Watchdog Report Vol.15 No. 3 May 25, 2014 EST. 05.05.00 – I go when you cannot — Celebrating 15 Years
Argus Report: With VA controversy, President Obama administration facing an up hill battle to put on happy face on Memorial Day, for veterans after decades of war and millions of returning veterans returning with PTSD
Florida: Floridians wait to see what legislative funding will be vetoed by Gov. Scott with reelection in November — 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: Finance Committee Chair Bovo wishes more commissioners would attend budget hearings with clock ticking running up to public budget hearings in Sept. and Mayor Gimenez facing $200 million hole in upcoming budget — New Frost Science Museum pulls the plug on construction manager company; will $275 million project need more county money like Arsht Center in 2004?
Miami-Dade County Public School: MIAMI-DADE SCHOOLS POLICE DEPARTMENT JOINS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO PROMOTE “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” CAMPAIGN
Public Health Trust: PHT Nominating Council taps Bermont, Lipof, Perez, Kavanaugh, and Patino as fabulous five, but BCC will confirm two of them around Aug. who is appointed to PHT oversight board.
City of Miami: Mayor Regalado says he expects Miami commission to be “cooperative” when it came to Beckham deal for soccer stadium at FEC slip site
Village of Coconut Grove: Playhouse selection commit should be looking at possible proposals at the end of May, says Spring — Will basic constituent services by Commissioner Sarnoff on Bay Homes Drive defuse likely expensive legal challenge by street homeowners on Riparian Rights of homeowner?
City of Miami Beach: Memorial Day Celebration first big test for Mgr. Morales and new Police Chief as crowds swell but less so than past years
City of North Miami: Mayor Tondreau and Four Individuals Charged in Multi million dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
City of Coral Gables: “Still the most awesome! Pop culture’s grandest symbol of nuclear apocalypse.” Godzilla at Gables Art Cinema – Entertainment Weekly (read full review here)
>>> Other stories around Florida
Broward County: Former Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. Attorney
Sentenced in Connection with Rothstein Ponzi Scheme
City of Davie: Miami Attorney Charged with Not Filing Income Tax Return
Palm Beach County: — Residents can review they’re top County Officials financial disclosure forms on line at http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfmo
City of Vero Beach: Resident Pleads Guilty in Armed Robbery of Vero Beach GameStop Store
Monroe County: Gov. Scott taps Nicholas Mulick to the Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission. – To read all Monroe County constitutional officers’ financial disclosure forms go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
Community Events: Florida League of Women Voters reminds voters’ primary elections only 100 days away
Editorials: President Obama cannot allow VA scandal to fester or it will become his Katrina, veterans deserve competent healthcare facilities and treatment for their service to the nation — 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
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.)
>>> 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 pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.
>>>> The Watchdog Report is scheduled to be on WLRN 91.3 FM on Jun.2 on Topical Currents from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m. and the subject will be transportation issues in Miami-Dade County and on the panel will be County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and readers should listen in if you get a chance re this vexing subject that drives South Florida drivers nuts
>>> The WDR will be on the web on Tuesday since my webmaster is taking the day off rather than as usual on Monday.
>>> May you and your family have a safe and reflective Memorial Day and we should all reflect on the blood and treasure so many Americans have given over the Centuries to keep us free and the Home of the brave and to the Veterans not only do we thank you, for your service but hope you get the medical care you need and deserve, and was promised when you went to the front lines by a grateful nation.
ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Streets
>>> With the VA controversy, The President Barack Obama administration is facing a up hill battle to put on a happy face on Memorial Day for veterans after decades of war and millions of returning veterans returning with PTSDT and suicides of servicemen going through the roof. http://maketheconnection.net/conditions/ptsd?gclid=CNPD5oenx74CFSJqOgodBSIAiA Pundits note the federal hospital system with 150 hospitals and 100 out patient clinics, has always had issues but the president wanted to change that perception and situation, when he was first elected in 2008, but since then, federal funding has not kept up with the hundreds of thousands of returning soldiers often times having served multiple deployments over seas. And if the Obama administration cannot get a handle and right the large healthcare system’s treatment of veterans it could become his legacy as more of these returning veterans demand treatment, and similar problems were occurring back in the 1990s after the first Gulf War and the federal government needs to get this corrected for these men and women that have given their country this service that for some included giving the full measure and many Capital Hill leaders are calling for the VA Sec. Eric Shinseki’s, departure, though he is a retired U.S. Army four star general to step down, but the West Point graduate is staying at his post, and he was twice wounded in combat in Vietnam. http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2014/0524/Eric-Shinseki-Obama-sticks-with-embattled-Veterans-Affairs-chief-for-now-video
However, While president Barack Obama is embroiled with the Veterans Administration Hospital scandals that continue to have veterans or their family members stepping forward saying that there loved one did not get proper healthcare. And below is Obama’s speech honoring Memorial Day veterans this year. Weekly Address: Paying Tribute to Our Fallen Heroes this Memorial Day
White House press release: In this week’s address, President Obama commemorated Memorial Day by honoring the brave men and women in uniform who have given their lives in service to our country. As we stand with our veterans and military families this weekend, the President underscored our commitment to uphold our nation’s sacred trust with our veterans and ensure they get the benefits and opportunities they deserve and have earned.
President Obama Nominates Julián Castro as Next HUD Secretary, and Shaun Donovan as OMB Director Yesterday, in the White House State Dining Room, President Obama nominated San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro as the next Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and current HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan to serve as the Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB). READ MORE
This week, the President spoke on the importance of raising the minimum wage, investing in infrastructure, and bringing jobs and tourism back to America; invited the Super Bowl Champion Seahawks to the White House; and designated a new National Monument. The First Lady honored Brown v. Board of Education, and the Vice President and Dr. Biden traveled to Romania and Cyprus.
Thursday afternoon, President Obama became the first sitting President in U.S. history to visit the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. After taking some time to enjoy the baseball history and memorabilia at the Hall — which will be celebrating its 75th anniversary this summer — he talked about the impact that travel and tourism has on our country.
>>> Sen. Nelson says, “Some heads need to roll” Eds., producers note: You can download broadcast-quality video of Nelson’s comments here
Press reelase: U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL) says part of the solution to the recent troubles at the Department of Veterans Affairs may lie in legislation he’s co-sponsoring with his colleague from Florida, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL).
The legislation would give the secretary of the VA broader authority to make personnel changes by removing non-performing senior executives.
“The veterans are not getting the medical care, the treatment that they need,” said Nelson, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “Some heads need to roll.” “The VA bureaucracy has gotten to the point that it cannot respond to the desperate need of our veterans,” the lawmaker added. Similar legislation passed in the House yesterday by a vote of 390-33.
>>> Two Amendments Offered by Ros-Lehtinen to the FY14 National Defense Authorization Act Passes the House of Representatives
“I am very pleased that my amendments for the NDAA have passed the House of Representatives to help promote regional stability and security.”
Press release: U.S. Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL), Chairman of the Middle East and North Africa Subcommittee, made the following statement after the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which included two Ros-Lehtinen amendments on SOUTHCOM and regional counter narcotics efforts. Statement by Ros-Lehtinen:
“I am very pleased that my amendments for the NDAA have passed the House of Representatives to help promote regional stability and security. It is vital that we not turn a blind eye to what is going on in our very own region that may pose a threat to our national security interests.
“We have neglected to direct the appropriate amount of attention and resources to combat transnational criminal organizations in the Western Hemisphere who are involved in drug trafficking, human trafficking, narco-terrorism and have even developed close ties with the Iranian regime. One of my amendments will authorize the Secretary of Defense to deploy assets, personnel and resources, in coordination with SOUTHCOM, to combat increasing threats in our region.
“In addition, it is appalling that the Administration has conducted talks with the Castro regime regarding counter narcotics. My second amendment urges the Administration to bolster regional cooperation with countries throughout the Western Hemisphere, with the exception of Cuba, to combat drug trafficking. Cuba should be excluded from counter narcotics discussions, or any other talks for that matter, due to the fact that Cuba is designated a state sponsor of terrorism, harbors drug traffickers, violated international agreements by trying to send military equipment to North Korea, supports the FARC, and still holds an American citizen hostage.”
>>> Press release: Zogby Report Card: Festering Veterans Affairs scandal undermines Obama –John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner
Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that Russia and China are outrunning President Obama who is being undercut by the Veterans Administration scandal. “Normally when you are in a zero-sum game, you end up with zero. So in the face of sanctions against Vladimir Putin’s cronies and a weakening economy in Russia, Vladimir Putin pulled off a 30-year natural gas deal with China that means he can thumb his nose at President Obama and the West both economically and strategically. China is angry at Mr. Obama’s unequivocal stance with Japan on disputed islands and now they have a good friend with Putin.Please click on the link below to view this week’s grade:
>>> Zogby press release: New Zogby Analytics Poll: Obama Job Rating at 47%
By: John Zogby Forbes.com Contributor – A new poll by Zogby Analytics shows the President gaining two percentage points in his approval rating since earlier in May. The new poll, conducted online among 902 likely voters (May 21-22) has the President’s approval at 47%, with 50% disapproving.
A close look at the Zogby poll’s internals reveals some significant areas of improvement. He gained four points among women – 49%, up from 45% on May 2-3 – and voters over 65 years of age, 37%, up from 32%. Mr. Obama also improved his standing with Democrats by four points (81%, compared with 77%), liberals (83%, from 79%), and 50-64 year olds (42%, from 38%).
Please click on the link below to view the full release: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/451-new-zogby-analytics-poll-obama-job-rating-at-47
>>> National profile of the publisher in The Tribune papers Jan. 2003 & UNCCH 2004 media study that cites Watchdog Report having 100,000 readers weekly
To read a national story run in the Tribune papers on my life and how this all began done by Orlando Sentinel featured reporter Maya Bell go to: To read the section’s large 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 >>> And to read a University of North Carolina Chapel Hill study on the media in the Southeast United States that mentions the Watchdog Report with 100,000 readers weekly, done back in 2004 and to read the Southern Media Study go to: 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 … – – Cached.
>>> All photos in the Watchdog Report are taken from public government sites, and the Report goes on line at www.watchdogreport.net on Monday sometime during the day usually. >>> If you believe it is important to have someone watching your public institutions consider supporting the Watchdog Report for I am a low cost news service yet I do have to live, thank you! Further, I have been honored over the years by being named a WFOR-4 Hometown Hero in 2000, being profiled in a major way by The Miami New Times, twice in The Miami Herald, and the Orlando Sentinel which ran as a nationwide story on me in the Tribune papers on Jan. 2003 and UNC Chapel Hill naming me one of the top columnists in Florida in a multi-state study of the media back in 2004. I also thank Joseph Cooper for the opportunity to be on the WLRN/NPR showTopical Currents on www.wlrn.org since 2000, including yearly election coverage since then, and also numerous times over the past decade. Further, I am a frequent guest on WWW.WPBT2.ORG on Helen Ferre’s show Issues, and have also appeared on Eliott Rodriguez’s show News & Views.
>>> See what was said about the Watchdog Report in the Miami New Times 2003 — Best of Miami — BEST CITIZEN — Daniel A. Ricker
Three years ago, we said Ricker was our Best Gadfly. Given his dedication and perseverance, this new honor, Best Citizen, is well deserved. Ricker goes to 2,500 mind-melting meetings annually, from the Public Health Trust’s purchasing subcommittee to the Efficiency and Competition Commission to the Alliance for Human Services’ nominating council to the school board’s audit committee. Sometimes he’s the only public observer. Object: to be the Public Citizen for all those out there who can’t attend, and to connect and serve as an information bridge among the special-interest-dominated Miami-Dade governmental institutions that seem so problematic and indifferent to the democratic process.
This month his e-mail newsletter, The Watchdog Report, celebrates its (15th) anniversary. In a former life, Ricker made a handsome living as an international salesman of heart pacemakers. As the hard-working publisher of Watchdog Report, though, — his weekly compendium of meeting summaries, analysis, interviews, and commentary has become essential reading for anyone involved in public affairs. What his written work may lack in polish, it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness. So raise a toast to the man whose official slogan says it all: “A community education resource — I go when you cannot!
>>> Floridians wait to see what legislative funding will be vetoed by Gov. Scott with reelection in November
With Florida TaxWatch last week coming out with its llist of 107 Turkey’s funding for projects that might be local in nature, or skirted the normal vetting process in the Florida Legislature. The list identifies some $120 million in projects in the state’s $77.1 billion budget. However, Florida residents are waiting to see which of these legislative funding requests that Gov. Rick will veto in the future, though with his reelection in November. He is seen as being more generous when it comes to supporting any legislature funding request given the state’s growing revenue and in past years, Scott’s cuts of pork made him a darling of the Tea Party crowd and the state has reduced its debt significantly since Scott took office back in 2010 Here is a longer story on the matter.http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/23/4134017/florida-taxwatch-flags-120-million.html# Since Scott is likely to face former Gov. Charlie Crist if Crist can brush aside state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston in the August Democratic Party primary. To be the opposition party’s challenger.
>>> 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.
>>>Press release: Gov. Scott Statement on Memorial Day – Governor Rick Scott said, “My wife Ann and I join Floridians this Memorial Day in honoring the men and women of the United States military who have given their lives to serve our country throughout our nation’s history. It is because of their bravery and sacrifice that we are able to enjoy the freedoms of our great country and have the opportunity to achieve the American Dream. We continue to pray for the members and families of the Armed Forces who are honorably serving today.
“As we take this opportunity to join our families and friends in enjoying everything our beautiful state has to offer, I urge all Floridians to pause for one minute to observe the National Moment of Remembrance to honor America’s fallen on Monday at 3:00 p.m. local time. This moment should serve as a time to remember, reflect, and honor the men and women of our military who have bravely served our state and our nation.”
>>> 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.
>>> Finance Committee Chair Bovo wishes more commissioners would attend budget hearings with the clock ticking running up to public budget hearings in Sept. and Mayor Gimenez facing a $200 million hole in upcoming budget that must be filled.
County Commissioner Estephan Bovo has been holding budget hearings since he is chair of the Finance Committee and there is a $200 million gap in next year’s budget that begins Oct. 1 and the lack of funding has segments of the community in a uproar when it comes to cuts in the library District, or the animal Services budgets and in cultural programs.
Bovo is going through all the 25 county department budgets and he wished his other 12 commissioners attended the meetings so they could give they’re input early to the administration of Mayor Carlos Gimenez what the body’s budget priorities are and what other commissioners think, he said Monday.
Further, When it comes to the new Miami Science Museum being constructed in Museum Park and its management contractor being dismissed recently. No one was talking at Miami-Dade County about the new wrinkle in the project that got a $275 million slug of public GOP money from the county and the Watchdog Report asked County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and Cultural Affairs Director Michael Spring and both said they were aware of some issues, but “no more money” was coming from the county they both suggested, since the County has a $200 million budget hole to plug and when it comes to finding spare money as in many past years, “there is no more magic,” in the county’s budget since some $4 billion has been cut out of the county budget since around 2008, said one long time experienced budget expert at the county. And the reason the Watchdog Report is so interested in what is going on over at the Frost Museum and if there will be a need for money to finish the impressive, but complex facility, it is because there is now no more money and while the Museum has raised some $80 million on its own. It is unknown if the organization can fill in any fiscal gap. And here is the Museum’s website that talks about a new management company being selected and Spring told the Watchdog Report that the “project will not become a PACT II ,” he assured me last week. http://www.frostscience.org/blog/ http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/16/4121231/new-contractor-named-for-frost.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/24/miami-science-museum-breaks-ground_n_1298730.html
PAST WDR: It has happened, the Patricia and Phillip Frost $275 million new museum of Science at Museum Park in Bicentennial Park has run into trouble http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/16/4121231/new-contractor-named-for-frost.html and the Watchdog Report has been concerned about this type of possibility of problems. Since the first public dollars allocated in a countywide bond were allocated to the project, and includes some $165 million of this public bond money, and another $100 million of the GOB was dedicated to the new Perez Art Museum nearby to the science museum and that opened on time and within budget.
However, the public and press was not able to attend the Science Museum’s board meeting’s to get a heads up on any issues that might be developing early on, and that includes the County’s Inspector General being barred from the proceedings. And even worse was Mayor Carlos Gimenez only learned last week that there were some problems with the construction company’s management with the facility half complete. Gillian Thomas the Museum CEO has always been the public face of the project, and it is concerning that these difficulties did not come to light earlier.
Since a significant amount of public money is involved and Gimenez needs to get on top of this issue, for it has the making of not only being delayed, but perhaps forcing the need for more public funds. Something requested at past internal budget meetings and had Thomas always seeking more public funds and she always assured people at the meeting that everything was going well back then. However, it is now clear that was not the case and the community and County may end up holding the fiscal bag since the facility must be completed to avoid another large hole, similar to what happened with the Arsht Center back in 2004, where the County and City of Miami pumped a couple of hundred million dollars more into the project to complete the $472 million twin hall Arts Center.
Further, Gillian gets prickly when she is challenged in anyway and when she first came to the museum around 2003. She attended a county commission meeting and in a presentation essentially demanded the County Commissioners approve a separate bond request for the organization, which commissioners balked at and suggested any funding be included in the $2.9 billion GOB that was being discussed by the body and when voters passed that issuance back in 2004.
The Science Museum got the new financing that it wanted to build this new facility, but much of it since then has been on a wing and a prayer concerning what was going on over there at the construction site. Gillian says it was a difficult decision but the sudden nature of the issue should give County Commissioners pause and what was surprising is at the County’s Cultural Affairs Council over the past years which I cover fairly often. None of these construction problems were ever brought up and the Watchdog Report was surprised at this Miami Herald story for there had not been a hint of such a major issue with the management construction company, Suffolk Construction in the public media domain prior to this story.
Further, the Company Suffolk Construction, is widely respected and while a number of is also building the new Juvenile Justice Courthouse next door to county hall and that project, while having some change order issues is going better, and it remains to be seen what the final cost will be to complete the Science Museum. And readers should stay tuned and see how this construction issue finally pans out.
>>> Former Miami-Dade Department of Public Works Employee Pleads Guilty to Accepting $150,000 in Bribes from Contractor
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Garfield Perry, 67, of North Miami Beach, pled guilty to a one-count information charging him with conspiring to accept bribes in connection with programs receiving federal funds and to commit extortion, all in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. Sentencing is scheduled for July 29, 2014 at 9:00 a.m. before U.S. District Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga.
According to the stipulated statement of facts executed by the parties, from at least 2002 through 2009, Perry was the Roadway Lighting Coordinator for the Department of Public Works in Miami-Dade County. In this capacity, Perry was responsible for, among other things, overseeing the maintenance of more than 22,000 street lights in the county’s roadway system. The information charges that from 2006 through October 2009, Perry accepted bribe payments from a Manufacturer’s Representative totaling approximately $150,000. Perry regularly directed the Manufacturer’s Representative to make the bribe payments by paying down debts owed by Perry, including payments on two home mortgages, one car loan, two home insurance policies, two car insurance policies, and eight credit cards. Perry accepted as bribe payments from the Manufacturer’s Representative, cruise vacations, domestic and international airline tickets, payments for hotels and theatre tickets. Perry regularly directed the Manufacturer’s Representative to make bribe payments by issuing checks payable to third parties, and, after the checks were cashed, determined the manner in which the proceeds were to be split. Perry falsely certified to Miami-Dade County that he was not engaged in any outside employment and did not receive any gratuities. In return for the bribe payments, Perry helped to ensure that lighting products used in Public Works’ projects were represented by the Manufacturer’s Representative. At sentencing, Perry faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of up to five years in prison. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jeffrey N. Kaplan. 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.
>>>PAST WDR: Water & Sewer Director Johnson jokes his new assignment is as “the toilet czar,” given the billions being spent to correct infrastructure under federal decree
Bill Johnson, the new Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Director in charge of implementing a multi billion dollar replumbing of the county’s extensive sewer facilities that will proceed under a federal judge’s watchful eye since the county entered into a federal consent decree on the matter. The Watchdog Report Tuesday asked Johnson, the former Port of Miami director how this new assignment was going and he joked. “Just call me the toilet czar,” and the long serving county employee is expected to get the job done, even though it is not as glamorous as some of his past assignments over the decades.
What about the issue of sea level rise in the $12.6 billion new water and sewer infrastructure plan?
Bill Johnson last week at a county commission committee meeting said there is a “misperception [by many in the community],” that the $12. 6 billion upcoming upgrades in the water and sewer system plan did not take into account sea level rises, and while not detailed in a federal consent decree agreed to by the county in federal court. Johnson said for years the department has “taken into account these issues,” and has “been very aggressive,” on the matter and is one of the “leading entities” in the nation when it came to “sea level rise,” mitigation here in South Florida and a report on the matter done last year validates these concerns, and the 35 year county employee noted. The department “was highly sensitive to sea level rising,” and its impact on these new projects and it was being factored into the plan he said to committee members last week. Further, Johnson suggested in his opinion the actual projects when completed in the decades to come will cost slightly more and he suggested a more accurate number could be “around $13.6 billion” in the years to come.
>>> GMCVB press release: RECORD DEMAND FOR TRAVEL TO GREATER MIAMI & THE BEACHES HITS RECORD LEVEL FOR APRIL 2014 RANKING #2 IN REVENUE PER AVAILABLE ROOM (REVPAR), #3 IN AVERAGE DAILY ROOM RATE (ADR) AND #3 IN HOTEL ROOM OCCUPANCY AMONG THE TOP 25 U.S. MARKETS
|Average Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)|
|Market||Rate||% Change vs. 2013|
|1. New York||$232.70||+4.8%|
|3. San Francisco||$163.47||+5.8%|
|4. Oahu Island||$161.71||+0.6%|
|Average Daily Room Rate (ADR)|
|Market||Rate||% Change vs. 2013|
|1. New York||$263.86||+4.8%|
|2. Oahu Island||$207.76||+4.7%|
|4. San Francisco||$190.41||+5.6%|
|Market||% Occupancy||% Change vs. 2013|
|1. New York||88.2%||+3.7%|
|2. San Francisco||85.8%||+0.2%|
|5. Los Angeles||80.4%||+3.9%|
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
>>> MIAMI-DADE SCHOOLS POLICE DEPARTMENT JOINS U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY TO PROMOTE “IF YOU SEE SOMETHING, SAY SOMETHING” CAMPAIGN
Press release: The Miami-Dade Schools Police Department (MDSPD), under the direction of Chief Ian Moffett, is partnering with the United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to promote the “If You See Something, Say Something” campaign within Miami-Dade County Public Schools. This is the first phase of a comprehensive school safety initiative titled “Campus Shield,” which relies on our school community of parents, students, staff, and visitors – the eyes and ears of our schools and neighborhoods. This campaign will help to reinforce the role that local communities play and encourage our stakeholders to work together with the Department of Homeland Security. It also raises public awareness of the behavioral indicators of terrorism and emphasizes the importance of reporting suspicious activities to local law enforcement. Our schools will be receiving posters, which will be placed in areas around campus that are frequented by students, staff, parents, and visitors. It is recommended that members of the community only report suspicious behavior and circumstances. This can include such situations as an unattended backpack in a public place, or someone trying to break into a restricted area. Only reports that document behavior that reasonably indicates criminal activity related to terrorism will be shared with partnering agencies. The number to call if you witness suspicious activity is 1-855-FLA-SAFE (1-855-352-7233). For more information regarding this campaign, contact Captain Ivan Silva at 305-757-7708.
PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST
>>> PHT Nominating Council taps Bermont, Lipof, Perez, Kavanaugh, and Patino as fabulous five, but BCC will confirm two of them around Aug. who is appointed to PHT oversight board, after background checks done.
The top two names after the Council vote were Peter Bermont, Dr. Irene Lipof, David Perez, Daniel Kavanaugh and Ralph Patino. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/14/4116671/finalists-selected-for-jackson.html#
The candidates interviewed well and they all said they could be independent in they’re votes and the candidates selected will have a “learning curve,” said Lipof a current PHT board member and all of them committed to the some 30 hours of time that is necessary to serve on the board. Joe Ariola noted in the interviews that this is a volunteer post and he asked “what is your motivation because it is a “tough job” where “no one thanks you,” for your service, “but if anything goes wrong,” the appointment “kicks you in the butt,” the PHT board’s vice chairman observed. And being a PHT trustee means you are in the public eye and given the critical juncture the Jackson Health System is at now that voters approved an $830 million bond for major infrastructure improvements and while another oversight board to watch over this new money is going to be created. The PHT board is where the real work and decisions are made and these applicants all bring the anticipated skills, and lack of conflict of interests and temperament that is expected to be needed in the coming years. The question of having enough time to effectively serve on the JHS PHT Is of important because in the past, some applicants have said it was not a problem, but then their attendance was spotty and this is a big time high profile position and you are a public figure since you essentially represent the County Commission and fall under the watchful eye of the county’s Inspector General’s Office. The Public Health Trust Nominating Council chose four candidates for the two slots open on the seven member PHT board. And the selected candidates that must be approved by the county commission sometime in August perhaps y the Aug.15th if a waiver by the commission chair is approved.
>>> A Nominating Council meeting Wednesday at Jackson Health System produced a short list of names for the two vacancies on the PHT seven member board. The candidates will now be brought in for about a one hour interview with the nominating Council members and they will ultimately vote on the final four names that will be submitted to the Miami-Dade County Commission for final vote approval of who is appointed. To see the applicants names and history go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/14/4116671/finalists-selected-for-jackson.html#
CITY OF MIAMI
>>> Mayor Regalado says he expects Miami commission to be “cooperative” when it came to Beckham deal for soccer stadium at FEC slip site
The Watchdog Report asked Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado if he thought the issue of a new MLS stadium would become a political issue with the commission which has happened many times before and the reelected mayor thought if they were properly briefed and it was a good deal, “the commission would be cooperative,” he thought and he did not anticipate much resistance since he thought there was a general level of support on the five member dais for the land swap of the FEC slip the city got back in 1949, the mayor said. And after MLS super star David Beckham showcased the new proposed design this week and makes an expanded Park area. Regalado noted the area known as “Parcel B” was always “understood to be a park,” and he seemed to not consider it as a big of a plus for the deal that the Beckham representatives suggested he said. He also noted that Miami Manager Daniel J. Alfonso was working with consultants o determine the FEC site’s value after it was filled in and the cost estimate of its value would not be “the highest or best use,” of the e new property, said Regalado. And to watch Regalado on WWPBT/Issues Sunday discussing the deal go to http://video.wpbt2.org/video/2365239278/
Anything unusual happen on Friday at City Hall?
Former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo did a press interview with Spanish Media and the interview followed him getting a city resolution condemning the current oppressive regime running the country and at the commission meeting he called out a number of Venezuelan media executives for their high life style as was reported in the media while the nation’s people are being oppressed and he was sitting in the chair of the city manager for the interview at the dais, and he appears to just not be able to give up the media limelight. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/21/4130196/former-mayor-miami-commission.html#
HOWEVER, the interview with Carollo was done by Regalado’s son Tomas Jr.,, and when I mentioned to the mayor that his son did the interview, he thought, “that was funny,” since Regalado when he was commissioner used to cross swords with the mercurial Carollo when they both were in office years ago.
>>> Miami and County leaders both call for voter approval if new Beckham soccer stadium at FTC site is to be considered, Miami commission could be new wrinkle in the process
The fact that MLS super Star David Beckham is looking at alternative sites to put a new major league stadium and includes the FTC slip site next to the AAA arena. With that site MLS has now added the city of Miami and commissioners to the upcoming discussions, after Miami leaders were not included in earlier discussions going on with Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and involved a Port Miami possible site that is meeting political resistance.
Since the Beckham group has indicated the FEC site could be considered Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado has stated it would require a vote in November of Miami residents since it is a waterfront site and County Mayor Carlos Gimenez has supported such a vote as well, but that vote is slowing the process down that Beckham had wanted to nail down by the end of summer, but the introduction of Miami into the process is a new wrinkle and makes the negotiations more complex. If the past is any indication and what went on with the controversial Miami Marlins botched stadium deal, which is still a hot button in the community and is said to have put a cloud in the publics mind over these new soccer stadium negotiations. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/14/4116889/referendum-appears-increasingly.html#
VILLAGE OF COCONUT
>>>> Playhouse selection commit should be looking at possible proposals at the end of May, says Spring
Michael Spring told the County’s Cultural Affairs Council Wednesday, that when it came to the Coconut Grove Playhouse, the selection committee reviewing the proposals should make their decision by May 23 a deadline that was extended a week and the “mayor and a team” of others will review these conceptual plans and while many believe there was a engineering study done, there is no “engineering study on the building itself,” said Spring and when it came to past public meetings on what should be done with the iconic historic structure they “have gotten lots of feedback from the community,” he said. Further, Spring said the project is still causing “a lot of rumors,” and the “project is “fraught with a lot of conspiracies,” he told the Council members, and by May 30th the proposals should be n front of the selection committee said Spring and they will “rank” the top proposals said Spring.
>>>> Will basic constituent services by Commissioner Sarnoff on Bay Homes Drive defuse likely expensive legal challenge by street homeowners on Riparian Rights of homeowner?
A local homeowner and neighbors on South Bay Homes Drive in south Coconut Grove got some constituent services Wednesday from Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and a compromise of a long running dispute may have been hammered out and seems to have avoided a $100,000 legal bill if the matter ended up in front of a county judge the commissioner considered. Since he felt the case was essentially a Property’ Rights case, the maritime attorney suggested a compromise.
A issue for years among some of the road’s homeowners was regarding Riparian Rights and there access to the water as was listed in they’re deeds on Bay homes drive in South Coconut Grove. The issue may have been resolved after a meeting with Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and the owner of the waterfront home, that has the path to the tony waterfront next too it and in its current state looks like a driveway to the house but the street was also designated private in 1983, when some platting was done and the Miami Commission approved the plat and the city’s attorney ruled it was correctly done and the street in fact is private. Though in the early 1990s the county’s DERM department installed new infrastructure to mitigate the terrible flooding at the bottom of the street. The home’s owner, Alan Sirkin bought the home from Tennessee Williams http://www.waterfrontlaw.com/what-are-riparian-rights and his attorney argued the property was his and who would pay for any upgrades that the residents were wanting like access to the water and perhaps a dock or small finger pier.
However, the meeting was a good example of an elected leader getting residents to find a compromise versus going to court and Charles Espinosa, who arranged for the meeting sent the following comments about the meeting and the compromise to the watchdog report last week. Since I could not stay until the end and had to go to Miami-Dade County. “I’m not sure how long you stayed… but I hope you caught the discussion regarding how the City Attorney decided the street reverted from public to private, i.e. not following city code. Basically, if I want to take the time, effort & expense, I can always fight that decision. That’s an option that I/neighbors could try if the resolution discussed doesn’t happen.
The resolution discussed is to replace pavers on the street portion with a different color (gray) & continue it all the way to the bay. Mr Sirkin would be responsible for 50% of the cost, leaving other 50% to all other neighbors. In addition Mr Sirkin & city will allow construction of a finger pier/dock that neighbors would pay for.
As far as the drainage repaving, we will present the city/Mr Sarnoff an affordable option where the city might participate to at least 50% of cost (since North Bayhomes Drive is acknowledged as a public street). The city might even participate more since the street benefits & is open to the public.
If we can obtain the complete paved access to the bay & a small finger pier… I think everyone in the neighborhood will be very happy. I was actually pleasantly surprised with Mr Sarnoff’s leadership in helping us reach that resolution. He pushed Mr Sirkin to see the benefit in avoiding a costly legal battle. I’ll keep you posted with the developments,” wrote the long time homeowner. Editor’s note: I wrote bout this story because the issue of Riparian Rights rears its head often and it was a pleasure to see such a contentious issue through compromise perhaps be resolved for everyone’s benefit.
>>> Grove residents get to weigh in on what Regatta Park should be May 29
The third public meeting concerning what to do with Regatta Park on the old Grove Convention Center site is scheduled in the coming weeks and people who want to weigh in on the project need to take time and stop in and hear what the city’s leaders are thinking and possible planning.
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
>>> Memorial Day Celebration first big test for Mgr. Morales and new Police Chief as crowds swell but less so than past years
The Miami Beach Memorial Day party is more subdued this year and the press is saying turnout to the perennial event that has drawn hundreds of thousands of tourists is due to enforcement efforts after major controversies in some of the events past years and is a test of Manager Jimmy Morales’ administration to handle such high profile events and the City’s new Police Chief. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/05/22/4132697/miami-heat-urban-beach-week-put.html
>>>> Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club May 23rd, 2014 Meeting Date: Tuesday-May 27th ,Meeting Time: 8:30 AM, Meeting Place:Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen, 1654 Meridian Avenue, South Beach– The City of Miami Beach is calling for a Special Election on August 26th to submit to the voters seven Resolutions. Some of these call for Amendments to the City Charter and others change the election laws and change the rules governing some Boards. We will be discussing all of the resolutions at the Tuesday May 27th meeting of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club. There is no charge for attending and everyone is welcome. David Kelsey, Moderator
>>>PAST WDR: The City of Miami Beach is rolling out a new App to make finding and paying for a parking lot easier in a municipality known to be a parking nightmare and the city is launching the feature on Monday and below is the press release on the matter.
Miami Beach Parking Made Simple & Easy Launch of New Apps to Find & Pay for Parking from Your Phone (ParkMobile and ParkMe Miami Beach on iPhone and Android Devices) You can find an on-street or off-street parking space and pay for it all from an iPhone or Android cell phone. As an introductory to the new service, ParkMobile user fees will be waived between May 12 – 25, 2014. Registered Miami Beach residents receive 43 percent discount on metered parking in South Beach ($1.00 instead of $1.75 an hour). Registration begins Monday, May 12. The ParkMobile app is also linked to the live parking locator app, ParkMe Miami Beach, which provides live information on municipal parking availabilities throughout the city. ParkMobile ambassadors will be available throughout the week, following the launch, at various on- and off-street parking lots. Both apps (ParkMobile and ParkMe Miami Beach) are free to download on iPhone and Android.
CITY OF CORAL GABLES
>>> “Still the most awesome! Pop culture’s grandest symbol of nuclear apocalypse.” Godzilla at Gables Art Cinema – Entertainment Weekly (read full review here)
Press release: The original King of the Monsters comes to the Gables this weekend with the Exclusive Miami Theatrical Premiere of the 60th anniversary 2K digital restoration of Godzilla: The Japanese Original. “Monster Matinee” screenings are Saturday & Sunday, May 17 & 18 at 1:00 pm. And our regular Gables After Hours showcase returns with late-night “Monster Madness” shows Friday & Saturday, May 16 & 17 at 11:15 pm. These late-night screenings feature 2-for-1 on all our monster beer, as well as blood red pizza combos: get a slice with any of our delicious beers or sodas while supplies last! First released in 1954, this 60 year-old landmark film tells the story of a giant mutated monster that wreaks havoc on Japan, bringing back the horrors of World War II on the island nation. Godzilla: The Japanese Original spawned its own genre and solidified the monster movie as a staple of the cinematic world. Tickets to these screenings are $11.50 and under and can be purchased for Fri. 5/16 at 11:15 pm here, Sat. 5/17 at 1:00 pm here and 11:15 pm here, and Sun. 5/18 at 1:00 pm here, in-person at the box-office, or on the day of the event. Coral Gables Art Cinema
CITY OF NORTH MIAMI
>>> Mayor Tondreau and Four Individuals Charged in Multi million dollar Mortgage Fraud Scheme
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, announce that Karl Oreste, 56, of Miramar, Marie Lucie Tondreau, a/k/a “Lucie Tondreau”, 54, of North Miami, Okechukwu Josiah Odunna, a/k/a “O.J. Odunna”, 49, of Lauderdale Lakes, and Kelly Augustin, 57, of North Miami, have been charged with conspiracy to commit wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, and six counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343.
According to the allegations in the indictment, between December 2005 and May 2008, Oreste, president of KMC Mortgage Corporation of Florida, a mortgage lending business in North Miami Beach, identified residential properties in South Florida that were for sale. Oreste and Tondreau hosted several radio show programs in the South Florida area in which they advertised the services offered by KMC Mortgage. Oreste and Tondreau recruited and paid some of the listeners who responded to those advertisements, as well as other individuals, to pose as borrowers to purchase properties identified by Oreste. Augustin, an employee of KMC Mortgage, also recruited straw borrowers. Thereafter, the indictment alleges that Oreste and Odunna, and other co-conspirators prepared or caused to be prepared loan applications on behalf of straw borrowers. Odunna was an attorney previously licensed to practice law in Florida, and president of O.J. Odunna, P.A. and Direct Title and Escrow Services. These loan applications included false information relating to employment, wages, assets and intent to make the property being purchased a primary residence. The loan applications and documents were submitted by co-conspirators to various mortgage lenders throughout the United States. Once the loan applications were approved, the lenders wired loan funds to O.J. Odunna, P.A., Direct Title or other title companies for closing. The indictment alleges that in some instances Oreste, Odunna and other co-conspirators created and submitted duplicate HUD-1 Settlement Statement Forms, which grossly inflated the true purchase price of the properties. HUD-1 Settlement Statements also falsely and fraudulently represented to the mortgage lenders that the straw borrowers had met their down payment and cash to close obligations, when, in fact, the straw borrowers had never made any such payments.
At closing, a portion of loan proceeds were disbursed to Oreste through his corporation, JR Investment and Mortgage Corporation, or other bank accounts controlled by him. In some instances, a portion of the loan proceeds was diverted to O.J. Odunna, P.A. or Direct Title accounts. Oreste disbursed some of the proceeds he received to pay recruiters – such as Tondreau and Augustin – and straw borrowers. Oreste also transferred a substantial portion of the funds to bank accounts of LTO Investment Corporation, a corporation controlled by Tondreau. Tondreau used funds deposited in LTO Investment Corporation’s bank accounts to make payments on the falsely and fraudulently obtained mortgages in order to maintain the loans, and to conceal and further the fraud. She also used a portion of the funds deposited into LTO Investment Corporation’s bank accounts for her own personal use and benefit.
The indictment alleges that over the course of the conspiracy, the defendants fraudulently obtained loans on approximately 20 properties, for which the lenders have suffered losses in the amount of approximately $8,000,000.00. If convicted, each defendant faces a maximum term of 30 years in prison.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and Florida’s Office of Financial Regulation. The case is being prosecuted by Assistance U.S. Attorney Lois Foster-Steers. 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. >>> Editor’s note: The mayor is saying she is innocent of the charges in the media.
CITY OF DORAL
>>> OTHER STORIES AROUND FLORIDA
>>> Former Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. Attorney Sentenced in Connection with Rothstein Ponzi Scheme
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 George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, announce that Christina M. Kitterman, 38, of Deerfield Beach, was sentenced by U.S. District Judge Daniel T. K. Hurley to five years in prison, followed by three years of supervised release. Kitterman was previously convicted on three counts of wire fraud. Kitterman was charged with three counts of wire fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1343. The acts set forth in the charging document were all in furtherance of a “Ponzi” scheme involving the sale of purported confidential settlement agreements in sexual harassment and/or whistle blower cases which were purportedly handled by attorneys at the former Ft. Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. (RRA).
Evidence introduced at trial established that, during the course of the Ponzi scheme, and while she was employed as an attorney at RRA, Kitterman falsely posed as the head of the Ft. Lauderdale office of the Florida Bar Association during a meeting with certain investors in order to explain to the investors the reason why certain payments due to them had not been made. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the FBI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Paul F. Schwartz, Jeffrey N. Kaplan and Evelyn B. Sheehan. A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.
>>> Thank you for using the Broward County Commission Agenda E-mail Notification System. A new Broward County Commission Agenda is available. Point your browser to http://www.broward.org/commission/welcome.htm to view
the new agenda.
CITY OF DAVIE
>>>> Miami Attorney Charged with Not Filing Income Tax Returns
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 Steven E. Siff, of Davie, was charged in an information with three counts of failing to file an income tax return, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7203.
According to the information, since at least 1982, Siff worked as an attorney in the Miami office of an international law firm, first as an associate, then as a partner. Siff failed to file personal United States income tax returns since at least tax year 1997. Between 2001 and 2011, Siff earned approximately $8,248,401 in partnership profits. For tax years 2009 through 2011, Siff failed to make an income tax return reporting gross partnership income of $716,464, $705,967, and $694,449, respectively.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Bertha R. Mitrani.
An information is only an accusation and a defendant is presumed innocent unless and 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 to read all the Palm Beach elected leader’s financial disclosure reports go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
>>> Vero Beach Resident Pleads Guilty in Armed Robbery of Vero Beach GameStop Store
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo J. Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), Miami Field Office, and Deryl Loar, Sheriff, Indian River County Sheriff’s Office, announce the guilty plea of Glenn Thomas Carvajal, 34, of Vero Beach. Carvajal pled guilty before U.S. District Judge Jose E. Martinez, in Ft. Pierce. Sentencing for Carvajal is scheduled for July 23, 2014 before U.S. District Judge Donald M. Middle brooks in West Palm Beach.
Carvajal pled guilty to interfering with commerce by threats or violence (robbery), in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1951(a), and possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 924(c)(1)(A). The defendant faces a possible statutory maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison. For the charge of possessing and brandishing a firearm in furtherance of a crime of violence, the defendant faces a consecutive seven year term up to life in prison.
A stipulated factual basis filed in Court indicates that Carvajal, a former GameStop manager, robbed a GameStop store on October 10, 2013, located in Vero Beach. Carvajal approached a Game Stop employee, handed the employee a hand written note, which read “I have a gun, please empty the register as soon as possible,” while showing what appeared to be the grip of a black semi-automatic firearm. Before exiting the store, Carvajal warned the employee that he had someone monitoring the phones that knew who he was, where he lived, and would kill or hurt him or one of his family members. After images from the store surveillance video were released to the media, several witnesses came forward and identified Carvajal.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ATF and the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Carmen Lineberger.
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.
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Nicholas Mulick to the Sixteenth Circuit Judicial Nominating Commission.
Mulick, 64, of Tavernier, is an attorney and owner of Nicholas W. Mulick PA. He received his bachelor’s degree from William Patterson University and his law degree from the Rutgers School of Law. Mulick has been president of both the Rotary Club of the Upper Keys and the Upper Keys Little League. He previously served on the Florida Keys Community College Board of Trustees. He served in the United States Air Force from 1968 to 1972. Mulick succeeds Edwin Scales and is appointed for a term beginning May 12, 2014, and ending July 1, 2016.
>>> PAST WDR MAY 2007: Small but colorful county has its share of colorful and erstwhile political leaders, but with only 85,000 residents not a big player
What can you say about a county with a tourist tag line of the Conch Republic and also includes the eclectic city of Key West? The Watchdog Report would never have reported on anything that went on in the small county with 85,000 residents but they came to my attention because of their lack of taking care of the Homeless population there and not providing a shelter for their domestic violence victims. Since then the elected leaders have moved to resolve some of their social issues rather than to just send them to the larger county to the north Miami-Dade for these services. And to review her financial disclosure form go to
>>> Elected leaders financial disclosures on line at , www.ethics.state.fl.us
>>>> As part of its ongoing efforts to get out the vote, the League of Women Voters of Florida wants to remind Florida voters that Sunday, May 18 marks 100 days until Florida’s August 26 primary election. Many important local races are decided at the primary level, where turnout is traditionally light and votes cast can weigh more heavily in deciding outcomes. This makes voting during the primary an issue of utmost importance.
“There will be something for everyone on the August ballot”, says Deirdre Macnab, League of Women Voters of Florida President. “Even voters registered as independents can cast a vote in local non-partisan races as well as an array of judicial races at the county and circuit levels. In many ways, your vote in the primary can have a greater impact than in November.” Most Supervisors will post sample ballots on their websites in early July. Candidate qualifying ends in late June.
The League urges all Florida residents to register to vote by the July 28 deadline. For information on how to register and step by step instructions for registration, visit the League’s website at www.BeReadyToVote.org. If you are already registered, make sure to check your voter status and get ready!
Florida makes voting easy and convenient by offering three different ways to vote: by mail, early, and on Election Day. Early voting will be available for the August primary. The League would like to remind voters who will be unable to vote on-site that any registered Florida voter can request an absentee ballot by contacting their local Supervisor of Elections. It is also important to check that your voting information, including your address and signature, are up-to-date. “Early summer is the perfect time to get your voting house in order,” said Charley Williams, LWVF Voter Services Chair. “Call your local Supervisor of Elections office and make sure your voter file is accurate. This is particularly important if you have moved recently or if you haven’t voted in past elections. With one call, you can cover details for both the August and November elections, then relax!”
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER: Primary election: Tuesday, August 26
Deadline to register to vote: Monday, July 28 Absentee Ballots will be mailed: Between July 22 and 29
>>> The Margulies Collection will be closed for the summer and will reopen in the fall.
>>>>President Obama cannot allow VA scandal to fester or it will become his Katrina, veterans deserve competent healthcare facilities and treatment for their service to the nation
President Barack Obama needs to clear the deck and get the VA hospital crisis fixed if it is not to drag down his administration into its own quagmire in the years ahead for these men and women that have served need to get proper medical care and it is percolating through all ethnic groups of our society and the problem will only be getting worse, as more and more combat soldiers return to civilian duty, and it is the right thing to do for the nation and while problems have persisted over decades with this federal hospital administration it must get corrected fast for the scandal is crossing all political party lines and this is just the beginning, and if the President does not get out in front of the problem in a major way it will be his Katrina and the veterans deserve so much better as we honor them on Memorial Day.
>>> 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
Rbb PUBLIC RELATIONS www.rbbpr.com
ROYAL MEDIA PARTNERS www.royalmp.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 SUPT. http://superintendent.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.
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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 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.