may have an opinion on the feel and appeal of a place.

 

I signed and would like to make a note at how calm, cool and awesome Elvis was on tv! Not really a debate about it-local hero and champion for the cause. The Lorax would be proud...

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junglegalfla

Signed. Infuriating nonsense. Good luck Elvis!

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Mr. Coconut Palm

I signed the petition and gave them an earful!  They better listen and reverse the ban.  Miami without coconut palms would be like Honolulu without coconut palms!  It just doesn't fit and wouldn't be right!  Tourists visiting Miami certainly don't expect to see apple trees and birch trees!  They expect to see coconut palms and lots of them!

 

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Matthew92

Signed. I happen to visiting near Miami right now (Homestead) and am enjoying coconut country here.

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Elvis Cruz

Thank you, thank you, thank you everyone!

All your supportive comments, both on this forum and on the petition, have been awesome and encouraging!

I do hope the city comes around to recognize the coconut palm as being much more of an asset than a liability.

I'll post any developments.

Thanks again,

Elvis Cruz

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Las Palmas Norte

A number of years ago I had two visits from by-law enforcement officers stating I was in violation of district by-laws for selling palms from my residence. I needed to rezone to a  commercial designation to be in compliance. One of the officers confided in me saying, "We're only here to put a file on record in the event someone inquires. Could my wife come around sometime and by some plants?" ISYN !

Best of luck in your endeavors Elvis. Cheers, Barrie.

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doranakandawatta

City-of-Miami-Logo.jpg.84f5c1f7075fec872

 

Is that a coconut tree ? I think there is a problem then! 

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Elvis Cruz

Good research!

But that is actually a drawing of the Royal Palm, Roystonea regia, the official tree of the City of Miami.

Everyone, please spread the word.  We are at 289 signatures and climbing!

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Jim in Los Altos

Signed it! Shame on the individuals who instigated the ban.

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doranakandawatta
13 hours ago, Elvis Cruz said:

Good research!

But that is actually a drawing of the Royal Palm, Roystonea regia, the official tree of the City of Miami.

Everyone, please spread the word.  We are at 289 signatures and climbing!

Sorry for the mistake.

So I am sure Royal palms avenues are safe, no risk with fronds falling (lol)

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