Watchdog Report Vol.14 No.15 August 18, 2013 Est.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot

CONTENTS

Argus Report: Miami Dolphins fire up the fans at Greater Miami Chamber luncheon, Pro Bowl Player Offerdahl gets tapped for Team’s Honor Roll

Florida: State Rep. Rodriguez says Obama Care compromise shot down in House for “partisan issues,” had $74,800 net worth for year – LAST WK WDR: In a few weeks all state and county leaders’ financial disclosures will be on line, some are there now, www.ethics.state.fl.us, sea change for transparency of elected official’s finances

Miami-Dade County: Mayor Gimenez details his position on No Kill Shelter program for cats and dogs and the upcoming budget process

Miami-Dade Public Schools: Supt. Carvalho kicks off the school year Monday, 365,000 students strong, teaching English in almost two dozen languages, global student demographics

Public Health Trust: JHS & UM Miller Medical School hammer out $102.5 million AOA for the year, both sides worked together to get reasonable agreement Trust can afford

City of Miami: Mayoral candidate Commissioner Suarez takes a hit after a special aide in office suggests some constituents should get a “lobotomy”

City of Miami Beach: Mayoral Candidates Levine and Gongora leading the fundraising pack, what will be impact of past police shootings be in the race?

City of South Miami: Mayor Stoddard says South Miami needs police chief that “follows the letter of the law,” after ouster of Chief Martinez de Castro last week

Town of Miami Lakes: Former CEO of Miami Lakes Tax Preparation Business Charged in Structuring Scheme

>>> Other stories around Florida

Broward County: Commissioner Wexler is in the spotlight, elected in 2004, had $557,000 net worth through Dec. 2012 & Commissioner Sharief net worth drops to $4 million, down from $8 million in 2011

Palm Beach County: Commissioner Berger in the spotlight, elected in Nov. 2012, had $426,000 net worth through 2012

Monroe County: Sheriff Ramsey in the spotlight, tony tourist mecca with 75,000 residents, he had $832,000 net worth through June – all other county leaders financials on line as well

Community Events: Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County Delegations to Meet on DCF Issues — Downtown Bay Forum -THE FUTURE OF JACKSON HOSPITAL: BOOM OR BUST? — The Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami invites you to a Community Conversation & Luncheon >> Gaily Forward: The History and Future of LGBT Rights in South Florida — TedX Miami event at Arsht Center

Editorials: Some Miami-Dade County Commissioners think the private sector is a piggy bank they can tap to fill budget shortfalls, that’s not how America works — Check out the past 2003 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 state attorney Fernandez Rundle story – Reader on M-DC Animal Services funding

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.

>>> Red Alert To All: 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 and I have been honored by that trust and support of my efforts over the past almost 14 years trying to keep the community, state, nation and world informed of the political and governmental happenings in South Florida. How to support and contribute to the WDR is at the bottom of the report. Thank You

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>> Miami Dolphins fire up the fans at Greater Miami Chamber luncheon, Pro Bowl Player Offerdahl gets tapped for Team’s Honor Roll

The Miami Dolphins kicked off they’re introduction to the business community this year at a Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon Friday in the professional football team’s honor. And former Dolphin John Offerdahl will become the 26th member of the Dolphins Honor Roll and he gushed what an honor it was to be part of this select few Dolphin players over the years. The team currently has 90 players; they are “quality people” vyeing for the “53 jobs” on the professional football team. A team that went undefeated in 1972, and the past-undefeated team is headed to the White House to be honored Tuesday, some over forty years after the premier season that has yet to be replicated in the NFL. After the luncheon, that had the Watchdog Report sitting next to a two-year defensive back veteran from Rutgers, and a true gentleman. The Dolphin team left for the busses to take them to the airport for Saturday’s exhibition game against the Houston Texans, which they lost. >>> Check out the luncheon at http://www.miamidolphins.com/news/article-1/Dolphins-Kick-Off-Season-With-Kickoff-Luncheon/bdd49ff7-60cd-4a7e-bf97-c3c70c840b33 .

What about owner Steve Ross and the local Florida legislators?

Dolphin’s team owner, Steve Ross, worth $4.4 billion, has continued his campaign against three local state legislators who refused to support a public contribution to the stadium, in the Florida legislature, some $90 million in tax breaks over coming decades for the modernization of Sun Life Stadium that Ross believed would make the site more attractive for Super Bowls. However, that legislative effort failed last spring and Ross has continued to disparage the state representatives. However, that has only unified the local delegation against Ross and had state Sen. Rene Garcia, R-Miami, firing off a letter to the owner stating that a targeted campaign effort against local politicians was not the way to go, suggested the veteran state lawmaker.

>>> Voyager 1 & 2 leave the solar system, first probes ever to achieve such a milestone

A milestone has occurred for the human race with the space probe Voyager 1 and its twin going in a different direction, Voyager 2, leaving the solar system and the probes are the first man made objects to leave the solar system. And were launched back in 1977 with much hope back then, but also great trepidation about the success of the mission in the years to come. For astronomers, and astrophysics scientists in general this is an exciting development and the world science community will wait in anticipation as the atomic powered probes send back this new data that will help scientists continue to study the universe, how it came to be and the many secrets it holds. Moreover, the Watchdog Report publisher is an amateur astronomer and I wish both probes a good journey and keep transmitting that critical universe data, never before seen by humankind.

http://news.msn.com/science-technology/voyager-is-first-man-made-object-to-leave-solar-system?ocid=ansnews11

>>> Zogby Report Card: Obama ‘very small’ on the world’s ‘eve of destruction’

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

To rework the lyrics of 1960s singing sensation Barry McGuire’s ‘The Eve of Destruction’: ‘The eastern world it is explodin’; seems things ain’t so pretty when people get to votin.’ Revolutions are the stuff of historical romance, except that they are ugly. Egypt will get worse; Syria is already worse; Tunisia is on the verge; Pakistan and Yemen are terrible. And poor, poor Iraq. What’s a president to do? This is the New World Order — and there appears to be little role for a superpower on its downward slope. Please click on the link below to view this week’s grade http://www.zogbyanalytics.com/news/324-zogby-report-card-obama-very-small-on-the-world-s-eve-of-destruction

>>> Community leader Ibargüen honored with Chapman Humanitarian Award in Oct.

Alberto Ibargüen, the former Publisher of The Miami Herald and now the President and CEO of the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation www.knightfoundation.org will be the recipient of The Alvah H. Chapman Humanitarian Award at the Chapman Partnership Annual Gala Oct. 18. Ibargüen, a former Peace Corps volunteer, attorney and all around Renaissance man over the decades played a critical role in the Watchdog Report and its continued existence and the honor is well deserved. The Watchdog Report gives Ibargüen a Tip of the Hat for all you did to inspire me and help me keep at this activity over the last 14 years. >>> For more information on the event: 12th Annual Chapman Partnership Gala, Date: Friday, October 18 2013, Location: JW Marriott Marquis,

255 Biscayne Blvd Way Miami, FL, Time: 7:00 pm Cocktails, 8:00 pm Program

Mistress of Ceremonies: Laurie Jennings Event Chairs: Terry Buoniconti & Tracy Wilson Mourning – Individual Tickets: $500 Table Sponsorships Available, see link below. For more information, please contact our Development Team at 305-329-3066. www.chapmanpartnership.org >>> Editor’s note: The Knight Foundation has been a founding sponsor of the Watchdog Report since 2000.

>>> New use of links to financial disclosure reports after 14 years of detailing these weekly in the Watchdog Report — Since 2000, the Watchdog Report has detailed elected leaders financial disclosure forms, some 6,000 are in my possession, that prior to July 1 were not going on line every year, but that has now changed. And I am only using the link to these reports for readers to see the actual document filed by these people given the new circumstances, and any reader that has some further information on these financial matters. They can contact the publisher confidentially with any new information that might be of interest to the public or authorities.

>>> 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

FLORIDA

>>> State Rep. Rodriguez says Obama Care compromise shot down in House for “partisan issues,” had $74,800 net worth for year

State Rep. Jose Rodriguez, D-Miami is in the spotlight this week and he is one of a smaller contingent of Democratic lawmakers in the GOP dominated Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation. Rodriguez, a Harvard trained attorney and Brown University undergraduate did a stint in the Peace Corps in Senegal and began his legal career with the Florida Legal Services. Since then he has pursued a wide range of law, and has served as an Adjunct Clinical Professor at the Immigration and Human Rights Clinic at Florida International University’s School of Law and has been in private practice since 2011. In his first race this past November, he took on political family scion Alex Diaz de la Portilla, a former Republican state representative and senator but was termed out in the legislature and Rodriguez won when he got 54 percent of the General Election vote last November. In addition, he joined some fellow GOP legislators in opposing a tax break for a major expansion and improvement of Miami Dolphins Sun Life Stadium last spring that died at the end of the Florida Legislative Session.

Rodriguez, spoke at the Ponce Business Association Luncheon on Monday in Coral Gables and he said the Florida Legislature “was a learning process on Tallahassee works,” for him and he noted it was “the first time there was more money in the [state] budget,” than in many of the past years. The attorney said it was a “good year for education,” and when it came to windstorm “property insurance, [it was] an OK year,” and we “held the line,” he thought. The attorney said the issue of the state helping give professional sports team’s tax breaks that last legislative session included not just the Miami Dolphins request, but also money for the Tampa Bay Jaguars and the Daytona Race track looking to get tax breaks. Moreover, he does not support these “reoccurring subsidies out of the general fund” and he is “against the idea, given all the critical needs we have,” as a state. Moreover, it was “the Tampa [legislators] that led the charge,” and not the Miami-Dade Delegation, he said. He also noted a new law banning texting and driving would kick in Oct.1 but it was a “limited ban,” and has to be a “secondary offense,” and if it is “only a suspicion, there is no infraction.” The lawmaker said the point is “to change they’re [car drivers] behavior,” because “texting and driving is very dangerous.”

Rodriguez also weighed in on the Florida House not taking up the Affordable Care Act this past session that would have resulted in $53 billion in federal money coming to Florida in the coming years, because Republican lawmakers were concerned of the cost to the state in the future when the federal funding ran out. He noted that the Senate had a “compromise plan” and “Gov. Rick Scott supported it,” but ultimately he said it “ended up being a partisan issue in the House and it was shut down.”

What do we know about his finances?

Rodriguez through May of 2013 had a net worth of $74,800, and he lists $6,700 in household goods and to read the financial disclosure form go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/245618-Form6.pdf

Rodriguez in center

>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced three appointments and two reappointments to the Department of Elder Affairs Advisory Council.

Neil Davis, 75, of Pensacola, is associate faculty at the University of West Florida. He succeeds Lannie Corbin and is appointed for a term beginning August 15, 2013, and ending

September 30, 2014.

Mary “Mari” Terbrueggen, 74, of Jacksonville, is chairman and CEO of the Senior Life Foundation, Inc. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning August 15, 2013, and ending September 30, 2013.

Dr. Mohammad Choudhry, 47, of Leesburg, is self-employed Neurophysician. He succeeds Junwei Lu and is appointed for a term beginning August 15, 2013, and ending September 30, 2013.

Charles “Charlie” Robinson, 71, of Belleair, is a self-employed elder law attorney. He is reappointed for a term beginning August 15, 2013, and ending September 30, 2014.

Olga Connor, 67, of Miami, is the director of the office of communication and legislative affairs with the Department of Health Miami-Dade. She is reappointed for a term beginning August 15, 2013, and ending September 30, 2013.

>>> Governor Rick Scott and the Governor’s Commission on Jobs for Floridians with Disabilities released its 2013 annual report.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I want every Floridian to have a job. That is why my Florida Families First Budget invests $36 million so individuals will be able to receive critical services that enhance the quality of life for families. Our budget also includes $500,000 to provide job training services for those who want to work. This funding will help another 200 people obtain jobs and live their version of the American Dream.”

Governor Scott created the Commission through Executive Order 11-161 to develop and recommend public policy solutions that will improve employment opportunities for these citizens. The Commission provides recommendations to help persons with disabilities better compete in the workforce and assist employers in recruiting and hiring candidates with disabilities who are willing and able to work.

These recommendations are intended to serve as critical steps to fulfill Governor Scott’s vision of improving employment opportunities for Floridians with disabilities. These strategies are designed to assist organizations, both within and outside of state government, to carry out these initiatives and create a business environment that is amenable to hiring persons with disabilities. Moving forward, the Commission intends to continue its mission in identifying additional public policy solutions that will tackle the barriers confronting these individuals in the workforce.

>>> PAST WDR:  In a few weeks all state and county leaders’ financial disclosures will be on line, some are there now, sea change for transparency of elected officials’ finances

The Florida Commission on Ethics, as a result of new state ethics and transparency legislation passed during the past session legislative session and signed by Gov. Rick Scott is now as of Jul. 1 putting elected leaders financial disclosure forms online from counties and state elected office and is a required yearly ritual for lawmakers. The Watchdog Report for the past 14 years has weekly gotten an endless stream of these required disclosure forms from the ethics commission, but now anyone in the public can go the commission’s webpage and type in a name, and if the document has been posted you can easily review these public Florida Form 6 submissions. I have some 6,000 of the forms now, but with a click, anyone in the public can review the forms that allow one to get an idea what their elected leader’s personal financial life is and are these people worthy to serve in an elected capacity, based on their private business affairs. An area that gets many politicians into trouble, with many of them being subsequently removed from office and going to jail.

And last week when I requested some of the forms for a few elected leaders from Kimberly R. Holmes, the head of the Financial Disclosure Unit, and someone that has been great to the WDR for over a decade providing past electronic documents. She wrote, “I understand you are requesting filing information on disclosure forms for certain lawmakers.  As a part of the ethics legislation passed this year, Florida lawmakers’ Form 6 disclosures will be posted on the Commission’s website.  The forms can be viewed by clicking this link on the homepage of the Commission’s website (www.ethics.state.fl.us): http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/search.cfm?date={ts%20’2013-06-28%2023:47:03′}&CFID=277210&CFTOKEN=70301042

Staff has worked hard to get this system up and running in the short time between the bill becoming law and the first forms being filed.  As forms are received, they will be posted to the website as soon as they’ve been recorded and any information required by law to be maintained as confidential, is redacted from the form.  This process may take a few business days, but eliminates the need for calls or emails to obtain the information and records from staff.

We hope you find the new web feature helpful.  Please let me know if you have any questions,” wrote Holmes. And she also noted the commission has moved its office to 325 John Knox Road, Building E, Suite 200, Tallahassee, FL 32303 www.ethics.state.fl.us And this information now being on line is a real boost to Floridians understanding of their lawmakers and their personal financial lives.

>>> And if you ever thought about adopting a child, check out the great kids on the Children’s Trust’s Heart Gallery page http://www.miamiheartgallery.org/#start looking for a home and great new parents.

>>> 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, Jr., Chair The Children’s Movement.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

>>> Mayor Gimenez details his position on “No Kill” shelter program for cats and dogs and the upcoming budget process

A reader recently sent me this email from Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez on the issue of the “No Kill shelter” and proponents for the Animal Services Department call for more extra county funding that is not included in the mayor’s upcoming proposed 2013-2014 budget. Here is the mayor’s response unedited.

“Thank you for your recent email.  Over the past two years, I have made the

Animal Services Department (ASD), and the services it provides, a priority of my

administration. During my tenure we have taken great strides towards achieving a

No-Kill shelter as we currently have the highest save rates in department

history.  Prior to my taking office in 2011, the dog save rate was at 61

percent.  That number has climbed to almost 80 percent in the current year, just

ten points away from the 90 percent No-Kill goal.  While the year is not over,

it is our hope to achieve over 80 percent for abandoned dogs this year. The

improvements in saving cats have been extraordinary during this same period.  In

2010, the department was saving just 18 percent of cats.  In 2012, the save rate

rose precipitously to 39 percent and currently has soared to over 60 percent for

cat live release.  In just three years the department went from saving 2,559

cats to saving 4,658 (an overall 82 percent increase).

These major accomplishments have resulted from the implementation of new

programs and the expansion of existing programs within existing resources of the

department and without raising taxes. Furthermore, my support of critical policy

changes has made this possible. Specifically, I recommended to the Board of

County Commissioners (BCC) that Trap, Neuter and Release (TNR) should be adopted as the preferred method for saving feral/free-roaming cats. This was not a County policy until I directed its implementation. As you may know, the majority

of cats abandoned at the shelter, have little to no chance of being adopted as

they are feral or free-roaming animals that do not interact well with humans in

a shelter environment. Prior to my administration, the majority of these cats

were not given a chance to live and often euthanized without any other options.

The implementation of TNR and a the similar Trap Neuter and Give-back (TNG)

program, where cats are returned to a willing caretaker, has resulted in saving

thousands of cats that previously had little to no chance of living.

My interest in the success of ASD is personal.  I am the owner of two incredible

dogs, one that I rescued off the streets of Miami-Dade. They both are an

important part of my family. This fact drove me to work with ASD in supporting

their efforts to put into place the programs and supporting policy changes that

have contributed to the recent successes.  The following is a summary of what

ASD has accomplished: Large Scale Adoption Events — During the last two years, ASD, along with other organizations, has held six large-scale adoption events resulting in the adoption of thousands of animals. Two of the events were unprecedented 24-hour adopt-a-thons each resulting in the re-homing of over 188 dogs and cats in just one day. The department previously never held these types of events due to lack of staff. Despite the challenges, ASD was able to work with other organizations, reorganize its efforts and obtain grants to successfully rescue more pets. Offsite Adoption Events — Large scale events require significant planning and organization. As a result, the department also has organized and/or participated in approximately 38 small off-site events that help to save more animals and promote shelter adoption throughout the community.

Out-of-County Dog Transport Program — Prior to 2011 the department did not have any organized effort to transport hard to adopt dogs. The transport of pets is a nationally recognized method for addressing the supply and demand of certain pets and provides relief to our local shelter by creating more cage space. By partnering with local volunteers and identifying out-of-County recipient agencies, ASD has been able to transport over 1,100 dogs this year-to-date alone. As of early August 2013, 88 transports have taken place. This effort takes dogs to guaranteed-adoption agencies in states such as Iowa, Maine, New York and other destinations along the eastern seaboard.

Assumed Responsibility for Cat Network Transportation Program — One of our great partners, The Cat Network, began the transport of cats to a partner agency in Maryland. Due to the logistical demands, ASD stepped in to assume responsibility of this program in 2012 and has since transported over 400

cats helping to increase the cat save rate from 18 percent in 2010 to 60 percent

in 2013. Outreach Program — Attracting visitors to the shelter is vital for saving animals lives. Prior to 2011 the department had no money to fund outreach and to promote adoptions. I included funding for these critical activities in two consecutive budgets. — Public School Education Initiative – The long-term improvement of humane animal treatment in our community lies with how we educate our children. In the 2012-13 School year, ASD joined forces with

Miami-Dade County Public Schools (MDCPS) to provide the first-ever public school curriculum deployed as part of a district-wide effort focused on providing

responsible pet ownership and humane animal welfare education.  Through this

innovative partnership more than 89,000 students in the 3rd, 4th and 5th grades

were reached in this important endeavor. I plan to continue working with MDCPS

to continue and expand this program. Spay and Neuter Mobile Events -  Low-Cost sterilization services are provided regularly for owned dogs and cats at the shelter location in Medley. In an effort to reach out and expand access to this low cost service the department has held regular community spay and neuter events throughout the County.

No-Kill Policy Implementation — With the passage of Resolution R-476-13 by the BCC, I have supported the adoption of no kill legislation and have directed the department to begin implementation of related programs and policies. American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) Community

Partnership Miami-Dade County is  one of eleven jurisdictions nationwide chosen by the ASPCA, resulting in the award of $ 360,000 in 3 years for programs increasing the department’s live release rate. — Foster Care Program — Foster Care provides shelters with much needed relief and is another way of

expanding capacity and getting animals into new homes. ASD has created a Foster Program with its existing staff. In less than a year the department has over 250 foster volunteers and has put over 800 pets through this program. A successful foster program is a key element of achieving no kill. Added New Positions to support life-saving programs – Since 2011 the department has:

-Expanded Pet Medical Care Program by adding a Chief Veterinarian position for

improved shelter medical care -Added an Adoption Counselor and is looking for ways to expand this service -Added Trap Neuter and Release staff to implement feral cat life-saving program previously not in existence

New Shelter Facility Construction — Upon taking office, the plans for a new animal shelter were underway but did not provide sufficient funding for the completion of an appropriate facility with more housing for dogs and cats, as well as the required disease control infrastructure and expanded clinic service facilities. In last year’s budget, after review of other shelters, and with the input of experts in disease management, I recommended full funding for a new 70,000 square-foot facility to begin construction in fiscal year 2013-14. My recommendation was approved by the BCC.  Design development is over 50 percent complete and permits are expected in the spring of 2014, so that construction will commence on the much needed new facility that will serve as a welcoming and new adoption center. The new shelter will also provide spay and neuter services to the public and ensure the healthiest and safest environment for the pets in our care. The new shelter is expected to be completed in 2015.

Looking Forward — The work does not stop here, I have recommended as part of my proposed budget, a 40 percent increase to the ASD budget for Fiscal Year 2013-14 resulting in an additional $4 million dollars which will support a 65 percent increase in ASD staff, without increasing the flat millage rate.  With this increased funding, essential programs will be expanded and new programs will be implemented.  These recommended programs will bring the department closer to achieving the 90 percent save rate eliminating the euthanasia of thousands of savable pets annually by: * Increasing animal lives saved through adoption, rescue and transport * Expanding TNG/TNR programs and providing low-cost spay and neuter services of owned pets * Reducing shelter intake through targeted sterilization of dogs and cats * Expanding foster care, volunteer programs and rescue partnerships, * Establishing Socialization and Enrichment Programs to increase likelihood of adoption * Additional veterinary oversight, medical care and disease prevention programs * Implementing grant programs to provide access to resources for non-profit organizations to assist with the most at-risk dogs, surrender prevention, rescue support to include large animals and  responsible pet ownership programs

I am fully committed to supporting the work of the ASD and independent animal

welfare and rescue groups in achieving a No-Kill shelter.  The programs I have

outlined provide the first steps towards reaching that goal.  The department is

equally dedicated to ensuring these programs are successful and will work

diligently to achieve the goals set forth,” wrote Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Mayor to the constituent by email.

Gimenez

>>> Commissioner Jordan parlays county asst. manager job into an elected office in 2004, net worth drops from $2 million to $1.57 million through Dec. 2012

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, who won reelection to represent District 1 in 2012, is in the spotlight and she won a hard fought race against former Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson, and Wade Jones. After Jordan got 59 percent of the commission District 1 vote in the August primary. Jordan first elected in 2004, was anointed as the chosen one at the time, by long sitting County Commissioner Betty Ferguson and Jordan won that first race with that political endorsement. Since then Jordan has been vice chair of the commission, carped along with other commissioners about the low pay, $6,000 and some forty thousand in benefits and she was a former assistant county manager, including being the administrative liaison back in 2002 with the Public Health Trust.

Jordan

What do we know about her finances?

Jordan’s net worth through Dec. 2012 was $1.57 million, which is down from $2.03 million the year before, and she lists $110,000 in household goods. And to read the disclosure form go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/97207-Form6.pdf

>>> Commissioner Diaz in the spotlight, elected in 2002, had $175,000 net worth through Dec. 2012

Jose “Pepe” Diaz, the Miami-Dade County Commissioner representing Commission District 12, which includes Doral and Sweetwater, is in the spotlight this week and he was first elected to the office in 2002. Diaz, a former City of Sweetwater Mayor and Marine veteran has been active in military affairs, since SOUTHCOM is in his district, and he led a rescue caravan to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city. He recently got in the cross hairs of the proponents for enhanced spending for a “no kill shelter” for cats and dogs even though he has been a strong supporter of the issue, and cosponsored legislation for increased funding. However, he later softened his stance and support and animal supporters will not know what his final decision will be until the budget public hearings, with the first one on Sept. 10th in the county commission chambers.

Diaz

What do we know about his finances?

Diaz through Dec. 2012 had a net worth of $175,000, which is down from $226,000 years ago and he lists $50,000 in household goods. To read the complete financial disclosure report go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/2522-Form6.pdf

>>> And all Miami-Dade County Constitutional officials’ financial disclosure reports can be found at http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm

>>> Beacon Council press release: The Beacon Council announced today that Larry K. Williams has been chosen to be the new President and Chief Executive Officer of Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership.

“Our dedicated search committee, led by Chair-elect Sheldon Anderson, was committed to matching our dynamic community with an experienced professional of the highest caliber. Larry clearly fits that bill,” said Joseph W. Pallot, Chair of The Beacon Council and General Counsel for HEICO Corporation. “I’m honored to welcome Larry and his wife Pamela to The Beacon Council and Miami-Dade County.”

Williams brings a wealth of economic development experience and a proven ability to attract and retain businesses of all sizes, including start-ups and those in the Information Technology industry. Starting Oct. 7, Williams will be responsible for leading and further developing and implementing the strategy of The Beacon Council, a public-private partnership created in 1985 to attract companies to Miami-Dade County in order to create jobs for residents.

Before coming to The Beacon Council, Williams worked as an economic development professional in Atlanta, Seattle and Raleigh in a span of about 20 years. He was Vice President of Technology Industry Development for the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Assistant Director of International Trade and Economic Development for the Washington State Department of Commerce, and rose through the ranks to Director of Operations of the International Trade Division for the North Carolina Department of Commerce. Williams is a graduate of North Carolina State University, and the Darlington School. Williams also studied in Costa Rica and speaks Spanish.

While in Atlanta, Williams lead the strategy and growth of the technology industry, which includes such giants as AT&T Mobility, NCR and IBM. He also provided direction for the Mobility Task Force and Technology Leadership Council. During his time with the Washington State Department of Commerce, Williams was appointed by Gov. Christine Gregoire to serve on her executive cabinet and act as co-chair of the newly created Washington State Tourism Commission. There, he recruited industry leaders to serve on a global competitiveness council, which created a report that served as the basis of a 10-year economic initiative for the State of Washington.

The Search Committee for The Beacon Council, which included members of the board, said many well-credentialed local and national candidates applied, but Williams stood out for his leadership, consensus building and communication skills. ”His experience and leadership in Washington state, coupled with his time in Latin America, and recent leadership in the development of the technology sector in Atlanta will serve The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County, our businesses, and residents very well,” Pallot said.

Pallot also praised Robin Reiter-Faragalli, a past Chair of The Beacon Council, who accepted the role of Interim President in March to facilitate the transition of the organization during the search. “Robin’s strong leadership and guidance, along with the experience and expertise of The Beacon Council staff, made the transition seem effortless,” Pallot said. “Under her direction, the organization continued its mission to bring job-generating investments to Miami-Dade County and worked with partners to enhance long-term projects.”

The Search Committee members included: The Beacon Council Co-Founder Sidney Levin; Chair Joseph W. Pallot of HEICO Corporation; Chair-Elect Sheldon Anderson of Northern Trust; Past Chairs, Adolfo Henriques of Gibraltar Private Bank & Trust and Alex Villoch of Miami Herald Media Company; Co-Chair of One Community One Goal Art Torno of American Airlines; Executive Committee Members Donna Abood of Colliers International South Florida and Jaret Davis of Greenberg Traurig LLP; Board Member Ed Holden of Wells Fargo, and Chair of the New Leaders Taskforce Fabiola Fleuranvil of Blueprint Creative Group. >>> About The Beacon Council -The Beacon Council, Miami-Dade County’s official economic development partnership, is a not-for-profit, public-private organization that focuses on job creation and economic growth by coordinating community-wide programs; promoting minority business and urban economic revitalization; providing assistance to local businesses in their expansion efforts; and marketing Greater Miami throughout the world. For more information, visit www.beaconcouncil.com.

>>> Press release GMCVB: RECORD ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICE JOBS IN GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES REPORTED FOR JULY 2013 MARKING 3 YEARS AND 7 MONTHS OF CONSECUTIVE JOB INCREASES
Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service jobs increased 3.1% in July 2013 compared to the same period in 2012. This marks 3 years and 7 months of consecutive increased employment in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service Industry.
Greater Miami Leisure
and Hospitality Industry Jobs
July 2013 July 2012 % Change
109,300 106,000 3.1%

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS

>>> Supt. Carvalho kicks off the school year Monday, 365,000 students strong, teaching English in almost two dozen languages

The school year kicks off Monday and it will feature 365,000 students coming to Miami-Dade County Public Schools for the year, they are from around the world, and English as a second language is taught in 19 languages. The $3.3 billion public schools district is the fourth largest in the nation and voters just rewarded they’re recent success with a $1.2 billion GOB to modernize the almost 400 schools, and includes massive IT upgrades and capabilities with the goal for every student in the District to have a laptop and that effort should be completed by winter. >>> And to see Carvalho on television Sunday with host Helen Ferre discussing the District and its future plans go to www.wpbt.org/issues

Carvalho

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

>>> JHS & UM Miller Medical School hammer out $102.5 million AOA for the year, both sides worked together to get reasonable agreement Trust can afford

Jackson Health System (JHS) President and CEO Carlos Migoya and his team have hammered out the lowest in cost University of Miami Miller Medical School Annual Operateing Agreement since 2008 when it came in at $138.8 million versus the upcoming year’s $102.5 million agreement approved by the PHT board on Thursday. The Miller Medical School physicians, and over 1,000 residents provide a host of world-class medical services, but the Jackson Health System has had to scale back some aspects of past agreements, and hired some of its own physicians to reduce costs. Moreover, this new agreement includes a more accurate reconciliation of the medical services provided by UM than some of the other agreements over the past 17 years that the Watchdog Report has watched and covered JHS. UM Medical School representatives said it was a good agreement and they’re was a lot of “working together” to craft the document for the year that started Jun. 1. Which is the UM budget year, but past agreements in years past went way past that June deadline and actually had JHS owing the university millions of dollars in credits that have been paid down over the years.

And since UM is the single largest vendor JHS has and provides the bulk of the medical firepower that made the health trust number one in South Florida in a national magazine ranking recently. The past over 50 year relationship changed dramatically in 2007, when UM bought the old Cedar’s Sinai Hospital across the street from the Jackson main campus, and both institutions have been trying to work out some of the issues since that acquisition of the hospital.

Migoya

CITY OF MIAMI

>>> Mayoral candidate Commissioner Suarez takes a hit after a special aide in office suggests some constituents should get a “lobotomy”

Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez, now running for mayor in November had a bad week after The Miami Herald reported on a young staffer in his office making offensive tweets about some of the constituents that call and come into the office at City Hall. In addition, Suarez first said Tuesday in the paper’s story the aide could stay, but backtracked on Wednesday after a barrage of media descended onto the commissioner’s office looking for interviews and she was fired. The 24-year-old staffer suggested in one tweet that some of these people might need a “Lobotomy” and there was also one Spanish racial slur in the numerous messages cited in the story. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/14/3562806/miami-mayoral-candidate-suarez.html. Bit it is another hit to the Suarez campaign that seems to becoming bedeviled with incidents, and also includes a investigation of some of his former campaign staffers and how they requested some absentee ballots, that was considered irregular, and is a ongoing investigation by the state attorney’s office.

Suarez, the son of former Miami Mayor Xavier Suarez, now a Miami-Dade Commissioner has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the race against incumbent Mayor Tomas Regalado. However, the young attorney, 35, has also made a number of missteps over the past months and some are wondering if the candidate is up to prime time coverage. Since the ambitious man was only elected to the commission in 2009. In addition, Suarez has sent a campaign flyer in the mail to Miami residents and the Watchdog Report got one in the mail Friday. The campaign piece features a photo of Regalado, who looks asleep, with the tag line “Another Federal Investigation,” and saying under “Regalado’s reign, the City of Miami has Witnessed,” two federal investigations, a revolving door when it comes to staff, including five city managers in 3 ½ years and 40 different directors for 10 key departments, says the mailer sponsored by “The Future is Now,” a PAC that Suarez formed two years ago to push for a strong mayor form of government, but did not get commission support at the time.  However, other flyers hitting the mailbox in Little Havana are considered to be pandering to elderly Cuban voters, and pulling on their heartstrings for a free Cuba. Moreover, as the November election approaches, expect both sides to get ugly since both Regalado and Suarez have sufficient money to get their message out why they should be leading the city in the next four years. Moreover, readers should stay tuned as this political race amps up in nastiness.


Suarez

Regalado

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

>>> Mayoral Candidates Levine and Gongora leading the fundraising pack, what will be impact of past police shootings be in the race?

The ongoing issue of the Miami Beach Police Force and the continued death of people, the most recent by tasering a graffiti artist who died recently http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/14/3562761/taser-death-tip-of-the-iceberg.html and this tasering death even became part of a controversial campaign piece done by Miami Mayoral candidate Francis Suarez http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2013/08/16/miami-mayoral-hopeful-draws-fire-for-ad-assailing-police-tasing-teen-who-died/ . However, the list of questionable police shootings has grown, with the most offending case occurring two years ago over Memorial Day, when cops fired over a hundred rounds into a car killing the Black occupant. Moreover, this continued police department controversy is expected to bleed into the Beach mayoral race in the months to come, and while no elected leader wants to be seen as soft on crime and not support the men and women in blue.

This ongoing controversy has resulted in The Miami Herald editorial board calling for a Justice Department Investigation into the shootings and the issue will likely be a hot topic in the upcoming mayoral candidate debates. The candidates in the mayoral race are comedian Steve Berke, attorney and Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora, Raphael Herman, David Hundley and businessman Philip Levine. Gongora for the race through June has raised $206,000 and spent $24,400, and Levine has raised $522,000 for his campaign war chest, but he has also spent $471,000 of that through the same period and to see all the campaign reports go to http://www.miamibeachfl.gov/cityclerk/elections/scroll.aspx?id=64033#Candidates

CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI

>>> Mayor Stoddard says South Miami needs police chief that “follows the letter of the law,” after ouster of Chief Martinez de Castro last week

The South Miami Commission voted last week to fire the municipality’s Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro by a 3 to 2 vote and the action ended a bitter battle that has gone on for months between the police chief and Mayor Philip Stoddard, Ph.D., and a commissioner on the dais. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/08/15/3564868/south-miami-ousts-police-chief.html The Watchdog Report contacted the mayor and asked him for any comments on the matter and he responded back writing by email. “Our city’s fine police force requires and deserves a police chief who follows the letter of the law and leads by example. A few weeks ago, South Miami’s police chief pled no contest to charges that his department repeatedly did business with his wife’s company.  I am confident that our new city manager, Steven Alexander, is committed to securing the most ethical and effective leadership for our police force,” wrote Mayor Stoddard

TOWN OF MIAMI LAKES

>>> Former CEO of Miami Lakes Tax Preparation Business Charged in Structuring Scheme

Press release: Wifredo A Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that defendant Carlos Rodriguez, 40, of Miami Lakes, was charged in a 19 count indictment with structuring financial transactions with the intent to evade currency reporting requirements, in violation of Title 31, United States Code, Sections 5324(a)(3) and 5324(d)(2). The indictment also seeks the forfeiture of $558,516.80, the amount of currency involved in the structuring violations, pursuant to Title 31, United States Code, 5317(c)(1). Defendant Rodriguez had his initial appearance today before U.S. Magistrate Judge John O’Sullivan.

According to the indictment, financial institutions are required to report cash transactions in amounts over $10,000.00 to the IRS.  The indictment alleges that between January 4, 2012 and March 22, 2012, Rodriguez intentionally cashed fifty-six checks from his business account in amounts just under $10,000.00 at a financial institution in order to evade the cash reporting requirements. As further alleged in the indictment, the total amount of money involved in the structuring violations was $558,516.80. If convicted, the defendant faces up to 10 years in prison for each count.

According to statements made in court, Rodriguez was Chief Executive Officer of Rodri Rodri & Associates, Inc., a tax preparation business, during the time of the alleged structuring violations and currently is the Chief Financial Officer of Ayudame Financial Services, Inc. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI.  This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elijah A. Levitt. An indictment is only an accusation and the defendant is presumed innocent until proven guilty. 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

BROWARD COUNTY

>>> Commissioner Wexler is in the spotlight, elected in 2004, had $557,000 net worth through Dec. 2012 & Commissioner Sharief net worth drops to $4 million, down from $8 million in 2011

Lois Wexler, the Broward County Commissioner who represents District 5 on the nine-member body is in the spotlight this week and she was first elected to the county commission in 2004 after serving on the school board from 1992 to 2004. At Tuesday’s commission meeting, she grilled county staff on the final ranking of a company to build a new Supervisor of Elections facility, roughly costing some $15 million dollars. She said after hearing complaints by Sunrise Properties and Investments, the number two-listed firm during the discussion. The lawmaker said if “the elements raised by Sunrise this morning if true,” There is “no way we can hear the document today, and believed the commission should “send it back to the selection committee,” she thought. In addition, that discussion had Commissioner Stacy Ritter chiming in that “this is a big decision” because it would be an “iconic project that will resonate for decades” to come and the commission should “hear the proposal in a selection committee,” made up of commissioners. And Ritter noted that the current county commission building was an old “Burdines” store built in the 1950s and it was “never meant to be used as a government seat” and the building has been plagued over the years with “rats” and poor “air-conditioning” Ritter said to her peers.


Wexler

Ritter

Wexler bio     
http://www.broward.org/Commission/District5/Pages/AboutLois.aspx

What do we know about her finances?

Wexler through Dec. 2012 had a net worth of $557,000, which is up from $231,000 in 2009 and to read the complete financial disclosure report go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/18076-Form6.pdf

>>> Commissioner Sharief in the spotlight, elected in 2010, net worth drops from $8 million last year to $4 million in 2012

Barbara Sharief, the Broward County Commission District 8 commissioner elected in 2010 is in the spotlight this week, and she is a Registered Nurse by profession, and was born in Miami-Dade County, before moving later to Miramar in Broward. Where she was elected to the Miramar commission in 2009 and ran for the county commission in the coming year. Further, she was one of a couple of county commissioners who supported Democratic Candidate Scott Israel over incumbent GOP Sheriff Al Lamberti in the brutal 2012 countywide sheriff’s race and Israel defeated Lamberti in that race. http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2012-10-03/news/fl-israel-endorsement-20121003_1_sheriff-al-lamberti-opponent-republican-sheriff She also has drawn fire with a push to ban pit bulls in the county a while ago, that she called the proposed legislation just common sense after a number of dog attacks on humans by the breed. http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Broward-County-Commissioner-Barbara-Sharief-Common-Sense-Solution-Needed-for-Pit-Bulls-193193961.html

Sharief and bio Broward CountyCommission

What do we know about her finances?

Sharief’s net worth through Dec. 12 was $4 million, which was down from $8 million in 2011 and to see her current financial disclosure form go to

http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/236128-Form6.pdf

>>> Five Defendants Charged on Securities Fraud Related Violations ~ 153 Defendants Have Been Charged to Date as Part of the Southern District of Florida Securities and Investment Fraud Initiative

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, Michael J. De Palma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, Ronald Verrochio, Inspector in Charge, U.S. Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Eric I. Bustillo, Regional Director, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Jon T. Rymer, Inspector General, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Inspector General (FDIC-OIG), David Meister, Director, Division of Enforcement for the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), Cindy Liebes, Director, Federal Trade Commission, Southeast Region (FTC), and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, State of Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation, announce the most recent charges filed in connection with the Southern District of Florida Securities and Investment Fraud Initiative (the Initiative). The Initiative was first announced in December 2010 and designed to combat securities fraud and protect the interests of the investing public.

The Initiative was established to address an increase in investment and securities fraud schemes in the Southern District of Florida. Participating agencies include the U.S. Attorney’s Office, FBI, IRS, USSS, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, SEC, CFTC, FTC, FDIC, and the Florida Office of Financial Regulation.  These law enforcement and regulatory agencies have shared intelligence and combined their resources to combat securities and investment fraud, including Ponzi schemes, affinity fraud schemes, prime bank/high-yield investment scams, business opportunity fraud, promoter/micro-cap/“pump and dump” schemes, foreign exchange (FOREX) frauds, false bankruptcy petitions, and other schemes to defraud individual investors.  Among the goals of the Initiative is to alert the public about the prevalence of these types of schemes, educate the public on how to avoid falling prey to these schemes, and to highlight the law enforcement response to the problem.

The Southern District of Florida ranks number one in the nation in charging securities and investment fraud defendants and only second in the number of cases charged.  Using the strike force model successfully developed in the health care and mortgage fraud areas, the Initiative has yielded similar success.  Since its inception in December 2010, the Initiative has resulted in charges against 153 defendants in the Southern District of Florida, resulting in more than $ 1,777,025,689 billion in restitution ordered. U.S. Attorney Wifredo A. Ferrer stated, “Fraud in the microcap markets is of increasing concern to our community as these markets have proven to be fertile grounds for fraud and abuse.  Fraudsters know that these microcap stocks are difficult for the average investor and regulator to monitor.  The defendants charged today abused their knowledge of the capital markets hoping to misappropriate money held in pension fund and brokerage accounts to enrich themselves and their co-conspirators.”

“The FBI will continue to target individuals who attempt to undermine the integrity of the securities industry by defrauding innocent investors,” said William J. Maddalena, Assistant Special Agent in Charge, FBI Miami Division.  “If you are an individual investor, exercise due diligence before you invest your first dime.  Ask yourself: Does it seem too good to be true?  If the answer is ‘Yes,” then it probably is!” IRS Acting Special Agent in Charge Michael De Palma stated, “IRS Criminal Investigation will continue to lend financial expertise to this joint venture to unravel schemes in complex financial crimes.  Together with our law enforcement partners, we will use every tool at our disposal to pursue, investigate and bring swindlers to justice.”

Secret Service Special Agent in Charge Paula Reid stated, “This is a great example of how the law enforcement community in the Southern District of Florida continues to identify and penalize those insiders who misuse an honest system for selfish, personal gains.  Unfortunately, these types of criminals chose to compromise the integrity of their trade and manipulate the law, policies, and procedures with no regard to trusting investors.” “These criminals go to great lengths to mask their criminal schemes,” said Postal Inspector in Charge Ronald Verrochio.  “We will continue to work with our law enforcement partners to uncover these schemes in an effort to prevent future victimization.” “Interested only in lining their own pockets, the company officers and promoters charged today used underhanded tactics to cheat investors and manipulate penny stocks,” said Eric I. Bustillo, Director of the SEC’s Miami Regional Office.  “Their utter disregard for investors underscores the importance of stamping out microcap fraud.”

Today, we are announcing charges against five individuals in the following four cases: United States v. Jack Freedman, Case No. 13-60204-CR-Hurley Jack Freedman, 58, of Fort Lauderdale, was charged by an Information alleging that he conspired to commit securities fraud.  Freedman was a promoter for Green Planet Group, Inc., (GNPG) a publicly traded company whose stock was registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  The defendant is charged with engaging in a scheme to manipulate the publicly quoted share price and trading volume of GNPG common stock.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney H. Ron Davidson…  An Indictment or Information is merely an accusation and defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty. 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. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

>>> Commissioner Berger in the spotlight, elected in Nov. 2012, had $426,000 net worth through 2012

Mary Lou Berger, the District 5 Palm Beach County Commissioner is in the spotlight this week. In addition, she cut her political chops being a senior aide to then county commissioner Burt Aaronson, and she was elected to the office in November 2012. She represents West Boynton, Boca and Delray Beach and she first came to Palm Beach in 1989 and has also worked for the county’s Clerk office from 1989 to 1994.

Berger and bio http://www.co.palm-beach.fl.us/countycommissioners/district5/biography.htm

What do we know about her finances?

Berger through Dec. 2012 had a net worth of $426,771, and she lists $136,000 in household goods, and to read the full financial disclosure report go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/242931-Form6.pdf

MONROE COUNTY

>>> Sheriff Ramsey in the spotlight, tony tourist mecca with 75,000 residents, he had $832,000 net worth through June – all other county leaders financials on line as well

Rick Ramsey elected the new Monroe County Sheriff last November is in the spotlight this week and he polices the Southern most county in America, and the Keys are a global tourist destination. The fact the Keys are so dependent on the tourist trade is significant when it comes to law enforcement because it swells the county’s population of around 75,000 residents states 2012 Census figures, to a much higher number which requires a higher level of police presence in the county.

Ramsey

What do we know about his finances?

Ramsey through June 23 had a net worth of $832,000 and he lists $23,000 in household goods. To read his complete financial disclosure for the year go to: http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/243440-Form6.pdf >>> And to read all other county constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm

COMMUNITY EVENTS

>>> Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach County Delegations to Meet on DCF Issues

On Tuesday August 20th, members from the Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Delegations will meet to discuss issues relating with the Department of Children and Families. Public testimony will be welcome at the meeting. DATE: Tuesday, August 20th, TIME: 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., PLACE: Broward College-South Campus, Performing Cultural Arts Theatre, 7200 Pines Boulevard, Building 68-B, Pembroke Pines, FL  33024

>>> The Downtown Bay Forum www.downtownbayforum.org – INVITES YOU TO OUR LUNCHEON MEETING ON, Wednesday August 28, 2013 11:30-1:30pm - THE FUTURE OF JACKSON HOSPITAL: BOOM OR BUST? ~ Should voters approve the $850 million dollar bond issue for Jackson Hospital in the November special election? SPEAKERS: Carlos Migoya, President & CEO Jackson Health System Hon. Juan Zapata, Miami-Dade County Commissioner District 11 – WOLFSON AUDITORIUM @ TEMPLE ISRAEL, 137 NE 19th Street MIAMI Free Self Parking Available Call ANNETTE EISENBERG (305)757-3633 Fax (305)754-2015. **RESERVATIONS REQUIRED – SPACE IS LIMITED. PLEASE NOTE THAT RESERVATIONS MUST BE CANCELLED 24 HRS IN ADVANCE TO AVOID CHARGE

>>> The Good Government Initiative at the University of Miami Invites you to a Community Conversation & Luncheon >> Gaily Forward: The History and Future of LGBT Rights in South Florida Wednesday, September 18, 2013, Hurricane 100 Room at  UM Bank United Center 1245 Dauer Drive, Coral Gables, FL 33146

11:30 a.m. registration, 12 p.m. lunch 12:30 p.m. Conversation >>> Join Ruth Shack, President Emeritus, Miami Foundation; Jorge Mursuli, Organizer of the 1998 Human Rights Campaign; Rick Siclari, Executive Director, Care Resource; Jared Payne, President, SpectrUM; Elizabeth Schwartz, Esq., Attorney, Sobe Law; Tony Lima, Executive Director, SAVE Dade; as they discuss the history of LGBT issues: from the passage of the 1977 anti-discrimination ordinance to the health issues related to the gay community, DOMA, transgender legislation and campus life for LGBT students. Moderated by Katy Sorenson, President and CEO of the Good Government Initiative. Ticket Prices: $35 Individual Ticket, $30 GGI Member* $50 GGI Contributor (Individual Ticket + $15 donation) $500 Table of 10 (Sponsor Table) $20 Concerned Citizen $15 Student (with student ID) *made a donation of at least $100 this year Register Now! To pay by check please send to: 1320 South Dixie Highway, Suite 911,  Coral Gables, FL 33146, no later than Wednesday, Sept 4th.

>>> TEDxMiami Thursday, October 24 @ 7pm, Knight Concert Hall — For four years, TEDxMiami has been a hub of diverse creativity, innovative ideas, and progressive thought leadership that has been a cornerstone of Miami’s creative, intellectual, and entrepreneurial audiences. The main event in the fall will feature live speakers giving unique, locally relevant talks. TED is an international nonprofit organization and its mission is to share ideas worth spreading. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDx event, TEDTalks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. Follow #TEDxMiami2013 for event updates and keep up with TedxMiami throughout the year on Facebook and Twitter. Member Pre-Sale: NOW! Public On Sale: Tuesday, July 30 CLICK HERE FOR TICKETS Or call 305-949-6722 today!

EDITORIAL

>>> Some Miami-Dade County Commissioners think the private sector is a piggy bank they can tap to fill budget shortfalls, that’s not how America works

With public budget hearings coming Sept. 10 for Miami-Dade County taxpayers and the attendant revenue shortfall facing the County, yet with unfunded demands for services or programs on many peoples lips. Some County Commissioners believe the answer is for the private sector to fill these fiscal holes “since they have a lot of money,” said County Commissioner Javier Souto recently at a commission committee meeting. Moreover, while the expressed sentiment by these county commissioners is well and good. Commissioners must realize that private companies already pay taxes and while it is great when these firms step forward sometimes-making contributions to a variety of charitable causes. They should not be put into a position where they’re coerced into contributing if we are not to have a form of local government that is out of control.

For America believes in a capitalistic system of business, with yes government regulations and the need to pay taxes, but that does not mean private interests should be obligated to fill in any government shortfalls in a given year. Because that is the role of elected leaders, which is to govern and live within they’re fiscal means. For the private sector is having its own problems and should not be considered a piggy bank accessible to elected leaders to tap into when times are tough. Moreover, this continued dreaming by some of the officials on the 13-member dais is off base and should be nipped in the bud.

For it is not the commissioner’s role to shake down private entities doing business in Miami-Dade looking for new revenue fix, but to live in the real world, where balancing the budget is a must, either through more taxes or revenues, or cutting services and elected officials cannot have both. In addition, they certainly cannot try to work over companies and their workers for even more money than they already pay in taxes, for that is the way the Free Market in America works, and local public officials must realize that fact, and instead look for solutions to resolve any budget crisis on their own.

LETTERS

>>> Reader disappointed with state attorney Fernandez Rundle

About State Attorney Ms. Fernandez-Rundle, I have always believed that, had someone else held that position,   Political Corruption in South Florida could be down, call me crazy! If we were to take at face value, her reported Net Worth of $2.36 Million for 2012, the 43% increase should have raised some concern. One could possibly justify it, in Private Practice but while holding a public servant job…

Hope, someday – to clear up the air – and our Governor appoints an Independent Special Prosecutor to look, real deep, into the finances of Miami Dade County, and the City of Miami, governments. Ms. Rundle has always appeared to me, extremely close and very well connected to local politicians, and power brokers.

Consider the latest arrest of Maroño and Pizzi flash-in-the-pants. There are much, much bigger Political Fish to fry in South Florida.

Haven’t you ever wondered, why County and City Commissioners fight, like wild piranhas, to hold on to a miserable $6,000 annual salary, plus Benefits?   Many South Floridians do, but there is not an answer to the question, yet! Have you not ever heard that South Florida enjoys the reputation of the most corrupt County, in the U.S…. or is it only me?

V T R

Miami, Fla.

>>> And how many (more animals) are going to die now that Dan Ricker has reported that somehow, some way the COUNTY NO LONGER SEEMS TO HAVE THE FUNDING SET ASIDE FOR THE NEW SHELTER (For animals)?  Do we think someone needs to ask how the funds were looted again?

A. W.

>>> LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & INITIAL SPONSORS IN 2000

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

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

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

ARTHUR HERTZ

WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)

ALFRED NOVAK

LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)

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

THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE

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

BADIA SPICES    www.badiaspices.com

RONALD HALL

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.miamidade.gov

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

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

AKERMAN SENTERFITT   www.akerman.com

BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants www.bpbcpa.com

RON BOOK

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

WILLIAM PALMER www.shutts.com

SHUBIN & BASS     www.shubinbass.com

WILLIAMSOM AUTOMOTIVE GROUP http://williamsonautomotivegroup.com/

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

CAMILLUS HOUSE, INC.   www.camillushouse.org

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.cph.org

THE STATE OF FLORIDA    www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA  www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION   www.miamidade.gov

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

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

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

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS 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 GOOD GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE http://goodgov.net/

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

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION  www.miamifoundation.org

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

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI             www.miami.edu

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.

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, 2013, 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.

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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 To contact the Publisher please e-mail watchdogreport1@earthlink.net


 
 
 

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