Argus Report: Obama with strong ground game and coalition of diverse voters takes the presidency for second term; GOP has to retool relationship with Hispanics
Florida: Gov. Scott takes a hit with voters; tries to roll with the political punch, but will voters in 2014 remember this performance?
Miami-Dade County: Voters speak, Edmonson, Barreiro & Zapata tapped for dais on 13 member county commission, Mayor Gimenez takes a hit with long voter lines
Miami-Dade Public Schools: Carvalho reaches community rock star status with passage of $1.2 billion bond by voters for schools and IT upgrades, but how long will he stay?
Public Health Trust: With federal funding payment coming in, cash on hand expected to rise to 18 days, but JHS still not out of the woods
City of Miami: Owner of Miami Assisted Living Facility Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Role in Medicare Fraud Conspiracy
Village of Coconut Grove: Grove bookstore saying sayonara at current location, has become a fixture for locals and schoolchildren
City of Miami Beach: Will Segway mania hit the Beach as more and more of the devices are used by tourists to get around?
City of Coral Gables: Voters say OK to having trucks in driveway, issue was political hot potato for elected leaders
City of South Miami: Commission sacks another manager, Mayor Stoddard says Mgr. fired because he “under mined [his] bosses”
City of Virginia Gardens: Virginia Gardens Man Pleads Guilty to Dealing in Firearms Without a License
>>> Other stories around Florida
Broward County: Israel upsets Lamberti as Broward Sheriff, second time the charm as dominant Democratic voters vote along partisan lines
Ft. Lauderdale: Gov. Scott taps Robert “Bob” C. Swindell to the Board of Pilot Commission
Palm Beach County: Palm Beach County Middle School Principal Pleads Guilty to Charges of Enticing a Minor to Engage in Unlawful Sexual Activity
Boca Raton: Boca Raton Chiropractor Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in Connection with Staged Accident Scheme
St. Lucie County: U.S. Rep. West pushes his case, gets recount of challenger Murphy’s 50.4% win
Community Events: Multi-County Climate Change Summit in Dec. — Regional Planning meetings around the counties — Arsht Center events —
DOWNTOWN BAY FORUM www.downtownbayforum.org THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS What was the Impact?
Editorials: Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can only be maintained with robust press; “Impeach the media” clever sign but corrosive to the Republic
— Check out the past national story in the Tribune papers: Paperwork Tiger By Maya Bell, Miami Bureau, Orlando Sun-Sentinel January 20, 2003 >>> And a 2004 UNC Chapel Hill study of the Southeast United States 15 states media outlet study where the Watchdog Report is listed as writing a “influential” column in Florida with over 100,000 readers: http://www.unc.edu/~davismt/SouthNow.pdf
Letters: Reader on rising mental health issues with college students – Reader will be thankful when political ads end
Sponsors – Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue — Scroll down for all the headline stories text
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>>> If you think it is important to have an alternative mainstream news service, I hope you will consider becoming a financial supporter for I do have to live and pay my rent. I also want to thank again all those people and organizations that have supported me over the years and I have been honored by that trust and support of my efforts over the past almost 14 years.
>>> May you and your family have a safe and reflective Veterans Day today and we all should remember the price so many Americans have paid in blood for the freedoms we enjoy today. The nation is engaged in two major wars and while we have a superb professional military. We who are not fighting should thank them for their service to the nation in the past, now and in the future. For freedom comes at a price and so many of our men and women have paid that price to the fullest measure over the centuries, and we all should remember that fact.
ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street
>>> Obama with strong ground game and coalition of diverse voters takes the presidency for second term; GOP has to retool relationship with Hispanics
President Barack Obama in a hard-slugged race costing billions of dollars over the past months won the office for a second term getting 50.5 percent of the popular vote to Mitt Romney’s 47.9 percent. And Republicans are reeling after the GOP ran an unrelenting campaign of negative political ads, that left the president verbally bruised and wobbly, but he was still standing election night. Romney, the GOP challenger started Tuesday night strong when it came to winning Midwest states but these early blue state victories changed to red when the larger Northeast states, California and Virginia also began to fall in line for the incumbent and it was downhill from there for the former Massachusetts governor. His candidacy throughout the race was mired by gaffes, some his own and others came from Republican candidates, but social issues were a big component in the race and many of the more moderate GOP faithful felt these were state issues and should not have been part of the national campaign debate, but these issues reared there head time and time again.
Further, the harsh illegal immigration discussion by some Republican lawmakers turned off Hispanics and had Romney saying illegal aliens should “self deport,” and since it applied mostly to this rising national ethnic group and a large voting block that is important to the path of a national victory. Some of these shrill comments and the tougher immigration laws passed in Arizona blunted the GOP candidates appeal across the Hispanic spectrum of voters that is not the monolithic block of electors that some people suggest. And that vote was critical to Obama’s win in Florida which the president won by getting 73,858 more votes and he did surprising well with the Cuban American vote in Miami-Dade and that trend away from the GOP by these voters is expected to continue as older hard line Cuban Exiles pass away, and are replaced by more moderate and younger Cuban American voters.
U.S. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio struck a conciliatory cord
U.S. Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio in a press conference after the election said he was willing to work with the reelected president and asked the president to “lead” and he would do what he could to work with Obama on important national issues like the debt. And with the fiscal cliff looming in January that could push the American economy back into a recession. The U.S. House Speakers said it was clear that the election was a “mandate” for the congress and the president “to work together and to find solutions,” for these vexing challenges that had eluded them the past few years and causing gridlock in congress while the United States continues adding $3 million a second to the nation’s $16 trillion debt and is climbing.
What was the voter’s message to the president & Congressional candidates?
With roughly 40 percent of the nation’s voters being registered as independent or no party affiliation both political parties have been scrambling to forge a coalition of voters for victory. And the Obama team had a tight national organization and effectively got out the vote, including a large segment of the Hispanic electorate and young people who turned out in droves in 2008, but there was concern that these voters would be less energized when it came to going to the polls this time around.
What about Romney being in the Obama administration or an advisor?
Given the fiscal cliff and the self imposed $700 billion in cuts starting in January if the Congress and president do not act before then. Obama needs to change his management style, and one way might be to offer Romney a role in his second administration for the nation’s voters, while being almost uniformly divided given the just over 50 percent margin win by the president. There has to be collaboration between the two parties and the olive branch to the business community could be a win win since the administration critics say it is made up of college professors who have never run a business, and people that have actually created jobs have been in short supply in Obama’s first term and that should change.
How did a visually impaired person early vote in Miami-Dade?
A voter that was blind presented at the City of Miami early voting site and here in Miami-Dade since the ballot was in three languages. Elections personal read the ballot to him in all three languages (English, Spanish and Creole) since they did not have a brail ballot, given all the permutations of ballots necessary at these 20 monster sites that had to accommodate anyone’s ballot, regardless where they lived in the county.
>>> Top spymaster Petraeus’ sudden resignation because of affair stuns nation, but necessary
The sudden resignation of Gen. David Petraeus as the CIA director this week after it was revealed he was having an affair discovered by accident by the FBI that was working on another case is a blow to the Barack Obama administration. Petraeus a professional military man who graduated near the top of his class at West Point was said to be a stickler for the smallest detail and he set the bar high regarding personal standards and at the CIA. He was in the process of a transformation of the intelligence agency but this turnover of the top brass is of concern given the nation’s global challenges that include Iran, North Korea and a China that is using its military muscle to intimidate smaller nations into toeing the line.
Petraeus followed Leon Panetta as America’s top spymaster when Panetta resigned in 2011 after serving in the post since 2009 and became the secretary of Defense in July of 2011. Now Obama has another important post to fill and while critics of the sudden resignation believe this was just a personal matter. It did leave the long time married Petraeus vulnerable to blackmail in some manner, and that is the ultimate problem for the man and he did what he believed was the right and honorable thing to do, given the totality of the circumstances and the critical special status post he was filling.
>>> Sprint Cup Championship draws viewers from 175 countries, has $250 million in economic impact yearly
NASCAR racing is coming to Homestead on Nov. 16 to the 18th and the three day event is similar to having a Super Bowl in South Florida said Mathew Becherer at the Greater Miami Chamber Luncheon on Wednesday. Becherer a motor head from way back in his life since he grew up in Detroit told the hundreds attending the monthly affair that the Sprint Cup Championship to be held next Sunday is a “global spectacle.” And the racetrack’s president noted the car races were being “aired in 175 countries” and said last year the races were “the most watched race in ESPN history.” He noted crowds at the race were up, it generates “$250 million in economic impact,” and because the race is held at the Homestead Miami Speedway “each and every year it is an annual windfall for us” and is a “great family event,” the president of the Homestead Miami Speedway told the crowd. www.homesteadmiamispeedway.com
>>> 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 in a major way by The Miami New Times and was Best Citizen in the 2003 Best of Miami of The Miami New Times, profiled twice in The Miami Herald, 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 thank Joseph Cooper for the opportunity to be on the WLRN/NPR showTopical Currents on www.wlrn.org 91.3 FM 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 and The Florida Roundup on www.wlrn.org
>>> Gov. Scott takes a hit with voters; tries to roll with the political punch, but will voters in 2014 remember this performance?
Gov. Rick Scott and the Republican Controlled legislature will feel a backlash from the state’s Democrats and the 22 percent independent voters after the electorate essentially spiked a host of constitutional amendments put on by the legislature and retained the three Supreme Court Justices running for retention targeted by the GOP. However, the shortened early voting days with the long ballot that ranged to almost 10 pages depending on the county, where you were voting. In Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach Counties, these ballots all produced long lines of frustrated voters and Dade did not complete the county until 41 hours after the polls were closed. Scott first elected in 2010 has faced his first statewide fiasco and he is tied to some GOP legislators who said all the changes in the state election laws last year would make voting more difficult but the voters of Florida said otherwise, patiently waiting in long lines to cast their ballot.
Now Republican elected leaders are resorting to damage control around the state with South Florida being ground zero of this discontent and how the mechanics of the election played out around the state. Scott announced that a task forces will be created to review the debacle that has become once again fodder for late night comedians and had Miami Herald news columnist Carl Hiaasen calling Florida a “freak show,” that goes on 2/7. And the only good news after the general election was the state was essentially irrelevant in the reelection of President Barack Obama once Ohio fell to the incumbent on late Tuesday night. However, pundits knew there would be problems when the length of early voting days was reduced from 14 to 8 days and the long 11 state amendments bewildered many voters and further caused delays at the polls while voters tried to decipher what the language meant and its impact on state residents.
http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/09/3089956/presidential-race-in-fla-still.html#storylink=omni_popular >>> Gov. Scott on the long lines and the election http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/09/3089783/florida-elections-chief-we-could.html
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott Statement on Results for 2012 Election
Governor Rick Scott released the following statement today on the Secretary of State’s announcement of the results for the 2012 general election. (The deadline for county canvassing boards to report these results was noon today, per Section 102.141(5), F.S.): “Around 8.5 million Floridians voted in this general election – more votes cast than in any other election in state history. A record of nearly 4.8 million Floridians also voted early and absentee ballots. We are glad that so many voters made their voices heard in this election, but as we go forward, we must see improvements in our election process.
“I have asked Secretary of State Ken Detzner to review this general election and report on ways we can improve the process after all the races are certified. As part of this evaluation, Secretary Detzner will meet with County Election Supervisors, who are elected or appointed to their position – especially those who ran elections in counties where voters experienced long lines of four hours or more. We need to make improvements for Florida voters and it is important to look at processes on the state and the county level. We will carefully review suggestions for bettering the voting process in our state. “Now that the election is over we have an opportunity to come together – regardless of political party – and focus on the issues important to Florida families. Our families care about getting a great job, a quality education and keeping their cost of living low. Making our state better for Florida families is our ultimate goal.”
What about some of the legislative races?
Sate Rep. Christopher Dorworth, R-Lake Mary (Net worth -$56,290) in line in the future to be the Florida House Speaker in 2014 appears to have lost his bid for reelection in the newly drawn legislative district and he is one of the highest ranking casualties to fall on Tuesday, that also included former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami (Net worth $31,643 in 2010) flaming out in his attempt to get back into the legislature through winning House District 112. Dorworth in a closely lost race was beaten by Democratic Party political neophyte Mike Clelland and Dorworth was scheduled to be the house speaker in 2014.
And Diaz de la Portilla also faced political neophyte Jose Javier Rodriguez, (Net worth -$22,543), who politically knocked him off and is a Harvard graduate, former Peace Corp member and he was a former federal prosecutor who left the office to run. Rodriguez was considered a long shot in many ways against the veteran political poll whose brother Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami followed him in his senate seat he had to vacate in 2010 because he was termed out but the young candidate prevailed. And state Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami fended off John Couriel’s attempt to unseat her from the office she has off and on served in since the early 1970s, but she convincingly drubbed the first time candidate who insiders say has potentially a great political career in the coming years.
What about the GOP super majority in the legislature?
While the GOP still controls the House and Senate, the party has lost its super majority in the bodies since Democrats picked up a few seats and Gov. Rick Scott has taken a hit with the long voter lines in the populous counties. Florida while still generally a blue or purple state has gotten a shock from the no party affiliation voters that make up around 22 percent of the state’s voters and is the fastest growing group of voters in Florida.
>>> AG Bondi press release: Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Assists in Arrest of Walton County Resident for Abusing the Elderly
On Thursday, the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit and the Walton County Sheriff’s Office arrested a Walton County resident for abusing the elderly. Frances O. Howell, owner and administrator of Howell House Assisted Living Facilities, was taken into custody after an investigation revealed that she put an elderly fall risk resident in a standing position and removed the resident’s chair allowing the resident to fall to the floor. Frances O. Howell was charged with one count of abuse of the elderly or disabled, a third degree felony. If convicted, she could receive up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. This case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney, William “Bill” Eddins, State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit.
>> Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Assists in Arrest of Walton County Resident for Medicaid Fraud
The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit, Walton County Sheriff’s Office and Niceville Police Department arrested a Walton County resident for Medicaid fraud. Michelle Lynn Carrico, LPN, was charged with Medicaid provider fraud and one count of Communications fraud. Carrico, 36, allegedly caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to the Medicaid program in excess of $4,000 for services under the Traumatic Brain and Spinal Cord Injury Program. She submitted falsified skilled progress notes to her employer, Nurse Finders of Pensacola, who then relied on the notes to bill Medicaid. Carrico is no longer employed with Nurse Finders of Pensacola. If convicted of these third degree felonies, she could receive up to 10 years in prison and a mandatory fine of five times the amount of fraud. This case will be prosecuted by the Office of the State Attorney for the First Judicial Circuit, William “Bill” Eddins.
>>> Press release: Actors’ Playhouse to Launch Third Annual Young Talent Big Dreams, Countywide Talent Search Presented by The Children’s Trust – Competition Includes Music, Dance, Voice, Original Spoken Word & Composition
Actors’ Playhouse at the Miracle Theatre, together with presenting sponsor, The Children’s Trust, announce the third annual launch of Young Talent Big Dreams, the most widespread local youth talent contest in Miami-Dade. Kids between the ages of 8-17 will compete for prizes ranging from performing arts scholarships, master classes with industry professionals, and cash awards to tickets to local attractions and theatres. County-wide competition begins in November, with auditions at five local theatres, and concludes with the semifinals and finals in April 2013. The contest will feature a total of five individual categories including; voice, dance, musical instrument, original spoken word and original vocal and/or instrumental composition, and group categories of six or less members including; dance, instrumental and rock/pop/jazz bands with vocals. Participation is free of charge and limited to residents of Miami-Dade County.
Seven preliminary auditions will take place in diverse locations throughout Miami-Dade, including the Miracle Theatre, South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center, Aventura Arts & Cultural Center, Paul W. Bell Middle School, and the Little Haiti Cultural Center. The semifinals and finals with will be held in April 2013 at the Miracle Theatre in front of a live audience! Participants may compete in one individual and one group category only, and those who pre-register will be given priority audition times. “We are very proud of the opportunity to work with The Children’s Trust for the third year to make this exciting and important opportunity available to the talented young artists in our community,” said Actors’ Playhouse Executive Producing Director Barbara S. Stein.
Young Talent Big Dreams is modeled after the many reality TV talent shows that have gained in popularity in recent years. Judges will include a host of local celebrities and professionals from the performing arts community. Each act will be allotted up to one minute during their preliminary audition performance, and two minutes for the semifinal and final round performance. Two contestants or more in each performance category from each preliminary audition location may be invited to compete in the semifinals and up to three contestants in each category in the semifinals will move on to compete in the finals. There will be a maximum of eight winners and one grand-prize winner chosen during the finals.
“During the past couple of years, it not only been inspiring to see so many talented kids come forward to participate, but to learn about how many of them have been inspired by the competition to seek additional training or opportunities in their art,” said Modesto Abety-Gutierrez, President and CEO of The Children’s Trust. “We’ve also been able to connect some of the children in Young Talent Big Dreams to programs they never even knew about, and that’s a wonderful outcome as well.” >>> Participation in Young Talent Big Dreams requires parental consent and is limited to residents of Miami-Dade County. Detailed information including the audition schedule, competition rules, and registration forms, please visit www.actorsplayhouse.org or call 211. Young Talent Big Dreams is sponsored in part by Wells Fargo, Steinway & Sons, the Miami Marlins Foundation, Baptist Health South Florida and Pollo Tropical. Saturday, January 26, 2013 AVENTURA ARTS & CULTURAL CENTER 3385 NE 188th Street, Aventura, FL 33180 >>> Saturday, February 16, 2013 THE MIRACLE THEATRE
280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134 >>> Sunday, February 17, 2012 THE MIRACLE THEATRE 280 Miracle Mile, Coral Gables, FL 33134 — Saturday, March 2, 2013 PAUL W. BELL MIDDLE SCHOOL 11800 Northwest 2nd Street, Miami, FL 33182 — Saturday, March 16, 2013 LITTLE HAITI CULTURAL CENTER 212 NE 59th Terrace, Miami, FL 33173
>>> Children’s Movement of Florida Voices of Florida – We all have a story, a story that defines us. It is our collective story, our challenges and our triumphs that inspire a movement. Floridians from all walks of life have joined together with an understanding that the future of our state rests 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, Chair The Children’s Movement.
>>> Voters speak, Edmonson, Barreiro & Zapata tapped for dais on 13 member county commission, Mayor Gimenez takes a hit with long voter lines
The voters of County Commission Districts 3, 5 and 11 have spoken and incumbents Commissioner Audrey Edmonson, Bruno Barreiro and newcomer Juan C. Zapata will be sworn in on November 20 at the board of county commission (Along with Commissioners Barbara Jordan, Dennis Moss who both fended off challengers in the primary and Xavier Suarez who was reelected unopposed) and the body will elect its chair and vice chair at the time. Edmonson faced challenger Keon Hardemon who had an extensive family presence in part of the commission district and had the support of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones and Commissioner Xavier Suarez. But the veteran commissioner and former El Portal mayor racked up 62 percent of the vote to Hardemon’s 38 percent. Barreiro faced state Rep. Luis Garcia, D-Miami in a slightly more Democratic Party leaning district after redistricting but Barreiro, a former state representative before being elected to the commission in June 1998 was able to fend off the challenger garnering 52 percent of the vote to Garcia’s 48 percent. And Zapata in a brutal race with Manny Machado a Miami-Dade cop for the west Dade commission district prevailed when he received 54 percent of the vote to Machado’s 46 percent that had charges and counter charges flying during the runoff race. And both men were seen working the voter lines at the mother of all early voting sites in the area, the Miami-Dade Kendall Regional Library located in the sprawling Hammocks development that has exploded in size over the past decade.
Now that the elections results are set the county commission is set to elect its chair later in the month and commissioners vying for the top post are Commissioners Dennis Moss, Audrey Edmonson (Now the current vice chair) Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Rebeca Sosa and Xavier Suarez is considered a long shot for the job and the Watchdog Report believes Sosa has a good shot at following outgoing Commission Chair Joe Martinez who Zapata is replacing on the dais.
Zapata (on right)
Edmonson Barreiro Martinez Zapata (on right) Moss Diaz Sosa Suarez
>>> Switchboard Miami honors four organizations, Curley House, MacDonald Foundation, Habitat for Humanity, and Chapman Partnership
Switchboard Miami had its annual All Stars Non-Profit Awards Luncheon Friday and Dianne Magnum, the former anchor at WPLG Channel-10 was the host of the event that drew over 400 attendees to Jungle Island. Switchboard Miami is a central ingredient here in South Florida that has 5,000 not-for-profits connecting people in distress to these resources they may need running a gamut of social issues, from help for domestic violence cases to mental and substance abuse services and the organization handles over 178,000 calls, made 170,000 referrals, and provided counseling 53,000 times last year. The organizations winning awards this year were Communities in Schools Miami www.cismiami.org Curley’s House of Style Inc./ Hope Relief Food Bank www.curleyhouseinc.org ; The Dr. John T. MacDonald Foundation, and partners with the University of Miami www.familymedicine.med.miami.edu/x25.xml ; Habitat for Humanity www.miamihabitat.org ; and The Chapman Partnership www.chapmanpartnership.org .
What did state Atty. Fernandez Rundle say about human trafficking?
State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle told the luncheon crowd her office was creating a special section to deal with human trafficking, and it will involve a hotline that will be handled by Switchboard Miami www.switchboardmiami.org , the local U.S. attorney’s office already has such a section, and the federal prosecutors came to the Miami-Dade School board meeting to discuss the issue last spring. The federal prosecutor told stunned board members that when it came to human trafficking, an industry second to drugs around the world. That pimps are using seventh and eighth grade little boys to be pimps for similar age little girls, because there was such a premium on the females, the federal prosecutor said. And the state attorney is creating its on unit to weed and tamp down this vexing social problem that is putting young people in almost servitude of these controlling adults who prey on these vulnerable youngsters.
What about Fernandez Rundle retiring in 2016?
During this last election cycle, Fernandez Rundle is said to have told friends that this might be her last run for office since she first took over in 1993 from Janet Reno who went to become the U.S. Attorney General in the Bill Clinton administration and she succeeded Reno. But insiders in the office say while there are a number of experienced prosecutors that would love to follow in her footsteps. The bulk of these people live in Broward County and it remains to be seen who might step up to the plate. If in fact, she decides to retire when her term is done in 2016.
>>> Nominations must be postmarked by December 14, 2012
Press release: The Parks Foundation of Miami-Dade, in partnership with the Miami-Dade County Commission for Women and Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces, is seeking to honor outstanding Miami-Dade women for the 25th Annual In the Company of Women Awards Ceremony to be held in March 2013. Timed to coincide with Women’s History Month, In the Company of Women recognizes the accomplishments of professional female leaders in the community in the following categories: Outstanding Woman in Arts and Entertainment, Outstanding Woman in Business and Economics, Outstanding Woman in Communications and Literature, Outstanding Woman in Education and Research, Outstanding Woman in Government and Law, Outstanding Woman in Health and Human Services, Outstanding Woman in Science and Technology, Outstanding Woman in Sports and Athletics, Community Spirit Award, Mayor’s Pioneer Award Posthumous Award
New this year, two women will be selected for the category of “Outstanding Woman in Government and Law,” one elected and one non-elected. The Community Spirit Award recognizes an outstanding woman who, through volunteering, has made a difference within the community. No professional background is required. The Mayor’s Pioneer Award honors a trailblazer who has proven leadership, creativity, and vision in addressing community issues and advancing the status of women in Miami-Dade County. The Posthumous Award is in honor of a woman who has passed away and recognizes her contribution within Miami-Dade County. All honorees must demonstrate professional development, community responsibility, leadership and vision, contribution to women’s progress and promotion of pluralism. To download the nomination form, please visit http://miamidade.gov/parks/women.asp. Completed forms must be mailed to Laura Morilla, Executive Director, Miami-Dade County Commission for Women, 111 NW 1st Street, Suite 1034, Miami, FL, 33128. Nominations must be postmarked by Friday, December 14, 2012. >>> A committee of community leaders will review nomination forms in order to determine the nominee’s eligibility. Emphasis will be placed on the nominee’s contribution to women’s progress in her profession/area of interest. For the Mayor’s Pioneer Award, emphasis will be on overall involvement in the community and women’s progress. Appointees from Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez office will review the nominations for the Mayor’s Pioneer Award.
Nominators are required to complete the nomination form and submit nine copies of the form along with nine photocopies of any newspaper or magazine articles about the nominee, if available. If nominating for the Mayor’s Pioneer Award, please submit only three photocopies of the nomination form, along with three photocopies of recommendation letters from three individuals, not including the nominator, and any supporting materials including newspaper or magazine articles. Nominations that fail to include these items and/or do not meet the application deadline will be automatically disqualified. Nominations will not be accepted via email. Past recipients of the In the Company award are not eligible.
>>> MIAMI-DADE COMMUNITY INVITED TO PROVIDE INPUT AT THE SEVEN50 WORK GROUP ROAD SHOW – Seven50 is a 50-year blueprint for building stronger, more diverse communities, protecting the fragile ecosystem, and creating jobs and a resilient economy >>> press release: The Southeast Florida Regional Partnership, working with the South Florida Regional Planning Council and Treasure Coast Regional Planning Council, is hosting a FREE meeting to receive community input for Seven50, SE Florida’s Prosperity Plan, on Thursday, November 15, 2012 at Miami International Airport from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm. As part of its Work Group Road Show, the partnership is hosting a series of meetings in the partnering counties of Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie and Indian River counties.
The highly engaging, interactive series of work group meetings is designed to secure the public input needed for the development of Seven50, a 50-year blueprint for building stronger, more diverse communities, protecting the fragile ecosystem, and creating jobs and a resilient economy. The work groups are focused on key topics that will inform the creation of the Seven50 plan including:
Education, Workforce and Economic Development Patterns (Housing Transportation and Healthy Communities) Inclusive Regional leadership and Equity Environment, Natural Resources and Agriculture, Community Assets and Culture Climate Resilience >>> WHAT: Seven50: Work Group Road Show – Miami-Dade County WHEN: Thursday, November 15, 2012 8:30 am to 12:30 pm WHERE: Miami International Airport, 2100 NW 42 Avenue
Airport Auditorium, Concourse D, Level 4 Miami, FL For more information, visit http://seven50.org.
>>> MIAMI-DADE Animal Services HONORS VETERANS WITH FREE PETS FOR VETS
Press release: Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department is pleased to honor the men and women who have sacrificed so much for our country. We are privileged to serve those who have served. To show our appreciation, from Saturday, November 10th through Friday, November 16th, dog and cat adoption fees will be waived for all veterans. What: Pets for Vets – adoption fees waived for all veterans with proper identification. When: Saturday, November 10th, 2012, through Friday, November 16th, 2012 Monday through Friday open from 10:00 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday open from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Where: Miami-Dade Animal Services Department, 7401 NW 74th Street, Miami, Florida 33166. Miami-Dade Animal Services is responsible for enforcing Chapter 5 of the Miami-Dade County Code, as well as Florida Statutes 828.12, which deals primarily with animal cruelty issues. Unlike private shelters that have limitations on the number of pets they accept, Animal Services accepts all dogs and cats. Each year the Department receives more than 36,000 pets. The goal of Animal Services is to reunite lost pets with their families or find lifelong homes for as many animals as possible. Related links: www.miamidade.gov/animals or call 311.
>>> GMCVB press release: RECORD DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES REMAINS STRONG IN SEPTEMBER 2012 RESULTING IN INCREASES IN GREATER MIAMI’S TOURIST-RELATED TAX COLLECTIONS
Through the month of September 2012,the 2% Food and Beverage tax collections from hotels in Miami-Dade (excluding Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside) generated $436,488 compared to $379,951 in 2011, for an increase of +14.9%. The Tourist Development Tax collections (excluding Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside) totaled $1,183,084 compared to $1,081,924 in 2011 for an increase of +9.4%.The 3% Convention Development Tax (CDT) collections for Greater Miami and the Beaches totaled $3,265,394 compared to $3,139,802 for the same period last year representing a +4.0% increase in 2012.
MIAMI DADE COUNTY
|2% FOOD AND BEVERAGE TAX COLLECTIONS|
|September 2012||September 2011||% Change|
|2% TOURIST DEVELOPMENT TAX COLLECTIONS|
|September 2012||September 2011||% Change|
|3% CONVENTION DEVELOPMENT TAX COLLECTIONS|
|September 2012||September 2011||% Change|
MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOL
>>> Carvalho reaches community rock star status with passage of $1.2 billion bond by voters for schools and IT upgrades, but how long will he stay?
Superintendent Alberto Carvalho rolled the dice and it came up a winner when it came to Miami-Dade voters passing a $1.2 billion issuance of bonds for capital improvements for the nation’s fourth largest school district’s almost 400 schools and includes massive updated information technology for the classrooms. Carvalho the public schools district superintendent since September 2008 has been on a roll the last few years and this win where 69 percent of the voters gave their approval, even though Miami-Dade is a revenue donor to the state, yet has not been getting any money for capital improvement needs over the last few years, and had some critics saying the community was being taxed twice if the bond passed. However, Miami-Dade voters clearly saw otherwise and passed the item that will replace an almost $1 billion bond that ends in 2017 after first being approved in 1988. But that past bond was controversial in the late 1990s when some land was bought inappropriately and a couple of large High Schools had excessive overruns and building defects and older schools still needed some $200 million for new roofs on the structures back then.
Carvalho has put his job on the line and is guaranteeing that the past will not be repeated when it comes to waste, fraud and abuse and there will be an citizen based independent oversight board to review and monitor how this new money is being spent, along with the District’s inspector general and the Watchdog Report. However, who is on this new watchdog board is going to be a key factor if over the coming years if it is not to become a semi slush fund for a close knit group of people who get the contracts. Further, this oversight board should include a member of the school board’s Audit and Budget Advisory Committee that is the current citizen firewall for the protection of tax dollars and is functioning at a much higher level than back in the early 2000s. When Hank Mack was the chair for ten years of the audit committee and also chaired the Broward board Audit committee simultaneously. Further, Carvalho also hopes to help jump start the local economy with this fiscal shot in the arm and he believes the bulk of the money, excluding paying off the debt, will be spent in the first six to eight years.
What about Carvalho’s future?
Since the superintendent was the public face pushing the bond issuance and he traveled around Miami-Dade to public events like a whirling dervish over the past few months. The Watchdog Report asked him pointblank if the bond passed a few months ago what would happen if he died, was fired by the school board or he took another job since in many regards voters were putting their trust in him to get the job done. He understood the question, seemed to suggest that he was not going anywhere in the future, and seemed to believe he could keep the nine-member board’s support and demurred on the issue of him passing.
>>> Press release: About Building for Tomorrow -Building for Tomorrow is a Political Committee formed to encourage Miami-Dade County residents to support the issuance of a $1.2 billion General Obligation Bond to renovate our school facilities, update educational technology, build school replacements, expand student capacity, and enhance facility safety. For additional information, please visit www.buildingfortomorrow.org
>>> Press release: On Thursday, November 15th, School Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman and the Miami-Dade Health Department will join students from Westland Hialeah Senior High School at 9:30 a.m. as they take a pledge to remain tobacco free during the American Cancer Society’s annual “Great American Smokeout.” Westland Hialeah is located at 4000 West 18th Avenue, Hialeah.
“A report from the U.S. Surgeon General recognizes that we cannot end the tobacco epidemic without targeting our efforts on our young population,’ said Ms. Hantman. “Education and awareness campaigns are the most effective and successful strategies to help prevent our youth from smoking that first cigarette or trying a tobacco-flavored product.” Recent data from the Surgeon General shows that one out of four high school seniors is a smoker. Alarmingly, every day nearly 4,000 children between the ages of 12 and 17 naïvely will try their first cigarette.
PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST
>>> With federal funding payment coming in, cash on hand expected to rise to 18 days, but JHS still not out of the woods
With good news coming out of the Jackson Health System (JHS) regarding its financial stability, the patient census is starting to rise and breaking the 5,000 patient admissions for last month is a good start, but the Financial Recovery Board members are holding their breath to see if this is a trend. FRB Chair Marcos Lapciuc said about the more positive media stories recently in the www.miamiherald.com saying, “good things in the press bring good things,” in the rising patient census at the health trust, but he also cautioned one month does not make a trend. The Jackson Health System over the past three years lost $430 million but through this past Sept. 30 closed in the black and has reduced its vendor liability that had ballooned years ago when the preservation of cash was critical to just keeping the hospital open.
Now, the public hospital is waiting for a federal drawdown payment that when received will bump up the cash to around 18 days but is still woefully below what most hospitals have of cash on hand that should be 100 days or longer. However, the slightly rosier picture could turn south if the health trust in the future is not able to be nimble enough and to adjust for the Affordable Care Act that will be fully implemented now that President Barack Obama was reelected Tuesday. And competitive pricing, patient outcomes and satisfaction are new key components to the reimbursement schedule under the new federal law taking effect in 2013, but becomes fully implemented in 2015.
>>> Press release: Please share with your contacts and distribute to your e-list. Please link www.uhimedicalclinic.com to your website Dear Community Members Asalam U Alekum The board of directors of UHI CommunityCare Clinic elected its new 2012-2013 executive committee on September 18, 2012 and is comprised of following members: Dr. Mohsin Jaffer, President Br. Khalid Mirza, Vice President Br. Ashraf Amdani, Treasurer, Br. Shabbir Songerwala Secretary/Chief Financial Officer Dr. Zafar Qureshi Medical Director
UHI CommunityCare Clinic provides FREE Medical Care to all in need, irrespective of Color, Creed. religious or ethnicity. Members of Masajids and other faith who need our help, please call clinic at 305 620-7797 for appointments.Please let your family, friends and neighbors know about the clinic.
Our future plans include working with South Florida Masaajid to hold health fairs at respective Masaajid. This project would not be possible if not for the dedicated work by our volunteers and your financial support. We are proud to say that your UHI CommunityCare Clinic is fully supported by local Muslim Community and we look forward to your continued support. UHI CommunityCare Clinic is Not For Profit 501(c) 3 organization and your contributions may be tax deductible
Shabbir Motorwala , MBA/HA,C.Ph.,R.Ph. email@example.com Outreach Coordinator
CITY OF MIAMI
>>> Owner of Miami Assisted Living Facility Sentenced to 15 Months in Prison for Role in Medicare Fraud Conspiracy
Press release: The owner of a Miami-Dade County assisted living facility (ALF) was sentenced today to 15 months in prison for her role in a kickback scheme that funneled ALF patients to fraudulent mental health providers American Therapeutic Corporation (ATC) and Health Care Solutions Network (HCSN), announced U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer of the Southern District of Florida; Assistant Attorney General Lanny A. Breuer of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division; Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge of the FBI’s Miami Field Office; and Special Agent in Charge Christopher B. Dennis of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (HHS-OIG), Office of Investigations Miami Office.
Alba Serrano, 66, of Miami, was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Patricia A. Seitz in the Southern District of Florida. In addition to her prison term, Serrano was sentenced to serve three years of supervised release and ordered to pay $258,329 in restitution. On June 6, 2012, Serrano pleaded guilty in Miami to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. According to court documents, Serrano was the owner of Elsa’s House, an ALF that she operated for more than two decades in South Miami. Serrano pleaded guilty to sending Medicare beneficiaries who resided at Elsa’s House to both ATC and HCSN for partial hospitalization program (PHP) services, a form of intensive treatment for severe mental illness, in exchange for illegal health care kickbacks. In her plea agreement, Serrano admitted that she referred beneficiaries to both ATC and HCSN in exchange for cash kickbacks, even though she knew that some of the beneficiaries did not suffer from severe mental illness and accepting health care kickbacks was illegal. According to the plea agreement, Serrano’s participation in the fraud resulted in at least $591,385 in fraudulent billing to the Medicare program.
In related cases, ATC, its management company, Medlink Professional Management Group Inc., and various owners, managers, doctors, therapists, patient brokers and marketers of ATC, were charged with various health care fraud, kickback, money laundering and other offenses in two indictments unsealed in February 2011. ATC, Medlink and more than 20 of the individual defendants charged in these cases have pleaded guilty or have been convicted at trial. An indictment unsealed on May 2, 2012, charged nine defendants for their alleged roles in the HCSN health care fraud scheme. Four defendants have pleaded guilty, and five defendants are scheduled for trial on Jan. 14, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga in Miami. Defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty at trial. >>> The case is being prosecuted by Trial Attorney William Parente of the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section. The case was investigated by the FBI and HHS-OIG and was brought as part of the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, supervised by the Criminal Division’s Fraud Section and the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida.
Since its inception in March 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, now operating in nine cities across the country, has charged more than 1,480 defendants who have collectively billed the Medicare program for more than $4.8 billion. In addition, HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, working in conjunction with HHS-OIG, is taking steps to increase accountability and decrease the presence of fraudulent providers. To learn more about the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT), go to: www.stopmedicarefraud.gov.
VILLAGE OF COCONUT GROVE
>>> Grove bookstore saying sayonara at current location, has become a fixture for locals and schoolchildren
The Book Store in the Grove is leaving its location after over five years since the new owners of the Shops at Mayfair have leased the property, including the bookstore to a large company for commercial office space. The iconic store is loved by Grovites and employs about ten employees in the course of a day. Felice Dubin said last Monday that when they first rented the centrally located spot on the corner of Grand Ave. and Virginia Street, Mayfair the mall was in distress and they got a reduced incentive rent that was never changed with the new owners. The store that has the tag line The book is always better… Coffee, Culture, Community had people skeptical when it was first opened but the Grove residents and all the local schoolchildren and their parents came to the well laid out store and it was finally taking off as a business until this latest news.
A representative of Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff recently said it was a tenant property owner issue and the office could not get involved, but the tony Grove could lose one of its treasures. If a new high people traffic location is not found and sites suggested do not seem to meet that visibility requirement that would allow the business to sustain itself. But the new tenants who’s name unfortunately is being kept top secret by the Mayfair owners appear to have leased the entire front on Grand Avenue therefore not only The Bookstore in the Grove, but 14 year old tenants Palm Produce will have to go.
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
>>> Will Segway mania hit the Beaches as more and more of the devices are used by tourists to get around?
The commission recently debated the issue of Segues, how fast these could travel on the streets and sidewalks of Miami Beach, and when the Watchdog Report went to the Beach recently. The transportation devices are becoming quite popular with the public and people and tourists are using them on a regular basis. In the past local police departments have used the Segways for patrolling the streets and Miami has a few in service but there are technical issues such as having them go at slow speeds, less than six miles an hour, where representatives told commissioners that speed “will damage the machines.” >>> Segway – The leader in personal, green transportation
>>> Press release: Miami Beach Fire Department Collecting Goods for Hurricane Sandy Victims Collection through November 20, 2012
The Miami Beach Fire Department is collecting supplies for one of New York’s devastated neighborhoods from Hurricane Sandy. St. Mary Gate of Heaven in Queens is in need of many items to help those in the community. The items listed below will be collected at all four Miami Beach Fire Stations (1051 Jefferson Avenue, 2300 Pine Tree Drive, 5303 Collins Avenue, and 6880 Indian Creek Drive) through Tuesday, November 20, 2012. No clothing, toys or money will be collected at this time. ITEMS NEEDED: non-perishable foods (canned food, baby food, anything that does not need to be refrigerated) water, Gatorade, cleaning supplies, work gloves, new packages of socks and underwear, bleach toiletries (toothpaste, tissues, soap, etc.) duct tape, surgical masks, paper towels, flashlights, blankets, batteries, heavy duty garbage bags, baby supplies (diapers, wipes, formula, etc.) feminine products, towels, other items of this nature will be accepted. For more information, contact Roland Sanchez, firefighter, Miami Beach Fire Department, at 305.244.9899
CITY OF CORAL GABLES
>>> Voters say OK to having trucks in driveway, was political hot potato for elected leaders
Gables residents have decided by nearly 57 percent of the tony city’s voters that turned out for the general election, having a truck in your driveway is okay with certain restrictions. The truck ban established in the 1960s has been more recently a controversial issue that had the city spending big dollars in its defense over the last few years but voters said okay to the vehicles on Tuesday at the polls. The issue had been a hot topic at a couple of commission meetings and the powers to be thought the voters should weigh in on the issue and they did this past week when it passed. >>> http://www.gableshomepage.com/2012/11/07/coral-gables-pickup-truck-ban-headed-to-scrap-heap/
CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI
>>> Commission sacks another manager, Mayor Stoddard says Mgr fired because he “under mined [his] bosses”
With the firing of South Miami City Manager Hector Mirabile, another city manager bites the dust and continues the trend of high turnover over the years of the top manager spot that has cut across a number of different mayors. The commission voted 3 to 2 to cut the National Guard officer and former senior Miami official loose and the body named Kelly Barket as the acting city manager. http://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/09/3090392/fired-south-miami-city-manager.html I contacted the mayor and asked him about the issue on Saturday and he wrote back when I asked if it would be hard to find a replacement given the past turnover in the office. Mayor Philip Stoddard responded by email saying, “No, not once I explain the reason for what happened last night. When you undermine your bosses, you should expect them to sack you. A professional city manager would not do that. The outgoing manager even lied about my actions in his termination speech (violation of Citizens Bill of Rights), and I will present all relevant documentation to the public, so they understand the situation more clearly. The voters just turned over enforcement responsibility on such matters to the Commission on Ethics,” wrote Stoddard. >>> hhttp://www.miamiherald.com/2012/11/09/v-fullstory/3089646/south-miami-mayor-city-cops-wrongly.html
>>> Virginia Gardens Man Pleads Guilty to Dealing in Firearms Without a License
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Miami Field Division, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Al Lamberti, Sheriff, Broward County Sheriff’s Office (BSO), and Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO) announce that Jose Antonio Quintana, 55, of Virginia Gardens, Florida, pled guilty today to charges of dealing firearms without a federal firearms license, in violation of Title 18, Untied States Code, Sections 922(a)(1)(A). As part of his plea agreement, Quintana agreed to pay $10,000 to ATF as investigative costs. Quintana also agreed to the forfeiture of 96 rifles, 79 shotguns, 418 handguns and approximately 25,889 rounds of ammunition that were seized from Quintana as part of the investigation. This investigation resulted in one of the largest firearms seizures from one individual in the Southern District of Florida. Sentencing has been scheduled for January 18, 2013, before U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp. At sentencing, Quintana faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of up to five years in prison.
According to the criminal complaint, superseding information, and stipulated factual basis filed in the case, Quintana attended numerous gun shows across the State Florida between November 2008 and July 7, 2012. At each gun show, Quintana sold firearms as purported “private sales.” This practice allowed Quintana to benefit from a cash business without the expense of operating a storefront, reporting his activity to ATF, completing any ATF paperwork (ATF Form 4473), and without conducting the required background checks of any customers. During this period, undercover ATF agents purchased eleven (11) firearms, valued at $6,115, from Quintana at various gun shows. In one of the undercover purchases, Quintana claimed that the law allowed him to privately sell a reasonable unspecified quantity of firearms. In the recorded conversation, Quintana stated, “Let us say, twelve, twenty four, thirty six, fifty, firearms per year. Let us say, reasonable. . . I surpassed that a long time ago.”
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ATF, BSO and PBSO. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the Miami-Dade Police Department, the Miami Beach Police Department, the City of Miami Police Department, and the Virginia Gardens Police Department for their assistance in this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Adam McMichael. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.
>>> OTHER STORIES AROUND FLORIDA
>>> Israel upsets Lamberti as Broward Sheriff, second time the charm as dominant Democratic voters vote along partisan lines
It’s over, the battle to be the Broward County Sheriff was so intense and got so low that wives were being used to counter some of the campaign charges but the heavily Democratic Party county voted along partisan lines and Democrat Scott Israel bested incumbent GOP candidate Al Lamberti when he got 53 percent of the countywide vote. For Israel, this was his second shot at the job but was beaten by Lamberti in 2008. After then Gov. Charlie Crist appointed the Republican in 2007 to replace disgraced Sheriff Ken Jenne who went to federal prison on public corruption and fraud charges. In the case of Jenne, during his tenure, he expanded the police presence and contracted out policing services for over a dozen municipalities and the department is the county’s single largest budget item coming in at $650 million and employs 5,800 employees. Israel will now assume command after being sworn in later in the month of the diverse police force, and given the office turnover at the top. The new chief might consider scaling down all the branding that in the past featured the elected sheriff’s name on a host of external and internal buildings and cars that will all have to be changed now, with Israel taking the top political law enforcement post.
CITY OF FORT LAUDERDALE
>>> Press release: Gov. Scott taps Robert “Bob” C. Swindell to the Board of Pilot Commissioners.
Swindell, 51, of Fort Lauderdale, is President and CEO of the Greater Fort Lauderdale Alliance. Previously, he served on the Board of Pilot Commissioners and the Pilotage Rate Review Board. Currently, Swindell is also the board chairman of the Enterprise Development Corporation, and is on the board of directors of the South Florida Technology Alliance and the Florida Economic Development Council. He is also a member of the Stakeholders Council of Enterprise Florida and a member of the Workforce One Board of Directors. He succeeds Anthony J. Clemente and is appointed for a term beginning November 7, 2012, and ending October 31, 2014. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
>>> Palm Beach County Middle School Principal Pleads Guilty to Charges of Enticing a Minor to Engage in Unlawful Sexual Activity
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), announced that Scott A. Blake, 47, of Palm Beach Gardens, a former teacher and principal at Polo Park Middle School in Wellington, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp, to one count of enticing a minor to engage in an illegal sexual activity, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 2422(b). Sentencing has been scheduled for February 1, 2013 at 1:30 pm. At sentencing, Blake faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 years and a maximum term of up to life in prison on the charge of enticement of a minor.
This case was the result of an ICE-HSI undercover investigation into social networking websites. An undercover agent, posing as a 15-year-old boy, was contacted by Blake on-line. After several sexually suggestive conversations, Blake arranged to meet the undercover agent at a local mall for the purpose of engaging in illegal sexual activity. When Blake arrived at the mall, he was arrested. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI and the members of the South Florida Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force. The case was prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Lothrop Morris and Jennifer Millien. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.
>>> Boca Raton Chiropractor Pleads Guilty to Conspiracy to Commit Mail Fraud in Connection with Staged Accident Scheme
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation Division (IRS-CID), and Jeff Atwater, Florida Chief Financial Officer, announced that defendant Jennifer Adams, 39, of Boca Raton, a chiropractic doctor, pled guilty today to a one-count Information charging her with conspiring with others to commit mail fraud for her role in a staged accident fraud scheme.
Sentencing will occur at a later date before U.S. District Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley. At sentencing, Adams faces a maximum term of imprisonment of twenty (20) years, to be followed by a term of supervised release of not more than three (3) years, a fine up to $250,000, and mandatory restitution of $1,920,424.83.
According to court documents, to execute the fraud scheme, the recruiters sought out drivers and their friends/family members to participate in staged accidents. Under Florida’s “No Fault” insurance law, insurers are required to provide Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage of $10,000 per person. The recruiters referred to the individuals whom they recruited as the “Perro” and the “Perra.” The “Perro” was the person who “caused” the staged accident. The “Perra” was the person who was the “victim” of the staged accident and whose car was struck by the “Perro’s” car. Thus, if the recruiter found a Perro with a wife and two children and a Perra with two friends, for a total of seven (7) participants, the maximum PIP benefit was $70,000. Once the recruiters found the participants, they coached the participants on how to perform the staged accident, what to say to the police officer who responded to the scene, and on how to claim that they had been injured. Thereafter, the accident was staged. After impact, a police officer was called, and a police report was filed. After the staged accident, the Perro and Perra filed false claims with their insurance companies, alleging that they and their family members were injured.
Court documents state that the accident participants were then directed by the recruiters to chiropractic clinics that were controlled by co-defendants. The staged accident participants completed paperwork falsely asserting that they suffered injuries during the staged accident. The co-conspirators advised the participants on how to fill out the paperwork and what to say if an insurance investigator interviewed them about their injuries or treatment. The staged accident participants were instructed to sign numerous blank treatment forms that would later be submitted indicating that they had visited the clinic on a number of separate occasions for treatment, although they may have visited the clinic only once or twice. During their visits, some staged accident participants received no treatment at all, or may have received only a short exam or treatment from the chiropractor or LMT but the paperwork completed by the LMTs and chiropractors, including Dr. Adams, indicated that a full and lengthy exam and treatment was given.
According to documents filed as part of today’s hearing, Adams agreed to place her name on the corporate paperwork for two clinics, thus utilizing her status as a licensed Chiropractic Physician, to allow the clinics to bill insurance companies directly for PIP claims without obtaining additional licensure from the State of Florida. Those clinics were Ovy Rehabilitation Medical Center, Inc. (OVY) in West Palm Beach, Florida and Chiropractic Office of South Florida, LLC (COSF) in Palm Springs, Florida. Although Adams was named as the owner of the clinic on the corporate paperwork, the co-conspirators maintained control of the bank account and running the operations of the clinics.
Court documents state that Adams initially believed the clinics to be operating legitimately. Sometime thereafter, Adams became aware that her license and status as a Chiropractor was being used to fraudulently submit claims by U.S. Mail to insurance companies. Adams realized these patients did not require the medical treatment they sought. Adams continued to work at both clinics signing prescriptions for plans of treatment that she knew were not medically necessary and that she knew were being submitted for reimbursement to numerous insurance companies. According to court documents, from the time that Adams was told about the fraud until the clinics were closed by law enforcement, the clinics submitted fraudulent claims that resulted in more than ten insurance companies making total payments of $1,920,424.83. Defendant Adams received a salary for her work as a chiropractic physician paid from the COSF and OVY checking accounts. The bulk of the proceeds of the fraud were taken by co-conspirators. >>> Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, IRS-CID, and the Florida Department of Insurance Fraud, and issued a special thanks to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) for its assistance in this investigation. Mr. Ferrer also thanked the members of the Greater Palm Beach Health Care Fraud Task Force. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Marie Villafaña. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.
ST. LUCIE COUNTY
>>> Rep. West pushes his case, gets recount of challenger Murphy’s 50.4% win
With a recount agreed to by the supervisor of elections in the congressional race between U.S. Rep. Allen West, R-Palm Beach and the victorious challenger Patrick Murphy who received 50.4 percent of the vote. But the victory was being challenged by the firebrand West who generated headlines over the past two years in office for many of his outspoken comments. He has not conceded the race and the recount is expected to be completed today states the Associated Press in a story in the www.miamiherald.com.
What do we know about Supt. of Elections Walker’s finances?
Gertrude Walker, the St. Lucie Supervisor of Elections lists her net worth at $544,000 through June 2012 and she has $50,000 in household goods state’s her financial disclosure form for the year. Her home is worth $225,000 and another house is valued at $104,000, there is $196,000 in a deferred compensation account and an IRA has $196,000 in it. Some of her significant liabilities are a mortgage owed $168,300 and PNC Bank wants $53,283 and income for the year was $111,852 in her official capacity and the Florida Retirement System kicked in $81,800.
>> There is a December multi-county Regional Climate Change Summit in the future and for more information about the event go to: http://southeastfloridaclimatecompact.org/Summit-Invite/
>>> South Florida Regional Planning Board Road Show in seven counties and for more information go to http://seven50.org/uncategorized/registration-work-group-road-show/
>>> THE ADRIENNE ARSHT CENTER FOR THE PERFORMING ARTS OF
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ANNOUNCES TWO ADDITIONS TO ITS 2012-2013 LIVE AT KNIGHT SERIES Macy Gray only Florida appearance! -Grammy Award winner to perform soulful versions of Metallica, Radiohead, Eurhythmics and more! November 8, 2012 at 8:30 p.m. “Gray has the most exceptional voice I have seen in a long time!” – The New York Times and an acoustic evening with MATISYAHU Co-presented by the Adrienne Arsht Center and Gelb Promotions Reggae-rock musician returns with acoustic show January 19, 2013 at 8:30 p.m. “Hearing Matis sing a cappella was nothing less than a spiritual experience. His voice soared, on point and pure, never once faltering!” – Miami New Times in the John S. and James L. Knight Concert Hall. Both concerts go on sale to Arsht Center members October 1, 2012. The general public will have access to MACY GRAY tickets on October 8, 2012, and to MATISYAHU tickets on October 22, 2012. Tickets may be purchased through the Adrienne Arsht Center box office by calling (305) 949-6722, or online at www.arshtcenter.org. Previously announced Live at Knight performances include: Talib Kweli: Idle Warship with Res (October 19, 2012); Diego El Cigala (November 10, 2012); Lenine (January 18, 2013); Calypso Rose (February 9, 2013); Kodo (March 9, 2013); and Esperanza Spalding (April 19, 2013).
>>> Press release: DOWNTOWN BAY FORUM www.downtownbayforum.org Our November Program: THE CUBAN MISSILE CRISIS What was the Impact on Miami? Panelists: Antonio Esquival, Pres. Cuban Patriotic Joint Council (Junta Patriotica Cubana) Manuel Margol, Pres., Cuban Missile Crisis Veterans
Dr. Jesus Mendez, Ph.D Barry University — Moderator Dr. Sean Foreman, Dept of History and Political Science Barry University. Date: November 28 2012 Doors open 11:30 am, Lunch at Noon. WOLFSON AUDITORIUM – Temple Israel of Greater Miami, 137 NE 19th Street Miami, Florida, Free Self Parking Available
Call ANNETTE EISENBERG (305) 757-3633 Fax (305) 754-2015
RESERVATIONS REQUIRED __ $30 Membership ___ $22 Lunch, member w/reservation__ $52 Membership & Lunch __ $26 Non-Member or Member without reservation if space is available___$250 Table of 10 DOWNTOWNBAY FORUM P.O. Box 530916 Miami Shores, FL 33153-0916
>>> Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness can only be maintained with robust press. “Impeach the media” clever sign but corrosive to the Republic
“Impeach the media,” said one sign at a Miami-Dade early polling site recently and while some people might think that sentiment is clever and will correct all the nation’s ills, it is shortsighted and would lead to the opposite effect of giving public institutions and political leaders a free hand to do whatever they want. And anyone that that thinks that if the media was not there to review, analyze and try to check government excesses is sorely wrong in the long run. Over the past almost 14 years of the Watchdog Report, and where I wrote over 200 columns in The Miami Herald. I have forever have been identified either with the general circulation daily even though I was an independent editorial and news columnist or just looked at as the media in some monolithic way.
Back in 2004 during the George Bush versus John Kerry race after the incident with CBS news anchor Dan Rather and a negative report about the president while he was in the Texas National Guard that ultimately had Rather resigning. A politician I was about to interview asked if I was going “to Rather him?” And I joked, “You want me to FOX you instead?” But the point is the media while flawed in many ways, is still a critical component of the Republic and a free people for when oppression clouds a nation. It is the free press that is the first to go for these despots understand the critical role and the power of the pen. And for all the people that carp about news reporting (some of which is very true, especially since the industry is shrinking).
Imagine not knowing what you’re government and other pubic institutions are doing for it takes a reporter covering events to give issues a greater reach than some small conference room or chambers where the discussions occurred. And regardless what you think of the press, the institution is in short supply given the economics of the industry and we need more objective journalists, not less if America is to thrive. And I am sure the people who believe the media should be impeached are the loudest shouting about government intrusion on personal freedoms and Big Brother. And that is the shame of the matter because if it were really thought through, the press is one of the key ingredients in a robust democracy and should be nurtured not dismissed and thrown away. A move that only makes the community a little darker when it comes to transparency of public institutions and each of us to have the ability to have life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, something each of us must cherish on this Veterans Day.
>>> Reader on rising mental illness on College campuses
I have been working on an article about the alarming increase in mental illness on college campuses and am hoping you would be interested in posting it on your blog. I think your readers will agree that curbing these trends is extremely important in ensuring our nation has a well-educated, healthy labor pool. The article hits on two main points: Skyrocketing rates of mental illness on college campuses is putting our best and brightest in danger. The increasing number of necessary academic accommodations made by school administrations might jeopardize the ability for these students to function in the workplace. Many are also staying in college longer and earning graduate degrees.
Something else I would like to examine is the long-term effect of this level of stress on the psyche of students. I would be honored if you would consider posting the completed article on your site and am happy to send you a full outline that provides more detail. .
Editor’s response: I am still waiting for a summary of the report
>>> Happy Pre-Election Day! I’ll be very happy once it is over. I’m really getting tired of all of the commercials that we are bombarded with down here in South Florida.
>>> 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)
WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)
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
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
LINDA MURPHY: Gave a new laptop in Oct. 2001 to keep me going.
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 13th 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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel A. Ricker
Publisher & Editor
Watchdog Report www.watchdogreport.net
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 email@example.com 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.