Watchdog Report Vol.13 No.19 September 30, 2012 Est.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot

CONTENTS

Argus Report: A regular WDR will be back next week, I took a break because I was exhausted, needed to raise money, and a good friend passed Friday

Florida: New Human Trafficking Bill kicks in Oct. 1, called Safe Harbor Act, protects against human slavery & exploitation

Miami-Dade County: MIA Dir. Abreu expects to fly off in Dec., unless Mayor Gimenez requests a delay in the flight, has been pressure cooker job, years of construction & political pressures on contracts

Miami-Dade Public Schools: State dolls out $66 million to reward educators, Broward gets $18.1 million to Dade’s paltry $2.5 million

Public Health Trust: S. Miami clinic to be staffed with Jackson physicians

City of Miami Beach: Breakfast Club features Commissioner Tobin

Broward County: Two people get federal prison time for BP disaster fund fraud

Indian River County: Gov. Scott taps Jeffrey R. Smith to the position of Indian River County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Community Events: Greater Miami Chamber Hob Knob with elected officials, local, state and federal Oct. 3 – Downtown Bay Forum luncheon

Editorials: With a 12-page ballot Nov. 6, this might be the time to vote by absentee ballot – Check out the past national story in the Tribune papers:  Paperwork Tiger By Maya Bell, Miami Bureau, Orlando Sun-Sentinel January 20, 2003

Sponsors – Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue — Scroll down for all the headline stories text

>>> 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 and you are free to e-mail this on to friends.

>>> 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 for International Media http://knight.miami.edu within the University of Miami’s School of Communication www.miami.edu to maintain my webpage. The Watchdog Report webpage is free, has no ads, pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.

>>> If you think it is important to have someone watching your public institutions consider becoming a supporter or sponsor. For there is no trust fund, and I do have to live and I hope you or your organization will consider helping in a small or larger way and help keep another voice on line in the media. A convenient form is at the bottom of this week’s Watchdog Report with all the instructions on how to support this newsletter and news service.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>> A regular WDR will be back next week, I took a break because I was exhausted, needed to raise money, and now a good friend passed Friday

A regular Watchdog Report will go out next Sunday and over the past two weeks; I still attended many meetings, but also had to raise money and rest up since I was exhausted. Further, this past Friday a very close elderly friend died in his sleep and that has taken some wind out of my sails as well. To see photos of long time Coconut Grove artist Leonard K. King who passed Friday go to http://coconutgrovegrapevine.blogspot.com/2011/11/leonard-kings-84th-birthday-party.html . I hope my readers and supporters understand why I had to take this break, and my thanks to so many of you for all your friendship and support over the past almost 13 and a half years.

>>> PAST WDR in May: I reflect on this because I doubt anyone will ever do this again in South Florida when I am gone for it took a broad set of circumstances to take a international businessman on this path after living in Japan, almost five years in Sydney while traveling extensively throughout Asia, and spending extensive time in China. Since my degree in 1974 from The George Washington University’s (Sino-Soviet Institute at the time) was in Chinese Studies. Further, I am divorced with no children, thought back in the mid 1990s someone needed to fight for the residents and people who did not have time to participate in governmental affairs, and when no one else stepped forward, I did. And that decision was partly driven by some of the social and financial injustice that pervaded the community back then with scandals in the headlines ranging from MIA to Miami-Dade, the county school board and the city of Miami being the poster child. Where city managers were fired like eating M&Ms and elected leaders and two city managers went off to jail.

Further, I was given the gift of being a featured Miami Herald editorial columnist back in the spring and summer of 2000, sharing the Tuesday page with controversial award winning writers like Max Castro and Carl Hiaasen. I was writing as the ‘Public Citizen’ and later in 2003 as a featured weekly independent news columnist for The Herald  www.miamiherald.com as the Watchdog Report, where one of my weekly stories ran in the general circulation daily up to the time McClatchy bought out Knight–Ridder. And this mainstream media exposure expanded my readership to around 100,000 readers in 2004. A University of North Carolina Chapel Hill study of the media in the southern states estimated and named me one of Florida’s “influential columnists.” Further, I have been a regular contributor on WLRN/NPR 91.3 FM on Joseph Cooper’s show Topical Currents show www.wlrn.org since 2000. I appear frequently on Helen Ferre’s show Issues on www.wpbt2.org , and past Watchdog Report stories early on have run in the Community Newspapers as well as in Spanish publications and all of this back then allowed me to gain credibility and a readership base unheard of at the time, and now, for a single individual reporter working on his own.

And after all of that media help, I also thank the many new people I have met on this strange journey, their thoughts, opinions and information that they have given me. For I have tried to represent the average person when I have gotten the chance to interview such people like then candidate President Barack Obama, Presidential candidates Senators John Kerry and John McCain, Gov. Jeb Bush and Gov. Charlie Crist almost weekly when they were in office, as well as people like former Soviet Union Leader Mikhail Gorbachev, former CBS anchor Dan Rather, and the U.S. Ambassador from Pakistan over the years to name a few of the people.

Only in South Florida would a WDR exist

And covering South Florida brings these people here and I am convinced there is nowhere else in the country; just a citizen armed with the internet could accomplish this. For when you say Miami anywhere you go in the world, someone will have some colorful comment be it a German tourist to a retired headhunter in Borneo. And I like to joke that South Florida “is like the dysfunctional half brother or half sister every family has, but we have great weather, beautiful beaches, and stone crabs the size of small children! And that has been what has made Miami one of the top destination spots in the world, and where else but here, would a Watchdog Report spring up back in May of 2000.

>>> See what was said about the Watchdog Report in the Miami New Times 2003 — Best of Miami — BEST CITIZEN  Daniel Ricker – www.watchdogreport.net

Three years ago, we said Ricker was our Best Gadfly. Given his dedication and perseverance, this new honor, Best Citizen, is well deserved. Ricker goes to 2500 mind-melting meetings annually, from the Public Health Trust’s purchasing subcommittee to the Efficiency and Competition Commission to the Alliance for Human Services’ nominating council to the school board’s audit committee. Sometimes he’s the only public observer. Object: to be the Public Citizen for all those out there who can’t attend, and to connect and serve as an information bridge among the special-interest-dominated Miami-Dade governmental institutions that seem so problematic and indifferent to the democratic process.

This month his e-mail newsletter, The Watchdog Report, celebrates its fourth anniversary (Now in its 13th year). In a former life, Ricker made a handsome living as an international salesman of heart pacemakers. As the hard-working publisher of Watchdog Report, though, he’s struggling financially — this despite the fact that his weekly compendium of meeting summaries, analysis, interviews, and commentary has become essential reading for anyone involved in public affairs. What his written work may lack in polish, it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness. So raise a toast to the man whose official slogan says it all: “A community education resource — I go when you cannot!”

>>> Repeat of national Tribune paper profile, a blast from the past of Watchdog’s life back in Jan. 2003, not all that much has changed financially

The Watchdog Report is going down memory lane again, during the past moving process, and here is a national profile and story done by Maya Bell in the Orlando-Sentinel, but ran in all the Tribune papers around the nation on Martin Luther King’s Birthday back in Jan.20, 2003. After she spent about six weeks, off and on, experiencing the world I was living in back then, and she nicely captured the reality of my life, that in many ways continues to today, which I wish was otherwise after now 13-years.

>>> `I Go When You Cannot’ – January 20, 2003|By Maya Bell – Orlando Sentinel – Miami Bureau Chief

Sometimes Dan Ricker lives in the dark so others may live in the light. It’s not by choice. Miami’s self-anointed citizen watchdog depends on the people he writes for and about to finance his quixotic quest to attend nearly every government meeting in Miami-Dade County. That’s a lot of mind-numbing meetings — as many as 2,500 a year — but not a lot of income. So Ricker teeters on bankruptcy. He dashes to his post office box daily, hoping subscribers to his weekly Watchdog Report have finally mailed their checks. Among them are managers with Florida Power & Light, the utility that regularly cuts power to Ricker’s Coconut Grove home, most recently while he was attending a legislative delegation meeting last month. But what Ricker, once a successful international sales executive, lacks in financial stability, he makes up for in credibility. When he walks into Miami-Dade’s government center, the county manager salutes him. When he runs into Miami’s first Cuban-American congresswoman, she greets him with a kiss. “He knows where the bodies are buried,” said U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, R-Miami. “He knows the people behind the curtain. He knows the real wizard of Oz.” >>> To read the section’s large front page story, but without the photos and smart box graphics, go to: `I Go When You Cannot’ – Sun Sentinel 20 Jan 2003 … Sometimes Dan Ricker lives in the dark so others may live in the light. … to his weekly Watchdog Report have finally mailed their checks. … http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american

>>> Press release: With Elections Looming In Puerto Rico, Ros-Lehtinen Urges Residents To Go Out & Vote And Make Their Voices Heard On Important Ballot Initiatives

Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) issued the following statement urging voters in Puerto Rico to go out and vote and make their voices heard on important ballot initiatives. Said Ros-Lehtinen, “One of the most important civic responsibilities we have as citizens of the greatest nation on earth is to go out and vote. And this is the message that I want to relay to my Puerto Rican brothers and sisters. There are four important decisions on the ballot for the residents of Puerto Rico and each one is important to its future. We cannot complain about the state of our nation if we are not engaged and we don’t go out and vote. By voting, we assure that our voice is heard and that we become an integral part of our democratic process.

Our democracy is the envy of the world, but it takes work to re-energize it and nourish it and by voting we are doing both. Everyone who is of legal age and has a valid voter’s registration card should not hesitate, rather they should vote on Tuesday, November 6th.” >> NOTE: The four initiatives on the ballot in Puerto Rico are: Statewide Ballot- Governor and Resident Commissioner State Legislature Ballot- Senators by District, Senators At-Large, Representatives by District and Representatives At-Large Municipal Ballot-Mayors and Municipal Legislators Puerto Rico Political Status Plebiscite

>>> All photos in the Watchdog Report are taken from public government sites, and the Report goes on line at www.watchdogreport.net on Monday sometime during the day usually. >>> If you believe it is important to have someone watching your public institutions consider supporting the Watchdog Report for I am a low cost news service, yet I do have to live, thank you! Further, I have been honored over the years by being named a WFOR-4 Hometown Hero in 2000, being profiled twice in The Miami Herald and was profiled in a major way by The Miami New Times and was the alternative weekly’s Best Citizen in the 2003 Best of Miami of The Miami New Times, and the Orlando Sentinel ran a nationwide story on me in the Tribune papers on Jan. 2003, and UNC Chapel Hill named me one of the top columnists in Florida in a  multi-state study of the media back in 2004. I also want to thank Joseph Cooper for the opportunity to be a regular on the WLRN/NPR showTopical Currents on www.wlrn.org since 2000, including yearly election coverage since then, and also numerous times over the past decade. Further, I am a frequent guest on WWW.WPBT2.ORG on Helen Ferre’s show Issues, and have also appeared on  Eliott Rodriguez’s show News & Views on www.CBS4.com .

FLORIDA

>>> New Human Trafficking Bill kicks in Oct. 1 called Safe Harbor Act, protects against human slavery & exploitation

Miami-Dade County state legislative update: Human Trafficking Summit – Representative Erik Fresen, Attorney General Pam Bondi, DJJ Secretary Wansley Walters, Miami-Dade State Attorney Kathy Fernandez-Rundle, and officials from Miami’s Kristi House participated in a human trafficking summit in Tallahassee this week. The summit was organized by Florida State University’s Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, which was founded in 2000 in part to address human slavery and exploitation in Florida (a crime our state ranks third in). The event brought together stakeholders, from law enforcement officials to survivors, and included discussion panels several issues. The goal of the summit was not only to raise awareness on a troubling and shocking crime, but also highlight what is being done and what options are available to victims, social services officials and law enforcement personnel.

In 2012, Senator Anitere Flores and Representatives Erik Fresen and Jeanette Nuñez passed the Florida Safe Harbor Act that will allow first responders the option of treating commercially sexually exploited children as child-victims by dropping them off at private treatment centers, or Safe Harbors, if one is available, to treat these children and offer them a brighter future. In the past, many victims of human trafficking and sex slavery in Florida have been treated like criminals due to rigid administrative procedures.

New Laws in Effect October 1, 2012

Several bills from the 2012 legislative session go into effect on Monday, October 1st. Among them is HB 37, Caylee’s Law by Representative Jose Diaz, which will make it a third-degree felony to give false information to law enforcement officials who are conducting a missing person investigation involving a child 16 years of age or younger. Also going into effect is HB 1323 which will make it a first-degree felony for a person remove copper or other metals from an electrical substation without authorization of the utility.

Other bills of note to take effect Monday:

HB 437 – Representative Eric Eisnaugle – Relating to Protection of Minors: Designates act “Protect Our Children Act of 2012″; requires person convicted of second or subsequent violation of specified video voyeurism provisions to register as sexual predator; provides that if more than one child is involved in violation of provisions prohibiting sexual performance by child, each child involved in violation creates separate offense; requires person convicted of video voyeurism violations to register as sexual offender; revises definition of term “sexual offender” to include persons convicted of specified video voyeurism provisions; increases classification of specified video voyeurism offenses involving minors.

SB 570 – Senator Jeremy Ring – Public Records/Donor Identity/Publicly Owned Performing Arts Center; Defining the term “publicly owned performing arts center”; creating an exemption from public records requirements for information that identifies a donor or prospective donor of a donation made for the benefit of a publicly owned performing arts center if the donor desires to remain anonymous; providing for future legislative review and repeal of the exemption under the Open Government Sunset Review Act, etc.

HB 577 – Representative Dana Young – City Pension Fund for Firefighters and Police Officers in the City of Tampa, Hillsborough County; Authorizes city to enter into supplemental contract with certain firefighters & police officers to increase amount of pension received by widow or widower or child or children should member lose his or her life or later die from injuries or causes occurring while in discharge of duties; allows joint annuitant who is also lawfully wedded spouse to be eligible for 13th check; confirms in part City of Tampa Firefighters & Police Officers Pension Contract.

HB 667 – Representative Richard Corcoran – Murder: Designates act “Deputy John C. Mecklenburg Act”; provides that unlawful killing of human being when committed by person engaged in perpetration of, or in attempt to perpetrate, offense of aggravated fleeing or eluding with serious bodily injury or death is murder of specified degree in certain circumstances; requires life imprisonment for defendants convicted of specified offenses where victim is correctional officer, correctional probation officer, or related type of officer; conforms provisions; reenacts provisions.

HB 1099 – Representative Scott Plakon – Stalking; Provides certain injunctions issued by foreign court be accorded full faith & credit; provides that person who makes threat which places another person in reasonable fear for his or her safety or safety of his or her family members or individuals closely associated with person commits aggravated stalking; requires that sentencing court consider issuing injunction restraining defendant from contact with victim for up to 10 years; provides for injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking; prohibits clerk of court from assessing filing fee; provides exception; authorizes court to enforce violation of injunction for protection against stalking or cyberstalking through civil or criminal contempt; authorizes state attorney to use criminal procedures for violations; provides for award of economic damages for violations; provides that person may not possess any firearm or ammunition if current final injunction restrains person from committing stalking or cyberstalking.

STUDY: Florida’s Underfunded Municipal Pension Plans

This review of 492 local government pensions in Florida by the Leroy Collins Institute at Florida State University has found that average plan funding levels “have been below 80% since 2004 and those levels have continued to decline nearly every year since 2001.”  Asset values fell sharply in 2008, and while they have mostly returned to their pre-2007 values, asset values are growing slowly. From 2004 to 2010, plan managers tended to underestimate salary growth of covered employees and overestimate the rate of return on their pension investment that contribute to optimistic pension liabilities and can result in failing to contribute sufficient funds into retirement plans. The number of active participants in local pension plans has been fairly constant, but the number of retired participants is on the rise – doubling in the typical public safety plan over the last five years. Please visit the link for the full report: http://collinsinstitute.fsu.edu/sites/collinsinstitute.fsu.edu/files/SEP%202012%20Years%20In%20The%20Making%20report.pdf

>>> Dade Days 2013 — Miami-Dade Days in Tallahassee for the 2013 legislative session will take place on April 3rd and 4th. The 2013 fly in and celebration of our county will mark the 25th anniversary of the event. Please save the day and stay tuned for more information and a detailed schedule of events or visit www.dadedays.net

>>> Press release: Florida TaxWatch Releases Review of Long-Range Financial Outlook Following the latest round of Revenue Estimating Conferences, the state’s Long Range Financial Outlook shows that for the first time in several years, if the forecast holds, the 2013 Legislature will not be facing a shortfall to fund a continuation budget. Released this afternoon, the September 2012 Florida TaxWatch Budget Outlook provides details on the revenue projections, how much spending is expected to increase, and a look at Critical and High Priority Needs items within that expected increase. Dominic M. Calabro, President & CEO of Florida TaxWatch, said about the projections, “We are encouraged by the good news of a possible surplus, as even a small surplus is always better than facing a shortfall. However, the state can always be more efficient, and Florida TaxWatch will continue to suggest ways for the Legislature to save and/or return even more of the taxpayers’ hard-earned money in the next Session.” The Budget Outlook report can be found here.

>>> Press release: STATE REPRESENTATIVE DAPHNE CAMPBELL DISAVOWS ACTIONS OF LEGISLATIVE SECRETARY.

When constituents of House District 108 sought assistance from the office of State Representative Daphne Campbell, some were steered away from the office and  told by the legislative secretary to secretly deal only with her.  Some of the assistance needed dealt with immigration, a subject close to Representative Campbell’s heart.
When Campbell was approached by several of these constituents, who told her money had exchanged hands with the secretary; Representative Campbell immediately went to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) to file a complaint.  The problem was, that many of the complainants were looking for assistance for immigration and other services and they feared filing a complaint.  Representative Campbell convinced enough of them to come forward and an investigation was conducted by the FDLE.  Subsequently, the investigation found several instances of wrongdoing, which led to the arrest of the legislative secretary. Representative Campbell supports the legal system and her constituents and does not want any of them to become victims of anybody using their situation to profit financially.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

>>> MIA Dir. Abreu expects to fly off in Dec., unless Mayor Gimenez requests a delay in the flight, has been pressure cooker job, years of construction & political pressures on contracts

Jose Abreu, the Miami-Dade Aviation Department Director told the Watchdog Report recently that he is shooting for a December departure after being responsible for “parking the planes,” while overhauling and completing Miami International Airport’s (MIA) two new terminals in the south and north, and completing the signature structures during his seven and a half years, was no easy task in the pressure cooker post. MIA, the sole largest economic generator in Miami-Dade has been his life since leaving the Florida Department of Transportation after being the departments secretary in 2005, and while he was a road, and asphalt kind of engineer. Through almost sheer will, he was able to complete the long delayed terminals whose cost escalated over the years from just over $2 billion in the mid 1990s to over $6.4 billion and there is $5.6 billion in outstanding financing bonds on the projects.

Abreu said in a phone interview with the Watchdog Report that he had had discussions with Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the mayor is expected to let him know in October if Abreu can takeoff on the December date. But the director said he was flexible and “wanted a smooth transition” in the post and since he had no plans for the moment and no future new job deadline. He could stay a few more months if that was needed, he said. Since the late 1990s, Abreu has been one of three past aviation directors with Gary Delappa bringing in the first $1.2 billion in cost overruns in late 1999, and after his departure in early 2001. He was replaced by Angela Gittens after a national search was done on a replacement that had some prominent community members and The Miami Herald calling for the creation of an independent airport authority, given some of the past scandals in the 1990s and one of them has been the ongoing construction overruns for the terminals, and delays that have plagued the international airport.

What has Abreu gone through over the years at MIA?

Abreu on Thursday receiving the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Visionary Leader of the Year Award at a luncheon at Jungle Island said, “When the airport gig opened up, he thought how hard can it be to park the planes,” he told the hundreds of attendees at the event. The University of Miami Civil Engineering graduate found out otherwise over the years since 2005 and one of the biggest challenges has been dealing with the 13 member Miami-Dade Commission. And one example was when Abreu was some two years into the job; a couple of commissioners verbally pounded the aviation director for some past decisions and problems that were caused at MIA. And after a few hours of this, Abreu said he was “out of gas.” And he was just trying to mitigate past errors and the verbal barrage was not deserved he protested. More recently on Sept. 18, at a county commission meeting, after a grilling by commissioners, three RFPs’ for MIA were not acted on by the commission. And during that discussion had Abreu at one point telling commissioners the discussion “was going to go down a slippery slope,” because some lobbyist were protesting the department’s decision and he believed this constant political interference by the body was not good business and would impact MIA revenues in the coming years.

Further since MIA is one of the largest international airports in the world and number one in the United States for international passengers. The multi-billion capital improvement program that was ongoing while planes were coming and going was like “tiling a bathroom while taking a shower,” he once said at a Downtown Bay Forum luncheon. And that fact was one of the reasons the two terminals construction went on for so long. That some long-term contractors at MIA thought would never end, but it finally has except for some loose ends, and travelers seem to either love it, or find it is difficult to navigate and fly out of Ft. Lauderdale/ Hollywood International Airport. >>> Editor’s note: The MIA administration is trying to get U.S. ICE to have more agents on site to speed up the clearing of international customs and immigration for passengers, and in August because of these delays, around 33,000 passengers missed connecting flights through the airport. Further, Abreu says when the federal Visa Waiver Program being pushed by the President Barack Obama administration kicks in for countries like Brazil. “You will see a significant spike [in travelers from these countries] and imagine what it will be like” when that happens and while he does not want “to beat the issue to death,” and MIA has a “great relationship” with federal officials. He said it basically comes down to “you either have the people, or you don’t,” he closed the interview.

What did Mayor Gimenez say about Abreu’s replacement?

Recently, Mayor Gimenez told the Watchdog Report that he was looking at a number of candidates to replace the outgoing aviation director and he emphasized whomever he chose. The person would have an “impeccable reputation” and with the issue of Abreu’s departure heating up. The mayor will select someone that is “highly competent,” in a job that seems to eat people alive given the work pressure both at the international airport and sometimes in the Miami-Dade county commission chambers.


Gimenez

Jose Abreu, P.E.

>>> County webpage: Mr. José Abreu is the Director of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department. He directs the operations at Miami International Airport (MIA) and four general aviation airports in the Miami area. MIA handles more than 33 million passengers and two million tons of cargo annually, and is among the nation’s busiest international passenger and cargo airports. Mr. Abreu oversees one of the largest airport expansion programs in the U.S., a $6.2 billion capital improvement program that is adding new terminals, roadways and other infrastructure to MIA and the County’s general aviation airports.

Prior to his July 2005 appointment as Aviation Director, Mr. Abreu served for two and a half years as Secretary of the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) under Governor Jeb Bush. Prior to his position as Secretary, Mr. Abreu served 18 years in progressively senior positions at FDOT, including eight years as District Six Secretary for Miami-Dade and Monroe counties.

Mr. Abreu holds a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from the University of Miami and is a licensed professional engineer and certified engineering contractor.

Mr. Abreu serves on a number of boards, including the University of Miami and the Association of Cuban-American Civil Engineers. In March 2008, he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of Commerce to serve on the Travel and Tourism Advisory Board (TTAB). He is a Fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers. Mr. Abreu has received numerous awards including: the 1996 Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Miami College of Engineering; the 2000 Wilbur S. Smith Award; the National Highway Engineering honor; the 2004 Civil Government Award, presented by the American Society of Civil Engineers; and the Florida Engineering Society (FES) award for outstanding service to the profession in the category of government. He was also named one of the “100 Most Influential Hispanics” in 2003 by Hispanic Business magazine and one of the Top 25 Newsmakers of 2007 by Engineering News-Record magazine.  Mr. Abreu was born in Cuba on April 1, 1954. He and his wife Miriam have two grown children, Marisa and José.

Whom else did the Greater Miami Chamber honor?

Jayne Harris Abess, the wife of Leonard Abess was honored for her philanthropic and community engagement, and her numerous involvements with not-for-profits including being the chairwoman of the United Way of Miami-Dade board. She was awarded Thursday with the Bill Colson Award, the Chamber’s highest honor. And other recipients of the Chamber Leadership Awards honored at the event were, Mario Trueba, Richard A. Berkowitz, JD, CPA, Iraida R. Mendez-Cartaya, Miami-Dade Circuit Court Judge Steve Leifman, Barbara A. “Bobbie” Ibarra, Leslie Pantin, and Mark Rosenberg, Ph.D.

Leonard and Jayne Abess — Photo from http://www6.miami.edu/momentum2/leadership_leonard_jayne_abess.html

>>> Press release: GO BEYOND THE TERMINAL IN TRAVEL CHANNEL’S NEW ORIGINAL SERIES: AIRPORT 24/7: MIAMI – PREMIERING TUESDAY, OCTOBER 2 AT 9:00 P.M. ET/PT -  One-Hour Season Premiere to Feature Two Back-to-Back Episodes Providing An Unprecedented Look at the Inner Workings of Miami International Airport

Travel Channel grants viewers an all-access pass inside the intense and dramatic world of one of the busiest airports in the U.S. in its new original six-episode series, “Airport 24/7: Miami.” Premiering with a special one-hour season opener featuring back-to-back episodes on Tuesday, October 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET/PT and 9:30 p.m. ET/PT, each weekly half-hour show goes beyond the terminal for an unprecedented look at the inner workings of Miami International Airport, also known as MIA.  With nearly 40 million passengers a year, MIA is the size of a small city – and considered a “Category X” airport, a prime target for a terrorist attack.  Viewers will meet the steadfast MIA team whose jobs it is to keep one of America’s largest airports running around the clock, and see what it takes to fight terrorism, intercept drug smugglers, secure a presidential landing, manage severe weather and much more.

“Airports are a big part of traveling, and this show is a way to give our viewers an exclusive and rare glimpse into this amazing and dynamic world. While most of us are just passing through something is always going on – fuel fires, smuggling rings, medical emergencies, sting operations and aircraft malfunctions.  Witnessing firsthand all that it takes to get people safely to their destinations we guarantee will both entertain and make our viewers more informed as travelers,” says Andy Singer, General Manager, Travel Channel.

From seasoned veterans who have literally seen it all after more than 25 years of working at MIA to a rookie passenger service representative reluctantly following in her family’s footsteps, the characters of “Airport 24/7: Miami” embody the culture, personality and soul of their airport and their city. The series spotlights the ensemble cast of nine airport personnel, and the challenges they face as they work to keep MIA running efficiently.  The airport’s overall operations, security and maintenance are the responsibility of Deputy Director Ken Pyatt.  Customer Service is seen through the eyes of Director of Terminal Operations Dickie Davis, as she enthusiastically leads a large team that includes Senior Agents Heidi Anthony and Tony “The Mayor” Cooper, along with Operations Control Room Agent Darius Bradshaw.  The stakes are even higher for those who ensure passenger safety – on and off the ground. Security experts introduced include Director of Security Lauren Stover, Terminal Security Agent Ericka Middleton and Miami-Dade Police Officer Chris “Stretch” Rutledge. From the ground, Ramp Services Manager Albert Cordeschi is the ringleader that keeps all planes coming and going on time. These individuals of various backgrounds must come together to guarantee a safe and pleasant journey for the thousands of travelers passing through MIA daily.

In the first half-hour episode of the season premiere (9:00 p.m. ET/PT), a TSA officer intercepts a firearm tucked inside a carry-on bag through the checkpoint x-ray. Tensions rise as the passenger is questioned by the Miami-Dade Police Department and they determine that he is neither a U.S. citizen nor does he have a firearms permit. MIA staffers and the Lufthansa team have just over two hours to turn the largest passenger aircraft in the world. When Customs and Border Protection makes a surprise inspection, everyone is caught off guard, and as a result, the jet may not take off on time and 500 passengers may be delayed. TSA intercepts a potential terrorist when an officer spots a knife deliberately hidden in the sole of a sneaker. The passenger also has three forms of ID and is of Middle Eastern descent. A full-scale security response is issued to investigate.

In the second episode of the season opener (9:30 p.m. ET/PT), a driver comes within inches of his life when his car flips over outside the terminal.  Initial reports indicate he has suffered severe head trauma, and the prognosis does not look good.  This is where the search begins to find out who the victim is and who is waiting for him at arrivals. Customs and Border Protection’s Anti Terrorism and Contraband Enforcement Team hones in on a shipment of tractor parts originating in South America traveling through Miami onto Africa.  The canine discovers a cache of cocaine in the least likely place.  Security Director Lauren Stover arranges to help a young lady surprise her boyfriend, a soldier who is returning from his tour of duty in Afghanistan, by meeting him at the gate.  But a bigger surprise waits when the plan is turned around. “Airport 24/7: Miami” is produced by 2C Media for Travel Channel. For 2C Media, the executive producers are Chris Sloan, Carla Kaufman Sloan and Shari Solomon Cedar.  For Travel Channel, the executive producer is Bill Howard. TRAVEL CHANNEL (http://www.travelchannel.com) is a multiplatform travel lifestyle brand with the core mission of providing inspiring and compelling programming that takes viewers beyond their everyday destinations, making the unfamiliar familiar, whether it’s around the world or around the block. >>> A dual feed network that is also available in HD, Travel Channel is the world’s leading travel media brand, and is available in over 94 million U.S. cable homes.  Owned and operated by Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI), Travel Channel has offices in Chevy Chase, MD, and New York, NY.  Scripps Networks Interactive (NYSE: SNI) also owns and operates HGTV, DIY Network, Food Network, Cooking Channel and Great American Country.

>>>M-D County Ethics Commission press release: Opa-Locka city employee settles ethics complaint

An Opa-Locka code enforcement officer has pleaded no contest to charges he violated the Miami-Dade County Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance for failing to file required “outside source of income” forms for more than three years.  An investigation began when it was alleged that Randolph Aikens had been working nights providing security at a city-funded project (Sherbondy Village Community Center) and sleeping during the daytime shift of his public job.   Aikens created a company called Executive Protection Security Enforcement LLC in early 2008, though he never sought permission for outside employment from his supervisor.  One year ago, Aikens told Ethics Commission investigators that, because he was self-employed, he didn’t think he needed permission or had to file income statements, but he was advised to do so immediately.   Similar information was distributed to all municipal employees by the Opa-Locka city clerk this past June, but Aikens still neglected to submit the forms.  Today, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) accepted a settlement to the complaint (C 12-28) that requires Aikens to pay a $500 fine and accept a Letter of Instruction.

>>> Also today, COE members learned that The Children’s Trust has awarded the agency a grant of more than $5,800 to help produce promotional material to recruit volunteers for Ethical Governance Day on October 12, 2012.  Community leaders are being encouraged to speak to high schools seniors about educated civic engagement ahead of the November general election.   Miami-Dade Public Schools, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the cities of Doral and North Miami Beach, and Florida International University are among the entities endorsing and supporting Ethical Governance Day.  The COE encourages other local governments, civic organizations and educational institutions to get involved.  Details can be found at www.miamidadeethics.com.  Additionally, Ethics Commission Executive Director Joseph Centorino will discuss Ethical Governance Day as a guest on “Topical Currents,” on 91.3 WLRN-FM this Thursday, September 27th at 1 p.m.

>>> GMCVB press release: DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES REMAINS STRONG ― GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES RANKS #4  IN REVENUE PER AVAILABLE ROOM (REV PAR), #4 IN AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE (ADR) AND #4 IN HOTEL ROOM OCCUPANCY FOR JANUARY-AUGUST 2012 AMONG THE TOP 25 U.S. MARKETS – For January – August 2012, Greater MIAMI and the Beaches showed increases vs. 2011, ranking #4 in Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar) at $129.79, #4 in Average Daily Room rate (ADR) at $167.02 and #4 in Hotel Room Occupancy at 77.7% among the Top 25 Markets in the U.S. Smith Travel Research compares the top markets in the United States based on Occupancy, Average Daily Room Rate (ADR) and Revenue Per Available Room (RevPar).

Top 25 Hotel Markets Revenue Per Available Hotel Room [Rev Par]

January – August 2012

$ % Change vs. 2011
#1. New York $187.65 +6.4%
#2. Oahu Island $155.93 +19.0%
#3.  San Francisco $135.23 +14.0%
#4. MIAMI $129.79 +8.2%
#5.  Boston $114.03 +10.6%
Top 25 Hotel Markets Average Daily Room Rate January – August 2012
$ % Change vs. 2011
#1. New York $229.13 +3.1%
#2. Oahu Island $181.82 +11.8 %
#3. San Francisco $167.60 +11.9%
#4. MIAMI $167.02 +7.1%
#5.  Boston $156.32 +8.2%
Top 25 Hotel Markets Average  Occupancy January – August  2012
% % Change vs. 2011
#1. Oahu Island 85.8% +6.5%
#2. New York 81.9% +3.2%
#3. San Francisco 80.7% +1.9%
#4. MIAMI 77.7% +1.1%
#5. Los Angeles 77.0% +4.7%

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

>>> State dolls out $66 million to reward educators, Broward gets $18.1 million to Dade’s paltry $2.5 million

Press release: SIX FLORIDA SCHOOL DISTRICTS WIN $66 MILLION IN COMPETITIVE GRANTS TO REWARD EDUCATORS – Six Florida school districts will get more than $66 million from the U.S. Department of Education to recognize effective teachers and principals. The 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund grants will pay for increased salaries and training for educators who work in high-poverty schools. Florida had six districts of 35 chosen from across the country. “We know that successful schools start with talented educators and leaders,” said Deputy Chancellor for Educator Quality Kathy Hebda. “I congratulate these districts for being recognized as leaders in this important work, and I am excited to see their plans put into practice.”

Districts were encouraged to enhance educator salaries through one of two models—career ladders or performance-based pay with the option for additional job responsibilities. With either model, districts could submit a general proposal or one based on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Florida’s proposals were developed with input from teachers and will provide opportunities for teacher leadership and career advancement, put district-wide evaluations in place that use multiple measures including student growth, and use better evaluations to improve decision making. Florida’s winners of the 2012 Teacher Incentive Fund grants are below. Award amounts represent the first two years of funding over a five-year grant period.

Broward County Public Schools $18,155,918
Gilchrist County Public Schools $3,906,468
Hillsborough County Public Schools $16,799,498
Lee County Public Schools $17,632,764
Miami-Dade County Public Schools $2,511,636
Orange County Public Schools (STEM Focus) $7,403,161

For more information, visit the Teacher Incentive Fund. >>> Editor’s note: I emailed Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho for a comment last week asking why the low amount Dade was getting but I did not get a response by my deadline.

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

>>> Press release: JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM ANNOUNCES CHANGES IN OPERATIONS AT ROSIE LEE WESLEY HEALTH CENTER – Jackson employees will begin operating the primary care clinic, ending years of outsourcing at facility

As part of Jackson Health System’s commitment to provide excellent quality care to the residents of Miami-Dade County, the administration continues to re-examine operations throughout the system to determine if they have the best business model in place. Effective October 1, Jackson employees will once again begin operating Rosie Lee Wesley Health Center, one of Jackson’s primary care clinics in South Miami. Most of the operations at Rosie Lee Wesley were outsourced years ago – part of a pilot project to determine whether a contracted model would provide the best quality and efficiency for Jackson’s full line of primary care centers.

“Primary care is at the heart of Jackson’s community mission, and we are proud to begin a new chapter at Rosie Lee Wesley,” said Carlos A. Migoya, president & CEO of Jackson Health System. “We have high expectations for the future of the clinic’s patient care, customer service and management operations.” Jackson concluded that its own staff can provide excellent and cost-effective service to patients at Rosie Lee Wesley. The existing contract will end on September 30. Plans are already underway with the existing contractor to ensure a smooth transition for patients and staff. Rosie Lee Wesley has been a model for neighborhood health for more than 30 years. The clinic, located at 6601 S.W. 62nd Avenue in South Miami, provides comprehensive primary care services and facilitates referrals to Jackson Memorial Hospital for specialized services.

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

>>> Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club – Meeting Date: Meeting Time: 8:30 AM

Meeting Place: New Location:  David’s One, corner of Collins Ave. and 11th Street >> Miami Beach City Commissioner Ed Tobin will be the guest

Speaker at the October 2nd meeting of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club.  The proposed new city budget and other topics of concern to residents will be discussed. There is no charge for attending and everyone is welcome. David Kelsey, Moderator Please note new location. www.MBTMBC.com .

BROWARD COUNTY

>>> Two people get federal prison time for BP disaster fund fraud

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Henry Gutierrez, Postal Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Miami Field Office, and David Wickersham, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General, Office of Labor Racketeering and Fraud Investigations, Dallas Region, announced that Joseph Harvey and Anja Karin Kannell, most recently of Lighthouse Point, Florida, were sentenced today in Miami federal court for their involvement in a series of disaster-related fraud schemes, including the largest financial loss case to date arising from claims filed in connection with the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon pollution incident in the Gulf of Mexico.

Harvey was previously convicted after trial on 40 of the 41 charges against him.  Kannell was convicted on 34 of the 38 charges against her.  They were charged with multiple counts of mail fraud, wire fraud, access device fraud, and aggravated identity theft, all in connection with fraudulent claims filed by the two defendants for purported lost income and harm resulting from the BP oil spill, hurricanes, and other natural disasters dating back to 2008, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341, 1343, 1029(a)(2) and (b)(1), 1028A(a)(1) and (c)(5), and 2.

At today’s sentencing, Senior U.S. District Judge James Lawrence King sentenced Harvey and Kannell each to a total term of imprisonment of 159 months, followed by terms of supervised release of 5 years and 2 years, respectively.  Their sentences include a 24-month mandatory consecutive term for engaging in aggravated identity theft in the course of their criminal conduct.  In addition, the Court ordered restitution of more than $440,000 to victims of their offenses and ordered forfeiture of $441,000 to the United States.  Both defendants have been detained as flight risks since being arrested by U.S. Postal Inspectors in October 2011.

In June 2010, BP established the Gulf Coast Claims Facility (GCCF) to administer, mediate, and settle certain claims of individuals and businesses for costs, damages, and other losses incurred as a result of oil discharges due to the April 20, 2010 explosion and fire on the Deepwater Horizon oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico.  In August 2010, the GCCF began receiving and processing such claims for costs, damages, and other losses incurred as a result of the Deepwater Horizon incident, paying the claims from the $20 billion Trust Fund established for that purpose.

The jury convicted Harvey and Kannell for filing fraudulent claims against the BP Oil Spill Trust Fund, using thirty-four assumed identities from August 2010 through January 2011.  According to evidence presented during the trial, the defendants used the actual names and social security numbers of individuals residing in Florida, but submitted addresses located in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and the Florida Panhandle.  Payments were issued to the defendants through accounts established under fictitious names in San Antonio, Texas.  The scheme was carried out through mailings and by use of the internet.

In total, Harvey and Kannell filed claims seeking more than $1 million, and succeeded in causing approximately $380,000 to be paid into the Texas accounts.  The defendants then withdrew the funds using an ATM card issued in a fictitious account holder’s name at machines throughout South Florida, and by sending wire transfers in large amounts to rent luxury homes, and purchase high-end vehicles and boats. The defendants were also convicted of using unauthorized access devices consisting of unique GCCF Claim numbers assigned to their fictitious claims, and of possessing and using without lawful authority the social security numbers of three identity theft victims in December 2010. In another part of their scheme, the defendants were convicted of mail and wire fraud involving the disaster relief efforts in Louisiana in the aftermath of Hurricanes Gustav and Ike in 2008.  The evidence established that at least 47 fraudulent claims, using the personal information of identity theft victims, against the Louisiana Workforce Commission, which was administering the Disaster Unemployment Assistance program, on behalf of the U.S. Department of Labor and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).  Harvey and Kannell also were convicted of filing multiple fraudulent claims against FEMA, asserting that they suffered losses and injuries, and were qualified for disaster assistance as a result of severe storms, tornadoes, and flooding in Mississippi in April and May 2011.

Lastly, Harvey and Kannell filed 76 fraudulent claims for benefits against the employment security agencies of North Dakota and New York State, which administered Disaster Unemployment Assistance programs funded by FEMA to offset the impact of the Valentine’s Day 2011 storm that caused severe flooding in Minot and Bismark, North Dakota, and the impact of Tropical Storm Irene on certain upstate counties in New York State in August 2011. Although not directly charged in the case, the government presented evidence of the filing by the defendants of fraudulent federal income tax returns in 2010 and 2011, utilizing many of the same stolen identities, resulting in illicit refunds to them of over $284,000 from the Internal Revenue Service.  The Court considered this conduct in formulating the sentence in the case. >>> Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the U.S. Postal Inspection Service and the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.  Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Department of Justice, the New York State Department of Labor, Office of Special Investigations, Job Service North Dakota, the Louisiana Workforce Commission, DHS Federal Emergency Management Agency, and DHS Office of Inspector General.  The case was being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Thomas Watts-FitzGerald and Timothy Abraham. >> Members of the public can report fraud, waste, abuse, or allegations of mismanagement involving disaster relief operations, including the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, through the National Center for Disaster Fraud (NCDF) Disaster Fraud Hotline at 877-NCDF-GCF (623-3423), the Disaster Fraud Fax at 225-334-4707, or the Disaster Fraud e-mail at disaster@leo.gov.

INDIAN RIVER COUNTY

>>> Press release: Gov. Scott taps Jeffrey R. Smith to the position of Indian River County Clerk of the Circuit Court.

Smith, 56, of Vero Beach, has been chief deputy of the Indian River County Clerk of the Circuit Court’s office since 2009 and has been serving as interim clerk since July 1, 2012. He previously was assistant tax collector for Indian River County from 2001 to 2009 and was an accountant for the Indian River County Board of County Commissioners. His community involvement includes serving as chair of the Salvation Army of Indian River County Board of Directors since 2011 and as treasurer for Indian River Habitat for Humanity from 2005 to 2007. Smith received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida. He will fill the vacancy created by the resignation of Jeffrey K. Barton and is appointed for a term beginning September 25, 2012, and ending January 7, 2013.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

>>> Upcoming Events – October 3rd Greater Miami Chamber Hobnob Reception, Miami-Dade College Chapman Conference Center, 245 NE 4th Street, Miami, 6:30pm – Mix and mingle with candidates to local, state, and federal office.

>>> Downtown Bay Forum  www.downtownbayforum.org INVITES YOU TO OUR LUNCHEON MEETING ON WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 17, 2012 – 11:30 AM – Election 2012 – National Choices, Florida Issues Abortion Rights, Church/State Funding, State Budget Cap SPEAKERS: Bradley Gerber  Pres. Miami Young Republicans  - Evan Ross Pres. Young Democrats Miami-Dade MODERATOR DR. SEAN FOREMAN DEPT. OF HISTORY & POLITICAL SCIENCE-BARRY UNIVERSITY WOLFSON AUDITORIUM @TEMPLE ISRAEL 137 NE 19th STREET, MIAMI FREE SELF PARKING AVAILABLE – Call ANNETTE EISENBERG (305)757-3633 Fax (305)754-2015

EDITORIALS

>>> With a 12 page ballot Nov. 6, this might be the time to vote by absentee ballot

For the first time in my life as a voter, I am going to request an absentee ballot because the Nov. 6 ballot is 12 pages long and voting during either early voting or on Election Day is going to be a time consuming event. The length of the ballot is the longest in the state’s history and includes almost a dozen state amendments placed on the ballot by the Florida Legislature. And to say these state amendments are lengthy and the wording is confusing is an understatement, and if there was ever a ballot to really study before you vote, this is it. To request an absentee ballot in Miami-Dade go to https://www.electionsfl.org/VoterInfo/vflookup.html?county=DAD and for other counties around Florida go to your elections supervisor’s web page.

>>> Check out the past national story in the Tribune papers:  Paperwork Tiger

By Maya Bell, Miami Bureau, January 20, 2003 — MIAMI – Sometimes Dan Ricker lives in the dark so others may live in the light. It’s not by choice. Miami’s self-anointed citizen watchdog depends on the people he writes for and about to finance his quixotic quest to attend nearly every government meeting in Miami-Dade County. That’s a lot of mind-numbing meetings — as many as 2,500 a year — but not a lot of income. So Ricker is always teetering on bankruptcy. He dashes to his post-office box daily, hoping subscribers to his weekly Watchdog Report have finally mailed their checks.

>>> LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & INITIAL SPONSORS IN 2000

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

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr.

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

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.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

RON BOOK

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

WILLIAM PALMER

SHUBIN & BASS     www.shubinbass.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

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.cph.org

THE STATE OF FLORIDA    www.myflorida.gov

GREATOR 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  www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ETHICS & PUBLIC TRUST COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov/ethics

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

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

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

THE BEACON COUNCIL   www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

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

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

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI             www.miami.edu

The Watchdog Report covers a few of the meetings attended weekly. It remains my belief that an informed public will make better decisions. Therefore, I go to meetings, make the presence of an informed citizen known, and bring the information to you.   The Watchdog Report is in the fourth year of publication and it has been an honor to be able to send this information to you. It is sent to readers in Miami-Dade, Florida, the U.S. and the world. The Watchdog Report is sent to thousands free and while readers have been prodded to subscribe the results have been mixed. Over 600 reports and Extra’s have been sent since May 5, 2000 and over one million words have been written on our community’s governments and events.  The report is an original work based on information gathered at public meetings, interviews and from documents in the public domain.

LETTER POLICY

I welcome letters via e-mail, fax, or snail mail. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and must refer to material published in the Watchdog Report.  Please see address and contact information. Please send any additions and corrections by e-mail, fax or snail mail. All corrections will be published in the next Watchdog Report. If you or your organization would like to publish the contents of this newsletter, please contact me. Please send your request to watchdogreport1@earthlink.net

Daniel A. Ricker

Publisher & Editor

Watchdog Report www.watchdogreport.net

Est. 05.05.00

Copyright © of original material, 2012, Daniel A. Ricker

>>> The Watchdog Report are now available to television stations web pages, and all the newspapers and other media in South Florida if the publishers have an interest to run part or all of the stories. Further, in 2000, I used to have some paper’s running the report in the Spanish press, that option is available again, and publishers should contact me.  The news content will not be free, but you can pick and chose the stories of interest, edit them if necessary but you must still keep the general story intact.  If you are a news outlet and would like to learn more about, the Watchdog Report and this offer contact me at watchdogreport1@earthlink.net for further information.

>>> Here is what past newspapers have written about the Watchdog Report publisher including a survey and regional study done by the U. North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the media in the southeast United States.

>>> The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel & Sun-Sentinel articles on the Watchdog Report publisher over the years. >>> Published on September 9, 1999, Page 1EA, Miami Herald, The (FL) CITIZEN ADVOCATE’ KEEPS TABS ON POLITICIANS >>> Published on January 3, 2000, Page 1B, Miami Herald, The (FL) MIAMI-DADE WATCHDOG WILL BE MISSED >>> >>> To read the full section large two page front page story, but without the photos and smart box graphics, go to: `I Go When You Cannot’ – Sun Sentinel 20 Jan 2003 … Sometimes Dan Ricker lives in the dark so others may live in the light. … to his weekly Watchdog Report have finally mailed their checks. … http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american >>>Watchdog Report publisher named ‘Best Citizen’ 2003 by the Miami New Times –The publisher would like to thank the weekly alternative paper Miami New Times for bestowing their 2003 Best of Miami, ‘Best Citizen’ award to me and I am honored.  Thank you. To read the full story go to http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2003-05-15/citylife2.html/1/index.html

From the spring of 2003:  U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill:  Southeast U.S. Media Report lists Watchdog Report publisher as leading Florida commentator >>> Selected excerpts from the report on Florida’s media sources

Those who do read the newspaper in Florida have a bevy of options for state government and political coverage. The dominant newspapers in the state are Knight-Ridder’s The Miami Herald (Acquired by The McClatchy Company in 2006) and the Poynter Institute’s St. Petersburg Times. Both papers endorsed Gore in 2000 but split on the 2002 gubernatorial race, with the Herald endorsing Republican incumbent Jeb Bush and the Times backing Democratic challenger Bill McBride. Daniel Ricker of The Miami Herald also writes an influential column as well as an email newsletter called the Watchdog Report that goes out to more than 100,000 subscribers. FEBRUARY 2004 – Florida: Columnists in Abundance –ERIC GAUTSCHI, graduate student, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill – D) LEADING COMMENTATORS – Resource Commentator Organization Type Web site –Steve Bousquet St. Petersburg Times Column www.sptimes.com/columns/bousquet.shtml -“First Friday” WPBT TV (Miami) TV Show www.channel2.org/firstfriday/issues.html –Lucy Morgan St. Petersburg Times Column www.sptimes.com/columns/morgan.shtml –Daniel Ricker Miami Herald/Watchdog Report Newsletter >>> Readers who would like to read the complete University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Southeast United States Media Report go to view the complete report or download all the data used in this study. >>> Watchdog Report Editor’s note to the NCU/CH study: The subscriber number referenced is incorrect and applies to readership.

General subscriber’s names will not be published in the Report. To subscribe to the Watchdog Report please use the form below as a subscription invoice.

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

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: 3109 Grand Avenue, #125

Miami, FL 33133

Fax 305-668-4784 -To contact the Publisher please e-mail watchdogreport1@earthlink.net


 
 
 

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