Watchdog Report Vol.14 No.25 November 3, 2013 Est.05.05.00 – General Election Issue – I go when you cannot
Argus Report: TSA has its first death at LAX, agency is criticized often, but is safety firewall for flying public and the job has its risks
Florida: Former Gov. Crist is running, Gov. Scott’s supporters gird up for massive negative campaign against presumed Democratic front runner – 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: Commission to hear seven impasse contract appeals with county unions, expected to be contentious BCC meeting on Thursday
Miami-Dade Public Schools: Board member Holloway honored by North Dade Chamber for helping students develop their full potential
Public Health Trust: CEO Migoya not a “bookie,” but Jackson’s, “future will be written by those voters that show up,” when it comes to voters passing of $830 million bond Nov. 5
City of Miami: Mayor Regalado campaign on autopilot, but what will final voting edge be with three other lesser-known candidates?
Village of Coconut Grove: Feds sentence two armed robbers to Life in Prison
City of Miami Beach: Its Showtime, Mayoral & Commission Candidates make final push running up to Nov. 5 Election Day, how much lower will the candidates campaigns go?
City of Coral Gables: Community & Civic engagement gets a boost from Rotary, Kiwanis and other community clubs, should be supported
City of Homestead: Ethics Commission says Homestead campaign ad under scrutiny
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: School Board member Leach says sayonara at end of year, moderate Republican in Democratic Party stronghold, had $1.96 million net worth through Jun.
Palm Beach County: Former federal prosecutor Prior Brown elected to school board in 2010, recent controversy, had $1.67 million net worth through 2012 — Residents can review they’re top County Officials financial disclosure forms on line at http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
West Palm Beach: Two More Defendants Sentenced in Staged Automobile Accident Scheme ~ 92 defendants have been charged to date in Operation Sledgehammer I-VI
Gulf County: Gov. Scott names Jason Shoaf and the reappoint’s Carl “Eugene” Raffield to the Port Saint Joe Port Authority
Jackson County: Gov. Scott announced three appointments and four reappointments to the Jackson County Hospital Corporation.
Indian River County: Local man gets 180 months in federal Big House for child porn
Liberty County: Gov. Scott reinstates County Sheriff Finch after jury finds cop not guilty
Lee County: Gov. Scott taps Brian Hamman as a new County Commissioner.
Columbia County: Gov. Scott names Joseph H. Chancy to the Columbia County Housing Authority.
Monroe County: Elections Supervisor Griffin in the spotlight, elected in 2012, had $580,000 net worth in Jun. — to read all Monroe County constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
Community Events: FIU’S JOURNALISM, COMMUNICATION SCHOOL BRINGS BIG NAMES & HOT TOPICS TO HISPANIC MARKETING CONFERENCE NOV. 7 & 8 Multi-day conference examines brands, health, environment and politics >>> International Business Leadership Awards – the Greater Miami Chamber prepares to honor those who work in international business at the seventh annual
Editorials: Low voter turnout for municipal elections corrosive to local government, do we get the leaders we deserve? — 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 thinks last week’s story on the ACA foul up and President Obama was slanted
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.)
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>>> 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
>>> The Watchdog Report publisher will be on Topical Currents at 1:00 p.m., Tuesday Nov. 5 on www.wlrn.org/topicalcurrents on 91.3 F.M. hosted by Joseph Cooper and Bonnie Berman. I will be joined on the show by Broward Bulldog award winning investigative reporter Dan Christensen, to discuss the elections and other political issues of the week.
>>> CORRECTION: “I Just wanted to clarify that Mr. Jay Solowsky is not the City Manager’s appointee [on the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust board]. The City Manager is the appointee in an ex-officio capacity and remains the board member. However, our board members may send designees on their behalf if they cannot attend. Mr. Solowsky is one of two persons that the City Manager advised us will serve as his designee,” wrote Hilda M. Fernandez, the Executive Director, Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.
ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street
>>> TSA has its first death at LAX, agency gets criticized but is safety firewall for flying public and has its risks
With the first death of a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) officer at the Los Angeles Airport Friday in the agency’s 12 years of providing security at the nation’s vulnerable airports. The tragedy shows that once again attacks can come at anytime and from anyone. TSA over the years has been the butt of comedic jokes, questioned why certain items were banned from going on aircraft but these men and women are also in many ways the frontline to air safety for the nation and all those people from around the world that fly in our skies. And this tragic killing should remind all Americans of that fact, when they are screened to board a flight here or abroad. For more on the story go to http://news.msn.com/us/tsa-agent-killed-in-los-angeles-airport-shooting and for what is going on at MIA and the TSA now go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/01/3725260/101-million-tsa-grant-will-boost.html
>>> Baptist Health community numbers for the year, show $291 million in charity care and community service, up from $222 million a couple of years ago
Baptist Health South Florida, the largest private organization in South Florida and employs over 15,000 employees is in the spotlight this week. The faith-based not-for-profit founded in 1960 has health facilities in Broward, Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties and has a major component of expenses when it comes to charity and none compensated healthcare costs, over twice what the federal tax break provides Baptist Health, as a non-profit institution. Baptist Health has seven hospitals, and more than 30 medical plazas and urgent care and outpatient facilities in the region and the $4 billion organization gave $291 million in charity care and community service state Baptist Health documents (and that is up from $222 million a few years ago). Moreover, some 24,000 patients received charity care in the past year. In addition, the hospital system’s international program draws some 12,000 patients in the course of the year.
The healthcare system has more than 2,200 physicians and the Baptist Health Medical Group “is the home to more than 140 physicians from cardiac surgeons and hospitalists to robotic specialists, sports medicine specialists and neurosurgeons.” And the health system in 2014 will begin construction of a state- of-the-art Cancer Institute and a new $200 million hospital in West Kendall is a teaching affiliate with Florida International University’s Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine. The organization self-insures its buildings and facilities after finding government was slow to respond to the extensive damage Baptist Health hospitals received after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. And the facilities are now hardened to sustain Hurrican Force winds with minimal damage. And when it comes to the employee handbook, called The Body. The Manuel gives a strong dose of preventative healthcare, ways to stay healthy through good nutrition and exercise and the book is almost a manual on how to live a healthy, generally good medical health life for many of the employees through preventative care.
Further, Baptist Health originally started with only one hospital, its flagship on Kendall Drive, a road in 1960 when Baptist was founded with the nickname the “Road to no where.” And the area was just beginning to be developed into the sprawling community of homes and rentals it is today, with roughly some 450,000 people in the Kendall area alone. Further, “Living within our means,” was a Baptist Health cost saving policy initiated with the rise in healthcare costs and charity care and this proactive management philosophy has allowed the health system to expand the system with modern facilities, but also over the decade to have put in $1 billion into the system’s reserves. And next to the public Jackson Health System that gets some $350 million of public money for uncompensated care, Baptist is the second largest provider of charity care in Miami-Dade. For more go to www.baptisthealth.net >>> Editor’s note: My life was saved in February 2010 during an emergency 4:00 a.m. surgery at South Miami Hospital, a facility owned by Baptist Health South Florida. And I can never thank vascular surgeon Jorge Rabaza, M.D. and the great medical staff during this challenging time, that Rabaza considered a “flip of the coin,” when it came to saving my life at the time of the emergency surgery.
>>> Medicare Fraud fugitives hurt everyone in South Florida, from the lowest to the highest of us
The Miami Herald did a major story on the fugitives of Medicare Fraud in South Florida http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/02/3728532/fbi-tracking-down-medicare-fraud.html and it highlights why over the past 15 years the Watchdog Report has covered the issue almost every week. Medicare and Medicaid Fraud is a cancer on the community for these precious public tax dollars need to go to those in need and make healthcare costs rise for all since it is so rampant. Readers have asked me over the years why I cover the issue of fraud so much, saying look at all “the fraud in Afghanistan and Iraq,” for example. And while I cannot stop that overseas graft, being a small part of tamping it down here in South Florida is something that is possible, and why I have never wavered in that activity over the past two decades.
>>> Jamaican Citizen Pleads Guilty In Connection With International Lottery Scheme Based In Jamaica
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Assistant Attorney General Delery, Department of Justice Civil Division, U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge Ronald Verrochio, U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Special Agent in Charge Alysa D. Erichs, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations and Acting U.S. Marshal Neil DeSousa, U.S. Marshals Service announced that Oneike Mickhale Barnett pleaded guilty today in the U.S. District Court in Ft. Lauderdale to one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, Barnett, a Jamaican citizen, was charged in connection with a lottery scheme based in Jamaica that fraudulently induced elderly victims in the U.S. to send Barnett and his co-conspirators thousands of dollars to cover fees for lottery winnings that victims had not won.
This prosecution is part of the Department of Justice’s effort, working with federal and local law enforcement, to combat fraudulent lottery schemes in Jamaica preying on American citizens. According to the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, Americans have lost tens of millions of dollars to fraudulent foreign lotteries and sweepstakes. “All too often, what appears to be an unexpected lottery win is in fact a pernicious lottery scam, and one that cheats unsuspecting Americans out of their hard-earned savings,” said Stuart F. Delery, Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division. “The Department of Justice will continue our crackdown on those responsible for lottery schemes, particularly schemes that target the elderly.”
“As is evident by the prevalence of international lottery scams, fraudsters have no bounds,” said Wifredo A. Ferrer, U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of Florida. “While we will continue to combat fraud vigorously, and pursue and prosecute fraudsters using all legal means available to us, now more than ever, the public needs to be mindful of these schemes to avoid falling prey to them. As I have previously stated, so long as fraudsters continue to line their pockets with the hard earned money of our most vulnerable citizens, we will be there to prosecute them and bring them to justice.”
Barnett was arrested in Orlando, Fla., in August 2013 following his indictment by a federal grand jury in Ft. Lauderdale on Aug. 9, 2012. As part of his guilty plea, Barnett acknowledged that, had the case gone to trial, the U.S. would have proved beyond a reasonable doubt that, from 2008 through 2012, Barnett was a member of a conspiracy in which elderly victims were informed that they had won a large amount of money in a lottery and were induced to pay bogus fees in advance of receiving their purported lottery winnings. Barnett also acknowledged that the government would have proved that he knew the claims of lottery winnings were completely fabricated and that he, along with his co-conspirators, kept the victims’ money for their own benefit without paying any lottery winnings. Barnett also acknowledged that the government would have proved that, in an effort to convince the victims that the lottery winnings were real, the conspirators sent them written and electronic communications discussing their purported lottery winnings, which claimed to be from a genuine sweepstakes company and from federal agencies including the Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Reserve. In fact, these communications were not from a genuine sweepstakes company or from agencies of the United States.
“The United States Postal Inspection Service is dedicated to investigating and uncovering lottery fraud from Jamaica and combating such fraud,” said U.S. Postal Inspector in Charge for the Miami Division Ronald Verrochio. “Lottery fraud from Jamaica against American citizens is a very challenging problem, but as this case demonstrates, law enforcement in the U.S. working with our partners in Jamaica will continue to aggressively pursue such scammers even if they base their operations outside of the U.S.,” said Special Agent in Charge for Homeland Security Investigations in Miami Alysa D. Erichs. “Working with our law enforcement partners at the Postal Inspection Service and Homeland Security Investigations, the Marshals Service was pleased to be able to help catch this defendant and bring him to justice,” said Acting U.S. Marshal Neil DeSousa.
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: Zogby: Latest Virginia Tracking Poll & Obama Report Card
Zogby Report Card: Bad week, but signs of improvement John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner. “Make no mistake about it, another bad week for President Obama. Added to the problems of the Affordable Care Act website glitch are suggestions he misled the public about the true nature of the law’s impact. Mr. Obama did say that Americans could keep their existing plans and that costs would not go up. We already see violations of those promises or at least mass confusion. “Also there were reports that one of the leaders monitored by NSA is Pope Francis I. Probably no WMD there. Please click on the link below to view this week’s grade: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/367-zogby-report-card-bad-week-but-signs-of-improvement
>>> Former Gov. Crist is in, Gov. Scott girds up for massive negative campaign against presumed Democratic front-runner
With former Gov. Charlie Crist filing his gubernatorial campaign paper’s Friday to be a Democratic Party candidate for governor, and an attempted repeat of his Republican gubernatorial victory in 2006, with the kick off on Monday when he formerly starts the campaign. The GOP and Gov. Rick Scott are expected to unleash immediately a barrage of negative political attack ads in the media in an attempt to paint the changing political party attorney as unreliable and having no true political convictions of his own. Crist ahead of Scott in past statewide polls is a proven campaigner, except for his bid for the U.S. Senate in 2010, which Republican Marco Rubio won. However, Crist has been a stalking horse to announced Democratic Party candidate, former state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Broward, who has trailed in the polls and she does not have anywhere the name recognition as Crist, but she says she will persevere on.
In addition, some hardcore Democrats, like former Miami Congressman Kendrick Meek, who ran as the Democratic Party senate candidate against Rubio and the Independent Party Crist, but Meek came in third, in the three-man race back then. Moreover, many regular Democrats are not excited by the Crist prospect and hope another challenger might emerge to carry the party’s flag in the 2014 gubernatorial race, Democrats believe they have a chance to win since losing the past gubernatorial races since 1998. http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/01/3725959/charlie-crist-makes-it-official.html
Further, Scott has been practically living in Miami-Dade this past week, he had events during the day and then he had dinner at Café Abbracci, in Coral Gables on Monday night, was later at a Historic Biltmore Hotel event, a ATT service center opening in the Falls Shopping Center, later in the week, and Scott was doing media shows on Friday after shunning the media when he first ran for office and he did a Telemundo interview this week as well as Helen Ferre’s show Issues over the weekend. And to see the show go to www.wpbt.org/issues taped prior to Scott leaving on a trade mission to Japan over the weekend.
>>> Today, Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Clyde Daniel to the Florida Commission on Human Relations.
Press release: Daniel, 63, of Tallahassee, is a former executive director for the Florida Commission on Human Relations. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning October 29, 2013, and ending September 30, 2017. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
>>> 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.
>>> County Commission to hear seven union impasse contract appeals with county unions, expected to be contentious BCC meeting on Thursday
The County Commission will be holding impasse hearings Thursday on the contracts with seven county unions that want to stop contributing five percent of their salary for their healthcare insurance. The commission in 2010 at the urging of then Commissioner Carlos Gimenez along with other commissioners rejected the unions demands to not have to pay the percentage into the fund and the unions have been battling back to get the payments eliminated since, and any new agreement begins Jan. 1. Gimenez, facing a deficit in the budget hearings over the summer said it was necessary to keep the contributions in place (that would cost $27 million over the affected nine month period next year), even thought the self-funded healthcare program is fiscally healthy, and the robust fund has been one of the reasons the union officials want the rollback in the employee contribution.
However, the 13 member commission will now decide the matter and it is unknown this year if the elected leaders will bend to the unions demands or back Gimenez in saying no to the five percent give back, but the Thursday Board of County Commissioner’s meeting is expected to be long and contentious as commissioners hash out the details of the impasse and look for a solution to the vexing problem. Further, the commission will also have to hear the pleas of the five or six unions at Jackson Health System later in the month, also at impasse with JHS President Carlos Migoya’s administration and the issue was passed to the county commission by the Public Health Trust board Monday and now goes to the county commission for the final resolution. And to read what Gimenez said about the issue in an editorial Sunday go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/02/3725898/miami-dade-mayor-impasse-looms.html and he was also on Senior Political Reporter Michael Putney’s show This Week in South Florida Sunday and to see the show go to http://www.local10.com/news/
>>> The Crandon Park Tennis Center expansion is hitting the commission this Tuesday and it is expected to be a controversial project that has lawsuits and disgruntled users of the facility complaining. For more on the controversy go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/02/3727544_p2/miami-dade-commission-to-take.html
>>> 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
|GMCVB press release: RECORD MIAMI INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT ARRIVALS FOR SEPTEMBER 2013|
|International passenger arrivals for the month of September 2013 at Miami International Airport (MIA) increased by 5.1% and domestic passenger arrivals increased by 4.1%. Total passenger arrivals at Miami International Airport (MIA) increased in the month of September 2013 by 4.6%.|
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
>>> Board member Holloway honored by North Dade Chamber for helping students develop their full potential
Press release: Dr. Wilbert “Tee” Holloway, School Board Member for District 1, was recently awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the North Dade Regional Chamber at its Beyond the Bell Breakfast. Dr. Holloway was recognized for providing students with the necessary skills they need to become effective, contributing members of the community.
Dr. Holloway has been a School Board member since 2007. He previously served as State Representative for District 103. He has been recognized with various honors and awards including the Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida Memorial College, United Way of Dade County Volunteer of the Year and the Bethune Cookman College Distinguished Alumni.
PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST
>>> CEO Migoya not a “bookie,” but Jackson’s, “future will be written by those voters that show up,” when it comes to the county electorate passing of $830 million bond Nov. 5
The historically financially struggling Jackson Health System has bounced back in a big way this year after massive reforms and labor concessions and the public hospital is on track to post a roughly $40 million profit in the budget year ending Sept. 30. The seven-member Trust board met Monday for their monthly-televised board meeting in the county commission chambers and while the final official numbers are still being crunched. The Watchdog Report was told that this number, another year in the black, was a reasonable number for the end of the year results. Migoya has taken a health system with just under now some 10,000 employees, with affiliations with the University Of Miami Miller Medical School and the Florida International University Weithorn Medical College, that was losing hundreds of millions in the years prior to his arrival, and since May of 2010. He has turned that hemorrhaging around and the last two years have been in the black.
Boar Chair Darryl Sharpton, CPA, said the health trust was experiencing some “exciting times,” after the past “dramatic initiatives,” were instituted, he said. And the emphasis on “physicians” and nursing staff and technicians has paid off making Jackson. “The number one hospital in South Flroida,” he said. In addition, when it came to the “major surplus,” that was something “Jackson has not seen for many years.” He noted while there was “always room for improvement,” the organization is keeping faith with the philosophy of County Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa who has always put an emphasis on the “quality,” of the healthcare provided, and the administration having good relationships with “key stake holders,” he said.
However, Migoya is trying a major community move and county voters are being asked to weigh in on an $830 million bond to update and radically improve the facilities and the dated IT system. The former banked said while he is not a “bookie” when it came to if the bond would be passed. He said, “We put on a campaign that will make us proud, and it has been a “positive, honest campaign,” and win or lose “I will be proud,” he told PHT trustees. He also noted that he had talked extensively with community leaders, there have been “more than a dozen newspaper endorsements” and when it came to the bond’s passage. Jackson’s “future will be written by those voters that show up,” he said.
And with the low voter turnout expected in the four municipal elections, on a countywide basis those voters going to the polls will be die hard motivated voters and many are believed to support Jackson Health System (JHS) and its commitment to serve all, one level of medical care, regardless of a patient’s ability to pay. And while some $350 million of public finding is going to JHS, that number has not been able to keep up with the over $600 million onslaught of charity care patients that have in many ways overwhelmed JHS in the number of these uninsured patients.
Further, the County Commission transferred the cost of healthcare in 2000 in the county’s jails, the retirement homes, and a host of other areas to JHS back then, to the tune of some $65 million that would later balloon to over $120 million yearly. And to review early voting numbers through Nov. 1 go to http://www.miamidade.gov/elections/library/ev-stats110513.pdf and through that time, 13,544 votes had been cast at the 20 early voting sites throughout the county. And at the beginning of the election, some 200,000 absentee ballots were sent out by the Miami-Dade Elections Department >>> and for more on that story go to http://miami.cbslocal.com/2013/10/14/absentee-ballots-going-out-tuesday-in-miami-dade/ >>> For more on the bond go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/11/02/3727107/jackson-bond-question-heads-to.html
CITY OF MIAMI
>>> Mayor Regalado campaign on autopilot, but what will final voting edge be with three other lesser-known candidates?
While the City of Miami City Hall got some new security barriers outside City Hall, something that was suggested years ago, the incumbent Mayor Tomas Regalado campaign is on autopilot and he is likely to be returned to office Nov. 5.The mayor elected in 2009, after the past two terms of the Mayor Manny Diaz administration came to an end. The former news broadcaster at the time was considered the Anti-Manny Diaz candidate when he ran against former Miami Commission Chair Joe Sanchez. Where Regalado won a decisive victory at the polls. The mayor is now facing three lesser-known challengers, the mayor has raised over $1 million in the race that had Commissioner Francis Suarez challenging him, until the attorney, 35, made some political campaign missteps, and he withdrew from the race, despite having over $ 1 million in his campaign or in an associated political action committee.
However, Regalado has gone through a number of top city managers including, Pedro “Pete” Hernandez, Carlos Migoya, Tony Capp, Jr., and now Johnny Martinez, who is on a medical leave from the office. Further, insiders carp at some of the people he has brought into the administration over the past four years. And his media director Angel Zayon in particular has been signaled out for a variety of negative comments. However, Regalado is loyal to people that have supported him in the past, and helped keep him at the political dance over the almost past two decades he has been in public office. And Jeff Benjamin, Williams Armbrister and Tom Bauman are challenging him in the expected low turnout race that will probable end Nov. 5 if Regalado gets 50 percent of the citywide vote, and will not force a runoff election two weeks later.
>>> New Miami Atty. Méndez will have her hands full, has to be confirmed after elections again, and essentially works for three votes on the commission
The recent swearing in of Miami City Attorney Victoria was a well-attended affair and the former assistant state attorney joined the legal office of the City of Miami in 2004. She is a University of Miami Law School graduate, has a masters in public administration and she will have her hands full in this new job. For when Commissioners voted for her, they grilled her about the office, and that they were looking for changes in how it operates and she will have to reconfirmed again after the Nov. 5 General Election and any runoffs that might occur.
She has also brought back Deputy City Attorney Barnaby Min, who had left the city to work at the Jackson Health System for the past year, but he has come back with Mendez’s promotion to the top legal spot. However, years ago, the Watchdog Report asked a past Miami attorney whom they worked for, the people or the commission? And they said they “work for three votes,” on the five-member body that confirms them to the post. And that gives one a sense of the political aspect of the office, while also trying to navigate the treacherous shoals of a large municipal government, and all its attendant legal challenges, and I wish her good luck in this new role, which is so important to all of the 450,000 taxpaying residents of Miami and the protection of the public’s tax dollars.
>>> Newly activated fire boat douses boat fire at Dinner Key Marina
The recent activation of the Miami Fire and Rescue, Fire Boat a few weeks ago was timely. Since recently, a fairly large sailboat caught fire at Miami’s Dinner Key Marina, and the fireboat’s quick response to the blaze. Kept the blaze from spreading to the other boats at the marina said an observer to the fire.
VILLAGE OF COCONUT GROVE
>>> Two Armed Robbers Sentenced to Life in Prison
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, Manuel Orosa, Chief, City of Miami Police Department, and Sergio Velazquez, Chief, Hialeah Police Department, announce that Daniel Rodriguez, 28, and Louis Robinson, Jr., 35, both of Miami, were each sentenced to life in prison by U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga. Rodriguez and Robinson were convicted by a jury in August of a string of armed robberies of jewelry stores that resulted in the shooting of one victim and the theft of over $1 million across Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties.
According to trial evidence and testimony, between July and November of 2012, Rodriguez, Robinson, and their associates robbed four commercial establishments, armed with firearms and sledgehammers, and utilizing stolen luxury vehicles. Specifically, in July 2012, the defendants and their associates conducted an armed robbery of the ABC Jewelry Store in Hialeah, Florida, stealing over $400,000 in jewelry and watches. During the robbery, defendant Robinson shot and nearly killed the store’s owner. In August 2012, the defendants and their associates conducted an armed robbery of the AT&T store in Coconut Grove, stealing over $20,000 in merchandise, and victimizing store employees and customers. In September 2012, the defendants and their associates took over the Saks Fifth Avenue store in Boca Raton, stealing over $550,000 in jewelry and watches. In November 2012, the defendants and their associates conducted an armed robbery of the Jared’s Jewelry Store in Pembroke Pines, stealing over $100,000 in jewelry. At sentencing, Judge Altonaga determined that both Rodriguez and Robinson qualified as career offenders. >>> Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the members of the South Florida Violent Crimes Task Force, the FBI, the City of Miami Police Department, the Hialeah Police Department, and the Miami Beach Police Department. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Seth M. Schlessinger and Olivia S. Choe. 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 MIAMI BEACH
>>> Its Showtime, Mayoral & Commission Candidates make final push running up to Nov. 5 Election Day, how much lower will the candidates go?
With the mayoral race coming down to the wire this Tuesday, while voter turnout is low on the Beach, it is predicted that Absentee Ballots will be the key and people watching the returns Tuesday night should pay attention to those first AB numbers, for in many races these ballots have determined the ultimate winner in the past. Candidates Commissioner Michael Gongora and businessman Philip Levine are in a bitter battle with Steve Berke and Raphael Herman trailing in the polls but the commissioner is being criticized for a mailed flyer touting his past four years on the commission (with no mention of his mayoral bid, and is probable legal).
In addition, Levine is being hammered in the blogs for stifling reporting by threatening legal action against some of the posts and Beach voters need to know just one thing. Whoever wins the race will have to deal with the terrible flooding that hits the southern portion of the city, and evident last week when a small rainstorm, though intense, caused a surprising about of flooded streets as the Watchdog Report tried to make my way to city hall in the afternoon. In addition, while infrastructure improvements are trying to mitigate the low-lying flooding issue, it is clear the common flooding will only get worse and why the municipality is looking at up to $200 million in water and sewer work in the decades to come.
>>> Press release: Like2Love Miami Beach Poetry Contest Launches Today
Send a Verse for a Chance to Win Prizes, November 1 – December 2, 2013
Contest page: http://www.miamibeachfl.gov/news/scroll.aspx?id=71222
Calling all poets and wannabe wordsmiths! On November 1, 2013, the public is invited to submit a poem on why they love Miami Beach. The contest is part of Miami Beach’s continuous civic pride campaign, Like2Love Miami Beach, which aims at highlighting everything that makes the island-city a great place to live, work and play. “Our vibrant community offers a ton of literary inspiration from our beautiful beaches, historic architecture, culture, sensational entertainment, shopping, dining and an exciting nightlife so we’d like to remind ourselves and the public of what makes our city such a great place,” said City Manager Jimmy Morales.
Entries must incorporate the phrase “Like to Love Miami Beach” somewhere in the poem and brevity is preferred, no more than eight lines. The Like2Love Miami Beach poetry contest is open to people of all ages, entries are restricted to one per person and submissions should be sent to email@example.com. Contestants have the chance to win exciting prizes and their poems featured in Miami Beach promotional materials. Visit miamibeachfl.gov or click here for guidelines and restrictions.
The contest will be judged by communications professionals—including Scott Cunningham, poet and founder of the renowned poetry festival O, Miami. Judges will select three finalists and Miami Beach’s Facebook fans will select a grand prizewinner. Other prizes include the award-winning Taschen book Gustav Klimt. The Complete Paintings ($200 retail value) and two tickets to Panic! At the Disco at the Fillmore Miami Beach Jackson Gleason Theatre. The grand prizewinner will be announced January 2014. The last day to send an entry is December 2, 2013. All poems submitted will be hung on a Poet Tree at Lummus Park. For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 305.673.7575.
CITY OF CORAL GABLES
>>> Community & Civic engagement gets a boost from Rotary, Kiwanis and other community clubs, should be supported
The Watchdog Report wants to give a shout out to all the civic organizations like the Kiwanis and Rotary Club that provide such a public service by having quests that piqué the community interest. In the Gables where these organizations are quite active, it is heartening to see this civil discourse debate going on within the community. Moreover, such groups of people form the backbone of civic engagement and should be supported, why I have run such activities over the past decades because policy and local issues being debated is what Democracy is all about, and anything to educate the public on such issues is a good thing.
>>> Press release: We will be meeting for our luncheon this Monday coming. We are pleased to announce for November 18th we will have speaker Steven Krams, President of the Coral Gables Art Cinema. Look forward to seeing everyone on the 4th and the especially the 18th. 260 Aragon Avenue, Coral Gables, FL 33134 http://www.gablescinema.com PONCE BUSINESS ASSOCIATION, P.O. Box 141651, Coral Gables, FL 33114 www.poncebusiness.com email@example.com “Keeping you abreast of the pressing issues affecting Coral Gables.” We meet the first and third Mondays of the month at JohnMartins restaurant (253 Miracle Mile – 2nd floor) at noon. Lunch is $20 for members and $25 for non-members November 4th and the 18th, 2013 and December 2nd, 2013 Van Martin, President
CITY OF HOMESTEAD
>>> Ethics Commission press release: Homestead campaign ad under scrutiny
A hearing examiner, overseeing an expedited process, today found Probable Cause that a campaign flyer distributed by Homestead mayoral candidate Jeff Porter against competitor Mark Bell violates Miami-Dade County’s Mandatory Fair Campaign Practices Ordinance. The expedited hearing process governs all complaints that are filed within 50 days of an election.
Senior Judge Steven D. Robinson ruled there is justification to proceed to a hearing before the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust after reviewing the material and listening to presentations from the Public Advocate and from an attorney representing Mr. Bell. The complaint (C 13-31) concerned a flyer claiming that Mark and Lynda Bell “gamed the system,“and received a “$25,000 gift courtesy of the taxpayers of Homestead,” regarding a grant issued by the Homestead Community Redevelopment Agency for renovations to the historic Redland Hotel, owned by Mr. Bell. >>> The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers. It is composed of five members, serving staggered terms of four years each. Through a program of education, outreach and enforcement, the Commission seeks to empower the community and bolster public trust.
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
>>> School Board member Leach says sayonara at end of year, moderate Republican in Democratic stronghold, had $1.96 million net worth through Jun.
Former teacher and School Board Member Kathy Leach is saying sayonara to the nine-member board after being appointed to the post by Gov. Rick Scott in 2011. Leach, a moderate Republican in a Democratic Party county stronghold has won praise for her work on the board after she replaced Board Member Jennifer Gottlieb, who resigned suddenly back then, after a scathing audit of some of the past school construction and attendant problems. Leach represents District 3 and for personal family reasons will be leaving the board at the end of the year.
What do we know about her finances?
Leach through Jun. 2013 had a net worth of $1.968 million and she lists $420,000 in household goods, and to read the full disclosure report go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/240191-Form6.pdf and to read more on her departure go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2013/10/30/3720377/broward-school-board-member-katie.html
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointments of Vijay “Vic” Narang and Douglas A. Harrison, and the reappointments of Laura Raybin Miller and Jose Basulto to the Board of Commissioners, South Broward Hospital District.
Narang, 47, of Davie, is the chief executive officer of GDKN Corporation, a global technology services firm. He is a member of the South Florida Minority Supplier Diversity Council. Narang received his bachelor’s degree from VRCE in Nagpur, India, and his master’s degree from the University of Detroit. He succeeds Kathleen Durham and is appointed for a term beginning November 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2016.
Harrison, 44, of Pembroke Pines, is senior litigation counsel for the City of Hollywood and is an adjunct professor at Broward College. He is a member of several professional organizations including the Broward County Bar Association and the Miramar Pembroke Pines Regional Chamber of Commerce. Harrison received his bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Florida. He succeeds
Alfredo Avalos and is appointed for a term beginning November 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2015. Miller, 50, of Hollywood, is a financial advisor with UBS Financial Services, Inc. She serves as board liaison to the Joe DiMaggio and Memorial Foundations and is a member of the Women of Tomorrow Mentor and Scholarship Program. Miller received her bachelor’s degree from Florida International University. She is reappointed for a term beginning November 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2017.
Basulto, 49, of Hallandale Beach, is the founder and president of Basulto Management Consulting, Inc. He is a member of several boards including Habitat for Humanity of Miami, South Florida Fishing Club, Pacific National Bank and the American Diabetes Association Community Leadership Board. Basulto received his bachelor’s degree from Florida International University and his Master’s of Business Administration from Cornell University. He is reappointed for a term beginning November 1, 2013, and ending June 30, 2017.
>>> Hail to Broward Bulldog’s Fourth Anniversary, no easy achievement!
The Broward Bulldog is celebrating it’s Fourth Anniversary and the Watchdog Report gives former Miami Herald veteran reporter Dan Christensen a Tip of the Hat for not only the great investigating reporting over the years, but financially surviving as well, which is no easy trick. http://www.browardbulldog.org/ and the organization is having a major fundraising event on Nov. 12 at Vibe Restaurant. And people interested in keeping the news service out in the field can attend and donate to the not-for –profit organization. And here is just one story on how the Broward County Commission does not give easy access to past commission meetings on the web >>>http://www.browardbulldog.org/2013/10/lagging-in-south-florida-broward-county-still-has-no-on-demand-video-of-public-meetings/
And here are the event details – Raise a glass with us to celebrate Broward Bulldog’s fourth anniversary! Our fundraising celebration will be at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, at VIBE on East Las Olas Boulevard in downtown Fort Lauderdale. Please join us for a complimentary drink, light bites and show your support for local non-profit watchdog journalism. All donations are tax deductible. Vibe Las Olas, 301 E Las Olas Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301, Tuesday, November 12, 2013 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EST) Add to my calendar https://www.eventbrite.com/event/6282092909/?ref=enivtefor001&invite=NDQxNDE5OS9raXR0c3VlQHlhaG9vLmNvbS8w&utm_source=eb_email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=invitenew&utm_term=eventimage&ref=enivtefor001
>>> 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.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
>>> Former federal prosecutor Prior Brown elected to school board in 2010, recent controversy, had $1.67 million net worth through 2012
School Board Member Jennifer Prior Brown, Esq. is in the spotlight and the former federal prosecutor has had extensive exposure to the federal U.S. Southern District of Florida in her years of working as an assistant U.S. Attorney handling a wide array of high profile assignments and cases. Brown is a Princeton University undergraduate, got her law degree from Southern Methodist University and she has a family that includes twins. She was elected to the Palm Beach seven member School Board in 2010 and she is up again in 2014. And if she runs again, she has gotten one challenger Justin Robert Katz, for the school District 4 seat, but he has raised no money for his campaign to date.
However, Prior Brown has garnered controversy when she was critical of a principal at the public school her twins attended and he filed an ethics complaint, but that was later dismissed and the ethics commission believed Brown was within her rights as a parent, though she could have been more tactful. And for more on that controversy go to http://blogs.palmbeachpost.com/opinionzone/tag/jennifer-prior-brown/
What do we know about her finances?
Prior Brown through Dec. 2012 lists a net worth of $1.67 million and she has $120,000 in household goods states her financial disclosure, and to read the report go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/233540-Form6.pdf
Prior Brown and bio: http://www.palmbeachschools.org/Community/PDFs/JenniferBrownBio.pdf
>>> And to read all the Palm Beach elected leader’s financial disclosure reports go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
WEST PALM BEACH
>>> Two More Defendants Sentenced in Staged Automobile Accident Scheme ~ 92 defendants have been charged to date in Operation Sledgehammer I-VI
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. DePalma, Acting Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), Jeff Atwater, Florida Chief Financial Officer, Florida Department of Financial Services, and Dave Aronberg, State Attorney, Office of the State Attorney for Palm Beach County, announce that defendants Maykel Marquez, 32, of Jupiter, and Noelia Marichal, 52, of West Palm Beach, were sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Kenneth A. Marra for their participation in an automobile insurance fraud scheme involving staged automobile accidents. Maykel Marquez was sentenced to 58 months of incarceration, followed by 2 years of supervised release and Noelia Marichal was sentenced to 48 months of incarceration, followed by 2 years of supervised release. Marquez was ordered to pay $1,177,775.04 in restitution and Marichal was ordered to pay $1,359,208.73 in restitution.
Each of the defendants previously pled guilty to one count of conspiring to commit mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1341, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349; multiple counts of mail fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1341 and 2; and one count of conspiring to commit money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(1), all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1956(h). Maykel Marquez also pled guilty to multiple counts of money laundering, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1956(a)(1)(A)(i), 1956(a)(1)(B)(i), 1956(a)(1)(B)(ii), and 2.
According to court documents, between approximately October 2006 and December 2012, the conspiracy members staged automobile accidents by recruiting individuals, including these defendants, to participate in the accidents. The participants were referred to as “Perro” and “Perra” or “Macho” and “Hembra.” Thereafter, the clinic owners caused the submission of false insurance claims through chiropractic clinics that were controlled by members of the conspiracy. To execute the scheme, the true owners of the chiropractic clinics recruited individuals, who had the medical or chiropractic licenses required by the state to open a clinic, to act as “nominee owners” of the clinics. The co-conspirators also hired complicit chiropractors and therapists who prescribed and billed for unnecessary treatments and/or for services that had not been rendered. Thereafter, complicit clinic employees prepared and submitted claims to the automobile insurance companies for payment for these unnecessary or non-rendered services. Twenty-one clinics participated in this scheme.
Furthermore, according to court records, once fraud proceeds were received from the insurance companies, the co-conspirators also recruited individuals including these defendants, to help the clinics launder the insurance proceeds. Sentencing documents showed that Marquez cashed checks worth $568,517.23 and Marichal cashed checks worth $101,344.26 in laundered proceeds. Starting with Operation Sledgehammer I in June 2011 and including the defendants charged in Operation Sledgehammer VI, 92 defendants have been charged for their participation in this automobile insurance fraud scheme. Of those 92 defendants, 56 have been charged federally by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, resulting in court-ordered restitution of more than $5 million to the defrauded insurance companies. Thirty-six defendants have been charged by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office.
Mr. Ferrer commended the efforts of the FBI, IRS-CI, the Florida Department of Insurance Fraud, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office, and the Greater Palm Beach County Health Care Fraud Task Force for their outstanding work in this case. Mr. Ferrer also recognized the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) for its collaboration and assistance in this investigation. The federal cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney A. Marie Villafaña and the state cases are being prosecuted by the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office. 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 names Jason Shoaf and the reappoint’s Carl “Eugene” Raffield to the Port Saint Joe Port Authority
Shoaf, 34, of Port Saint Joe, is the vice president of Saint Joe Natural Gas Company Inc. He succeeds Patrick Jones and is appointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending July 27, 2017.
Raffield, 51, of Port Saint Joe, is the vice president of Raffield Fisheries Inc. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending July 20, 2017.
>>> Gov. Scott announced three appointments and four reappointments to the Jackson County Hospital Corporation.
Dr. Larry J. Cook, 64, of Marianna, is a self-employed dentist. He succeeds James F. Streetman and is appointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending July 31, 2016.
Sandra L. Helms, 55, of Bascom, is an advanced registered nurse practitioner at the Sunland Center. She fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending July 20, 2016.
Arthur L. Kimbrough, Jr., 66, of Marianna, is the president and CEO of The Overstreet Company. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending July 31, 2016.
Dr. Sarah M. Clemmons, 61, of Marianna, is the senior vice president of instruction at Chipola College. She is reappointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending June 23, 2016.
William H. Floyd, 47, of Bascom, is a radiation protection supervisor with Southern Nuclear. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending September 5, 2015.
Dr. Joe H. Gay, 65, of Marianna, is a physician with Chipola Medical Associates. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending June 23, 2017.
James B. Ward, 50, of Marianna, is the owner of Chipola Property Development LLC. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 31, 2013, and ending August 27, 2015.
INDIAN RIVER COUNTY
>>> Local man gets 180 months in federal Big House for child porn
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Alysa D. Erichs, Special Agent in Charge, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Homeland Security Investigations (ICE-HSI), Daniel V. Garcia, Chief, Phoenix Police Department, and Michelle Morris, Chief, Sebastian Police Department, announce that U.S. District Judge Donald L. Graham sentenced Alfred E. Daking Jr., 70, of Sebastian, Florida, to 180 months in prison, followed by a lifetime period of supervised release and a $100 special assessment.
According to court documents, Daking sent over 800 emails to a 13 year old boy from Phoenix, Arizona. Daking also attached child and adult pornography to some of the emails. During the Phoenix Police Department’s investigation, it was confirmed that the emails were sent from Daking’s residence located in Sebastian, Florida.
Upon execution of a federal search warrant at Daking’s residence, agents from HSI, the Sebastian Police Department and the Phoenix Police Department located a desk top computer. An on-sight forensic preview scan of the computer found approximately 20 images of child pornography. Daking admitted that the computer was his and that he exclusively used the computer. He identified his email address and admitted sending sexually suggestive emails to the minor in Phoenix, Arizona.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ICE-HSI, the Phoenix Police Department and the Sebastian Police Department. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Diana M. Acosta.
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.
>>> Gov. Scott reinstates County Sheriff Finch after jury finds him not guilty
Gov. Rick Scott has reinstated Liberty County Sheriff Nicholas Finch after he was suspended from his office, after a jury found the sheriff not guilty of the charges. >>> Press release: Please see the attached executive order reinstating Nicholas Finch as Sheriff of Liberty County, effective immediately. Also, please see the following statement from Governor Rick Scott: “Sheriff Nick Finch will be reinstated immediately. I would like to thank the members of the jury in Liberty County for their service in this trial. I would also like to thank Interim Sheriff Buddy Money for his service to the state of Florida.
>>> Gov. Scott taps Brian Hamman as a new County Commissioner.
Press release: Hamman, 32, of Cape Coral, is a Manager of Market Development for CenturyLink. Previously, Hamman was a financial advisor and journalist for Fox 4 and WINK News in Fort Myers. He is a graduate of Leadership Fort Myers and Leadership Cape Coral. Hamman received his associate’s degree from Edison State College and his bachelor’s degree from Florida Gulf Coast University. He fills a vacant seat created by the resignation of Tamara Hall. Hamman is appointed for a term beginning October 29, 2013, and ending November 25, 2014. Governor Scott said, “Brian will serve the families of Lee County with honesty and integrity. As a lifelong resident of Lee County, I am confident that he will make a great Commissioner and will help create jobs and opportunities for the families of the area.”
>>> Gov. Scott names Joseph H. Chancy to the Columbia County Housing Authority.
Press release: Chancy, 67, of Lake City, is a retired state trooper. He is reappointed for a term beginning October 30, 2013, and ending March 15, 2017.
>>> Elections Supervisor Griffin in the spotlight, elected in 2012, had $580,000 net worth in Jun.
R. Joyce Griffin, a long time assistant elections supervisor and elected to the office in Nov. 2012 is in the spotlight this week and she took office in early 2013. She has had a number of elections under her watch since then and on Nov. 5 there is a runoff race for the City of Key West, and General Elections in the Cities of Marathon and Layton. Monroe County when it comes to registered voters is almost evenly split between Democrats 17,974 and Republicans 19,537 and other voters account for 15,371 of the total 52,882 registered voters in the nation’s most southern most county.
What do we know about her finances?
Grifffin through Jun.6 2013 had a net worth of $580,000 and she lists $10,000 in household goods and to read the full financial disclosure report go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2012/243437-Form6.pdf
>>> And to read all the other Monroe County constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
>>> FIU’S JOURNALISM, COMMUNICATION SCHOOL BRINGS BIG NAMES
& HOT TOPICS TO HISPANIC MARKETING CONFERENCE NOV. 7 & 8
Multi-day conference examines brands, health, environment and politics
North Miami, FL (October 29, 2013) – Florida International University’s School of Journalism & Mass Communication (SJMC) will host its second annual Hispanic Communication Conference (HCC) on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 7 & 8, 2013, at the Wolfe University Center at FIU’s Biscayne Bay Campus. The Hispanic Marketing Communication: Bridging Culture and Behavior Conference, brings together well-known leaders and professionals tied to the media, public relations, advertising, health, environment and political fields. “With this conference, academics and professionals alike will have an incredible opportunity not only to share information, but also learn new means for effectively communicating with one of the nation’s most influential ethnic groups,” said SJMC Dean Raul Reis.
Conference speakers will share these relevant topics in open-forum panel discussions and presentations. Keynote speakers include Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Hispanic marketing expert and author, Isabel Valdés, and TTU College of Media & Communication Dean David D. Perlmutter.
Other panelists and speakers include: Dan Restrepo, former special assistant and principal advisor to President Obama on Latin American issues, the Caribbean, and Canada; FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine’s (HWCM) Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Chair of the Department of Humanities Health and Society Dr. Pedro J. Greer; HWCM’s Associate Director of Marketing and Public Relations Ileana Varela, a former broadcast journalist in Miami for many years; SJMC’s own Worlds Ahead scholar in International Communication Dr. Leonardo Ferreira; United Healthcare V.P. of Latino Health Solutions Russell A. Bennett; Wells Fargo’s Florida Region Corporate Communications V.P. Rosanna M. Fiske; and Telemundo’s Media Sr. V.P. of Research Millie Carrasquillo, among many others. Visit http://hcc2013.com/?page_id=8 for the entire list of speakers and panelists. Along with discussion panels, the conference will hold a roundtable to discuss the present and future state of communication research in the U.S. Hispanic market and Latin America.
“This event is a necessary platform for strengthening the relationship between the marketing communications industry and the scholars who study it, so we can consolidate a greater yield of knowledge about the Hispanic consumer,” said Alejandro Alvarado, chair of the HCC and program director of SJMC’s Telemundo Hispanic Media Futures Program. The multi-day conference stems from the SJMC’s Hispanic Communication Conference series, launched in Fall 2012.
For registration and information visit http://hcc2013.com.
EVENT LOCATION: FIU’s Wolfe University Center is located at the Biscayne Bay Campus, 3000 NE 151 Street, North Miami, FL, 3181. http://campusmaps.fiu.edu/
>>> About the SJMC at FIU -The School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) at Florida International University is at the forefront of global and strategic communications education. With more than 1,900 students, 82 percent minority, the school offers undergraduate and graduate degrees and certificate programs in advertising, broadcasting, journalism, and public relations – including itsSpanish-language Journalism master’s program, the first of its kind in the United States. As one of only 25% of all communication schools in the country fully accredited by ACEJMC, the SJMC is ranked in the Top 3 nationally for undergraduate communication degrees awarded to Hispanics. The School’s master’s program in Global Strategic Communications emphasizes global decision making and has rapidly become a model for other such graduate programs in the country, underscoring the importance of global learning initiatives and international citizenship.
>>> International Business Leadership Awards – the Greater Miami Chamber prepares to honor those who work in international business at the seventh annual International Business Leadership Awards luncheon. The Chamber also recognizes Art Torno and Manny D. Medina who have been selected to receive the 2013 Ponce de Leon Global Pioneer Award and Lifetime Achievement Award, respectively. The awards luncheon will feature a keynote presentation by Bill Mills, CEO, North America, Citibank. Where: Hyatt Regency Miami, 400 S.E. 2nd Avenue Miami, FL 33131, When: Wednesday, November 14, 2013 11:30 a.m. Registration 12:00-1:30 p.m. Program Cost: Advance Registration: $75 per member | $85 per nonmember, After November 1: $85 per member | $95 per nonmember RSVP: Additional information and registration available online at www.MiamiChamber.com
>>> Low voter turnout is corrosive to local government; do we get the leaders we deserve?
With four municipal races going on Tuesday Nov. 5, voter turnout is said to be dismal and lethargic and because of this. We will have a small number of the community’s voters in the scheme of things, electing people that will rule us for the next four years. Miami, Miami Beach, Hialeah and Homestead voters are all going to the polls and also on the ballot is the $830 million in bonds for Jackson Health System infrastructure improvements and upgrades. However, the low voter turnout is endemic countywide and while many of the races are contentious to say the least. If you do not vote, you will get the leaders you deserve.
The Watchdog Report over the last two decades has seen voter turnout go up in national elections for president for example, but from the state on down to the municipal level, the electorate turnout has been dropping over the years leaving only the Super Voters in many cases participating. Voters that never miss an election being the bulk of the electorate who are participating. In addition, as I have written in the past. Now what, you did not run yourself, will you at least vote Nov. 5? That is the question and if you don’t vote, you get the government and leaders you deserve, and let’s hope that is not a bad thing because of the low voter turnout.
>>> Reader on last week’s ACA story and President Obama
I find the report on the PP ACA very one-sided – the website actually works very well in non-Republican States that were on board with the law and set up their portion of the law. It is only in Republican States with governors like Governor Rick Scott who has done a great deal to ensure that the system does not work. He in fact will not allow the navigators into state run facilities – which are usually the hospitals and assisted living centers, etc.
During the Congressional hearings where the webpage companies spoke – there was a different story. It was not a simple case. To use words like plagued by a host of issues and only a small percentage of people have been able to successfully navigate the program and statements like The fact federal officials did not do the mandatory pre-testing in a sufficient manner is mind boggling to the average American. This is not watchdog language so much as one sided – political language
The facts include that there was a shutdown of the federal government for 16 critical days and those staff who would have worked some of the trial runs on the system – and it was not meant to have everyone sign up in the system in one day, or one week – if Apple launched a website and it crashed or was slow from so much use – it would be considered a success. It is just a matter of perspective.
I enjoy your reports so much – however, I do take exception to this one skewed report.
>>> 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)
WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)
LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)
JOHN S. and JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION www.knightfoundation.org
THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE
>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $2,000 a year
BADIA SPICES www.badiaspices.com
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.miamidade.gov
UNITED WAY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.unitedwaymiamidade.org
>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $1,000 a year
AKERMAN SENTERFITT www.akerman.com
BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants www.bpbcpa.com
LINDA MURPHY: Gave a new laptop in Oct. 2001 to keep me going.
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
CHAPMAN PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.chapmanpartnership.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.
I welcome letters via e-mail, fax, or snail mail. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and must refer to material published in the Watchdog Report. Please see address and contact information. Please send any additions and corrections by e-mail, fax or snail mail. All corrections will be published in the next Watchdog Report. If you or your organization would like to publish the contents of this newsletter, please contact me. Please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel A. Ricker
Publisher & Editor
Watchdog Report www.watchdogreport.net
Copyright © of original material, 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 email@example.com for further information. >>> Here is what past newspapers have written about the Watchdog Report publisher including a survey and regional study done by the U. North Carolina at Chapel Hill on the media in the southeast United States.
>>> The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel & Sun-Sentinel articles on the Watchdog Report publisher over the years. >>> Published on September 9, 1999, Page 1EA, Miami Herald, The (FL) CITIZEN ADVOCATE’ KEEPS TABS ON POLITICIANS >>> Published on January 3, 2000, Page 1B, Miami Herald, The (FL) MIAMI-DADE WATCHDOG WILL BE MISSED >>> >>> To read the full section large two page front page story, but without the photos and smart box graphics, go to: `I Go When You Cannot’ – Sun Sentinel 20 Jan 2003 … Sometimes Dan Ricker lives in the dark so others may live in the light. … to his weekly Watchdog Report have finally mailed their checks. … http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american >>>Watchdog Report publisher named ‘Best Citizen’ 2003 by the Miami New Times —The publisher would like to thank the weekly alternative paper Miami New Times for bestowing their 2003 Best of Miami, ‘Best Citizen’ award to me and I am honored. Thank you. To read the full story go to http://www.miaminewtimes.com/issues/2003-05-15/citylife2.html/1/index.html
From the spring of 2003: U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill: Southeast U.S. Media Report lists Watchdog Report publisher as leading Florida commentator >>> Selected excerpts from the report on Florida’s media sources. Those who do read the newspaper in Florida have a bevy of options for state government and political coverage. The dominant newspapers in the state are Knight-Ridder’s The Miami Herald (Acquired by The McClatchy Company in 2006) and the Poynter Institute’s St. Petersburg Times. Both papers endorsed Gore in 2000 but split on the 2002 gubernatorial race, with the Herald endorsing Republican incumbent Jeb Bush and the Times backing Democratic challenger Bill McBride. Daniel Ricker of The Miami Herald also writes an influential column as well as an email newsletter called the Watchdog Report that goes out to more than 100,000 subscribers. FEBRUARY 2004 – Florida: Columnists in Abundance –ERIC GAUTSCHI, graduate student, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill – D) LEADING COMMENTATORS – Resource Commentator Organization Type Web site –Steve Bousquet St. Petersburg Times Column www.sptimes.com/columns/bousquet.shtml -“First Friday” WPBT TV (Miami) TV Show www.channel2.org/firstfriday/issues.html –Lucy Morgan St. Petersburg Times Column www.sptimes.com/columns/morgan.shtml –Daniel Ricker Miami Herald/Watchdog Report Newsletter >>> Readers who would like to read the complete University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Southeast United States Media Report go to view the complete report or download all the data used in this study. >>> Watchdog Report Editor’s note to the NCU/CH study: The subscriber number referenced is incorrect and applies to readership.