copper_scrap_metal.jpgMIAMI — The Miami-Dade County Commission unanimously approved an ordinance April 4 sponsored by Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson that strengthens regulations on scrap metal processors and junk dealers.

Edmonson also succeeded in getting approval for a street to be named for the late community advocate Dorothy “Dottie” Quintana who died in March at age 101.

The copper theft ordinance combines state statutes and existing county code provisions, while strengthening provisions regarding the sale of “restricted regulated items” such as street signs and manhole covers.

“Wire stripping of light poles puts our residents’ safety at risk and costs the taxpayers when county personnel must replace and repair the damage,” Edmonson said in a county statement announcing passage of the ordinance.

“This ordinance puts dealers and processors on notice: We will not allow ‘cash and carry,’” Edmonson said. “With an accurate account of sales, much like in pawn shops, we can track down the buyer and seller in illegal transactions. It will make it more difficult for junk dealers to sell illegally stripped wire. We want legitimate scrap dealers to stay in business and contribute to the county’s economy.” 

Edmonson said she offered up the ordinance in response to complaints from constituents regarding street light outages due to thieves stealing the copper wiring and selling it to scrap metal processors or junk dealers “for significant sums of money.”

Because of the thefts taking place throughout her District 3 community, residents “are very concerned because the darkness on the streets affects the safety and welfare of the community,” Edmonson said.

Upon investigation of the complaints, her office found that stealing copper was a countywide issue, with metal being taken from street light wiring, street signs, manhole covers, urns from cemeteries, houses and businesses.  Members of the community, businesses and nonprofit organizations called for better enforcement provisions in our code.

The commission also approved another resolution from Edmonson, this time naming the stretch of Northwest Second Avenue from NW 30th to 36th streets  “Dorothy Quintana Avenue.”

Quintana, who was born in 1909 in Ponce, Puerto Rico,  married Efrain Quintana in 1948 and moved to Miami two years later, settling in Miami’s Wynwood neighborhood in 1957.

A county statement said Quintana dedicated more than 50 years to improving life for the residents of the neighborhood, fighting crime and drugs, helping residents secure social services, feeding the hungry, helping the sick and assisting senior citizens.

Over the years, she opened her home to Cuban and Haitian refugees and received many awards and recognition for her service. The city of Miami’s remodeled community center in Roberto Clemente Park is named after her.