Watchdog Report Vol.14 No.45 March 16, 2010 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 15 years May 5th
Argus Report: GOP Neophyte Jolly in a squeaker beats former Fla. CFO Sink in Congressional 13 race; will she try to challenge him in November, with higher expected voter turnout?
Florida: Gov. Scott unleashes first campaign ads, talks about his tough early life, and why jobs are so important, Crist fires back saying state was on the mend before he left office, thanks to federal stimulus dollars — 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 starting to deal with $208 million funding “gap,” in next year’s budget, says budget guru Glazer-Moon
Miami-Dade County Public Schools: Supt. Carvalho questions why WLRN Friends reserves are so “shockingly healthy,” with $10 million in the bank, suggests WLRN should benefit given, “staffing and equipment needs,” he tells Audit Committee
Miami-Dade College: Gov. Rick Scott reappoints Villamil, Bucelo, Jr., and Ferre to Miami-Dade College Board
Public Health Trust: PHT will be looking into the future for new Trustees, only the best people, with good temperament and no conflicts should apply for this time consuming pressure cooker board made up of local citizens to oversea JHS, and its $1.6 billion budget
City of Miami: Mayor Regalado says Miami is becoming “global brand,” also having $74 million in reserves is a good thing for city fiscally on the rocks a few years ago
City of Hialeah: City gets Ethics Commission Letter of Instruction after slow response to a public records request
City of Miami Beach: Surfs Up! Spring Break Camp for Children with Autism is Back – Miami Beach Hosts Various Programs for Special Needs –
City of North Miami: One city official faces ethics charge; another settles case
City of South Miami: Vice Mayor Liebman “agreed” there was Probable Cause, he violated “use of public property,” in ethics commission settlement
Town of Miami Lakes: Former CEO of Miami Lakes Tax Preparation Business Sentenced for Structuring Scheme
Village of Key Biscayne: Traffic updates on Key Causeway
>>> Other stories around Florida
Broward County: Humorist Dave Barry is the big name draw for www.browardBulldog.org Event — Check out your elected leader’s financial disclosure forms
Hallandale Beach: Hallandale Resident Charged with Attempted Extortion
Palm Beach County: 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: Ringleader of Identity Theft Ring and Accomplice Plead Guilty
Monroe County: – To read all Monroe County constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
Community Events: MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PARKS AND THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION PRESENT A FREE Caribbean-Reggae concert at Goulds Park on Friday, March 7 Wyle Fyah Band — Join the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida at Walk the Talk for Epilepsy and support Floridians living with epilepsy! – Margulies Art Collection show
Editorials: PAST 2012 WDR: Miami-Dade voters should pass $1.2 billion public schools bond, but also large FL counties school districts need to unite to demand more state school capital funding — 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: Elected leader on the passing of Gov. Askew- Physician on early pregnancy of teens study
Sponsors: Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue — Scroll down for all the headline stories text.
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ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street
>>> Neophyte Jolly in a squeaker beats former CFO Sink in Congressional 13 race, will she try to challenge him in November, with higher expected voter turnout ?
David Jolly, a neophyte GOP candidate, and federal lobbyist edged out former Florida CEO Alex Sink in a tight race Tuesday in the Special Election race for Congressional District 13 that had the libertarian candidate bleeding off some of the GOP candidates supporters and had U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, calling Republican voters in the Tampa area asking them to support Jolly who got the win with 48.5 percent of the vote to Sink’s 36.7 percent and the Libertarian Candidate Lucas Overby garnering 4.8 percent of the congressional district vote, that had long serving Republican Congressman C.W. Bill Young holding the seat for decades and while slightly a Republican leaning district, was considered a swing district that got national attention from both parties sinking money into the race and Sink raised some $11 million for her campaign war chest. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/14/alex-sink-keeps-an-open-mind-for-future-florida-campaigns/ However, Sink may want another crack at the former lobbyist who accused her of being a carpetbagger and went after the former banker for her support of ObamaCare that she says just needs to be fixed and not repealed, but he kept hammering that issue in campaign attack ads.
However, in the tight house election and discussed in past Watchdog Reports, the dominate issue in the race was which parties voters actually turned out to vote, and Republicans in special elections have done particularly well in the races in Florida and Sink’s supporters, just did not show up to vote versus the GOP faithful. Who saw this as a pivotal race and perhaps a bellwether race running up to the 2014 gubernatorial race that will likely pit Gov. Rick Scott against former Gov. Charlie Crist now running as a Democrat. If Crist, who has embraced the ACA is able to beat state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston in the Democratic Party primary running up to the general election where Scott will likely have $100 million for his campaign to perhaps Crist having half that amount pundits are suggesting. However, Sink has not ruled out another try with the next election so soon in the fall and will likely result in a higher voter turnout on the Democratic Party side given the party’s supporters intense dislike of Scott, where Crist seems the only hope for them if they are to have a victory.
Democrats are cautious in trying to analyze the national impact of the race, but Republicans are pumped that voter disapproval of the Affordable Care Act is sufficient to perhaps keep the House in the GOP camp, but the Senate may be in play also, where there is a Democratic majority as well in November.
>>> Press release: Florida 13th: Making Something Out Of Nothing At All By: John Zogby Forbes.com Contributor
David Jolly pounded Sink hard on her supporting of Obamacare and he had help from former Governor Jeb Bush. Alex Sink did not run away from Obamacare and used a famous Clintonian line about the need to “mend it not end it”. She even used the robocall services of former President Bill Clinton. The race was very close and Jolly won by 3,500 votes. The GOP is ecstatic and motivated even further to run against Obama’s Folly. Democrats are running scared and see the potential for a congressional Dunkirk in the fall. Their message to Mr. Obama: stay away from our district and state. Please click on the link below to view the full release: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/420-florida-13th-making-something-out-of-nothing-at-all
>>> Ana Alliegro Charged with Violation of the Federal Election Campaign Act
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Ana Alliegro, 44, of Granada, Nicaragua, was arrested and brought back to the United States from Nicaragua, having been previously indicted for having violated the Federal Election Campaign Act in connection with the Democratic Party primary election for Florida’s 26th Congressional District. Alliegro’s initial appearance is scheduled for March 10, 2014 at 1:30 p.m. before U.S. Magistrate Judge Patrick White.
The indictment charges Alliegro with engaging in a conspiracy to make false statements to the Federal Election Commission and to violate the contribution limits of the Federal Election Campaign Act (Count 1); making a false statement (Count 2); and making illegal campaign contributions (Counts 3 & 4). If convicted, Alliegro faces a maximum term of up to five years in prison on each count and a fine of up to $250,000 on each count. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI’s Miami Area Corruption Task Force, the Legal Attaché Panama City, Panama and Diplomatic Security Service. The case is being prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Thomas J. Mulvihill. An Indictment is only an accusation and a 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.
>>>> U.S. Attorney Wilfredo Ferrer and several of his assistant U.S. Attorneys were honored by the Miami-Dade School Board Wednesday for the work the federal office has done in reducing violence, and the community outreach programs the office participates in including the 50 year old plus Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board. Ferrer, a Democrat, prior to being sworn into the office in 2010, was a former assistant Miami-Dade County Attorney, prior to returning to the federal Justice Department in this new leadership capacity and there are some 280 federal attorneys in the office for the Southern District of Florida, the third largest in the nation and covers a large swath of geography and a host of crimes, and also includes the largest FBI Public Corruption detail in the nation.
In addition, Ferrer is often a featured speaker at community events where he asks many times for citizen’s help in rooting out many fraud schemes, including being ground zero for Medicare and Medicaid Fraud, where the first federal detail in 2002 for this widespread fraud was first created and now has two details of federal investigators. Ferrer, born in Hialeah went to the University of Miami and got his Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania and the family man is a personable speaker and he understands the local frustration when it comes to prosecuting public corruption cases and its corrosive nature when it comes to resident trust of they’re elected leaders.
Years ago at a forum on Medicare Fraud and the issue of public corruption. One of the office’s assistant U.S. Attorneys when she was asked about the public corruption issue? The women responded in such cases the federal office when they charge an elected leader. The office does “not shoot to maim, but to kill,” and to get a successful prosecution the prosecutor said at the time, and on the panel was the FBI Special Agent in Charge John Gilles, who echoed her comments when it came to the Bureau’s public corruption investigations that has netted politicians from Palm Beach County to Key West over the past decade. For more on Ferrer go to: http://www.sunshinestatenews.com/story/south-florida-wifredo-ferrer-new-us-attorney-channels-marco-rubio
>>> Frost Museum at FIU has tinning exhibit of Pulitzer Prize photographs over the decades, a must see collection
The Frost Museum at Florida International University is holding a unique exhibit of photos from past Pulitzer Prize winners and some of the photographs will rip your heart out, when the visual tragedy is brought to life in a photo. Here is the information on the exhibit: Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs February 12, 2014 – April 20, 2014 -Capture the Moment consists of photographs from every Pulitzer Prize photographer, from the year of the first prize, 1942, to the present. Presently, there are 166 photographs included. The exhibit includes dramatic and poignant news and feature photographs, including Joe Rosenthal’s World War II photo of the raising of the flag by U.S. Marines on Iwo Jima (1945 Pulitzer); the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina (2006 Pulitzer); Robert H. Jackson’s 1963 photo of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald and Nathaniel Fein’s shot of Babe Ruth watching his number being retired at Yankee Stadium (1949 Pulitzer). >>> Capture the Moment: The Pulitzer Prize Photographs was developed by Business of Entertainment, Inc. NYC (www.bizzent.com), Cyma Rubin, Curator, in association with the Newseum (www.newseum.org) in Washington, D.C. and for more go to http://thefrost.fiu.edu/exhibitions.htm
>>> With the Watchdog Report closing in on 15 years, I thank all of you that have supported the effort, not for the faint of heart in many ways, including financially surviving
When I started the Watchdog Report on May 5, 2000, I never imagined that almost 15 years later. I would still be at it, and I want to thank all of you and the organizations that have financially supported me over those years. Since I essentially am funded by the community and my readers. Moreover, to say it has been a strange fork in the road for someone, who came from the corporate world, to have started this effort is an understatement, and only in South Florida could I have pulled off a mainstream news service like the WDR. However, given the colorful nature of our community and how so many of us love and create the drama, that would be good entertainment. If we were not overall such a poor community, with pockets of great wealth, yet other areas in major poverty, and why our limited public tax dollars should be spent wisely and with proper oversight and media attention.
In addition, it is my belief that government works more effectively when reported on, and why I have kept at this, for over the past almost 18 years. In addition, the WDR or myself, has affected and easily saved some $100 million in public tax dollars over those years in some way. And it is the preventing of waste, fraud, and abuse and public corruption that has kept me out in the field and reporting back in a variety of venues, from the internet, The Miami Herald, to WLRN, and WPBT Channel 2 over the years.
>>> Gov. Scott unleashes first campaign ads, talks about his tough early life, and why jobs are so important, Crist fires back state was on the mend before he left office, thanks to federal stimulus dollars
Gov. Rick Scott is beginning to unleash his reelection campaign ads against former Gov. Charlie Crist, who was here in Miami-Dade last week when President Barack Obama visited a local public school in South Dade and even Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez attended the president’s event, even though the mayor is a Scott supporter. And Gimenez showed up for the event that was highlighting the educational gains being experienced by the local school district and had Superintendent Alberto Carvalho being named the top public schools administrator in the nation. http://www.wtsp.com/rss/article/359982/250/Rick-Scott-starts-running-re-election-TV-ads
However, both gubernatorial candidates have almost taken up residency here in South Florida given they’re frequency of visits and for Scott who is trailing Crist in the polls. He needs these South Florida voters to come out for him in the fall if he is to retain office and Crist has to have a solid turnout of Black voters and other Democrats if he is to prevail in what will be an ugly, expensive and brutal campaign for the state’s top job. Crist is firing back that the Florida economic recovery was beginning, before Scott took office, and why he agreed to federal stimulus dollars, that the GOP around the nation blasted him on and of course their was the man hug with Obama that forced Crist to run as a independent in his 2010 race for the U.S. Senate that ultimately Sen. Marco Rubio, R- Fla. won back then.
Crist is the better campaigner of the two men and he has a way to connect with voters that Scott is lacking. Though Scott is said to be getting better in small gatherings say people that have mixed with him socially, but campaigning for the former healthcare executive is not easy, and he continues to dodge reporters questions if they are not germane to a event the governor is attending, generally promoting some state program or organization, and significant business people that don’t even know Scott have gotten hand written notes from the governor in the past months a number of people have said to me and were recipients of the personal correspondence.
Scott is expected to raise $100 million for the campaign and Crist, is expected to raise about half that amount, If he gets past state Sen. Nan Rich D-Weston in the Democratic Primary, and given his higher name recognition is likely to win. But Crist in ads will be hammered as a flip flopper and Rich is already attacking Crist’s educational record that she calls very similar to Scott’s and why he should not represent the opposition party in the race. However, Rich is having trouble getting fundraising traction and has low statewide name recognition.
>>> Press release: Gov. Scott issued the following statement regarding the U.S. Congress passing legislation that provides relief from unfair flood insurance rate hikes.
Governor Rick Scott said, “This is a victory for all Florida families who have been impacted by ongoing uncertainty and faced the possibility of paying devastating rate increases. Throughout this process I have been in communication with Sen. Rubio, Sen. Nelson, Speaker Boehner and President Obama. Though we saw little interest from the President on acting quickly to stop impending rate hikes, it appears he will sign this legislation and lift the burden that has been facing our state. With Florida contributing more than its fair share in flood insurance costs, today’s vote was overdue and much needed.”
>>> Florida TaxWatch press release: Already enjoying what is called a more than $1 billion budget surplus to appropriate during the 2014 Legislative Session, lawmakers were given another $150 million by the latest General Revenue (GR) Estimating Conference. A Budget Watch report from Florida TaxWatch for this coming fiscal year examines the latest round of estimating conferences by state economists and recommends that the Legislature still consider this a tight budget year and continue to implement cost-saving reforms such as those identified by the TaxWatch Center for Government Efficiency.
“Florida lawmakers should continue to push for opportunities to save taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars during the budgeting process, even as the budget outlook is improving after years of shortfalls brought on by the Great Recession,” said Dominic M. Calabro, President and CEO of Florida TaxWatch, the independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit taxpayer research institute and government watchdog. “In order to continue on the path to financial recovery, Florida must remain prudent during its budget allocations.”
FY 2014-15 GR collections are now estimated at $27.7 billion, an increase of $1.4 billion (5.2 percent). This marks the first time the state’s GR collections are expected to exceed the $26.8 billion collected in FY 2005-06-which was the highest amount ever. Coupled with unspent funds from the current year ($2.2 billion), there will be almost $30 billion in GR available for the next budget.
Though revenue collections have increased overall, most GR sources had their estimates reduced during this week’s estimating conference. The state’s largest revenue source-the sales tax-showed solid growth but other categories-including real estate and insurance premium taxes-were scaled back, causing state economists to express caution. The independent analysis notes that the projected surplus may be smaller than anticipated, because the original estimate assumed cash reserves of $1 billion. Legislative leaders have continued to push for larger reserves, as much as $2 billion. With at least $500 million in tax cuts and an increase in K-12 per public school-student funding, there will not be much money remaining.
“While lawmakers will have more than enough money to fund a continuation budget, there are many factors that impact the estimate of a budget surplus and most of them have changed,” said Kurt Wenner, Vice President for Tax Research. “Lawmakers should continue to examine the base budget for efficiencies and spending that may no longer be needed. Only this way will they be able to put limited funds into the areas that are important to Florida taxpayers today and tomorrow.” Learn more about the projected surplus in the March Budget Watch.
>>> 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.
>>> Commission starting to deal with $208 million funding “gap,” in next year’s budget, says budget guru Glazer-Moon
The County Commission’s Finance Committee got some bad news when it comes to the county’s upcoming property tax revenues where there is a $208 million “gap,” in tax supported revenue, said the county’s budget guru Jennifer Glazer Moon last week. However, since the property tax roll is not certified yet, that number could change and the upcoming property tax roll comes out Jun.1 and the final tax role is certified July 1, states county documents on the matter.
Further, Mayor Carlos Gimenez has started trimming the county’s workforce and one of the areas getting the funding ax is the county’s audit department that is raising eyebrows and while employees are being asked to pick up the slack, the critical oversight department is one of the commission’s and taxpayers watchdog’s and it remains to be seen if the county commissioners try to rescind some of this trimming of staff that Gimenez says is necessary given the commission approving county employees no longer having to contribute five percent of their salary to a self-insured county healthcare insurance fund that is self insured. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/13/3993428/in-budget-squeeze-miami-dade-cuts.html#storylink=misearch
>>> Commissioner Barreiro “withdraws,” his modified Manatee legislation plan
While Commissioner Bruno Barreiro withdrew his legislation that would have modified the controversial Manatee Protection plan implemented in the 1980s and has resulted in the herd population rising. He is now seeking guidance from state officials who would have to approve any change to the law enacted to protect the docile mammal that cruises throughout Biscayne Bay and the Miami River where boaters are seeking more docking facilities. However, the long serving legislator saw the committee vote where the issue was being discussed was going to be a no go. Moreover, the only public speaker allowed to address the body was County Clerk Harvey Ruvin, a long time environmentalist who has been in the thick of the debate for years, and he urged the commission to not change the protections and restrictions enacted to protect the slow moving Manatees.
>>> Committee approves first ballot question, should PA be a Constitutional Office county voters will be asked, if approved by full BCC
A County Commission Committee moved forward legislation that would put on the county ballot a question for voters. The voters will be asked if the county’s Property Appraiser’s Office, now a Charter Office should be a Constitutional Office like the bulk of the state’s counties has. The issue has been percolating since the office was first created a few years ago and Commissioner Estephan Bovo introduced the legislation, and while fellow commissioners agreed the issue should go to voters and their wishes be clarified. Commissioner Barbara Jordan who supported the legislation said she was concerned that it not open up the debate for an elected Supervisor of Elections or Sheriff like in many other counties around the state, which she disagrees with, the long serving commissioner said.
>>> Commissioner Cancio saying sayonara to Supermix, played a key role on commission after Alonso arrested, and he finished out term of office few wanted to hold back then
Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Cancio, Sr., after 25 years with Supermix and 50 years in the concrete business is leaving the company and Cancio played a critical role in county government back in the early 2000s. At the time, Gov. Jeb Bush appointed him to the vacant District 12 county commission seat in 2002. After Commissioner Miriam Alonso was suspended by Bush after being indicted for having a campaign slush fund, and Cancio filled the remainder of her term through Nov. 20002. When former Sweetwater Mayor Jose “Pepe” Diaz won, the seat and Cancio did not run for the office, which he said at the onset he would not do. His main goal at the time was to modify the District’s redistricting plan done by Alonso that cut out her political rival Diaz and he no longer lived in the district and Cancio, a fiscal conservative, with great difficulty and help with then Commission Chair Barbara Carey Shuler. They were able to get the redistricting done, Diaz won the seat in 2002, and he has been reelected since.
Why was Cancio important back in 2001?
At the time, very few honest and competent people wanted to be on the County Commission or school board at the time, which also had a vacancy after school Board Member Demetrio Perez was busted. He was suspended from his office for shaking down an elderly Section 8 Housing tenet he had and his seat on the school board was vacant for almost six months back then before Bush named Frank Bolanos who agreed to go on the school board, and the county commission had a similar reputation at the time. However, Cancio was considered a straight shooter, a former Community Council member, and he played a critical role in getting the City of Doral incorporated and he did his service with honor and returned back to the public sector and has been a avid Republican over the years, was a candidate for county mayor a few years ago, but he did a good job on the 13 member county commission. In addition, his daughter, Marili Cancio, an attorney, is a former GOP Congressional Candidate and is a board member on Miami-Dade College. http://www.governing.com/news/local/Miami-Dade-Fla-Mayoral-Candidate-Promises-Only-One-Term.html >>> http://www.latinamericanstudies.org/exile/alonsos-arrested.htm
What is the Diaz connection with the Watchdog Report?
Back when the county commission in 2009 was voting on the new Marlins stadium, a day earlier I slipped and broke two ribs and when I went to the commission chamber’s for that body’s vote. Diaz, unaware of my ribs, gave me a big bear hug and lifted me off the ground, while I had my reporters vest on and just a little later. I was really starting to be in pain, that culminated the next morning with me having difficulty breathing, and I had to go to the South Miami Hospital Emergency Room and they fixed me up, and for about a year after that incident. I did not talk to Diaz and I seriously joke it was the most expensive hug one could ever get, since it cost me around $5,000 for the medical treatment.
>>> Press release: As Miami-Dade County prepares to embark on major repairs to its wastewater treatment system, County Commission Chairwoman Rebeca Sosa is sponsoring a resolution to prohibit the transfer of any Water & Sewer Department revenues to the County’s general fund for the duration of the project.
The resolution is scheduled for a vote by the County Commission on Tuesday, March 18 at 9:30 a.m. Its wording is consistent with language in a settlement agreement pending in federal court regarding the County’s federally mandated sewer repairs, which are needed to bring the system into compliance with the Clean Water Act. “This resolution will demonstrate the County’s good faith in complying with terms of the settlement agreement while protecting the public health by ensuring that there is no diversion of funds from necessary sewer system repairs,” Chairwoman Sosa said.
>> And to review all the Miami-Dade County Commissioners and other county officials 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: In the months of January – December 2013, passengers through PortMiami saw an increase of +7.0% compared to the same time last year. Sustained growth is due in part to the arrival of new, larger vessels and the variety of cruise options offered by PortMiami.
|January – December 2013||January – December 2012||% Change|
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
>>> Supt. Carvalho questions why WLRN Friends reserves are so “shockingly healthy,” with $10 million in the bank, suggests the station should benefit given “staffing and equipment needs,” he tells Audit Committee
A discussion at the school board’s Audit and Budget Review Committee Tuesday of WLRN and Friends of WLRN shows that when it comes to Superintendent Alberto Carvalho. He still thinks some of the Friend’s employees salaries are in excess and he is wondering why Friends, the station’s fundraising arm is sitting “shockingly healthy,” on some $10 million when clearly the station has some staffing and equipment “needs,” he said. He also believes Friends should move into the station’s building and Friends “could pay rent,” if they wanted too and he thought bringing Friends back to the district building made sense since Friends job was to raise money for the station, he said.
When Carvalho took the helm back in Sept. 2008 he started to reviews all the agreements the nation’s fourth largest school district had and found in the case of WLRN and Friends some charter and agreement changes were made back around 1995 and the changes were never approved by the school board or superintendent, which owns the station’s FCC license and one of the past changes removed the District superintendent being allowed to remove a board member on the boards, as well as approving the radio and television station’s general manager (Which has since changed).
Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman who has wanted to go to some of the WLRN Friends board meetings where a board member, is on the board, but many of these meetings are held in Broward or other areas, that makes it difficult to attend. Since the station’s signal goes from Palm Beach to Key West and allows listeners in those areas to also chime in on how the station is doing and being run. She said of the “next three meetings, one is in Ft. Lauderdale, another is being held on Brickell,” and the rest are in Ft. Lauderdale she said and that makes it “difficult,” for her or other school board members to attend. In addition, Carvalho said the WLRN board chair has told him that any requested information on “personnel and payroll,” will be “available in May,” he told audit committee members inquiring about the matter.
>>> JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM, UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI AND MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS PARTNER ON CPR EDUCATION CAMPAIGN
Press release: The images were captivating, heartbreaking and unforgettable at the same time: Five-month-old Sebastian de la Cruz, turning blue and being administered lifesaving CPR by a loving aunt alongside a busy Miami expressway. Sebastian is alive today because his aunt, Pamela Rauseo, took it upon herself to learn infant CPR years earlier. After his aunt’s heroic efforts, Sebastian was rushed to Holtz Children’s Hospital at the University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Medical Center for treatment. Doctors say his aunt’s CPR training saved his life.
Their story – and the dramatic photos of the harrowing ordeal – made headlines throughout the world and raised awareness on the importance of CPR training, especially the important differences for infants and children. Today, Sebastian’s family, Jackson Health System President and CEO Carlos A. Migoya, Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho, University of Miami President Donna E. Shalala and University of Miami Miller School of Medicine Dean Pascal J. Goldschmidt, M.D., announced a partnership in an effort to bring CPR training to thousands of county residents and students in a massive, potentially record-breaking CPR class. This effort fulfills Jackson’s mission to provide for the health care of the community and the district and the university’s mission to educate. Details of this plan are still being hammered out and will be released in the coming weeks. “The more people who learn this very important life-saving skill, the more happy endings we will hear about,” said Migoya. “We want there to be more heroes like Pamela Rauseo and more survivors like Sebastian.”
“Miami-Dade County Public Schools, through more than 53,000 employees and 340,000 students, has an established network to a majority of Miami-Dade citizens who are tied to the District through various relationships,” said Carvalho. “Therefore, it is logical that we explore the expansion of CPR training opportunities, either through our own resources or in partnership with others. Through education, we could literally put the power to save lives in the hands of thousands.” “We will continue to work hard to bring this critically important message to our community,” said Goldschmidt. “An event such as this should inspire many more people to learn this simple technique that saves lives.”
Gov. Rick Scott reappoints Villamil, Bucelo, Jr., and Ferre to Miami-Dade College Board
>>> Press release: Gov. Scott announced one appointment and two reappointments to the Miami Dade College District Board of Trustees.
Bernardo Navarro, 40, of Miami, is the president of Benworth Capital Partners LLC. He previously served as president of the Latin Builders Association and currently serves as chairman of the Latin Builders Association Construction and Business Management Academy. Navarro received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Miami and his master’s degree from Harvard University. He succeeds Marielena Villamil and is appointed for a term beginning March 10, 2014, and ending May 31, 2016.
Armando Bucelo Jr., of Coral Gables, is an attorney with Zumpano Castro LLC. He previously served on the University of Miami’s President’s Council. Bucelo received his bachelor’s and law degree from the University of Miami. He is reappointed for a term beginning March 10, 2014, and ending May 31, 2016.
Helen Aguirre Ferre, 55, of Miami Shores, is a national radio show host with Univision America Radio and a columnist for the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald. She is a board member of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges. Ferre received her bachelor’s degree from Barry University and her master’s degree from the University of Miami. She is reappointed for a term beginning March 10, 2014, and ending May 31, 2016.
The appointments are subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST
>>> PHT will be looking into the future for new Trustees, only the best people, with good temperament and no conflicts should apply for this time consuming pressure cooker board made up local citizens to oversea JHS, and its $1.6 billion budget
The seven member Public Health Trust Board has a number of slots in the future to fill, one attempt to fill the openings last year was shelved, and the Nominating Council that short lists candidates that the County Commission can approve will be held Mar. 26. The appointment of new PHT trustees has been of interest to the Watchdog Report since 1997 and I have covered these interviews and scanned the anointed ones performance. The PHT oversight board oversees the $1.5 billion Jackson Health System enterprise with some 10,000 employees and physicians and is affiliated with the University of Miami and the FIU Medical schools and is the premier citizen volunteer board in Miami-Dade, and why getting top people is so important.
The PHT board has shrunk over the years from 21members to the current seven trustees considered more nimble and accountable when it comes to governance and was pushed in 2009 by then County Commission Chair Joe Martinez.
And over the years some of the trustees on the voluntary board have been superb, however others were just “getting their tickets punched” when it came to doing public service or others were slackers with poor attendance and minimal engagement on the body and the Watchdog Report even had to create a weekly section for one trustee, attorney Martin Zilber who was not pulling his weight on the body and now is running to be elected as a circuit court judge in 2014. It is for this reason people in the future that apply to be on the board must be dedicated and citizens without conflicts that periodically has picked off a number of past trustees over the years including a long serving treasurer of the board ten years ago, and being on this important board is only for people that want to truly serve and do good. But history has shown some lightweights have slipped through the process, which when the board was large might have had minimal impact, but with this smaller oversight board, every member is critical and if you have a real interest in being part of providing Miracles Every Day, a feat that Jackson does every day. Then consider applying in the months ahead after the application protocol and application timeframe has been approved and that information will be run in future Watchdog Reports.
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott was joined by Dr. Donna Shalala, President of the University of Miami, at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center to support a proposed $80 million investment for cancer research funding in Florida as part of the “It’s Your Money Tax Cut Budget.” The Governor’s proposed budget includes $60 million for existing Florida Cancer Centers to assist in achieving National Cancer Institute (NCI) designation, and another $20 million commitment for peer-reviewed research grants…Stephen D. Nimer, M.D., Director of Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center said, “We are constantly striving to develop more effective therapies to fight cancer and ways to prevent it. The breakthroughs we are making are made possible by the incredible expertise and dedication of our physician-scientists and our ongoing investment of resources. With Governor Scott in Sylvester’s corner, we will strive to make more lifesaving discoveries, as we advance towards our goal of achieving NCI designation.”
CITY OF MIAMI
>>> Mayor Regalado says Miami is becoming “global brand,” also having $74 million in reserves is a good thing for city fiscally on the rocks a few years ago
Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado gave his State of the City Address Friday and with resurgent property tax values and new development coming onto the taxing roles. The city has dodged a fiscal bullet after three years of union concessions that included a five percent hit to employee salaries, And the city’s reserves are now around $74 million, which is less than the $96 million reserve required under a city ordinance but this reserve is more than Miami-Dade County with a significantly bigger budget has in its reserves coffers. Further, while over the last four years Miami employees have made sacrifices in pay though they got the money credited to their retirement fund. Further, on Thursday the commission approved a onetime two percent bonus for the city’s Sanitation and Solid waste union employees that is costing the city $350,000 for a full fiscal year, said Miami Manager Daniel J. Alfonso and the legislation had only Commissioner Marc Sarnoff concerned about the deal and whether it was consistent with state laws on the matter.
Regalado overwhelmingly won reelection last November after his only real challenger Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez dropped out of the race after some campaign gaffs and included a state attorney’s office investigation of one member of the campaign team.
Regalado, a former Cuban American journalist and commission contrarian when then Mayor Manny Diaz was at the helm of the city, has had some political misfires in his first four year term, including the botched removal of the Miami Police Chief and many observers wish he would jettison a few of his staff, who on a few occasions have an arrogant streak, that includes his long time friend and press spokesman Angel Zayon. For more on the address go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/03/14/3994915/miami-mayor-regalado-touts-citys.html
>>> Press release: Ethics Commissioners found No Probable Cause to a complaint (C 13-38) that an attorney for the Miami Parking Authority violated the Ethics Ordinance by using her City email account and computer to promote a political fundraiser for then-mayoral candidate Francis Suarez. Kira Grossman, who also serves as Senior Executive Advisor to the Parking Authority’s CEO, sent or received approximately 20 emails related to a May 30, 2013, event, but she contended it was merely a networking opportunity for young professionals and the wording of the initial invitation was not conclusive.
CITY OF HIALEAH
>>> City gets Ethics Commission Letter of Instruction after slow response to a public records request
>>> Ethics Commission press release: While the COE found No Probable Cause to a complaint (C 13-33) against the City of Hialeah and El Duke Sports Association LLC for failing to adequately respond to public records requests, the board voted last month to issue a Letter of Instruction to make city officials more cognizant of the Miami-Dade Citizens’ Bill of Rights provision relating to public records. The Letter, approved today, acknowledged that Jose Azze requested extensive paperwork, including asking for some records that do not exist, but also noted that “it is the duty of the public servant to be helpful and provide full and accurate information in as timely a fashion as possible.”
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
>>> Surfs Up! Spring Break Camp for Children with Autism is Back – Miami Beach Hosts Various Programs for Special Needs –
Press release: Chances are, you or someone you know has a child with autism. According to the Autism Society, one percent of children in the U.S. ages 3-17 has been diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). ASD is a life-long developmental disability that impairs communication, self-control, social interaction and learning. Miami Beach Parks & Recreation, in conjunction with the University of Miami Center for Autism and Related Disabilities (CARD), hosts a free, week-long spring break surf camp for children with autism. The special camp will run from March 23 – 28 on the beach adjacent to South Pointe Park.
“We are excited to be offering this camp again for the sixth year,” said John Rebar, director, Miami Beach Parks and Recreation. “It will provide a unique and wonderful experience that could for some be a once in a lifetime experience.” Parents of special need children are often challenged with limited opportunities for their children to participate in recreational sports. This surf camp provides children ages 8-12 with either low to high functioning autism, pervasive developmental disorder, or Asperger syndrome a chance to surf and be part of a recreational activity like any typical child. Children are selected for the camp by undergoing evaluations with CARD and City of Miami Beach staff to ensure that the camp will be beneficial to the child. On the first day of camp, participants will be evaluated on their swimming skills as well as receive some surf practice. During the remainder of the week, campers will ride surfboards and kayaks, build sand castles and enjoy the ocean waves…. Olympics athletic training for bowling, soccer and tennis. For additional information on programs for children and adults with special needs, contact the Miami Beach Parks and Recreation department at 305.673.7730.
CITY OF NORTH MIAMI
>>> One city official faces ethics charge; another settles case
Press release: The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) today found Probable Cause that North Miami Councilwoman Marie Steril exploited her official position by demanding that her mother receive upgrades denied to other buyers when she bought a home through a federally-funded program run by the city. The investigation into the complaint (C 14-19) found that in 2009, Councilwoman Steril asked the manager of North Miami’s Community Planning and Development department to find a small house for her mother through the Neighborhood Stabilization Program, intended for residents who need assistance in buying a home. While the home was being renovated in March of 2011, Steril insisted that the countertops and appliances installed in the kitchen be replaced with higher quality products, worth more than $7,700, and a change order was issued. Other homebuyers sought similar changes and offered to pay the difference, but were told they had to abide by the bid specifications for the home renovations. If Steril is found to have violated the Miami-Dade County Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance, she could face fines, investigative costs and a public reprimand.
CITY OF SOUTH MIAMI
>>> Vice Mayor Liebman “agreed” there was Probable Cause, he violated “use of public property,” in ethics commission settlement
M-DC Ethics Commission press release: South Miami Vice Mayor Josh Liebman agreed that there is Probable Cause he violated the “use of public property” section of his city’s Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance when he endorsed a candidate for office in his official capacity during a televised and web-streamed city commission meeting. To avoid the time and expense of litigation, Liebman reached a settlement to the complaint (C 13-41), by entering a plea of No Contest and paying a fine of $250 and investigative costs of $500, which was approved today by the COE. His support for candidate Donna Shelley in last month’s election came during the “commissioner’s comments” portion of the October 15, 2013, city commission meeting. The Code prohibits the use of publicly-supported property to the advantage of the official or any other person. Vice Mayor Liebman was speaking from the dais in a meeting that was broadcast throughout the city and is maintained on the city’s website, which is considered a public resource.
TOWN OF MIAMI LAKES
>>> Former CEO of Miami Lakes Tax Preparation Business Sentenced for Structuring Scheme
Press release: Wifredo A Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Carlos Rodriguez, 40, of Miami Lakes, was sentenced today to 22 months in prison, followed by two years of supervised release. Rodriguez previously pled guilty to one count of structuring financial transactions with the intent to evade currency reporting requirements, in violation of Title 31, United States Code, Sections 5324(a)(3) and 5324(d)(2). Rodriguez is the former Chief Executive Officer of Rodri Rodri & Associates (Rodri), formerly located in Miami Lakes… As further stated in the plea agreement, Rodriguez agreed to cooperate with the IRS in its civil examination, determination, assessment, and collection of income taxes related to the defendant’s 2009 through 2012 income tax returns and any related corporate tax returns, and further agreed not to conceal, transfer, or dissipate funds or property that could be used to satisfy such taxes, penalties, and interest. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Elijah A. Levitt. 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.
VILLAGE OF KEY BISCAYNE
>>> TRAFFIC ADVISORY: RICKENBACKER CAUSEWAY TOLL LANE SCHEDULE
Press release: Toll lanes on the Rickenbacker Causeway will observe the following schedule beginning Tuesday, February 18, 2014: 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Lanes 7 and 8 (the two far right lanes) will be closed. Traffic will be managed through use of all or some of Lanes 1 through 6 depending on the volume of traffic. >>> 8:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. Lanes 1 through 6 will be closed. Traffic will be managed using Lanes 7 and 8 (the two far right lanes). This schedule change will remain in place until further notice.
>>> OTHER STORIES AROUND FLORIDA
>>> Humorist Dave Barry is the big name draw for www.browardBulldog.org Event
The BrowardBulldog is having a special event that is featuring Pulitzer Prize winning humorist Dave Barry and the news organization needs community support for they do excellent investigative reporting on Broward and the state and for more information on the event go to:An Evening With Dave Barry Presented by Boardroom Communications and BrowardBulldog.org
Event to be held at the following time, date, and location:
|Tuesday, April 8, 2014 from 5:30 PM to 8:30 PM (EDT)
Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale Auditorium
|Attend Event||Share this event:
|Boardroom Communications Presents: AN EVENING WITH DAVE BARRY to benefit BrowardBulldog.org on Tuesday, April 8 at NSU’s Museum of Art Fort Lauderdale. Join us for a fun night with best-selling author and Pulitzer-Prize-winning humorist Dave Barry as he discusses parenting and other topics he knows little about. Dave will share his unique insights from his new book “You Can Date Boys When You’re Forty.”|
>>> Broward County Tax Preparer Pleads Guilty to Contempt of Court
Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and José A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Dianelys Armengol Guevara, 28, of Pembroke Pines and Dallas, Texas, pled guilty today before U.S. District Judge James I. Cohn to a one-count Information charging her with contempt of court for violating a court order forbidding her from acting as a tax preparer. According to the factual proffer filed in court, Guevara had worked as a professional tax preparer at Liberty Tax Services, in Hollywood, from 2005-2009. In 2010, the Department of Justice’s Tax Division filed a civil complaint against Guevara, based on a civil IRS investigation, alleging that Guevara had filed tax returns improperly claiming First Time Homebuyer Credits, various education credits, deductions, and expenses. In January 2011, U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga entered a judgment which permanently barred Guevara from acting as a federal tax return preparer. However, on or about January 13, 2011, Guevara began willfully disobeying that judgment by continuing to prepare, and assist in preparing, federal tax returns, from her home in Pembroke Pines. Guevara admitted to preparing approximately 130 federal tax returns after the Court had entered its order. Audits by the IRS found that many of these returns prepared by Guevara also made illegitimate claims to education credits and other deductions, resulting in an average under-payment of approximately $3,358 per return. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jared M. Strauss. 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.
>>> 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.
>>> Hallandale Resident Charged with Attempted Extortion
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, A. Lee Bentley, III, United States Attorney for the Middle District of Florida, Paul Wysopal, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Tampa Field Office, Aaron T. Ford, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, New Jersey Field Office, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Miami Field Office, and Scott Israel, Sheriff, Broward Sheriff’s Office (BSO), Bomb Squad, announce the unsealing of an indictment charging Brian Henderson, 49, of Hallandale. The indictment, which was returned in the Southern District of Florida, is the result of a joint investigation conducted by the FBI Miami Field Office, the Tampa Field Office and the New Jersey Field Office. Brian Henderson is scheduled to make his initial appearance in the Southern District of Florida before U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia O. Valle on Friday, March 14, 2014. According to the eleven-count indictment, which was returned on February 25, 2014, Henderson is charged with attempting to extort money from Publix Super Markets, Inc. (Publix), by the use of actual and threatened force, violence and fear of economic loss. As set forth in the indictment, Henderson attempted to obtain money from Publix by sending several threatening emails to Publix in which he threatened to damage Publix stores through the use of explosive devices. In furtherance of his attempt to extort money from Publix, Henderson placed, and caused to be detonated, a pipe bomb at the Publix store located in Dania Beach… The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorney Michael Walleisa. An indictment is only an accusation and a 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
>>> And reader’s can check out they’re leaders financial disclosure forms on line at http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
WEST PALM BEACH
>>> Ringleader of Identity Theft Ring and Accomplice Plead Guilty
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Ric. L. Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, announce that Jennifer Robinson, 36, of West Palm Beach, and Elton Baker, 29, of Center Hill, pled guilty for their participation in a wide-ranging identity theft scheme. Specifically, Robinson pled guilty to all counts in a superseding indictment, which included one count of conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ‘ 1349, twelve counts of wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ‘ 1343, eleven counts of stealing government monies, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ‘ 641, twelve counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ‘ 1028A, and, one count of unauthorized access device fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. ‘ 1029(a)(2)… The scheme involved, in part, stealing the identities of patients at a medical facility in central Florida. Those identities were then used to file fraudulent federal income tax returns in the patients’ names seeking fraudulent refunds, and obtaining fraudulent credit cards which were then used to make fraudulent purchases. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Stephen Carlton. 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. One Hallandale Resident and Two Palm Beach Residents Sentenced to Lengthy
>>> And to read all the Palm Beach elected leader’s financial disclosure reports go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
>>> MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PARKS AND THE KNIGHT FOUNDATION PRESENT A FREE Caribbean-Reggae concert at Goulds Park on Friday, March 7 Wyle Fyah Band
Press release: Enjoy a free Caribbean-Reggae concert under the stars by Wyle Fyah on Friday, March 7, 2014 at Goulds Park, 21805 SW 114 Ave., Miami. This family-style concert is part of the season’s expanded Noches Tropicales/Tropical Nights free concert series presented by the Miami-Dade County Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department and sponsored by the Knight Foundation. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. and admission and parking are free. Clifford Mayers, aka “Socaman Cliff”, formed the band Wyle Fyah in 1998. The group performs a diverse repertoire of Reggae, Soca, Calypso, Rock, Blues, Top 40’s, and Louis Armstrong classics. They have opened concerts for such musical superstars as Jimmy Buffet, Third World, Inner Circle, and Shaggy. Cliff has also performed at the world famous Apollo Theater in New York City.
Concert goers are encouraged to bring along a blanket, chairs and snacks to better enjoy the festivities. In the event of rain, concerts may be cancelled. Concert performers are subject to change. For more information on Noches Tropicales/Tropical Nights concerts, call Vivian Greer Digon at 305-271-0812 or visit Miami-Dade County Parks on the web at www.miamidade.gov/parks.
Mark your calendar for April 4 – the season’s finale will feature a live concert by Tony Swing at Tropical Park. To stay up to date on all future events, like us on Facebook www.facebook.com/miamidadeparks; and follow us on Twitter @miamidadeparks. You can also see past events on our YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/miamidadeparks.
Miami-Dade County Parks kicked off its free Noches Tropicales/Tropical Nights 2013/2014 concert season with a star-studded Latin Jazz Gala concert at the Miami-Dade County Auditorium (MDCA) on September 20. The Gala concert was led by 10-time Grammy Award-winning percussionist Edwin Bonilla and his Latin Jazz All-Star Ensemble, and included musical performances by five-time Grammy winning violinist Federico Britos, legendary Cuban flutist Gustavo Cruz and vocalist Lucy Grau. These concerts were made possible by a $100,000 Knight Foundation grant to expand the Noches Tropicales concert series from its home base at Tropical Park to other venues throughout the County and taking on the name of “Tropical Nights”. The Noches Tropicales concerts at Tropical Park are made possible by a $75,000 grant from Target. www.miamidade.gov/parks/.
>>> Join the Epilepsy Foundation of Florida at Walk the Talk for Epilepsy and support Floridians living with epilepsy!
For seven years, EFOF has hosted walks throughout the state each spring to raise awareness and funds for this common condition. Did you know one in 26 people will be diagnosed with epilepsy in their lifetime? Walk the Talk for Epilepsy 2014 is almost here! Register today to help make a difference in 375,000 Floridian’s lives and enjoy a day of family fun. Miami, March 22, Tropical Park, 7900 SW 40th Street, Miami, FL 33155 Click here register to walk and purchase tickets Click here to start a fundraising team or join one! Can’t attend the walk, but want to make a donation? Click here! Tickets are $25. Your support and collaboration helps the foundation provide medical and social services and continue to lead the fight to stop seizures, find a cure and overcome the challenges created by epilepsy. For details contact your local Epilepsy Foundation of Florida Office at 305-670-4949
>>> The Margulies Collection is open to the public Wednesday through Saturday 11am to 4pm Feature Exhibitions: Song Dong | The Wisdom of the Poor: A Communal Courtyard Arte Povera | Calzolari, Kounellis, Pistoletto Anselm Kiefer | Paintings and Sculpture 1986 – 2006 New Painting: Anna Betbeze, Aaron Bobrow, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Astrid Svangren,Tam Van Tran New Photography: Olafur Eliasson, Jan Hoek, Nina Katchadourian, Domenico Mangano, Zwelethu Mthethwa, Hank Willis Thomas New Sculpture: Ai Weiwei, Nathalie Djurberg, Masao Gozu, Kenny Scharf, Paolo Ventura
New Video: Kota Ezawa, Amar Kanwar We look forward to welcoming you to the Warehouse soon!
Jannis Kounellis,Senza Titolo,1999, plates, iron shelves, bags, plaster, 142 x 79″
>>> PAST OCT 2012 WDR: Miami-Dade voters should pass $1.2 billion public schools bond, but also large FL counties school districts need to unite to demand more state school capital funding
With Miami-Dade Pubic Schools asking voters to pass a $1.2 billion capital improvement bond on Nov. 6 because interest rates are so low, it would give a substantial boost to the construction industry and rehabilitate or replace some of the community’s most desperate in need schools across all parts of the community. It is also important to remember that Miami-Dade is a donor community to the state and it reflects the lack of lawmakers ability to do the right thing when public schools around Florida get zero for capital improvements but some charter schools get some $50 million in state help, and the public does not even own the facilities. The Watchdog Report in the past has in many ways supported the issue of charter schools, offering students and parents a choice from a local public school.
However, that does not mean when it comes to the physical plant and facilities that public money should be used that enriches a non-public owned entity and that is the problem. The state’s larger public schools and counties leaders must work together in the coming years because local taxation can be done, but in many ways it is double taxation of taxpayers who ask why are we not getting are funding share from the state. Since South Florida makes such a substantial contribution to the state tax base and this extra taxation, while needed here just accentuates the inequity, local residents have with other Florida counties that get a higher share of this public money. Though these other districts costs are lower and have a smaller number of schools.
And while Gov. Scott can hype the $1 billion in replaced educational funding in this year’s new state budget after being whacked in past years. The situation is still inequitable and the big donor counties need to lift their legislative game. For as it has happened in the past, in this case. If the bond passes (Which it did in a overwhelming yes vote), the community also needs to demand more of its current tax dollars coming from the state for a host of issues. If we are not forever to be the fiscally abused one, that after a couple of decades of being in this donor capacity is getting really old.
>>> Florida mourns the loss today of former Governor Reubin Askew, a truly great leader — a man of moral conviction and genuine compassion. His administration set a standard for fairness, openness, and honesty that has not been surpassed. Governor Askew led Florida through a period of significant change. He appointed the first African American to the State Supreme Court as well as the State Cabinet. He was an outspoken advocate for environmental protection and strong growth management laws. And, perhaps most surprisingly, he ran and won on a platform of tax reforms that required corporations to pay taxes.
But his commitment to transparency – to demanding that the public’s business be conducted in public view — may be his most important legacy. The “Government in the Sunshine” law Governor Askew ushered in remains a national model to this day. Reubin Askew was, by every measure, a true Progressive Democrat long before anyone else. And Florida is a better place today for his service.
Former Senator Nan Rich
>>> The birth of a child to a teenager all-too-often leads to a mother who will struggle for much of her life educationally, economically and socially. At least as serious, and to my mine even worse, will be the difficulties that the child is likely to experience. For this reason, any evidence of reduced teen pregnancies should be celebrated and the reasons for the reduction explored. I believe the following discussion from The Brookings Institute will be of interest, especially in showing what effects the media can have on a positive side, at least according to the research as reported. Sorry for the very, very long link, but it will take you to a summary of the research report. http://www.brookings.edu/research/reports/2014/03/teen-births-whats-going-on-kearney- levine?utm_campaign=Brookings+Brief&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=12182821&_hsenc=p2ANqtz-8gPHXH75I2tJ71Oy492OuwXMgNjqc1zF8-IjSJbNztui0jZNjJw_odacuk4qsPim5lrSxBmhEUSa5zpZ8S93TV4dleSQ&_hsmi=12182821
>>> 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
JEFFREY L. BERKOWITZ TRUST
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
FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY www.fiu.edu
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
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOMELESS TRUST: www.miamidade.gov/homeless/
MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE www.mdc.edu
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY INSPECTOR GENERAL www.miamidade.gov/ig
MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net
MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS www.dadeschools.net
MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY www.miamidda.com
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 14th 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 800 reports and Extra’s have been sent since May 5, 2000 and over two 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 email@example.com
Daniel A. Ricker
Publisher & Editor
Watchdog Report www.watchdogreport.net
Copyright © of original material, 2014, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.