Watchdog Report Vol.16 No.9 July 26, 2015 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 16 years of weekly publishing

CONTENTS

Argus Report: GOP Rep. Ros Lehtinen thinks Obama administration should have gotten more human rights concessions before opening Embassy in nation’s capital and where will future Consulates end up being located?

State of Florida: Rep. Diaz says “it is mayhem in Tallahassee, now,” with redistricting back in spotlight after court’s throw out districts, because “tainted,”

Obituary: Miami-Dade County’s Police Chief Parker’s suicide shocks the community, man with great temperament, will be missed by many in the community

Miami-Dade County: County’s Homeless Trust approves $66 million budget, but includes $4.8 million for domestic violence oversight board, second needed shelter a complex project says Chair Book on delay and why $1.5 million carryover of funds asks Mayor Regalado?

Miami-Dade County Public Schools: Aug. 24 kicks off 355,900 students going to public schools, causes traffic congestion to double

Public Health Trust: PHT Trustee Khaghan tapped again by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, she is solid member on seven member oversight board

City of Miami: Commissioner Sarnoff net worth rises to $2.9 million, up from $2.28 million in 2008, real estate rich, but cash poor

Village of Coconut Grove: Spring gives WDR update on Playhouse activity, “process is underway,” says Culture maven

City of Miami Beach: Commissioner Wolfson wants to investigate denying $15 million grant to Mt.Sinai because of opposition to Baptist Health South Fl. Urgent Care Clinic on South Beach, issue comes running up to elections in November - Voters need to engage and see what crop of new commission candidates are like, civic forums one great way to see neophyte candidates in action with policy bark on

Village of Key Biscayne: Sarnoff picked as “delegate,” in discussions to find solution to Miami Boat Show issues with Key officials

Community Events: Summer Fund Raiser, www.naturelinks.net, Saturday, August 1, 2015 from 1 to 5 pm

Editorial: Farm Share is a great organization but giving out food to elderly voters should not be comingled with politics says M-DC Ethics and Public Trust Commission

During budget Public hearings will politicians get to the point, or drone on repeating the same points, public in attendance go bananas–

Letter’s: Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Gimenez hold Animal Services Summit at Port of Miami Saturday – suggestions wanted

Sponsors - Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue

>>> Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you. –Pericles (430 B.C.)

>>> If you wish to be deleted, just e-mail me with that message. I apologize to a couple of people that I could not delete recently.

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation www.knightfoundation.org for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center www.knightfoundation.org to maintain my webpage. The Watchdog Report webpage is free, has no pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.

>>>> The Watchdog Report publisher needs fiscal help and new Supporters and I have for16 years now, reported back how your billions of public dollars in government are being spent on a weekly basis. And how to do that is at the end of the WDR. Thank You.

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher was on Topical Currents WLRN 91.3 FM and readers can listen in to the show as we discuss the hot topics in the community today. And to listen to the show go to: http://wlrn.drupal.publicbroadcasting.net/post/watchdog-report-publisher-dan-ricker-june-2015-edition

And to watch an Investigational Story done by Tony Pipitone a featured investigative reporter with NBC 6.com on waste at Miami-Dade County go to http://www.nbcmiami.com/investigations/Sloppy-Oversight-Missed-Deadlines-Plague-208-Million-Miami-Dade-County-Contract-309888921.html

>> And to my Supporters and Sponsors I thank you for your confidence over the past 16 Years.

ARGUS REPORT: Heard and Seen on the streets

>>> GOP Rep. Ros Lehtinen thinks Obama administration should have gotten more human rights concessions before opening Embassy in nation’s capital and where will future Consulates end up being located?

With the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington Monday, the exile community’s passions are running hot and there were many demonstrators at Café Versailles’s Monday protesting the raising of the Cuban Flag in the nation’s capital after some 54 years and critics of the Obama administration’s move believe he gave too much and not enough in return and with no change in political freedoms for the Communist Island nation, many Cubans are disappointed in the diplomatic initiative. And to see what long serving U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros Lehtinen, R-Miami, said to Helen Ferre on www.wpbt.org/issues and it is a long interview regarding the opening of the Embassy that she objects to since political freedoms in the nation were not part of the deal and for many Cubans this is a bittersweet deal. And for more on the opening of relations with Cuba go to This week in South Florida hosted by Michael Putney and Glenna MIlberg

http://www.local10.com/livestream-newscast/this-week-in-south-florida-livestream/23509324

What about the GOP field of candidates?

All week insurgent candidate Donald Trump was on the airwaves and the blunt talking developer worth around some $10 billion is drawing a bigger entourage than Mitt Romney did running up to the election in 2012 and he has taped into a vein of discontent with the political status quo that does not seem to ebb with voters and a recent ABC poll has Trump leading in the run up to the Aug.6 FOX run Republican debate. And there could be blowback from voters to the man’s comments that Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona was not “a war hero,” and the Donald is saying the quote was out of context and he is going after the media for only taking snippets of what he is saying and the Republican establishment is waiting for the Trump personality to flame out. And pundits are all complaining about how they are having to give the man all this media time given his brash style and stream of conscious way of speaking calling one candidate a ”loser.”

And the developer called  former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush “terrible,” in a variety of policies including “immigration,” where the governor actually wrote a book, called Immigration Wars, on the subject and the Watchdog Report once joked with Bush, after  a funeral service for a passing dear friend. I said to the governor that he had “more guts than I did,” and he replied “looking puzzled, what do you mean?” and I said over the last 16 years I had only written one story concerning immigration, because of the intensity of the emails I received at the time, and “he had written a whole book on the subject.” And he admitted some of the correspondence he got was also very intense on the subject. And the issue for many Republicans is a third rail subject that Trump has brought to the forefront of the GOP pack of candidates and how the upcoming candidate goes is the 24 million dollar question at the moment.

What did the mayor say about security at Versailles?

Miami Mayor Regalado told the Watchdog Report, last week when I asked him about the demonstrations at Versailles restaurant that with the opening of the Embassy Monday in Washington that when any demonstrations occur like at Versailles’s or the Venezuelan Consulate here in Miami a few years ago that it costs the city. Because more police have to be assigned to the area and in the case of the restaurant on Friday there was a private security guard who in many ways looked like a Metro motorcycle cop but was not and is stationed in the parking lot but there were no demonstrators at noon and the restaurant was doing a brisk business that included locals and tourists.

What about the initiative One Community One Goal conference?

On Monday the Beacon Council of Miami-Dade along with business and government leaders held a One Community One Goal Conference at Jungle Island and while jobs was one of the hot topics, so was education and the creation of a “world class eco [educational system] where Miami is “number seven in per capita College Students,” said Matt Haggman, a Program Director at the Knight Foundation to the audience. He said the mission is to grow “Miami into a dynamic center of higher education,” that is the “envy of the country,” said Haggman and Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg followed Haggman speaking and he said “We get it,” about educating students for the real world and the educator emphasized the importance of “intern programs,” that are having very good results and he asked for more companies to participate in that activity.

“Internships” have played a key role in molding people’s careers and prospering, the longtime educator said. The Beacon Council initiative was the brainchild of Jay Molina who passed back in the late 1990s and came about after the County released a Empowerment Zone Study back in 1989 that detailed the wide spread poverty, unemployment, and environmental issues faced by Miami-Dade County and the two volume study was done by Cynthia Currey and it  galvanized the community and targeted certain educational disciplines and industries including biomedical since companies like Coulter Corp. and Cordis Corp were still located in the County back then and have since moved on and provided 1,000s of people high tech, well paying, biomedical jobs and as a former Cordis employee, when it came to cardiac pacemaker research it was an exciting time at the company that held a host  of fundamental patents and was founded by William P. Murphy, Jr., M.D., in the late 1950s whose father won a Nobel Prize in the early 1930s for the solution to the Liver disease  Pernicious Anemia. And for more on the initiative and the meeting go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article1976773.html and JP Morgan Chase was a lead sponsor to the event along with Panther Coffee and Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is quoted in the press saying education has to be point of the spear for having employees prepared for the decades to come if industry is to grow in the County.


Rosenberg

Haggman

Rosenberg reiterated the “vision” was a “world class educational system,” that “responds,” to all aspirations and the University wants to “leverage,” this educational focus to “target industries,” He also said, FIU has a “sense of the community,” and that includes “mindfulness,” and “we are on the same page,” The president believes and there needs to be more “collaboration,” with industry and education he closed, his comments last week. And FIU is celebrating its 50th year as of Jun. 22 when it was created by the state back in 1965, Congratulations Panthers.

>>> Florida Manatee takes road trip to Chesapeake Bay, needs to head home to warmer waters soon

A Florida Manatee has been spotted in the Chesapeake Bay says National Public Radio (NPR) on Saturday and for one of the slow sea cows to take such a road trip is unusual and there is concern a boats props might hit the manatee where in Florida propeller cuts occur often and officials hope to track the federally protected docile mammal that tradional lives along the Florida coast’s inlets and Mangroves and are spotted in Biscayne Bay and the Miami River. And the creature better head home soon for the waters in the Bay and Atlantic Ocean will be getting cooler in the coming months and the manatees need warm water to survive and is why they gather around lagoons where the water is generally warmer.

Manatee

>>> Press release: Possible Upgrade of Cuba in State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report is Indefensible Concession to Castro Regime, Says Ros-Lehtinen

“If true, this upgrade in Cuba’s status in the annual report is nothing short of appeasement and it is a disgrace unbecoming of an administration that claims to hold human rights as one of its top priorities.”

U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa, made the following statement after reports stated that the State Department is considering upgrading Cuba to the Tier 2 Watch List from Tier 3 of the annual Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “In 2014, the same TIP report cited that child prostitution and child sex tourism runs rampant in Cuba, with children as young as 13 being the most vulnerable to human trafficking. Yet, the Obama administration has chosen to once again discard the hard facts to continue the President’s legacy shopping. Furthermore, the Castro regime not only fails to prevent sex trafficking of adults and children, but it actively supports and sponsors the sex tourism industry on the island in order to reap the financial benefits. If true, this upgrade in Cuba’s status in the annual TIP report is nothing short of appeasement and it is a disgrace unbecoming of an administration that claims to hold human rights as one of its top priorities.”

>>> Zogby Press release: John Kasich Is the Real Deal: Pay Attention to Him By: John Zogby Forbes.com Contributor

Seemingly lost in the all the “Donaldfoolery” of late is that a real candidate announced his candidacy for the Republican nomination for President: Governor John Kasich of Ohio. Mr. Kasich brings a singular level of experience to this race as both a legislator and executive, significant business success, four decades of winning elections, and impressive (even historic) accomplishments in public policy. He is what Governors Scott Walker and Chris Christie can, at this point in their tenures, only aspire to be. He has more experience than both former Governor Jeb Bush and Senator Marco Rubio combined. And he has won the kind of blue collar support needed in a GOP must-win state. Please click on the link below to view the full release:
http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/609-john-kasich-is-the-real-deal-pay-attention-to-him

>>> Press release: John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner

In his weekly presidential report card, pollster John Zogby finds that President Obama continues to remain relevant in the last years of his presidency due to an improving economy and the Iran nuclear deal. “What with all the Donaldfoolery of the past couple of weeks, we need a reminder that we have a president and he is still relevant. And he is also more comfortable in his presidential shoes. Please click on the link below to view the full release: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/611-zogby-report-card-no-drama-obama-holds-all-the-cards

OBITUARY

>>> Miami-Dade County’s Police Chief Parker’s suicide shocks the community, man with great temperament, will be missed by many in the community

The passing of Miami-Dade County Police department Director Robert Parker, 62, has shocked and saddened the Community. For the man had a great temperament and took over the large County Police Department at a time budgets were tight and his understanding of the community was unmatched and the Watchdog Report hopes the Chief rests in peace and you will be missed: and for more go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article28383562.html

STATE OF FLORIDA

>>> Rep. Diaz says “it is mayhem in Tallahassee, now,” with redistricting back in spotlight, special session set, after court’s throw out districts, because “tainted,”

With Florida Legislators having to call a second special session to redraw the Congressional redistricting maps, “it is mayhem in Tallahassee, now” said state Rep. Jose Diaz at a Miami Commission meeting Thursday, where he gave an update on local state funding that got vetoed by Gov. Rick Scott, and “gave him heartburn.” “The governor’s office is interesting,” and “I wish there was a rational explanation.” for the items that got “vetoed,” he said. The legislator said why the governor vetoed some items is a mystery and the budget was hoped to include $1 million for the Miami Museum http://tbo.com/ap/politics/study-ranks-florida-no–in-government-corruption-409916 on July 1 to the Florida Ethics Commission go to and type in the name, it’s that simple: 24%2016:50:15%27} &CFID=1258734&CFTOKEN=cb30f60057724e8a-920B6A15-AB65-CB1F-8B3A3006F08D1C0D and here is another link to the forms on file http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2014/2522-Form6.pdf .

>>> Gov. Rick Scott signed some bills trying to reduce human trafficking in Florida and State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle has been the point of the spear in getting more services and stringent legislation for trafficking perpetrators. And by tweeter she notes she joined the governor when he signed the legislation and she has yet to draw a challenger in 2016 when she is up for reelection and she has been in the countywide office since around 1992 when her predecessor Janet Reno was appointed by President Bill Clinton to be the nation’s Attorney General and Fernandez Rundle followed and she has had a couple of tough elections but less so more recently and she runs as a Democrat, but people criticize. She is soft on political corruption since many local politicians help her when she is up for election and is one of the downsides to having an elected state attorney. KFR responds that is not the case but there are critics who believe the office could do more when it comes to public corruption that has the state leading in a study on the activity. Florida had  781 corruption cases and leads the nation from 2000 to 2010 state’s a Tampa Tribune story and study done (And thank you http://coconutgrovegrapevine.blogspot.com/ for bringing it to my attention) and to read the story go to   http://tbo.com/ap/politics/study-ranks-florida-no–in-government-corruption-409916

What do we know about her finances?
Fernandez Rundle through Dec. 21, 2014 had a net worth of $2.7 million and in 2011 it was $1.655 million and that is up from $1.64 million back in 2008, when real estate was in the doldrums and property values have since moved up and to read the state attorney’s disclosure form go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2014/9939-Form6.pdf

Fernandez Rundle

>>> Gov. Scott Highlights Efforts to Fight Human Trafficking ~ Ceremonially Signs Four Bills to Support Survivors of Human Trafficking ~

Press release: Today, Governor Rick Scott highlighted efforts Florida is taking to combat human trafficking and help victims of these horrendous crimes. Governor Scott ceremonially signed four bills that raises awareness of the signs of human trafficking, protects survivors from further exploitation, and establishes harsher punishment against perpetrators. Governor Rick Scott said, “As a father and grandfather, I take the safety of Florida’s children and most vulnerable very seriously. While Florida has a 44-year crime low, even one victim of abuse is too many. I am proud to have signed legislation that takes combative measures against human trafficking. We will continue to do all we can to end human trafficking in our state and help restore those who have been victims of these horrendous crimes.” Governor Scott ceremonially signed the following bills:

HB 369 – Human Trafficking - This bill requires the display of human trafficking public awareness and reporting signs in certain locations.

HB 465 - Human Trafficking – This bill enhances protections for victims of human trafficking and provides enhanced sanctions for a person who solicits another to commit prostitution.

HB 467 – Public Records/Human Trafficking Victims – This bill expands an exemption from public records requirements for criminal intelligence and investigative information that may reveal the identity of human trafficking victims.

HB 469 – Public Records – This bill provides an exemption from public records requirements for the location of facilities serving victims of sexual exploitation and human trafficking.

The Governor also highlighted $2.6 million in the “KEEP FLORIDA WORKING” budget for five safe homes for victims and other service providers located across the state, as well as $250,000 for Selah Freedom and over $2 million for the PACE Centers for Girls. This funding includes three safe homes in the Miami area – the Agape Network, Camillus House and Kristi House.

Governor Scott also recognized $250,000 for Selah Freedom and $2 million for the PACE Centers for Girls. Three of the five safe houses receiving funding are located in Miami: Camillus House (Miami) – $500,000, Kristi House (Miami) – $550,000,Agape Network (Miami) -  $100,000, The Porch Light (Lakeland) -  $50,000, Devereux (Orlando) – $359,999

Lt. Governor Carlos Lopez-Cantera said, “I’m proud that Florida is leading the global fight against human trafficking.  The funding being committed by the state will help ensure the safety and security of everyone who lives in or visits Florida.”

Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “I want to thank Governor Scott for his efforts to stop human trafficking in Florida and for the additional funds in this year’s budget to help victims’ of this abhorrent crime heal in a safe environment. The Statewide Council on Human Trafficking will continue to work with Governor Scott and state lawmakers to make Florida a zero-tolerance state for human trafficking.”

DCF Secretary Mike Carroll said, “Governor Scott has been a strong advocate for the resources and policies needed to continue to develop the best methods for helping human trafficking victims recover and thrive, and to ensure this unique population gets the specialized care and treatment they need.”

DJJ Secretary Christina Daly said, “Florida is a zero tolerance state for human trafficking and combatting this modern form of slavery presents a unique challenge as it is unlike many other crimes. I am grateful for the leadership Governor Scott and the Legislature have shown on this issue and for their steadfast commitment to end human trafficking, ensuring that Florida is a safer place for our children and families.”

Senate President Andy Gardiner said, “Our ultimate goal is to eliminate the evil of human trafficking in Florida and these additional measures demonstrate that this horrible crime will not be tolerated our state. I appreciate Governor Scott and the many lawmakers who are working to bring attention to this very serious issue and am grateful for their commitment to significant investments that protect victims of human trafficking as they begin to recover.” Speaker Steve Crisafulli said, “Governor Scott has shown tremendous leadership in fighting against human trafficking in Florida. I am proud of the four bills passed this year by the Legislature and signed by the Governor, as well as the increased funding in the budget. We’re not just fighting to prevent these horrible crimes, but we have enhanced protections for victims of human trafficking so they can heal from the trauma they experienced and begin on the road to recovery.” Representative Ross Spano said, “HB 465 increases criminal penalties for soliciting another to commit prostitution and similar offences. This bill addresses the issue of demand for the purchase of sex, which I believe will have a positive effect in the fight against human sex trafficking.”

Senator Anitere Flores said, “Victims of human trafficking should feel protected as they recover, and HB 469 gives survivors more freedom and peace of mind that they are safe from their abusers. We must continue to fight until every victim is freed from the threat of this monstrous crime.” Representative Jeanette Nuñez said, “I want to thank Governor Scott for his continued support in Florida’s fight against human trafficking. The funding in the ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ budget gives victims the chance to achieve a better quality of life and a brighter future.” Senator Rene Garcia said, “The funding in the ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ budget support increases awareness of the existence of human trafficking in our state, and will prevent other men, women, and children from being forced into this terrible crime.  We sincerely thank Governor Scott and leaders in the Florida Legislature who have focused on the needs of our state and continuously pledged to help our most vulnerable.”

Representative Bryan Avila said, “I would like to thank Governor Scott for providing $2.6 million for five safe houses and treatment services for our state’s most vulnerable. This additional funding will ensure services are provided for those in need of healing and protection from this terrible crime.”

Representative Frank Artiles said, “This additional funding not only provides a home for survivors of human trafficking, but also protection and support. I applaud Governor Scott for the ‘KEEP FLORIDA WORKING’ budget providing $2.6 million for five safe houses and long-term shelter to victims while they recover and receive rehabilitative services.”

Representative Dave Kerner said, “The passage of HB 369 is a huge step to raise awareness of human trafficking in Florida.  We’ve made great progress making our communities safer but there’s still more to do. One violent crime is one too many- by signing this bill into law we are continuing our commitment of protecting victims of abuse.”

And state lawmakers have figured out ways to avoid term limits that have fattened up their pensions significantly and includes lawmakers in Miami-Dade, and Broward Counties. For more go http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article28644853.html .

On the well-being of our children. Visit The Children’s Movement website to read their stories and share your own. >>> I find it unacceptable, as all of us should, that at least a half-million children in Florida – all citizens — have no health insurance. How could this be in our beloved country that seeks to be a beacon to the world? Health insurance for all children is one of the five major planks of The Children’s Movement. With the support of Florida Covering Kids and Families, The Children’s Movement is working with dozens of local partners to help build a meaningful signing-up initiative in more than a dozen Florida communities. Already we have: Completed 18 KidCare trainings around the state. Signed up, trained and deployed more than a hundred volunteers. Begun to build a growing collaboration between local school districts and KidCare outreach coalitions. It’s a good start, but only the start. If you’d like to become a volunteer, just click here. Another way to help is to make a contribution – of any size – to help support this work. It is easy. Just click here. A real movement isn’t possible without your helping in some meaningful way. Dave Lawrence, Jr., Chair the Children’s Movement. >>> Update: Two encouraging meetings… The first, a visit from the Governor to the Rainbow Intergenerational Child Care center in Little Havana where he discussed his early learning priorities. That includes his support for “Help Me Grow,” a statewide parent resource system where parents would be able — via phone and online — to get and she thought answers to questions about their child’s development and connected with the proper resources. The second, a meeting with future House Speaker, Rep. Jose Oliva from Hialeah. He’s a father of three, a real reader of history and student of policy, and committed to better understanding early learning. Dave Lawrence, Chair The Children’s Movement. The shortest message you might see this week:

Click here to read a meaningful piece that ran in The Miami Herald this morning. It’s by Vance Aloupis, The Movement’s splendid state director. Have a nice weekend…
Dave Lawrence
Chair

Miami-Dade County

>>> Homeless Trust approves $66 million budget, but includes $4.8 million for domestic violence oversight board, second needed shelter a complex project says Chair Book on delay and why $1.5 million carryover of funds asks Mayor Regalado

The Miami-Dade Homeless Trust passed an initial budget of $66 million but a portion $4.8 million funds the County’s Domestic Violence Oversight Board (DVB) funding that has one shelter and another one is scheduled to be built but it has been slow going said Ron Book, the Chair of the Trust. And he gave s synopsis of how the DVB was “folded,” into the homeless Trust budget but gets a percentage of revenue that comes in from a beverage and food one percent sales tax though Miami-Dade excluding restaurants making less than $400,000 in Surfside, Bal Harbor, and Miami Beach. And the Trust is focusing on a “Strike Force,” approach that will include a some 20 acre area where all the homeless on the streets will get registered at the beginning and if they accept help will get housing in 60 days and other services. The Trust has been in a battle with the City of Miami on what to do with the chronic homeless on the streets and Miami Commissioner Sarnoff has been railing the trust is not doing enough after the city funded Camillus $350,000 for a mat program that HUD does not support but has become popular but funding is running out and these people could be back on the street. Book on Friday at the first televised Trust meeting on the County’s cable station said un the budget there was $3.4 million for an extra 483 beds and there is a budget item that would fund some $340,000 for the City of Miami and when the item was discussed he noted that “no one from Miami,” was on the dais since Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado had left the meeting and missed the discussion that had the mayor asking about what was holding up the DOB projects, like the new secret shelter, that he believes was a NIMBI issue, but Book said that was not the case and building such a shelter was more complicated than many other projects given its function. And Regalado asked for a history of the DVOB and Book said it was done after the Trust” food and beverage tax was passed by the state Legislature and was amended later that after a couple of years the DVOB would get a percentage of the food and beverage tax to build shelters and he said former State Legislators Mike Abrams, Miguel de Grandy, County Commissioner Natacha Seijas and then HUD Sec. Henry Cisneros all played key roles in creating the funding mechanism that has turned out to be $19 million for this budget year coming from the sales tax and Book noted the Trust was a “partnership with HUD,” that is funding the organization to the tune of $35 million and $8.3 million is budgeted for the Chapman Partnership to End Homeless and provides extensive services to the Trust. And the issue of reserves was discussed where there is $4.1 million but more but “significantly more” is needed in reserves.” that would only sustain homeless providers and services for only six months and the County budget department believes a better reserve cushion would be a full year of needed funding to take into account any disruption in the economic sales tax stream including internal or external threats, Book said.

Further Book said he had to leave the meeting at noon for he had a public meeting with County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff on the Camillus House issue that he believes Sarnoff mislead the longtime lobbyist about what the city wanted in the way of services and the Trust adjusted their long term plan but there has been tension between the two men and in a dustup at the public meeting the Miami Herald reports http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article28669762.html and the headline says Sarnoff was insulted by Book but it sounds more like a disagreement between them and Sarnoff is nowhere the homeless policy expert that Book is who has been involved in the issue since 1993 and he is a unrelenting advocate of getting local residents off the streets and into housing (from a high of some 8,000 homeless, back in the early 1990s to now around 1,000 homeless with a new census occurring in the coming weeks) and getting the care they need (that Camillus say they are providing with the mat program) but HUD will not fund the “mat” program because the Trust is about “putting people in beds,” Book has said repeatedly in the past.

What about outside employment?

PAST WDR: Commissioner Juan Zapata at a committee meeting asked what the County policy was for “outside employment” and how many county employees had outside employment. Zapata asked. Staff said some 1,000 employees file the required outside income forms to the Miami-Dade Elections Department. However, Zapata said he was concerned about the “distraction” of an outside job and if you own a business there are “emergencies,” he considered. Zapata noted the commissioner’s job was part time and they needed outside income and his concern was tax payers are not getting their money worth since the County pays “fair wages and salaries,’ he considered and working for the county “ was a privilege,” he said.

However, Joe Centorino the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade County Ethics and Public Trust Commission noted the commission does review some conflict of interest cases, but only after first the employee gets approval from his department director but the former state prosecutor said “there is a disconnect,” and it is “unknown” how many employees might have outside employment but just don’t notify the administration.

Centorino said there is “no countywide standard,” for how outside employment is treated and he believes there should be a “uniform standard. “Zapata gave one example saying he had a “meeting with a Chinese Delegation,” and he was “given two cards.” One was for a local real estate company and the other was the “card of a county employee,” and the lawmaker did not know what the man’s relationship was with the delegation.

Centorino

GMCVB press release: TOP STORY: #1 – LEISURE AND HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY LEADS MIAMI-DADE’S JOB GROWTH RATE IN JUNE 2015 FOR THIRD CONSECUTIVE MONTH

Greater Miami and The Beaches’ Leisure and Hospitality Industry was #1 in the rate of new jobs created for Miami-Dade County in June 2015, marking the third consecutive month leading all industry sectors in percentage of job growth. Most industry sectors saw some job improvements in June with Leisure and Hospitality leading the way with an increase of +6,600 jobs, registering the highest percent increase at +5.1% over the previous year.

TOP 25 MARKETS: JANUARY – JUNE 2015 DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES DURING JANUARY – JUNE 2015 REMAINED STRONG WITH #2 RECORD RANKING IN REVENUE PER AVAILABLE ROOM (REVPAR), RECORD #4 IN AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE (ADR) AND #4 IN HOTEL ROOM OCCUPANCY AMONG THE TOP 25 U.S. MARKETS AS DEFINED BY SMITH TRAVEL RESEARCH.
January – June 2015 – Miami #2
Record Average Daily Room Rate (ADR)
January – June 2015 January – June 2014 % Change vs. 2014
$217.62 $202.20 +7.6%
January – June 2015 – Miami #4
Record Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
January – June 2015 January – June 2014 % Change vs. 2014
$175.80 $163.71 +7.4%
Average Daily Occupancy
January – June 2015 January – June 2014 % Change vs. 2014
80.8% 81.0% -0.2%

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

Aug. 24 kicks off 355,900 students going to public schools, causes traffic congestion to double

The nation’s fourth largest public schools System is opening Aug.24th and 355,900 students will be going to one of the almost 400 public schools around Dade County and the opening of schools impacts traffic by almost double when it comes to getting around the County.

And while the District has a $2.9 billion budget, the District’s debt load is not for the Faint of heart,” said Dr. Richard Hines the now retired District CFO and has done an amazing job saving the district money by refinancing and his replacement will be filling some large shoes and to read the schools budget go to http://financialaffairs.dadeschools.net/ES15-16/ES15_16.pdf

>>> Press release: M-DCPS’ 2015-2016 ‘BACK-TO-SCHOOL TOOL KIT’ NOW ONLINE

Miami-Dade County Public Schools will open its doors on Monday, August 24, 2015, to approximately 355,900 students to begin the 2015-2016 school year.

In order to help parents and students have a smooth transition back to school, a tool kit has been created with information regarding registration, vaccination requirements, school hours, important dates, and school safety. The kit is available online at www.dadeschools.net in English, Spanish and Haitian Creole. Students can benefit from the tool kit’s information about various Choice schools and diploma options, and parents may use it to find out about important dates; the school district’s free app for phone or mobile device; free lunch service; and policies regarding their child’s education.

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

>>> PAST WDR: PHT Trustee Khaghan tapped again by Mayor Carlos Gimenez, she is solid member on seven member oversight board

Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez has reappointed Mojdeh Khaghan, Esq. to the seven member PHT board where the attorney is the Treasurer. She is a Columbia University graduate and is very diligent on the Trust and she has caused no controversy since her appointment by the mayor back in 2011. And the Trust Nominating Council will be interviewing Kareem Brantley in the future, who works with the Bravis Group http://www.bravisadvisors.com/ as a possible recommended candidate to the County Commission to be selected to be on the PHT board in the future and there will be a vacancy at the end of June, and the financial advisor could be replacing former PHT Chair Marcos Lapciuc,Esq. The Dean of the oversight board since he joined the board almost a decade earlier and did a straight up job during some very tough times that included changing the leadership at the Trust when PHT President Carlos Migoya was brought in Sept 2010 to rescue the health trust hemorrhaging red ink in the hundreds of millions in charity and uncompensated care. And Trust monthly board meetings are televised at the end of the month on the County’s cable channel. And The public has an opportunity to see how the Jackson Health System is managed every month and the seven member Public Health Trust board and the $1 billion plus medical facility delivers Miracles Every day to the public regardless of their ability to pay and JHS gets only some $350 million of public funding but yet gives over $500 million in charity and uncompensated care, and this level of charity care is also spread out among other hospitals in South Florida and JHS management under CEO Carlos Migoya has done a remarkable job keeping the health trust in the black over the three years he has been CEO and with county residents approving a $830 million bond the administration is charting a new course and there is an independent oversight board created to watch over the new bond money.

CITY OF MIAMI

>>> Commissioner Sarnoff net worth rises to $2.9 million, up from $2.28 million in 2008, real estate rich, but cash poor

Every year the Watchdog Report runs the financial disclosure forms for Miami Commissioners and this year Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is the big winner and his net worth jumped from 2.28 million in 2008 to $2.9 million in 2014 and the bulk of the increase is from his compound in Central Grove and the man is real estate rich but cash poor given his debt. The admiralty attorney termed out after eight years in office owes Bank of America $458,373, Citibank wants $155,000 and American Express is owed $54,318 state his disclosure form on file with the Miami Clerk’s office. And his wife Teresa, who he married in 2001, is running to take his place on the dais and she has raised $465,561 for her Miami District 2 candidate and another challenger Ken Russell has $83,614 in his campaign coffers through the end of June’s reporting period. And the escalating war chest for Sarnoff’s wife is getting so large she is being seen as being bought with the tony voters of the Grove which was a base for her husband’s past elections but the locals have a different opinion of the man something that the wife and candidate will have to deal with since voters should be glad Teresa is running in her husband’s mind. And to read all the candidate’s campaign fundraising disclosures forms go to http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/City_Clerk/Pages/Elections/CampaignReports15.asp

>>> And Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado lists his net worth for 2014 at $93,125 and that is up from 2008, when he listed his net worth at $5,000 and his total assets are $5,125 for the year and the mayor is termed out.

And Commissioner Francis Suarez up for reelection this November has a net worth of $115,539 which is up from a negative $81,100 back in 2008 because his real estate investments were under water in value back then. The married attorney with a young son has a mortgage of $360,000 at Chase Bank, N.A., and his investment property is valued at $144,860 and there is $207,516 in a savings account and $7,523.00 in a checking account and he has $25,000 in listed assets. And the man is facing one challenger in the November commission race, and a few years ago he tried to unsuccessfully run for mayor but withdrew after some controversy that included a staffer and he is now the vice chair of the MPO at Miami-Dade County and was on the Miami Charter Review board recently and he is the son of County Commissioner Xavier Suarez.


Regalado

Sarnoff

Suarez

>>> When it comes to seaplanes and helicopters coming to Watson Island, “We have this mess now,” says Mayor Tomas Regalado

“We have this mess now,” said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado at the Miami Sports and Exhibition Authority (MESA) meeting a few weeks ago referring to the fact the license for Helicopters and seaplanes “are both in the city of Miami’s name,” he told authority member. However at a MESA meeting (where written minutes are now being done, and I complained about them to staff member Lourdes and the lack of minutes became an issue at the meeting) when one potential operator said something had been agreed upon which was who paid for the FPL infrastructure costing $348,273 and if the wires could be underground or not which costs more. But since there were no past minutes concerning what was discussed and agreed to by a previous MESA director and a past MESA senior staffer Kirk Menendez has left the organization so the battle of who is right goes on.

The city for years have been negotiating with two companies to bring the amenities back to the City. However, a Jun.15 letter from the Florida Department of Transportation says the Miami Heliport license was “revoked, due to abandonment,” of the site and the “airport license and Airport site location was included in that revoking, and MESA has to meet again to resolve the issue with FDOT because “This could mean the end of two projects that we want,” said the mayor. Further any reestablishment of the air services also includes electrical infrastructure needs and MESA may have to pay $348,273 to FPL, and this funding has yet to be approved given the limited funding the organization has in in bank accounts. And the body will meet again and see if any resolution to the issues have been resolved but the clock is ticking for the reestablishment of these air services, that made Caulk’s Mallard Seaplanes an iconic part of Miami but ended after a tragic crash a few years ago.

What is Teresa like as a candidate?

You either have it or you don’t, I tell people when it comes to political charisma and Teresa Sarnoff does not have it and she is a very similar candidate, to Linda Haskins who her husband first beat back in 2006 by two to one votes despite her raising almost $700,000 with the help of then Mayor Manny Diaz’s campaign fundraising machine. But Haskin’s was portrayed as being under the thumb of the mayor who was losing popularity, by Sarnoff and Haskins was appointed to the body after Commissioner Johnny Winton was suspended from office after a scuffle at a bar at MIA and that opened up the seat and Haskins was picked by the commission to fill the vacant seat that disappointed many voters.

Further, the wife gets to carry all the political baggage her husband has generated during his eight years in office, where his first year in office was significantly different then when he won a full four year term and he first showed his new political personality that was remarkable different (And he seems to believe voters should be thankful he is in office)  from the past and she has to deal with these drawbacks with the public while she campaigns and Teresa in a big ad in Neighbors is saying she has gotten support from the Fraternal Order of Police and that type of endorsement is similar to what Haskins got back at the time and she has yet to define herself with voters. (And she does not seem to appreciate how odd it is for her to try to follow her husband in office, given city voters overwhelmingly approved term limits of eight years, and he has yet to explain why he embellished his family “lineage,” that turned out to be untrue but gave him early status. When he first ran for office, and he extensively referred to his supposed grandfather Gen David Sarnoff who founded NBC at his first inauguration, which was not true) and Former Mayor Matti Bower on Miami Beach tried such a political maneuver when she ran for a commission seat, and lost and she had been termed out, but voters thought enough is enough on the Beach.

She is also finding there is voter fatigue of her husband in office and his imperious attitude.  She responded when asked about the fundraising money by saying “she was sued by developers,” regarding the Mercy Tower condominiums pushed by the Related Group and mega developer Jorge Perez and she believes that shows her independent chops when it comes to these people. (Though she got a job with a prominent condominium real estate brokerage firm). Russell said in this regard that under Commissioner Sarnoff, the Grove has changed and there is a “changing façade of the Grove,” he believed though many people believe it is too late and the face of the Grove has forever been changed under Sarnoff’s watch.  She also noted she and her husband fought the Home Depot project that ultimately was built but others are asking where she has been since then. And Commissioner Sarnoff might consider putting his assets into a blind trust if his wife wins the election since controversy seems to follow the man in or out of office. And Russel was grilled about his lack of voting in municipal elections and only presidential races. He said he was busy raising a family and starting a business like many other people and only recently began to engage but that could apply to many of the candidates regarding their past spotty civic engagement history.

What did Russel say about LED media towers?

When it came to a request by residents to remove the language in Miami 21 for a “media Tower,” District 2 commission candidate Ken Russell said the city was placed in a “real pickle, with this one [and] what happens to the developer if you pull the plug, what is he left to do but sue the city,” the candidate said. If commissioners torpedoed plans for such a Tower that includes two acres of LED lights on a building and would help commercialize the structure that is some 633 feet high and is raising howls in the local community believing it is too much and the designation should be removed from the Miami 21 zoning legislation. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article19292724.html

VILLAGE OF COCONUT GROVE

>>> Spring gives WDR update on Playhouse activity, “process is underway,” says Culture maven

The Watchdog Report emailed Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Michael Spring last week asking for an update on the Coconut  Grove Playhouse and the plan proposed by attorney Mike Eidson where he was willing to raise some $40 million along with help from Kevin Spacey, and Spring on Saturday emailed back . Here is the update: “The Board of County Commissioners approved a contract with the design team that is led by Arquitectonica and an operating agreement with Gable Stage for the resulting theater at the Playhouse. The Board also approved an agreement between Gable Stage and FIU for cooperative programs at the Playhouse. Arquitectonica will work within the approved and secured budget of $20 million to accomplish the project and the resulting, approximately 300-seat Theater will be developed as the new home for Gable Stage. Gable Stage, in collaboration with the design team’s theater and acoustical consultants and theater professionals on the staff of the Department of Cultural Affairs and at FIU, will provide artistic direction for the project. This process is underway. The Miami Parking Authority will work in cooperation with the County to develop a parking garage at the Playhouse; the financing for the garage will not rely on any of the County funds approved for the theater. There are no other monies or plans approved for the Playhouse project,” wrote the cultural maven and senior advisor to Gimenez. However, critics believe this is not enough money and Eidson Chair of the Arsht Center board is still pushing for a larger 1,000 seat facility as well in the design and he is actively raising money for the Playhouse Foundation to help bring the iconic theater back to life and be the economic engine people in the Grove want it to be but is a hot potato politically with elections looming at Miami and the County.

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

Commissioner Wolfson wants to investigate denying $15 million grant to Mt.Sinai because of opposition to Baptist Health South Fl. Urgent Care Clinic on South Beach, issue comes running up to elections in November

When it comes to termed out Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, he is not leaving the dais like a lamb, but more like a lion and he fired off a Jul.31 memo to Miami Beach Manager Jimmy Morales asking for a discussion item be put on the upcoming commission agenda concerning a $15 million loan made to Mt Sinai Medical Center on the Beach for an expanded new Emergency Room at the teaching hospital and  only one on the Beach and Sinai supporters have been leading a charge to keep Baptist Health South Florida from opening a Urgent Care Center in South Beach and the hospital cite’ s traffic concerns but  Wolfson says that argument is a canard writing “as if they [Sinai] care about traffic in South Beach?” He wants the manager to investigate if there are any options to denying this $15 million “grant,” since Sinai, in “an arrogant act,” wants to keep a “monopoly,” and he believes the hospital’s opposition is at  the “cost to residents,” who will pay “dearly when it comes to their health  and safety,” wrote Wolfson on the matter that is causing major political concerns on the Beach with the run up to commission elections, that will change the composition of the body in November and also has Mayor Philip Levine up for reelection but Baptist says medical competition is good and they note Sinai has Clinics scattered around Miami-Dade and is no longer solely on the Beach including one in Coral Gables. And years ago the Watchdog Report reported on a bond sale to Sinai back in and for more go to: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article11238248.html And Sinai had a host of supporters that the Watchdog Report saw when the commission approved Sinai selling some $184 million in hospital revenue bonds (to help finance the acquisition of the Miami Heart Institute)  back in 2000 and a heated debate occurred back then on the City Board that had to approve the matter with speakers including Stanley Tate, Norman Braman, and Leonard Abess, to name just a few of the supporter’s back then for the bond sale that would later cause controversy and a SEC investigation of the matter and to read about that go to https://www.sec.gov/litigation/admin/33-8580.pdf And a couple of the planning board members are on the Sinai Board which is fueling conflict of interest concerns   And the Watchdog Report editor’s life was saved back in 2006 by a physician and surgeon at Baptist South Miami Hospital. And to read a longer story on the matter that ran this Sunday in The Miami Herald go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article28730260.html And the City’s planning board will take up the application on Tuesday at 1:00 p.m. in the Beach Commission Chamber’s and the  public is invited. Editor’s note: I contacted Mayor Levine asking his thoughts on the matter but by my deadline I had not heard back.

>>> Voters need to engage and see what crop of new commission candidates are like, civic forums one great way to see neophyte candidates in action with policy bark on and here is the list of people running for the commission

Group 4:

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez

Isaiah Mosley

Elizabeth “Betsy” Perez

G. Scott Diffenderfer

Michael DiFilippi

Group 5:

Mark Weithorn

Jose Rickey Arriola

Josef Jorzak

Group 6:

Jeff Cynamon

Mark Samuelian

John Elizabeth Aleman

VILLAGE OF KEY BISCAYNE

>>> Sarnoff picked as “delegate,” in discussions to find solution to Miami Boat Show issues with Key officials

A taped joint mediation meeting of Key Biscayne elected leaders and the City of Miami commissioners ended with outgoing Commissioner Marc Sarnoff being asked to be the “delegate,” of the commissioners and try to strike a compromise between the two municipalities leaders that are suing each other over Miami holding the Miami Boat Show at the Miami Marine Stadium and the large event is a major economic generator but Biscayne leaders are concerned about traffic getting to the event that is featuring a water taxi but given the environmental sensitivity of Virginia Key the idea of Miami having some 400 boat slips at the site seems excessive some speakers thought about the event held in the winter and some wondered how DERM was responding to this. Since a former mayor noted for four years he has tried to get a dock permitted but the County’s DERM won’t budge and wondered how the City planned to get that done. However with the city planning to spend some $18 million to prep the site Sarnoff suggested the Key collaborate with Miami and make the adjacent area a real park that Miami at the moment cannot do given the funding, and that idea got some traction. Further, the issue of traffic came up and that is a problem given only the Rickenbacker Causeway can take cars to the Key. And Sarnoff now that he has heard his peers concerns will be the designated point man to try to come to a resolution that makes sense to both sides and former Florida Supreme Court Judge Gerald Kogan was the judicial mediator at the event and his sage advice was well received and while Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado noted the Key’s back up plan was “litigation,” which Kogan said is always an option but it was the “resolution,” of a problem that was the goal of any mediation and is governed by state laws, and with the clock ticking and the event coming in the winter months ahead. The arguing sides who stayed very “civil,” during the discussion need to come up with a solution if the Boat Show is to go ahead and is a big revenue generator for the local hotels supporters said, but environmentalists made their concerns known and that includes the cutting of the Mangroves by a Miami City contractor and while the city has to plant hundreds of new trees as mitigation, these Mangroves are not mature specimens that will take time to gain a hold.

And a local restaurant nearby got some ink and it is the Bayside HUT and the lease agreement that involves the Lacasa family where the father and son were both lawmakers and the younger was a state representative chair of the House appropriations committee back in 2001-2002 before his loss for the Florida Senate to Alex Diaz de la Portilla a fellow Republican in 2002. And to read the Miami Herald story go tohttp://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article28707655.html

COMMUNITY EVENTS

>>> Summer Fund Raiser, www.naturelinks.net, Saturday, August 1, 2015 from 1 to 5 pm

At Pinecrest Garden, 11000 Red Road, Pinecrest Florida, 33156 Cost?  A modest $25 per person. For Reservations: Call or 786-505-4657 or email: ak.naturelinks@gmail.com

Afternoon Activities Will Include: Student Led Tour of the Gardens, Art and Video Presentations, Food and Drink including a Crepe Maker, Salad and (Yum) Student Made Creations

What Is Nature Links?

The mission of Nature Links is to serve young adults with mid-range intellectual disabilities (18 to 30 yrs. old) who are able to engage in job training, volunteer activities and gain independent life skills. Current and Forthcoming Programs1. Pinecrest Garden Summer Program: Community Wellness 2. Conservation Leadership Program at the City of Miami’s Simpson Park, ongoing3. Culinary Foundations Program at Coral Gables Congregational Church, beginning September 1, 2015.4. Urban Explorers at the Frost Science Museum in association with the City of Miami, beginning August 31, 2015

For those Unable to Attend, please consider donating to our Scholarship Fund by sending your tax deductible checks to:  Nature Links, 6261 Coral Lake Drive, Miami FL 33155.

LADIES LEADING FILM SERIES

Fridays, August 7 – 28 at 7 p.m.

Social Miami press release: Ladies take the lead in The Wolfsonian’s Ladies Leading Film Series, four summer film screenings inspired by the hard working, trailblazing women featured in the current exhibition, “Women, Art and Social Change: The Newcomb Pottery Enterprise.” Each Friday relax and enjoy the distaff side of life. August 7, “His Girl Friday” (1940) with Rosalind Russell, an ace reporter, and Cary Grant, her dashing ex-husband/editor, kick off the series. August 14, “Adam’s Rib” (1949) – the he-said, she-said classic starring Katherine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. August 21, “Norma Rae” (1979) – A young Sally Field, a funny, smart and inspiring modern-day heroine, stars in this powerful story about workers’ rights. And August 28, “Nine to Five” (1980) – the hilarious finale of the Ladies Leading Film Series featuring three incredible females – Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin and Dolly Parton. Catch them all – admission is free!

The Wolfsonian-FIU
1001 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach
305-531-1001
www.Wolfsonian.org

BLAME IT ON RIO

Thursday, August 20 at 8 p.m.

Join Coral Springs Museum of Art as it welcomes special guest Romero Britto at Blame It on Rio, a tribute to the famed artist, his art on display at the museum and his treasured homeland. This lively fundraising event will have you thinking you’re in Brazil enjoying the spirit, flavor and flair of Rio’s carnival festivities. A VIP cocktail reception begins at 7 p.m., followed by general admission to the event at 8. Tickets are $75 p/p and $150 for VIP guests.

Coral Springs Museum of Art
2855 Coral Springs Drive, Coral Springs
954-340-5000
www.CoralSpringsMuseum.org

SECOND ANNUAL BELLA’S BALL

Saturday, September 12 at 7 p.m.

The legacy of Bella Rodriguez-Torres will shine brightly again at theSecond Annual Bella’s Ball with friends and supporters radiating Golden Shimmer and Shine in memory of Bella. During National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, Bella’s Ball will raise awareness and funds for Pediatric Cancer Research through the Live Like Bella Foundation.

Treetop Ballroom Jungle Island
1111 Parrot Jungle Trail, Watson Island, Miami
786-203-3941
www.LiveLikeBella.org

Editorials

>>> Farm Share is a great organization but giving out food to elderly voters should not be comingled with politics says M-DC Ethics and Public Trust Commission

The recent ruling after an investigation that elected officials in Sweetwater should not use Farm Share a not for profit organization that gives out food on a massive scale close to elections is right on and while County and municipal leaders love to participate in these local food distribution programs they do have a political overtones and another example is elected leaders that hold events like fundraisers in restaurants under a city of Miami contract like is the case of the 94th Aero Squadron which is associated with the Rusty Pelican Restaurant that has  a voter approved lease with Miami and over the years I have seen a number of County Commission fundraisers held there and that is a conflict the organizers should factor in and find another facility that does not involve the City of Miami. But the giving out of food by Farm Share a highly respected organization for  the needy is great but it cannot have political overtones and even while the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and  Public Trust has told elected leaders not to do it another food give away is scheduled and just shows how entrenched this activity has become in elected circles and should be done under the auspices of a church or other non-political entity for it does not lead to good governance and should be reviewed along with the County’s periodical program that funds small local newspapers who many times run big ads for the candidates running up to elections and the County spends some $2 million for this activity that also spills into the political realm.

>>> Elected leaders do the public a favor and get to the point at public budget hearings rather than drone on, for audience as much fun as a root canal

With public budget meetings being held will these be a vocal marathons where elected leaders just drone on and repeat themselves and for the public listening to this dialogue, it is quite painful and voters would really appreciate if they got to the point for repetition by the public or the leaders gets old fast and lawmakers should spare the public some of their monologue that is as popular as a root canal.

LETTERS

>>> Press release: Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Carlos Gimenez Hold Homes For All Pets Summit, Identify Solutions to Animal Well-Being Challenges Miami, FL- Today, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Carlos Gimenez hosted the Homes for All Pets Summit at PortMiami to discuss challenges and find creative ways to continue working towards the County’s no-kill goal and to find homes for all our pets. 200 participants, including animal rescue and protection groups, community leaders, concerned citizens and elected officials, discussed the following topics: the progress we have made on animal welfare, the health and safety of animals in Miami-Dade and strategies to increase public awareness on this issue. Dr. Julie Levy, Director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida was the keynote speaker.

“500 animals are abandoned at the Animal Services Department every week. Much progress has been made; we have a terrific plan and we have made additional investments in programs and partnerships. But we cannot fully implement our plan without more volunteers, more partners, more funds for our programming We are here today to work together to find solutions,” Commissioner Levine Cava said during her opening remarks.

In order to encourage a solutions focused and proactive workshop, participants came together in small group discussions that rotated throughout the day. Ideas and recommendations shared throughout the summit were consolidated and will be used to identify innovative ways to close the current gaps in the animal welfare system as the County continues working towards its no-kill, adoption and animal safety goals.

Dr. Levy kicked off the morning with a presentation on the progress made by the Animal Services Department compared to the rest of the state: “Miami-Dade has many innovative programs in place and is far ahead of many other metro areas in Florida, like fostering underage kittens and numerous partnerships with rescue and veterinary groups. However, intake has not declined and the community needs to find ways to tackle this issue through programs that make maximum use of limited resources and offer the most bang for your buck,” she suggested.

“I would like to thank Dr. Levy for coming to Miami-Dade and speaking to our community about best practices and ways we can improve our animal services. I would also like to thank the many municipalities who attended and co-sponsored the summit. All our Miami-Dade communities face the same animal well-being challenges and we can solve these issues quickly and efficiently through increased collaboration and communication. A special thanks to Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his staff for co-hosting today’s events and for their dedicated service to our community and our pets,” said Commissioner Levine Cava.

Mayor Gimenez spoke about the many inroads made at the Animal Services Department and thanked the Department for their help in organizing the summit: “I thank Commissioner Levine Cava and Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz for their hard work in putting this important event for Miami-Dade together.”

The ideas discussed at the summit will be consolidated and sent to the event attendees. Commissioner Levine Cava spoke of the many ways that residents could get involved and stay engaged in constructive solutions. “It gives me much hope that so many concerned residents are interested and engaged in finding solutions. I urge all community members to contact their Commissioner and find ways that they can get involved through volunteering. The Animal Services Department offers several volunteering programs at www.miamidade.gov/animals<http://www.miamidade.gov/animals>. I also encourage all residents to attend the County budget hearings on September 3rd and 17th at 5:01 p.m. at the Stephen P. Clark Center so that they can express their budgetary priorities to the Commission and the Administration,” explained the Commissioner.

Broadcasts from the summit are available on Periscope through @dlcava and highlights can be seen on Twitter (@dlcava), Facebook (/CommissionerCava) and Instagram (@dlcava).

Sponsors: PortMiami, City of Miami Beach, Village of Pinecrest, City of Coral Gables, City of Doral, City of South Miami, City of Sunny Isles Beach, City of Hialeah, North Bay Village, City of Homestead, City of Miami Springs, Village of Virginia Gardens, City of Miami, City of North Miami, Town of Cutler Bay, Town of Bay Harbor Islands, City of Opa-Locka, Village of Palmetto Bay and Village of El Portal. Special thanks to Fare to Remember Creative Catering for providing an animal friendly, no meat meal.[cid:image003.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] Commissioner Levine Cava greets attendees at the Homes for All Pets Summit [cid:image005.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]Mayor Gimenez spoke of the advances in the Animal Service Department and his rescue dog, Beemer  cid:image007.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]

Dr. Julie Levy of the University of Florida presented on best practices and possible solutions [cid:image009.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]

Participants discussed two major topics: animal safety and increasing public awareness [cid:image016.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] an idea bank gave attendees the opportunity to brainstorm and make last minute recommendations.

>>> The Watchdog Report is going to hit 16 years of weekly publishing and while I have taken a licking over the years including some medical issues I have kept at thanks to my supporters who I thank so very much over the many years.

The Watchdog Report is Celebrating 16 years of weekly publishing since May 5th 2000 and when I started back then I never thought I would be doing this so

either gotten better or worse and here is a national story done on why I started to watch government back in 2000  http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190045_1_ricker-miami-watchdog and to all the people along the way that have helped me I thank you from the bottom of  my heart.

Publisher’s Statement on the mission of the Watchdog Report and the special people and organizations that make it possible:  Government Subscribers/Corporate Subscribers/Sustaining Sponsors/Supporting Sponsors

***** LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & Initial sponsors since 2000

>>> LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & INITIAL SPONSORS IN 2000

ANGEL ESPINOSA – (Deceased) owner COCONUT GROVE DRY CLEANER’S

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

THE MIAMI HERALD www.miamiherald.com (2000-2008)

ARTHUR HERTZ

WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)

ALFRED NOVAK

LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)

JOHN S. and JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION www.knightfoundation.org

THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE

>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $2,000 a year

BADIA SPICES www.badiaspices.com

RONALD HALL

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.miamidade.gov

UNITED WAY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.unitedwaymiamidade.org

>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $1,000 a year

AKERMAN SENTERFITT www.akerman.com

BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants www.bpbcpa.com

JEFFREY L. BERKOWITZ TRUST

RON BOOK

LINDA MURPHY: Gave a new laptop in Oct. 2001 to keep me going.

WILLIAM PALMER www.shutts.com

Rbb PUBLIC RELATIONS www.rbbpr.com

ROYAL MEDIA PARTNERS www.royalmp.com

SHUBIN & BASS www.shubinbass.com

WILLIAMSOM AUTOMOTIVE GROUP http://williamsonautomotivegroup.com/

>>> Public, Educational & Social institutions – subscribers at $1,000 or less

CAMILLUS HOUSE, INC. www.camillushouse.org

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

CHAPMAN PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.chapmanpartnership.org

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY www.fiu.edu

THE STATE OF FLORIDA www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION OFFICE OF THE CHAIR www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ETHICS & PUBLIC TRUST COMMISSION

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOMELESS TRUST: www.miamidade.gov/homeless/

MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE www.mdc.edu

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY INSPECTOR GENERAL www.miamidade.gov/ig

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPT. http://superintendent.dadeschools.net/

MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY www.miamidda.com

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST & JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM www.jhsmiami.org

THE BEACON COUNCIL www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

THE GOOD GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE http://goodgov.net/

THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY LEAGUE OF CITIES www.mdclc.org

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION www.miamifoundation.org

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA http://www.firstgov.gov/

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI www.miami.edu

>>> LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & INITIAL SPONSORS IN 2000

ANGEL ESPINOSA – (Deceased) owner COCONUT GROVE DRY CLEANER’S

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

THE MIAMI HERALD www.miamiherald.com (2000-2008)

ARTHUR HERTZ

WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)

ALFRED NOVAK

LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)

JOHN S. and JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION www.knightfoundation.org

THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE

>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $2,000 a year

BADIA SPICES www.badiaspices.com

RONALD HALL

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.miamidade.gov

UNITED WAY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.unitedwaymiamidade.org

>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $1,000 a year

AKERMAN SENTERFITT www.akerman.com

BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants www.bpbcpa.com

JEFFREY L. BERKOWITZ TRUST

RON BOOK

LINDA MURPHY: Gave a new laptop in Oct. 2001 to keep me going.

WILLIAM PALMER www.shutts.com

Rbb PUBLIC RELATIONS www.rbbpr.com

ROYAL MEDIA PARTNERS www.royalmp.com

SHUBIN & BASS www.shubinbass.com

WILLIAMSOM AUTOMOTIVE GROUP http://williamsonautomotivegroup.com/

>>> Public, Educational & Social institutions – subscribers at $1,000 or less

CAMILLUS HOUSE, INC. www.camillushouse.org

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

CHAPMAN PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.chapmanpartnership.org

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY www.fiu.edu

THE STATE OF FLORIDA www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION OFFICE OF THE CHAIR www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOMELESS TRUST: www.miamidade.gov/homeless/

MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE www.mdc.edu

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION ON ETHICS and PUBLIC TRUST www.ethics.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY INSPECTOR GENERAL www.miamidade.gov/ig

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPT. http://superintendent.dadeschools.net/

MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY www.miamidda.com

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST & JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM www.jhsmiami.org

THE BEACON COUNCIL www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

THE GOOD GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE http://goodgov.net/

THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY LEAGUE OF CITIES www.mdclc.org

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION www.miamifoundation.org

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA http://www.firstgov.gov/

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI www.miami.edu

********************************************************************************************************************************************

Watchdog Report Supporters Invoice-Form

NOTE: Invoice is for Yearly supporter/sponsorship Rates: Thank you.

Supporting Sponsors $5,000

Sustaining Sponsors $2,000

Corporate Sponsors $1,000 (All levels above will be listed in the report with web-site link if desired)

Large Business Supporters $500

Small Business Supporters $250

Individual Supporter $150

Student Supporter $ 75

Any amount $

Name & Address

Please make checks payable to: Daniel A. Ricker

Send to

Daniel A. Ricker

3109 Grand Ave., #125 Miami, Fl 33133