Watchdog Report Vol.14 No.23 October 20, 2013 Est.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot

CONTENTS

Argus Report: Fla is #1 when it comes to 781 public corruption defendants and convictions in a decade, public tips critical to tamping down wayward elected officials

Florida: Scott ramps up his reelection campaign, but who will Dems pick to challenge unpopular GOP governor, will it be Sen. Rich or former Gov. Crist that is the question. — 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: Interviews for new IG are over for now, some great candidates, whom will the selection committee pick for this local pressure cooker job with potential political overtones

Public Health Trust: Jackson Health System supporters press county voters to approve $830 million bond, health system needs revamping, if it is to compete in new competitive healthcare world

City of Miami: Could seaplanes be coming back to Watson Island? MSEA board approves Letter of Intent with Nautilus

Village of Coconut Grove: MSEA gives $10,000 grant for Jan. ISAF Sailing World Cup Race in the Grove

City of Miami Beach: Mayoral candidates Levine & Gongora continue to trade political shots, race has nasty ethnic tone, and how low will the candidates go with early voting starting Oct. 21

City of Doral: Letters of Instruction provide direction to Manager Carollo

City of Homestead: Mortgage Broker Sentenced in $39 million Mortgage Fraud

Village of Key Biscayne: PUBLIC WORKS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES CLOSURE OF THE RICKENBACKER CAUSEWAY CUSTOMER SERVICE OFFICE AND PARKING FACILITY

>>> Other stories around Florida

Broward County: Guilty Plea Entered by Two More Individuals Charged in Plot to Conceal and Dispose of Assets in Connection with Rothstein Case

City of Lauderdale: Local resident Indicted in $4 Million Ponzi Scheme

Palm Beach County: Resident Convicted for Receipt, Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography — Residents can review they’re top County Officials financial disclosure forms on line at http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm

City of Boca Raton: Mortgage Company Executive Sentenced in Fraud Case

Alachua County: Gov. Scott taps Monica Brasington to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court.

Monroe County: Gov. Scott names Edwin A. Scales, III to the Third District Court of Appeal, first for a attorney from Monroe County attorney since 1957 — to read all Monroe County constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm

Community Events: – TedX Miami event at Arsht Center

Editorials: PAST WDR APRIL 2011 >>> S.FL digital divide of 30% should be of concern, what do you say to the elderly, poor of all ethnic groups, denied public services? — 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: School Board Member Perez – Multiple readers on my being sick, just a few of the well-wishers wanting me to get healthy, thank you!

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

>>> Fla is #1 when it comes to 781 public corruption defendants and convictions in a decade, public tips critical to tamping down wayward elected officials

The subject was Public Corruption, and when will it stop? At the Good Government Initiative luncheon on Thursday moderated by Initiative Founder former County Comissioner Katy Sorenson and as one panelist noted. Public Corruption in government has been going on since the time of Ancient Greece and will always be with us since it is part of the human condition. U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida Wifredo “Willy” Ferrer, Miami-Dade Assistant State Attorney Howard Rosen, a Division Chief in the office and Joe Centorino, the Director of the Miami-Dade County Ethics and Public Trust Commission were the panelists and the panel should also have included WPLG- Channel 10 Senior Political Reporter Michael Putney. However, the veteran journalist and Herald columnist had to cover Gov. Rick Scott who was in town for a Latin Builders Association Luncheon.

Ferrer, noted the Southern District of Florida has the largest FBI public corruption detail in the nation, 11 FBI special agents and a host of municipal police officers dedicated to the detail and while the office has had some recent arrests of local municipal mayors. Much of the federal and state authorities work when it comes to busting corrupt leaders, is dependent on tips from the public and people have to realize if they don’t speak up when they see wayward activities. They become part of the problem and is why there is a confidential FBI hot line to call in information (that phone number is 305.944.9101).

Rosen noted that there is frustration in the community when some cases are not prosecuted saying there is a gulf between what one thinks happened, versus what can be proved and public corruption cases are some of the hardest to prosecute. He said in today’s world there may be more “opportunity for corruption,” yet that is balanced out by the fact “there are more media outlets,” blogs, cell phone records and video and security surveillance and that could explain why there seems to be this up tick in the wayward activity. (And to report public corruption to the state attorney call 305.547.0100).

Centorino echoed some of these comments, noting some people almost view elected leaders as “aliens” from another planet, but he said in fact these officials are just a reflection of the community. And on the whole, “most people in public service are decent,” individuals but he also believes it is not just a few “rotten apples,” in a barrel here in South Flroida, but unfortunately the community is getting closer to dealing with  a “rotten barrel,” he thought. Moreover, when you have an apathetic public that is “disengaged, you leave the field open to others,” that might want to pervert the political system he said.

He also noted the Ethics Commission has its hands full watching over the 34 municipalities in Miami-Dade and the former state prosecutor was concerned when Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez disbanded the county’s public corruption unit. For he believes “there is a lot of stuff going on in the municipalities,” and it was unrealistic to believe local police forces would investigate they’re elected leaders for example, he said. In addition, Centorino along with the other panelists urged the public to speak up and, “if you know something is wrong, you are obliged to report it or you are part of the problem,” he closed.

What have other federal officials said about public corruption over the years?

When Guy Lewis was the U.S. Attorney in the late 1990s and early 2000s prior to Sept. 11, he told the Watchdog Report back then that he told Attorney General John Ashcroft that here in the Southern District of Florida. “Public Corruption was the number one priority,” for the Southern District of Florida and that theme has carried through over the years, with subsequent U.S. attorneys who have followed. Further, at another panel on Medicare Fraud years ago where a top FBI Special Agent in Charge was present. He said when it came to public corruption of officials, the federal law enforcement organization does “not shoot to maim, but to kill,” when it comes to prosecuting these public corruption cases. In addition, since Florida leads the nation in officials being arrested over a decade, “781 defendants” have been convicted said Ferrer. The problem is almost endemic in nature and is a sad commentary for the Sunshine State.

>>> This week’s Watchdog Report is shorter than normal after my past illness and I hope my readers will understand.

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

Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama benefited from the Republican implosion over the budget and debt ceiling deal that reopened the government. “There is just no way to minimize how badly the GOP has hurt itself from the shutdown-debt ceiling crisis. Only the most ardent flamethrowers will say they launched a debate over Obamacare. They did not; their actions actually took focus off of its problematic launch and now it is more popular than it was two weeks ago. Please click on the link below to view this week’s grade:
http://www.zogbyanalytics.com/news/355-zogby-report-card-gop-helps-obama-out

FLORIDA

>>> Scott ramps up his reelection campaign, but who will Dems pick to challenge unpopular GOP governor, Sen. Rich or former Gov. Crist that is the question.

Former state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Broward, the most high profile and vocal Democratic Party candidate to announce her run against Republican Gov. Rick Scott in 2014 held a fundraiser at a restaurant in South Miami last week and while she is confident, she will gain political traction against the unpopular Scott in the months ahead. Her campaign has been blunted by the constant speculation within the Democratic Party that former Gov. Charlie Crist will instead be the party’s champion, despite his becoming a Democrat only late in his political career that has a trajectory from hard right Reagan Republican, to a registered Independent, and finally now as  a Democrat.  Scott has been amassing a considerable war chest, around $18.5 million, from donations and he is eschewing using any of his own money, some $72 million like he had to do back in 2010, to defeat in the GOP primary Bill McCollum, and later in the general election. Former CFO Alex Sink, who also has given the upcoming gubernatorial race a pass, after he husband, prominent attorney Bill McBride passed earlier in the year. In her case, she is indicating she may run for the now vacated Congressional seat since U.S. Rep. Bill Young, R-St. Petersburg just passed and a special election is expected to be called for the vacant House District 13 seat.

Young

Scott, a former health care executive whose company in his previous life was hit with a $1.7 billion Medicare fine has amped up his political personae recently as he seeks a second term in office traveling around the state extensively pushing his mantra of “Let’s Get to Work,” while also blaming President Barack Obama for the government shutdown, and the Corps of Engineers slow work on the Lake Okeechobee banks in need of further repairs. However, Scott is an enigma to many Floridians and is not a natural campaigner and sticks to the script when in a gaggle with reporters and that lack of engagement with the media’s questions is a carry over from the 2010 election. When he did not speak to any editorial boards in the state. However, since then Scott has met with a wide variety of the state’s newspapers but his cautious and controlled campaign style in many ways has not changed.

Moreover, while for some prominent Democrats, Crist is to be the savoir against Scott who in a recent poll had a 49 percent approval rating, and Crist is four or five points ahead of the incumbent governor in the polls. The former governor has to convince die hard Democrats he deserves they’re support and campaign contributions, since his past Republican campaign supporter base has dried up. And the Florida GOP is savoring the long pubic record of flip flops that Crist has made over the decades since he first got the nickname “Chain Gang Charlie,” when he was a Republican state senator, but later morphed into a moderate saying the state’s Republican Party no longer had the political values he believed in, but lost his race for the U.S. Senate to Sen. Marco Rubio in 2010.

Since then Crist has campaigned for the reelection of Barack Obama in 2012 and is expected in the coming weeks to make his decision that the Watchdog Report believes will be that he does run for governor. In addition, while Crist is known for his sunny campaign style and “happy campaign warrior,” disposition when running for any office. Democrats will have to go all out in the statewide election that historically has a lower voter turnout and has inhibited the party’s success in statewide elections over the past decade where currently only Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla. holds state wide office. http://www.news4jax.com/news/unf-poll-reveals-crist-leads-scott-in-gubernatorial-race/-/475880/22369530/-/ei1nmk/-/index.html And here is another take on some of Scott’s poll numbers http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/10/the-hollingsworth-effect-pt-2-fl-chamber-poll-shows-rick-scott-approval-rating-slips.html >>> http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2013/10/the-hollingsworth-effect-rick-scotts-still-bad-poll-numbers-gator-hunt-fail.html?utm_source=twitterfeed&utm_medium=twitter

What connection did Congressman Young have with the Watchdog Report?

Back in the late 1990s, before I started the Watchdog Report the Miami River Commission Executive Director Capt. Miller contacted me, and he asked me if I knew Congressman Bill Young who was chair of the House Appropriations Committee at the time. And while I said no at the time, I did find someone who knew him well enough that they played golf together and it was on a golf course on the West Coast that the first some $5.4 million in federal money needed to dredge the Miami River was discussed and the money would be later included in the federal budget, and kicked started that effort back then. After the funding request had become stalled in the House and was not getting any traction even with the local congressional legislators pushing it. And it convinced me back then, that things can get done on the up and up, even at the federal level, if the requested funding and project made sense.

>>> Ros-Lehtinen Mourns Passing of Friend and Colleague, Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young

Press release: Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of Florida’s Congressional delegation, expressed her sadness over the death of her friend and colleague, Congressman C.W. “Bill” Young, of Tampa and offered her condolences to Congressman Young’s family. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “Dexter and I offer our sincerest condolences to Beverly, Rob, Billy, Patrick, and the entire Young family. Bill was a valued member of our delegation, but, more importantly, a true friend. His kind and gentlemanly demeanor was a welcome change in Washington and his ability to give sage advice on almost any situation was nothing short of remarkable. As my fellow Floridian and House Appropriations Chair, we could always count on Congressman Bill Young to always be there for South Florida; helping with funding sources on important issues like dredging the Miami River, and saving Homestead Air Reserve Base after Hurricane Andrew, and again as Base Closure Commissions were circling overhead.

Bill was extremely knowledgeable on defense issues and we all looked to his expertise for guidance. His and Beverly’s dedication to our active military and veterans are legend as we hear the countless stories of those whose lives were touched by Bill. He was the embodiment of what a legislator should be: principled, honest, and a fierce fighter for his constituents. We will always keep the lessons of his years of service alive so that others may emulate this unforgettable champion of Florida.”

>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott made the following statement regarding the passing of Congressman C.W. Bill Young.

Governor Scott said, “Ann and I join all Floridians as we mourn the passing of Representative Bill Young. As Florida’s longest serving member of Congress, Bill will be remembered as a true statesman and champion for the Tampa Bay area. He served with eight US Presidents throughout his career, always putting the families of Florida first, and working across the aisle to find solutions.

“His work to support military families, our veterans, and his own service with the Army National Guard and as a reservist, will leave a lasting legacy. Representative Young will be missed by his constituents and our entire nation. Ann and I offer our support and prayers to his wife Beverly and his sons and grandchildren during this difficult time.” Statement by Governor Rick Scott regarding Washington’s short-term solution on the nation’s debt ceiling and the government shutdown:

“Washington’s failure to reach a long-term agreement on the debt ceiling confirms our nation’s leaders have their heads in the sand about our economic future. America’s unchecked debt, along with the increase in inflation that follows, will only put us deeper in the hole we have been trying to climb out of since the national economic downturn. “In Florida, we have paid down $3.5 billion in state debt over the last three years – ending the decades-long practice of racking up state debt – and paid back another $3.5 billion reemployment assistance federal loan. We need leadership in Washington. We need negotiation and compromise to reign in spending, pay down debt, and keep the dollar strong for our economy to grow. Americans deserve nothing less.”

>>> Press release: Gov. Scott announced the reappointments of Jeffry R. Jontz, Jefferson P. Knight, and Rachel E. Nordby to the Statewide Nominating Commission for Judges of Compensation Claims.

Jontz, 69, of Winter Park, is an attorney with Swann, Hadley, Stump, Dietrich, & Spears, P.A. He received his bachelor’s degree from Drake University and his law degree from the University of Iowa, where he was an editor for the Iowa Law Review and elected to the Order of the Coif. Jontz is a member of the Iowa Bar, the Ohio Bar, and the Florida Bar. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 17, 2013, and ending July 1, 2017.

Knight, 58, of Miami, is an attorney with the Knight Law Firm. He received his bachelor’s degree from Vanderbilt University and his law degree from the University of Miami, where he served as the executive editor of the International Law Journal. Knight is a member of the Florida Bar and the Coral Gables Bar Association. He is “AV” rated and is president of the Miami chapter of the Federalist Society. Knight is reappointed for a term beginning October 17, 2013, and ending July 1, 2017.

Nordby, 32, of Tallahassee, is a Deputy Solicitor General for the Office of the Attorney General. She received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and her law degree from Florida State University, where she served as Editor in Chief for the Florida State Law Review. Nordby is a member of the Florida Bar and the Tallahassee Women Lawyers Association. She is reappointed for a term beginning October 17, 2013, and ending July 1, 2017.

>>> 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

>>> Interviews for new IG are over for now, some great candidates, whom will the selection committee pick for this local pressure cooker job with potential political overtones

The interviews of the 13 Inspector General applicants is now over and the IG Selection Committee will meet again in November to review the applicants statements  and comments during their interviews, and then decide if further interviews are needed for a short list of the applicants. The Watchdog Report contacted County Human Resources staff last week and asked what was next in the process to get a new inspector general for the County and the Miami-Dade Public Schools District. In an email Arleene Cuellar wrote, “The committee has not yet identified a “short list” nor have they determined if a second round of interviews will be required.  The next Selection Committee meeting is scheduled for November 5, 2013 at noon,” wrote Cuellar.

The IG Selection Committee is made up of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Carlos Martinez, the County’s Public Defender, Charlton Copeland, the Chair of the Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust Commission, Major Scott Masington, President, of the Miami-Dade Chief’s Association, and Addy Villanueva, Special Agent in Charge, the Miami Field Office of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. They have discussed with a host of people the kind of person the office needs and included comments from former IG Christopher Mazzella, who thought someone that had been a Special Agent in Charge with the FBI or IRS might have the talent and experience to serve in the office. And the 13 candidates interviewed brought a wide range of experiences in a variety of ways. And whomever the selection committee picks to recommend to the Miami-Dade County Commission. The person will have they’re hands full in the coming years if they survive the pressure cooker local job, that periodically is buffeted by political winds.

>>> Past WDR: Three IG candidates interview with Selection Committee, Raftery, Cagle, Murawski, but federal employee DeMarco can’t because of federal shutdown

The Inspector General Selection Committee met Friday and interviewed three of the 13 finalist candidates, but one candidate could not be there because of the federal shutdown, and the closing of government could hamper the interview process of any federal employees that were chosen to interviewed during this first round. The Committee chaired by Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle interviewed Thomas Raftery, III, a former senior FBI Special Agent, now with the Delaware River Port Authority, Mary Cagle, a senior former state attorney now with Department of Children’s and Families, Michael Murawski, the Advocate with the County’s Ethics Commission and Joseph DeMarco who had to cancel the interview because of the federal shutdown affecting some 1 million federal employees.

Fernandez Rundle

>>> Who are the other finalists?

The next round of candidates to be interviewed are Christopher Clark, Teresa Gulotta Powers, Timothy Donavan, Donald Oswald and Neftai Carrasquillo are scheduled on Oct. 7, and Richard Lober, Jody Weis, Carter Olson and James Wright will be interviewed on Oct. 16.

>>>M-DC SAO press release: SWORN STATEMENTS TRIP UP EDUCATOR ERNESTO PEREZ ~ Unacknowledged Prior Criminal Conviction Leads to Charges

At the conclusion of a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) investigation, Dade Medical College President Ernesto Perez has been charged by the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office with felony and misdemeanor crimes relating to his actions undertaken to expunge a criminal arrest and relating to his appointment and re-appointment to the Commission on Independent Education.  In both these circumstances Ernesto Perez, also known as Rhett O’Neil, failed to acknowledge his 1990 criminal arrest for the charge of a Second Degree, Sexual Assault of a Child, his pleading “no contest” to the Misdemeanor crimes of  Battery and Exposing Genitals to Child, his conviction by a Wisconsin court and his 180 day jail sentence.

Specifics, outlined in the arrest warrant, deal with the following events:

On February 27, 2012, Perez completed an FDLE, Application for Certification of Eligibility to expunge a Miami area arrest.  As part of the expungement process, Perez submitted a sworn and notarized “Affidavit in Support to Expunge” to the Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida in September 2012, stating that he had never been adjudicated guilty of a criminal offense or a comparable ordinance violation.  Based upon this sworn affidavit, the Court of the Eleventh Judicial Circuit issued an order expunging Perez’ 2002 arrest on October 16, 2012.

In July of 2013, FDLE conducted a review of Ernesto Armando Perez’ 2009, 2011, and 2012 “Senate Confirmation Questionnaires.” These notarized documents were signed by Perez for appointment and re-appointment consideration to the Commission on Independent Education. On these documents, Perez failed to disclose his arrest and conviction in the State of Wisconsin.  As a result, Ernesto Armando Perez is charged with: 1 Count Expungement/False Information On Sworn Statement (3rd Degree Felony)

2 Counts Perjury Not In Official Proceeding (1st Degree Misdemeanors)

>>> Commissioners Heyman, Sosa, Bell, and Diaz all seeking reelection, no challengers to date

Sally Heyman, the county commissioner representing District 4 recently said in an interview with Helen Ferre, on WPBT Channel 2 Issues www.wpbt.org/issues that she is planning to run for the 13-member body again in 2014. Since she says there is still work yet to be done in her mind. Heyman a former state representative prior to being elected in 2002 has been a strong advocate of the arts and is a big Romero Britto fan, but she also has been critical of how Jackson Health System has been run over the years. And while the Watchdog Report has been critical of some of her past votes, overall now that she is a fiscal conservative. She has been okay on the dais in the scheme of things. For more on the candidates campaign reports go to http://www.voterfocus.com/ws/mdccand/candidate_pr.php?c=miamidade&el=17

In addition, other commissioners up for reelection next year are Commissioners Rebeca Sosa, who represents Commission District 6, Lynda Bell who represents District 8 and Jose “Pepe” Diaz, the District 12 county commissioner. Heyman has $6,000 in her campaign, and Bell has $176,000 state campaign reports on file. Sosa has been reelected since the early 2000s, Bell came into the office in 2010 and Diaz went to the county commission in 2002. And to date all four incumbents have no opposition in their race.

>>> The Miami-Dade County Commission will vote to name the new Miami-Dade Children’s Courthouse after Judge Seymour Gelber & Judge William E. Gladstone. The 13-member body must approve this naming of the facility soon to open by a three-fifths vote of the commissioners on the dais on Tuesday. Commissioner Sally Heyman last week took a tour of the building and she is expected to be speaking in favor of the naming the building after the two local long serving jurists and community icons.

>>> And to review all the Miami-Dade County Commissioners financial disclosure forms for the year go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm?org_id=214439&suborg_id=233972&Mode=By_SubOrg

>>> New Beacon Council CEO Williams gets introduced to community on Oct. 24 at Annual Meeting on the Beach

The Beacon Council is having its Annual Meeting on Thursday Oct. 24 at the Loews Miami Beach Hotel starting at 11:30 and for more information go to

http://www.beaconcouncil.com/web/Events.aspx?Page=events at the meeting, that features a number of prominent business leaders. The public for the first time will meet incoming Beacon Council President & CEO Larry K. Williams and the Watchdog Report wishes him luck in this challenging position of leadership in the years ahead.

>>> GMCVB press release: DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES REMAINS STRONG JANUARY – SEPTEMBER 2013 RANKING #4 IN REVENUE PER AVAILABLE ROOM (REVPAR), #4 IN AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE (ADR) AND #5 IN HOTEL ROOM OCCUPANCY AMONG THE TOP 25 U.S. MARKETS

January – September 2013
Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
Market Rate % Change vs. 2012
1. New York $207.43 6.5%
2. Oahu Island $177.67 14.3%
3. San Francisco $155.87 12.1%
4. Miami $138.10 +11.0%
5. Boston $120.42 3.6%
Average Daily Room Rate (ADR)
Market Rate % Change vs. 2012
1. New York $246.13 4.1%
2. Oahu Island $208.74 14.9%
3. San Francisco $186.00 9.0%
4. Miami $176.51 +8.7%
5. Boston $162.12 2.5%
Average Daily Occupancy
Market % Occupancy % Change vs. 2012
1. Oahu Island 85.1% -0.5%
2. New York 84.3% 2.3%
3. San Francisco 83.8% 2.8%
4. Los Angeles 78.3% 1.8%
5. Miami 78.2% +2.1%

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

>>> Jackson Health System supporters press county voters to approve $830 million bond, health system needs revamping, if it is to compete in new competitive healthcare world

With early voting starting Monday and a ballot that will ask countywide voters to approve the issuance of $830 million in General Obligation Bonds over the next decades. Proponents of the measure are armed with a well-oiled $1.3 million public relations campaign trying to garner support for the measure and a cross section of the community is speaking for the need to update Jackson Health System’s facilities.  A hospital system badly in need of massive infrastructure upgrades and new IT technology necessary in the rapidly changing healthcare environment, where competition and successful patient outcomes will be the competitive bar set when it comes to patient healthcare reimbursement.

JHS since 2000 has been deferring major maintenance and the physical plant in some areas looks like it was built in the 1960s and while a patient room renovation program was started when CEO Carlos Migoya took over in May 2010 that ended many of the two bed patient rooms to only one patient now. There is much more to be done to bring the facility up to snuff and be competitive with the larger hospital systems in South Florida. >>> For more on the bond go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/19/3699752/jackson-upgrade-plan-goes-to-voters.html

Migoya

CITY OF MIAMI

>>> Could seaplanes be coming back to Watson Island? MSEA board approves Letter of Intent with Nautilus

The Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority (MSEA) board on Tuesday approved a Confidential Letter of Intent that could reopen seaplane operations in the months ahead on Watson Island, a service stopped since Chalks Dec. 2005 seaplane crash. A company called Nautilus has acquired 50 percent of Chalks that holds the original lease with the city. However, that old lease is being challenged in the courts, and past rent payments have been in the courts for years and the matter is “still in litigation,” said an assistant city of Miami attorney at the meeting. However, the deal would bump up the rent of the terminal and restaurant facility on the waterfront with rent going to $7,500 a month initially, and when the facility is fully operateing. Rent payments jump to $250,000 a year, for the next five years and then to $300,000 a year, in year six states the Letter if Intent. Though Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff noted any final execution would be “subject to a settlement agreement,” on the other litigation that has been going on for around 10 years.

>>> County Ethics Commission press release: A complaint (C 13-24) filed by activist Al Crespo against officials in the City of Miami – including the manager, city commissioners and the police chief – for violating the City Charter by allowing elected officials to communicate directly with a department head, rather than through the manager, was determined as Not Legally Sufficient because the COE does not have jurisdiction over the Miami Charter.  No action was taken on another complaint (C 13-25) filed by Mr. Crespo against members of the Ethics Commission for allegedly violating Florida’s Sunshine Law.  Instead, it will be turned over to the Miami-Dade State Attorney by the Commission Advocate.

>>> PAST WDR: Dye is set, Mayor Regalado faces three challengers, Carollo gets one, and four candidates vie to replace Spence-Jones in Dist. 5 vacated set

The dye is set, with candidate filings closed with the Miami Clerk Sept. 21 for the candidates for the Nov. 5 citywide elections and with Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez dropping out of the mayoral race last month. Mayor Tomas Regalado is expected to win without a runoff while he faces three relatively unknown challengers. The challengers to Regalado’s final term in office are Jeffrey Anthony Benjamin, Williams Armbrister and Tom Bauman and around the city, you can see some of these candidates’ campaign signs, but they are lacking in the fundraising department.

In the Commission District 3 race, incumbent Miami Commissioner Frank Carollo is facing Alex Dominguez and in the District 5 race to replace termed out Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. The candidates are Richard Dunn, II, Robert Malone, Jr., Keon Hardeman and Jacquetta “Jacqui” Colyer rounds out the field of hopefuls running for the vacated office. And it is expected that in both commission races the negative charges will fly and the only question for the respective campaigns is how low will they go running up to the general election where 50 percent plus one will catapult the candidate into office. http://www.miamigov.com/City_Clerk/Pages/Elections/candidates.asp


Regalado

Carollo

Suarez

Spence-Jones

VILLAGE OF COCONUT GROVE

>>> MSEA gives $10,000 grant for ISAF Sailing World Cup Race in Grove in Jan.

The Miami Sports & Exhibition Authority approved a $10,000 grant for the upcoming ISAF Sailing World Cup Miami being held on Jan.25 to Feb.1 on Biscayne Bay. The race formerly known as the Rolex World Cup brings a host of sailors and support staff to Coconut Grove, 580 competitors, and 417 boats from 45 countries will be represented. In addition, U.S Sailing will spend some $2 million plus on the event generating roughly, 10,925 total bed nights in Miami and the visitor’s average stay will be 14 days. Venues in the Grove participating will be the U.S. Sailing Center, Coral Reef Yacht Club, Coconut Grove Sailing Center, Biscayne Bay Yacht Center and the Miami Rowing Club.

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

>>> Mayoral candidates Levine & Gongora continue to trade political shots, race has nasty ethnic overtone, how low will the candidates go with early voting starting Oct. 21

The race for mayor of Miami Beach continues to heat up and mayoral candidate Phillip Levine has brought in the big political guns when he asked former President Bill Clinton and former Miami-Dade County Mayor Alex Penelas to help promote his campaign, that is being attacked for possible being anti-Hispanic. A charge Levine says is not true and Penelas in a letter to The Herald says is a bogus campaign charge. Levine is facing Miami Beach Commissioner Michael Gongora along with Steve Berke, a Yale graduate in his second try for office and obscure candidate Raphael Herman are all on the Beach ballot for mayor and early voting starts Monday Oct. 21. Gongora has raised considerable money for his campaign and much of Levine’s war chest is self financed but both men have enough money to get their message out to the voters in what is expected to be a low turnout race. >>> To review the Nov. 5 ballot go to http://web.miamibeachfl.gov/cityclerk/elections/scroll.aspx?id=64033 and for more on the race go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/19/3698657/in-miami-beach-a-mayoral-race.html

>>> Ethics Commission press release: The Commission on Ethics (COE) approved a Letter of Instruction to Miami Beach City Commissioner Edward Tobin concerning his role in last year’s selection of a new police chief.  In August, the COE determined that Commissioner Tobin did not exploit his official position as alleged in C 13-03, but agreed that advice for the future was warranted.  The Letter notes that in a commissioner-manager form of government, as defined in the Miami Beach Charter, the City Manager is responsible for day-to-day operations, including the hiring and firing of personnel.   The COE issued the Letter to remind Commissioner Tobin that the City Charter clearly delineates the distinct duties and responsibilities of elected officials and the manager.  The Letter also suggests that the City adopt an ordinance clearly establishing parameters of the legislative role in the appointment process with remedies for violations and educate all elected officials on their appropriate roles.

>>> In a different Miami Beach case, the Ethics Commission approved a Letter of Instruction to City Commissioner Jonah Wolfson and his legislative aide, Leonor Hernandez.  It stemmed from a complaint (C 13-16) filed by a constituent who made three unsuccessful requests to obtain an e-mail address list used to distribute a newsletter several years ago.  The complaint was dismissed after the COE was informed that Wolfson had instructed his staff to work with Miami Beach’s technology department to fulfill the records request.  The Letter reminds the recipients and all public servants of their duties under the Miami-Dade County Citizen’s Bill of Rights, including being helpful and providing accurate information in a timely manner.

CITY OF HOMESTEAD

>>> Mortgage Broker Sentenced in $39 Mortgage Fraud

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael P. Stephens, Acting Inspector General, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, announced the sentencing of defendant Quelyory A. Rigal, 38, of Homestead, to 200 months in prison, followed by five years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch. Rigal was indicted with seven other defendants in Case No. 12-60088-CR-Zloch for fraudulently obtaining mortgages for the purchase of condominium units at Marina Oaks Condominiums in Fort Lauderdale, FL. The indictment charged defendant Rigal with conspiracy to commit wire fraud and mail fraud, as well as substantive counts of wire fraud and mail fraud. Defendant Rigal was found guilty on all counts charged in the indictment.

The other defendants were: Juan Carlos Sanchez, of New York, N.Y., Sandra P. Campo, of Colombia, Osbelia Lazardi, of Southwest Ranches, FL, Dayanara Montero, of Miramar, FL, Edward R. Mena, of Miami, FL, Celeste Mota, of Fort Myers, FL, and David Arboleda, of Doral, FL.  With the exception of Rigal who proceeded to trial, all other defendants plead guilty to conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud. Defendant Sanchez was sentenced to 180 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Defendants Lazardi was sentenced to 25 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Defendant Campo was sentenced to 70 months in prison and five years of supervised release.  Defendant Mena was sentenced to 54 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Defendant Arboleda was sentenced to 30 months in prison and three years of supervised release. Defendant Montero was sentenced to 22 months in prison and three years of supervised release.  Defendant Mota was sentenced to five years of supervised release.

According to the indictment, from January 2007 through November 2008, the defendants conspired to recruit individuals willing to purchase condominium units at Marina Oaks Condominiums. These buyers were promised a “buyers’ incentive,” which payment was not disclosed to the lenders or reflected on any of the closing documents. The conspirators would then prepare materially false mortgage applications for the buyers on HUD Uniform Loan Application Form 1003. These forms contained false information as to material facts regarding the borrowers’ credit worthiness in order to qualify the borrowers for mortgages to purchase the Marina Oaks Condominiums. The conspirators created false documents to support the mortgage applications. Once the loans closed, the conspirators diverted portions of the mortgage proceeds for their personal use and benefit. The indictment alleges that the conspirators obtained approximately $39 million in 163 fraudulent mortgage loans at Marina Oaks, resulting in $34 million in losses to the various lenders including Fannie Mae, which reported losses over $4.1 million to date, while Freddie Mac faces potential exposure of an additional $8.5 million. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Inspector General, as the lead investigative agency in the prosecution of Rigal, and IRS-CI and the Broward Sheriff’s Office for their participation in this investigation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas P. Lanigan. >>> 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.

CITY OF DORAL

>>> M-DC Commission on Ethics release: Letters of Instruction provide direction to Manager Carollo

Following last month’s opinion (RQO 13-08) advising Doral Mayor Luigi Boria to refrain from voting on or participating in any official matters involving a private developer in the West Miami-Dade municipality because of the mayor’s business relationships with the owner, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust today approved a Letter of Instruction to City Manager Joe Carollo.  To avoid any appearance of impropriety, the Manager was instructed to direct Doral city staff to perform their duties responsibly, honestly and fairly when taking official actions, such as permitting and inspections, related to the firm, “The Grand Floridian,” and its planned development.

VILLAGE OF KEY BISCAYNE

>>> PUBLIC WORKS AND WASTE MANAGEMENT DEPARTMENT ANNOUNCES CLOSURE OF THE RICKENBACKER CAUSEWAY CUSTOMER SERVICE OFFICE AND PARKING FACILITY

Press release: In preparation for demolition and construction work on the West Bridge of the Rickenbacker Causeway, the toll plaza customer service office and parking facility will close on Wednesday, October 2, 2013 until completion of the work on the West Bridge. Motorists and cyclists will no longer be able to access the toll plaza parking lot from either direction, as this area will be used for equipment staging associated with the West Bridge rehabilitation project.

All toll plaza business will be conducted at the new Rickenbacker Causeway Customer Service Center which will be housed in the Causeway Maintenance Facility located on Arthur Lamb Jr. Road (also known as Sewer Beach Road).  The facility sits directly across the street from the Miami Seaquarium.   The Customer Service Center will be open Monday through Friday from

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. except County-observed holidays. For more information on the Customer Service Center, please contact PWWM’s Causeways Division at 305-854-2468, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

>>> OTHER STORIES AROUND FLORIDA

BROWARD COUNTY

>>> Guilty Plea Entered by Two More Individuals Charged in Plot to Conceal and Dispose of Assets in Connection with Rothstein Case

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael J. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that defendants Eddy Marin, 50, and Patrick Daoud, 54, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra to charges related to obstruction of justice. Marin pled guilty to conspiracy to obstruct justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(k). Daoud pled guilty to obstruction of justice, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1512(c). Sentencing has been scheduled for February 3, 2014 for both men.

According to the documents filed with the court, former Ft. Lauderdale attorney Scott W. Rothstein, who was the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. (RRA), used the funds obtained from the operation of a Ponzi scheme to purchase tens of millions of dollars of real estate, vehicles, vessels, business interests, luxury watches, jewelry and sports memorabilia for himself, his wife, Kimberly Rothstein, and others. As part of his plea agreement, Scott W. Rothstein agreed to forfeit to the government all assets acquired with funds derived through the aforesaid Ponzi scheme. On November 9, 2009, agents of the Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation, went to the Rothstein residence, where Kimberly Rothstein assisted the agents in retrieving what was believed to be all of the available cash, jewelry and luxury watches which had previously been purchased by Scott W. Rothstein with proceeds derived from the Ponzi scheme. However, according to court documents, before, during and after the aforesaid seizure by federal agents on November 9, 2009, Kimberly Rothstein, Stacie Weisman, and attorney Scott F. Saidel knowingly took action to conceal certain items of jewelry, valued in excess of one million dollars, for the purpose of preventing the government from exercising its authority to take such property into its lawful custody and control. Thereafter, Kimberly Rothstein and Stacie Weisman sold and attempted to sell a portion of this jewelry to and through various persons, including Eddy Marin and Patrick Daoud.

The documents further allege that, in connection with civil proceedings instituted by the Trustee in bankruptcy for RRA, both defendants took steps to obstruct justice by concealing the true location of certain items of jewelry in order to prevent its availability for use in the bankruptcy proceedings. It is further alleged that, as part of their obstructive conduct, Marin and Daoud committed perjury during depositions in connection with the bankruptcy proceedings. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence LaVecchio, Jeffrey Kaplan, Paul Schwartz and Evelyn Sheehan. 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.

>>> Residents can review they’re county commissioners financial disclosure forms on line — Residents of Broward County can now review they’re county commissioners financial disclosure forms on line and to see the inner financial workings of these elected officials go to  http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm

>>> Thank you for using the Broward County Commission Agenda E-mail Notification System. A new Broward County Commission Agenda is available. Point your browser to http://www.broward.org/commission/welcome.htm to view the new agenda.

CITY OF LAUDERDALE

>>> Local resident Indicted in $4 Million Ponzi Scheme

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, and Eric I. Bustillo, Regional Director, Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), announce the filing of an indictment charging defendant Jenny Coplan, 54, of Lauderhill, with three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. In a parallel action, the SEC announced civil charges against Coplan.

According to the indictment filed in this matter, Coplan was the president of Immigration General Services, LLC (IGS) and solicited investors for purported investments in federal bail and immigration bonds. Coplan promised investors interest rates exceeding sixty percent a year on their investments.

According to the indictment filed in this matter, to induce investors to invest money with IGS, Coplan made material oral misrepresentations, which included, among others, promises that the investments were insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Company, that the investments were secure and had little risk, and that Coplan had the experience and licenses to invest in these bonds. Further, to induce investors to invest money with IGS and to keep their investment with IGS, Coplan made material written misrepresentations to investors, including, among others, providing investors fraudulent and fictitious financial statements and fraudulent and fictitious e-mails from the bond corporation in which investors were purportedly investing.

Induced by Coplan’s misrepresentations, the indictment alleges, investors invested approximately $4 million with Coplan by wiring money, writing checks, or providing cash to Coplan. Rather than investing the money in the bonds as promised, Coplan used the monies from new investors to pay old investors and used the money for her personal use and benefit. If convicted, the defendant faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of 20 years in prison for each count of wire fraud. Mr. Ferrer thanked the FBI and SEC for their work on this case. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger. 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.

PALM BEACH COUNTY

>>> Palm Beach County Resident Convicted for Receipt, Distribution and Possession of Child Pornography

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Michael B. Steinbach, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Hernandez Banks, 23, of Palm Beach, was convicted yesterday on all three counts of receipt, distribution and possession of child pornography, after a six day trial before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra.

This case stemmed from an undercover investigation into child pornography distributors who use LimeWire, a peer to peer software application. In August 2011, FBI-Houston conducted and undercover investigation that identified Banks transmitting child pornography from his West Palm Beach home using LimeWire. The FBI-West Palm Beach seized two computers from Banks’ home. The FBI analyzed the computers at their laboratory and discovered over 100 videos and images of child pornography.

Banks faces a mandatory minimum term of five years and up to a maximum term of twenty years in prison on the receipt and distribution counts. Banks faces a maximum term of ten years in prison on the possession count. Sentencing is scheduled for January 27, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra in West Palm Beach, Florida. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse. Project Safe Childhood was launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice and is led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section (CEOS). Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the Internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Lothrop Morris. 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.

>>> Press release: Gov. Scott makes two appointments and two reappointments to the Children’s Services Council of Palm Beach County.

Thomas Lynch, 65, of Delray Beach, is the president of Plastridge Insurance Agency. He succeeds Willie Miller, Jr. and is appointed for a term beginning October 11, 2013, and ending November 3, 2014.

Thomas Weber, 55, of Palm Beach Gardens, is the president of Aquila Property Company Inc. He succeeds Max Macon and is appointed for a term beginning October 11, 2013, and ending November 3, 2014.

Vincent Goodman, 68, of Rivera Beach, is a retired assistant principal with Palm Beach County School District. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 11, 2013, and ending November 3, 2014.

Gregory Langowski, 35, of Palm Beach Gardens, is a regional director for United States Senator Marco Rubio. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 11, 2013, and ending November 3, 2016.

CITY OF BOCA RATON

>>> Mortgage Company Executive Sentenced in Fraud Case

Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Michael P. Stephens, Acting Inspector General, Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of Inspector General, and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announced the sentencing of Patrick J. Mansell, 68, of Boca Raton, FL, Vice President of Coastal States Mortgage Corporation (Coastal). Mansell was sentenced to a statutory maximum penalty of five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release by U.S. District Judge Robin S. Rosenbaum. Mansell previously pled guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud to defraud government sponsored entities, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

According to the Information, from April 2007 through November 2008, in the Southern District of Florida, Coastal was a licensed mortgage brokerage whose primary business was the selling and servicing of mortgage loans for both Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. At the change of plea hearing, Mansell admitted that Coastal failed to remit some of the mortgage loan payoffs it received and processed from borrowers to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae, as required by the contractual agreement entered into between them. This resulted in an $18,735,903.77 loss to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. The misappropriation was concealed by the regular submission of false financial reports and monthly mortgage payments by Coastal, via an interstate internet portal, to Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.  These monthly mortgage payments by Coastal misled the lenders into believing the loans were still performing.

Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, Office of the Inspector General and Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Thomas P. Lanigan. 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.

ALACHUA COUNTY

>>> Gov. Scott taps Monica Brasington to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court.

Press release: Brasington, 40, of Gainesville, has been a partner with Miller & Brasington, P.A. since 2006, practicing elder and special needs law. Brasington previously practiced at King & Spalding in Atlanta and was staff counsel to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court. Brasington is the vice president of the Estate Planning Council of North Florida and program chair of the James C. Adkins, Jr. American Inn of Court. Brasington received her bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida where she graduated with high honors. Brasington fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge David A. Glant.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Through her dedication for serving our elderly and special needs citizens, Monica has demonstrated that she will be a thoughtful judge and will bring great experience to the Eighth Judicial Circuit Court bench. I am confident she will always put the interests of Florida families first as she assumes her new role.”

MONROE COUNTY

>>> Gov. Scott names Edwin A. Scales, III to the Third District Court of Appeal, first for a attorney from Monroe County attorney since 1957

Press release: Scales, 47, of Key West, has been the President of Edwin A. Scales, III, P.A. since 2000, and of counsel with GrayRobinson since 2003. His practice consists primarily of commercial and appellate litigation. Scales is currently the general counsel of the Florida Citrus Commission, vice chair of the Florida Keys Community College Board, vice chair of the Florida Commission on Ethics, and is a member of the Florida Bar Board of Governors. Previously, Scales was the general counsel for Historic Tours of America, and practiced with Lane, Trohn, Clarke, Bertrand, and Williams, and served as a Key West City Commissioner. Scales received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from the University of Florida. Scales fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Angel A. Cortinas. He is the first Monroe County lawyer appointed to the Third District Court of Appeal bench since its creation in 1957.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Ed has demonstrated a strong command of the law through his decades of legal experience and public service. I am confident he will be a superior judge and will serve Florida’s families with honesty, integrity, and true devotion to the rule of law.”

>>> And to read all the other Monroe County constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm

COMMUNITY EVENTS

>>> 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

>>> PAST WDR APRIL 2011 >>> S.FL digital divide of 30% should be of concern, what do you say to the elderly, poor of all ethnic groups, denied public services?

Bridgett Carey, the technology expert at The Miami Herald www.miamiherald.com wrote a great but sad front-page story today on the number of people in Miami-Dade and Broward County who do not have regular access to the internet, or even own a computer. A survey of the counties found 30 percent of South Floridians don’t have access to the technology on a consistent basis and 21 percent don’t even own a computer, and it gets worse. In Miami-Dade the story says 35.5 percent have “no regular access,” Broward came in at 23 percent and the national average is 22.7 percent “of Americans are without access.” Over the past 12 years, I have written about this issue extensively as I watched more and more government and other services go online but what do you say to the elderly and poor that are being left behind? The reporter’s story shows not only is poverty one major reason, but the older members of our community are left out in the cold and why I flinch when the issue comes up at government meetings where public employees assume everyone is wired. Since they all are but this study clearly shows in the case of these two counties, that is not the case.

The Watchdog Report does not have the answer for this digital divide that seems to advance exponentially sometimes but with these advances, more and more local residents will be left behind, as the world races ahead and government and public institutions are right to forge ahead with this changing technology. However, they should also pause and weigh the price those residents left behind will pay, being unable to use the technology and information that might be exclusively online. For while they may not be connected, they still have to function in our society, pay their taxes, and be productive whatever their age. And serving these less tech savvy people cannot be denied or ignored and alternatives must always be available. If we are not to create a new segregated group of people that are only guilty of not being able to keep up in this technological whirlwind, that younger folk may find occurs to them as they age in the decades to come, while technology just continues too spurt ahead, and leaves them in the dust as well.

LETTERS

>>> Thank you for including the news about my induction to The Florida Bar in your weekly report. It was gratifying to read the words of praise you wrote and receiving your “Tip of the Hat”.

Marta Perez

School Board Member District 8

>>> Get well soon. I take it you did not have a flu shot this year? I hope after analyzing the information, you will come out strongly in support of the $830 million bond issue for JMH- it will be transformative for our whole medical campus and great for the citizens of Miami-Dade County.

Alan Livingstone, M.D.

>>> I wish you a good recovery. Take it easy for a while. And remember, at 62 you are still a kid.

Alan

>>> I pray that you get better soon, and Please, Please, Please Take Care Of Yourself First!

>>> People such as You Are Really Vital To All The Communities You Send This Report Out Too! May God Always Walk Before You & Yours!

>>> Get well my friend. We need the Watchdog Report to be healthy.

>>> 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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