Watchdog Report Vol.15 No.7 June 29, 2014 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 15 Years
Argus Report: IS U.S. SOUTHCOM going on out reach mode with BRAC base closings still in the works?
Florida: FL. Sen. Margolis after decades will serve another term through 2016 — 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: Attorney’s Office fires back regarding high salaries, notes office uses “best practice model,” similar to GE & FPL with in house counsel, faces “8,0000” active lawsuits handling all the 25 departments, attorney’s get hourly rates much lower than in private sector, says County Atty. Cuevas
Miami-Dade County Public Schools: Lack of quorum at Audit & Budget committee causes dustup with one member, and School Board Member Regalado
Public Health Trust: JHS looking for quality bond oversight board applicants, only the bet of best should apply to watch over how $830 million bond money is spent, certain skills wanted
City of Miami: Commission panel reviewing what is going on at Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) will request 90 more days to complete the investigation of what has been going on internally, at the office investigating Miami Police shootings, with many cases still unresolved, but record keeping at CIP, did not always follow the city’s “procedural Manuel [was] not always followed,” new executive director says.
Village of Coconut Grove: SW 27 Avenue from Tigertail Avenue to SW 28 Terrace; Project No. 20120032: Work includes, but is not limited to,
City of Miami Beach: Free Shuttles to & from Miami Beach Fire on the Fourth Festival
City of Coral Gables: No easy task, Caffe Abbaccci turns 25 today, magnet for the movers and shakers of Miami, great food, warm attention
City of Sweetwater: What about the new IKea in Sweetwater opening? In the summer of 0214?
>>> Other stories around Florida
Broward County: >>>> Russell Adler Sentenced in Connection with Rothstein Case
Palm Beach County: Gang Member Sentenced as Armed Career Criminal for Firearm Possession — Residents can review they’re top County Officials financial disclosure forms on line at http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfmo
City of Del Ray Beach: Former Delray Beach Resident Convicted In Third Case Involving Identity Theft
St. Lucie County: Port Saint Lucie Return Preparer Convicted in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Schemes
Highlands County: Governor Rick Scott Appoints Jill Compton to the School Board of Highlands
Volusia County: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of State Representative Charles “Dave” Hood, Jr. to the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court.
Monroe County: 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. – 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: With the arrival of Jul. 1, elected leaders and many others on public boards need to get in their required financial disclosure forms in on time – Check out the past 2003 national story in the Tribune papers: Paperwork Tiger By Maya Bell, Miami Bureau, Orlando Sun-Sentinel January 20, 2003 >>> And a 2004 UNC Chapel Hill study of the Southeast United States 15 states media outlet study where the Watchdog Report is listed as writing a “influential” column in Florida with over 100,000 readers: http://www.unc.edu/~davismt/SouthNow.pdf
LETTERS: Reader objects to Village of Cocoanut Grove section since Grove not a municipality
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 will be updating my IT situation this week and I will return on Sunday with a little luck. To read past issues go to www.watchdogreport.net
ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Streets
>>>> IS SOUTHCOM going into out reach mode with BRAC base closings still in the works?
The U.S Southern Command (SOUTHCOM), an important defense and economic asset and employer located in the City of Doral is letting the community know its important role in South Florida. The Command has fought in the past years to stay at its new permanent headquarters given the fact. The military under the Base Closure Realignment Commission (BRAC) BRAC still has to periodically close Military bases since the program first began in 2005. http://www.brac.gov/ http://www.southcom.mil/Pages/Default.aspx
And Deputy Commander of SOUTHCOM Lt. Gen. Kenneth E. Tovo will be the featured speaker at the Jul. 9 Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Luncheon honoring the military and all its branches. And the Command has a wide swath of responsibilities and countries in the Southern Hemisphere under its military portfolio and is a critical economic generator and historically has received widespread congressional support over the years since it moved to Miami from the previous Panama Canal location. For information on the luncheon go to www.miamichamber.com
What about Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen?
Congresswomen Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the long serving Republican has won another two year term in the House after she failed to get a opponent for her House District 27 seat, before the qualifying deadline and she is a major proponent of constituent services and was first elected to the House back in 1987. After serving in the Florida House and Senate and she was the first Cuban American woman to be elected to the House back then and she has never looked back politically. Further a few years ago she was Chair of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee and continues to be an outspoken critic of the President Barack Obama administration and is strongly against lifting the Cuban Embargo the nation has on Cuba. However, she also shy’s away from the trappings of power and drives herself to events and she has always been very accessible to voters and while she frequently over the years has run unopposed, she always has taken every election and campaign seriously and is frequently seen at major polling sites talking to voters in line, many times in the rain and hot sun for hours.
And Ros-Lehtinen, an educator also received her Ph.D. a few years ago from the University of Miami. Further her fellow peer local U.S. Rep Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fl also won his District 25 office again when he was unopposed by the noon qualifying date a couple of weeks ago, states the Florida elections web page. And Diaz Balart also started his political career in the Florida Legislature before going to the nation’s capital.
>>>White House press release: Weekly Address: Focusing on the Economic Priorities for the Middle Class Nationwide
In this week’s address, the President discussed his recent trip to Minneapolis where he met a working mother named Rebekah, who wrote the President to share the challenges her family and many middle-class Americans are facing where they work hard and sacrifice yet still can’t seem to get ahead. But instead of focusing on growing the middle class and expanding opportunity for all, Republicans in Congress continue to block commonsense economic proposals such as raising the minimum wage, extending unemployment insurance and making college more affordable.
The President will keep fighting his economic priorities in the weeks and months ahead, because he knows the best way to expand opportunity for all hardworking Americans and continue to strengthen the economy is to grow it from the middle out.
>>> Press release: Zogby Report Card: Obama has ‘lost public trust in his leadership’
John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner
Pollster John Zogby reports in our weekly White House report card that President Obama is sinking in the polls as the public is giving up on his leadership at home and overseas. “The president’s polling numbers are down again overall and majorities are negative on his ability to handle foreign policy, the economy, and health care. Please click on the link below to view this week’s grade:
http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/469-zogby-report-card-obama-has-lost-public-trust-in-his-leadership Zogby Report Card: Obama has ‘lost public trust in his leadership’
>>> 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.
>>>> FL. Sen. Margolis after decades will serve another term through 2016
State Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Coconut Grove will continue in the body and this will be her 21st year in the senate that included one break in the upper body when she was the Miami-Dade County Commission Chair. She is now the Dean in the Senate and was first elected to the Florida House back in 1974 and she won the District 35 Senate seat back in 2012 when she got 61.7 percent of the vote when she beat GOP challenger John Daniel Couriel who got 38.3 percent of the vote. She was also the first woman Florida Senate President back in 2000 and 2003 and she has chaired a host of Senate committees over the years and she is a major Democratic Party leader on a statewide basis given her many years in the political trenches with her only political setback losing when she ran to be the first Miami-Dade Property Appraiser around 2007 and voters later elected Pedro Garcia Jr., when she failed to get a 50 percent majority of the vote in the election. She also is a strong advocate of the Women’s Movement. And the Watchdog Report gives her a Tip of the Hat for all her years in public service.
What about Democratic Party fundraising efforts in South Florida?
Former President Bill Clinton is headlining a fundraiser (formerly called the Jefferson Jackson Dinner in Broward County over the weekend) in Hollywood and when the presumed Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Charlie Crist ran for the Senate back in 2008. Crist was calling for Clinton to resign at the time. For more go to http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/28/4208350/bill-clinton-fires-up-florida.html http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2014/04/ahead-of-bill-clinton-fundraiser-rpof-web-ad-recalls-crist-calling-on-him-to-resign-1.html
>>> Further, Glenna Milberg of WPLG on This Week in South Florida http://www.local10.com/news/TWISF/18416996 said at the dinner there were fortune cookies on the table at the Democratic Party fest that said “Charlie Crist is in your future,” and party challenger former state Sen. Nan Rich, D-Weston said she could not find out how they got on the quests tables she said during the show Sunday. And Crist confirmed again that debating Rich was out of the question and he was concentrating on incumbent Rick Scott. However Rich’s campaign is a long shot, but she says she is running a “grassroots campaign but she still is low in statewide polls.
>>> Sen. Nan Rich is in, will face Crist in Democratic Party primary, prior to Gov. Scott general election showdown
Well they’re off with state Sen. Nan Rich D- Weston, qualifying as a Democratic gubernatorial candidate and her primary opponent is former GOP Gov. Charlie Crist, now running as a Democrat and Crist will likely be facing GOP Gov. Rick Scott and Crist is leading Rich in fundraising and statewide polls while she has been running a insurgent campaign and she has a strong base of volunteers including major support of the state’s nurses. A large and motivated voting block and Crist has declined to debate Rich and that could become more of an issue as the Aug.18 primary closes in for the people’s governor, who historically has never shied away from a debate. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/21/4193124/chasing-charlie-crist.html
>>> And it’s good to be an incumbent legislator and 43 percent of the unopposed incumbents were reelected Friday ay at noon, www.miamiherlad.com to another term and some local senators have been reelected including Rene Garcia, R-Hialeah and incumbent state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami has another four year years in the upper legislative body.
What about write-in candidates?
While write in candidates this election cycle were less than in some past years like in the early 20000 time frame, that had hundreds of voters disenfranchised since their was a write in candidate in the party primary, and back then I checked on some of these candidates and one candidates address did not exist, another had their phone disconnected. After I contacted them concerning a story on the matter and how they were disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of county voters since if it was a Republican write in candidate, Democratic Party voters could not participate and GOP party officials defended this by saying it was the GOP’s primary and why should they be swayed by none party voters in they’re own primary. But over the decades write in candidates have become a double edged sword for some races but their names on the ballots given the current rules do deprive thousands of voters across the state to vote on many of their elected state official’s that will represent them in their state capital..
What about the controversy of Crist’s new found wealth since he left public service and used to have a net worth of around $472, 000 and he is now a millionaire?
The people’s governor took a hit recently when his financial disclosure showed his wealth had increased dramatically since Crist left office in 2010. However, people forget that Christ has been in public office for years. Since he was a former Florida Attorney General, Commissioner of Education and state senator and he is a frugal man on the whole but his new wealth that only becomes a issue because Crist says he has “lived from pay check to paycheck,” his whole life and to a great extent that is true for the politician facing Scott with a $100 million war chest that dwarfs his own fundraising of around $12 million. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/18/4187102/charlie-crist-insists-his-newfound.html#
>>> Gubernatorial candidate Sen. Nan Rich to speak at Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club
Nan Rich, who will face off with Charlie Crist in the August 26 Democratic Primary for the chance to defeat incumbent Governor Rick Scott (R) November 4, will be the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club guest July 1, 8:30 a.m.-10 a.m., Abuela’s Cuban, Kitchen, 1654 Meridian Ave., Miami Beach. Since 1996, the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club has been gathering every Tuesday at 8:30AM
at a local Miami Beach restaurant for informal, non-partisan discussions of issues – political, governmental, etc. We are not affiliated with any other organization. Guest speakers range across the political, governmental, business, and social issues spectrum. Sessions are open to everyone. We are now meeting at Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen, 1654 Meridian Avenue, Miami Beach (formerly David’s Cafe II). One orders from the menu or simply has coffee. Just show up. Ample parking is available at this hour in the adjacent municipal parking lot.
For scheduling, contact David Kelsey at TuesdayMorningBreakfastClub@Yahoo.com .To be placed on the mailing list contact Harry Cherry, same e-mail address. www.MBTMBC.com
>>>Gov. Scott Calls on U.S. Sec. of State John Kerry to Help Fla. Veteran Being Held in Mexico
Press release: Today, Governor Rick Scott sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry requesting the Department of State engage the Mexican government on behalf of Andrew Tahmooressi, a Marine reservist and Florida resident, who has been jailed in Mexico for inadvertently crossing the border with legally registered guns since March 31st..
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Richard Hanas to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
Hanas, 65, of Oviedo, is the senior vice president of A. Duda & Sons Inc. He fills a vacant seat and is appointed for a term beginning June 23, 2014, and ending August 1, 2017.The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.
>>> 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. >>> Update: Two encouraging meetings… The first, a visit from the Governor to the Rainbow Intergenerational Child Care center in Little Havana where he discussed his early learning priorities. That includes his support for “Help Me Grow,” a statewide parent resource system where parents would be able — via phone and online — to get answers to questions about their child’s development and connected with the proper resources. The second, a meeting with future House Speaker, Rep. Jose Oliva from Hialeah. He’s a father of three, a real reader of history and student of policy, and committed to better understanding early learning. Dave Lawrence, Chair The Children’s Movement
>>> Attorney’s Office fires back regarding high salaries, notes office uses “best practice model,” similar to GE & FPL with in house counsel, faces “8,0000” active lawsuits handling all the 25 departments, attys. get hourly rates much lower than in private sector
A marathon County Commission Finance Committee meeting Thursday resulted in a host of information on the county’s evolving upcoming budget, with a $75 million budget hole and the final document is due after the July 1, after the final property tax role is released, but currently the Mayor Carlos Gimenez administration budget includes reducing the county’s Police Department and includes 450 job cuts. http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/25/4201722/miami-dade-budget-draft-calls.html#
What about the County’s Attorney’s Office budget?
During the marathon meeting Commission Committee Chair Estephan Bovo reviewed the proposed budgets for Miami International Airport and the County attorney’s office after a MiamiHerald analysis of attorneys’ salaries
http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/23/4196727/a-look-at-miami-dade-governments.html# and County Commissioner Xavier Suarez gave a shout out to the Miami Herald reporter Doug Hanks, for the salary analysis of attorney pay, that had County Attorney Robert Cuevas, Jr. firing back from the podium that the office is a model in structure and similar when it comes as “best practices,” of many large corporations such as “GE that have a large internal legal staff,” of attorneys. Cuevas said the budget was $22 million, “was flat,” and that he had 136 employees and some 65 in support staff, of “which 71 were attorneys” and the billing rates for these attorney’s is significantly lower than in the private sector and people don’t realize the volume of legal work the office does and that there are “8,000 active lawsuits against the county.” He also noted it included “federal consent decrees and medical malpractice cases since the office represents Jackson Health System.
What about Suarez?
Suarez, since being elected has been a persistent critic of the Mayor Carlos Gimenez administration and internal salaries of his staff in the mayor’s office, and the attorney has also been a persistent critic of the county attorney’s pay, but he left the meeting and Bovo and Heyman spoke from the dais asking about the office’s operation and salaries.
What about the MIA budget?
Emilio Gonzalez, the MIA director said the international airport is now ranked 10th in the nation and has “141 carriers,” that fly “to 91 international destinations,” he told the Finance Committee and he reminded commissioners that MIA is a “business,” that has to pay a staggering debt load and why getting new revenue and clients is key to its success in the competitive aviation world where airlines can move their hubs.
>>>> What about the “$378 million in uncollected liens?” asked Commissioner Sally Heyman? And she asked the County’s Attorney’s office to work on getting this “lien” revenue back into the county’s coffers, she said.
Heyman also grilled budget staff on what is going on with the “estimated $378 million,” in uncollected liens owed the county in the county’s tax collector’s office. Something she discovered years ago. Heyman also reviewed the County’s Inspector General’s Office budget as well as the Ethics Commission.
>>> With The Miami Herald detailing a story on possible further budget cuts from the Mayor Carlos Gimenez administration, especially, in regard to the Miami-Dade Police Department, let the budget battle begin in the commission chambers
\http://www.miamiherald.com/2014/06/19/4189565/miami-dade-budget-cuts-could-eliminate.html# The game of budget chicken is heating up as the county commission begins reviewing the mayor’s final, yet to be submitted budget, that is still evolving through July, but it is clear some hard decisions will have to be made in the future months, that also include some commission races and it is unlikely any incumbent is going to raise taxes or campaign on higher taxes and while property taxes have increased, it is insufficient to cover rising expenses in a host of departments but the 13 member commission will have to grapple with this funding dilemma in the weeks ahead to the final fiscal document.
>>>>What about the Sea Level Rise Task Force recent findings? Below are the links to the comprehensive report and the Task Force was headed up by Clerk Harvey Ruvin, a long time environmental advocate
The Miami-Dade SLRTF, sponsored by Chairwomen Rebeca Sosa, and unanimously established by the BCC;for nearly one year the SLRTF has been conducting hearings, studying reports/expert testimony and carefully deliberating this critical issue. The Report is now final and scheduled to be presented to the BCC on July 1st. The Report (l3 pages) and the Appendix l80 pages) can be downloaded at the following two links: http://www.miamidade.gov/planning/library/reports/sea-level-rise-final-report.pdf http://www.miamidade.gov/planning/library/reports/sea-level-rise-appendices.pdf
>>>> PAST WDR: Is conflict developing over 2.9 billion GOB funds going to other commission districts
Ramifications of redistricting of the 13 commission districts in 2012 are rippling through the county’s 2.9 billion GOB program passed by county voters in 2004 . The problem is some approved projects in one District are now in another commissioner’s and Commissioner Javier Souto bristled because of the ramifications and the money he considered solely for his district use. However, the discussion on the matter got heated and the problem will likely raise its head on the dais in the future.
>>> PAST WDR: Finance Committee Chair Bovo wishes more commissioners would attend budget hearings with the clock ticking running up to the public budget hearings in Sept. and Mayor Gimenez is facing a $75 million hole in the upcoming budget that must be filled. And Bovo and Commissioner Juan Zapata had extensive discussions on how Convention and Development Tourist (CDT) taxes are used and how these monies get allocated and will ultimately be paying for the debt on the new Florida Marlins Stadium that after financing could cost around $2.3 billion with the bulk of the bond payments in the later years and why Zapata does not want to drop this fiscal nightmare on future commissioners and wants a better plan in place of how these CDT funds are spent and future obligations for the funds, and could also be used for such projects as Baylink, a proposed mass transit project from Miami to Miami Beach.
County Commissioner Estephan Bovo has been holding budget hearings for months 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.
What about the Miami Science Museum?
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. He said last week the “Miami Science Museum is just getting re-organized and they have not asked for any money,” said Spring, the County’s Cultural Affairs Director. 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
>>>> Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust taps Victoria O’Brien as new Executive Director and Manny Sarria is the new deputy director of the Trust says Chair. Book
A three member selection committee was convened to review applicants to replace the retiring Director of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust Hilda Fernandez who is going to a academic position but has played a key role in the Trust over the years and getting a suitable replacement is seen as critical to maintain the success of the Trust that for years has been a national model an free of any major scandals with the public money. The Watchdog Report emailed Trust Chair Ron Book if the Trust took any action on the matter on Friday at its monthly board meeting of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and Book wrote back, “: The Selection Committee met yesterday and made a recommendation for a new Executive Director and in fact, a new Deputy Executive Director-Designate and the Board ratified it today. Victoria O’Brien will be the new Executive Director and Manny Sarria will be the new Deputy Executive Director-Designate and he will begin the process of leading the Super NOFA process going forward,” wrote back Book, the long serving Trust Chair. Editor’s note; A NOFA is a written grant application to U.S. HUD and historically has brought in some $49 million in federal funds to the Trust and is an important administrative process that is highly competitive around the nation.
>>> Absentee ballots are doing a brisk business and as of last week some 188,256 such ballots have been requested by Miami-Dade County voters for the Aug. 26 primary election that has judicial candidates on the ballot including a host of judges and a some school board members and county commissioners up for reelection.
>>> Arthur Schlecht and Co-defendants Sentenced For Role in Precious Metals Investment 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, Ronald J. Verrochio, Postal Inspector in Charge, United States Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), Drew J. Breakspear, Commissioner, Florida Office of Financial Regulation, and Richard P. Foelber, Chief of Cooperative Enforcement, Commodity Futures Trading Commission announce the results of the sentencing hearing on June 26, 2014, of Arthur John Schlecht, 54, formerly of Miami-Dade County, for conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, and for wire fraud. Schlecht was convicted on February 27, 2014, following a five-week jury trial in Miami.
United States Judge Richard W. Goldberg sentenced Schlecht to 120 months in prison. Just before Schlecht’s sentencing hearing, co-defendants Carlos Rodriguez, age 37, and Ricardo Padron, age 54, were both sentenced to 45 months in prison. Co-defendant Robert Roca, age 62, was sentenced to 36 months in prison. Co-defendants are formerly of Miami-Dade County.
The evidence at trial revealed that over 700 investor victims lost in excess of $25 million as a result of the scheme perpetrated by Schlecht and his co-defendants. Co-defendants Rodriguez, Padron and Roca pled guilty prior to trial. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI, USPIS, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. This case was prosecuted by Senior Litigation Counsel Caroline Heck Miller and Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael R. Sherwin. 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.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS
>>> Lack of quorum at Audit & Budget committee causes dustup with one member and School Board Member Regalado
The Miami-Dade school board Audit and Budget Review Committee met on Tuesday and for the first time in years the citizen based community oversight fire wall did not have a quorum and could not take any action items but it did result in a controversial discussion on possible changing the committee’s quorum requirements that school board member Raquel Regalado thought was a “horrible” idea and the verbal exchange ended up with a member of the committee firing off a critical memo about the discussion and tone of Regalado’s comments. The committee member Isaac Salver, CPA, a municipal mayor who is also the treasurer of the Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade County He sent a widely distributed email on the matter to the press and below is the email from Salver complete:
Open letter to Raquel Regalado:
For over two years I have participated on the ABA Committee and have always arranged my schedule in order to fulfill my duties to the Committee. As a member of this committee, I have strived to support the School Board in assisting them in reviewing most financial, audit and budgetary documents transmitted to the Board. During the few years I have participated, I have shared differing points of view on many important topics, but the debate was always cordial and professional. At times when I spoke a bit too passionately on a subject, I always apologized for sounding harsh in my delivery. Your comment yesterday “….I think this is a HORRIBLE idea…” when I suggested we change the quorum count for the Audit Committee was rude, disrespectful, and out of line. There were over 40 professionals attending the meeting yesterday who wasted thousands of dollars in productivity as a result of the ABA Committee having no quorum.
The School Board members have appointed Dr. Feldman as their liaison to this committee. He is the chosen voice for the Board on the committee. Having you, and the same few Board members attend these meetings and participate as members of the committee is counter-productive and dilutes its effectiveness. Your behavior yesterday was a perfect example. Respectfully submitted,
Isaac Salver, CPA
What about Goodwill Industries?
The nation’s fourth largest public schools district will audit Good will Industries next year and the organization is just one of the entities the auditors will look at in the future more closely after a major management shakeup a few months ago.
PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST
>>>> JHS looking for quality bond oversight board applicants, only the best of best should apply to watch over how $830 million bond money is spent, certain skills wanted
The PHT board is looking for a host of individuals to serve on the oversight board to watch how the $830 million GoB funds are spent and to apply and be an applicant to serve on this new oversight board go to and qualifications that are being looked for go to http://www.miamidade.gov/info/pht-application.asp
CITY OF MIAMI
>>> The Commission CIP Independent Review Committee reviewing what is going on at the Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP) will request 90 more days to complete the investigation of what has been going on internally, at the office investigating Miami Police shootings, with many cases still unresolved, but record keeping at CIP, did not always follow the city’s “procedural Manuel [and was] not always followed,” new executive director says.
Miami we have a problem, was the overall general message of the committee, that it will be highly transparent in its proceedings and created by Miami Commissioners to get to the bottom of what has been going on at the Civilian Investigative Panel after it was revealed there were dozens of still open cases and charges of racial overtones among internal staff erupted in the press. The CIP was created by voters in 20001 by a wide margain to watch over the Miami Police Department after in the 1990s some rogue officers killed Miami residents, including throwing down a gun and ultimately had the local U.S Attorney’s Office watching over the department, as is the case today.
However, after the retirement of long serving CIP Executive Director Shirley Richardson, now retired in Georgia, a national search was done by the oversight panel and Cristina Beamud, an attorney was hired by the office that is still in many ways in disarray and commissioners created a panel of respected attorneys to find out what was happening in the semi autonomous organization, that also has subpoena powers.
The CIP review panel elected Retired County and Circuit Court Judge Israel Reyes as the committee’s chair and Cristine King, Esq. was elected to be the vice chair that was given some 30 days to report back to the commission but at this meeting the members voted to ask the commission for 90 days to complete their work and on July 29th there will be a all day public meting where representatives of the ACLU, NAACP and the local organization known as PULSE and Brothers of the Same Mind will be able to speak to the committee members in public and probable in the city Commission’s Chambers. However, while the past investigations records are not easily available, “Beamud did say these documents were stored in the “city’s Archives,” but she also warily noted that there might be some document irregularities since during the previous administration the city’s “procedural Manuel [was] not always followed,” she told attendees of the meeting. And for a little past history of what has happened at the CIP go to http://www.miamigov.com/cip/pages/Letter/letter.asp http://www.miamicomplaints.com/City%20of%20Miami/citymia_civilian_investigative_panel.html >>> http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/City-of-Miami–has-Broken-its-Promise-64671932.html >>>> http://wlrn.org/post/polices-police-might-need-their-own-policing
>>>> Governor Rick Scott Appoints Pieter Bockweg to Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council
Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of Pieter Bockweg to the Florida Film and Entertainment Advisory Council. Bockweg, 39, of Miami, is the executive director of the Miami Omni & Midtown Community Redevelopment Agency. He succeeds Neil Crilly and is appointed for a term beginning June 27, 2014, and ending August 19, 2017.
>>> Press release: United States District Court Has Found The City of Miami
Not Liable to Pottinger Plaintiffs’ Attorneys’ Fees
United States District Court Judge Frederico A. Moreno has found the City of Miami not liable to Pottinger plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees totaling $485,086.30 in relation to the modification of the Pottinger Agreement. Legal counsel for plaintiffs’ representing Pottinger and other parties to the agreement filed a verified motion for attorneys’ fees and costs on May 9, 2014. By court order on June 25, 2014, Judge Moreno found that language in the original agreement precluded a claim for attorneys’ fees except for enforcement proceedings. The modification of the agreement is not an enforcement proceeding.
The City of Miami successfully modified the 1992 Pottinger agreement to be more consistent with the conditions now found in the thriving City and Downtown.
This is a great victory for the City of Miami as it saves these funds to be used for the Homeless. Miami City Commissioner for District 2 Marc D. Sarnoff hailed the work by the Office of the City Attorney in defending the City’s coffers from preying outsiders. “The Office of the City Attorney has achieved a great victory today and they deserve all the credit.”
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
>>>> Free Shuttles to & from Miami Beach Fire on the Fourth Festival
Press release: Two park and ride locations where drop-off/pick-up will be taking place: North Shore Park Bandshell at Collins Avenue/ 72-73 Street and 42 Street/Sheridan Avenue. Free white shuttles may be flagged down at any Miami-Dade Transit bus stop along this route. Service will be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Headways will be 30 minutes. Coca-Cola presents Miami Beach Fire on the Fourth Festival on Friday, July 4 at the North Shore Bandshell, located at Collins Avenue and 73 Street. Free Green Monkey Yoga on the beach at 9 a.m. Food trucks begin at 11 a.m. Free entertainment and giveaways begin at noon. Multiple live concerts from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m. (Amber Leigh Band, The Marshall Brothers Band and Spam Allstars). Fireworks kick-off at 9 p.m. http://miamibeachfl.gov/WorkArea/DownloadAsset.aspx?id=80071
Info and route map: http://miamibeachfl.gov/news/scroll.aspx?id=70816
Attached: Route Map. | www.miamibeachfl.gov
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Twitter: MiamiBeachNews | Facebook: City of Miami Beach
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CITY OF SWEETWATER
>>>> What about the new IKea in Sweetwater opening? In the summer of 0214?
The new IKEA in the City of Sweetwater, the largest single store in the nation is expected to draw 1,0000s of people prior to the grand opening in the summer of 2014, and the new store could be a traffic nightmare, for local residents. Further, a number of federal agencies have their offices in the surrounding area and there is concern the store could become a logistics nightmare. The champion of the project at the Miami-Dade County Commission was Commissioner Dennis Moss. And he hopes the store will be a magnet for global shoppers coming to South Florida. But the anticipated crowds are causing concerns and Sweetwater officials are working with local federal agencies to mitigate the potential grid lock expected when the mega store opens.
CITY OF CORAL GABLES
>>> No easy task, Caffe Abbaccci turns 25 today, magnet for the movers and shakers of Miami, great food, warm attention
Caffe Abbracccci turns 25 years old today and the Watchdog Report wants to give proprietor Nino Pernettti a Tip of the Hat for creating such a great and vibrant restaurant that is political central on many days. Gov. Rick Scott and Presidents Barack Obama along with Bill Clinton have all enjoyed the magical food over the years but on any given Friday. The Caffe is filled with movers and shakers and the restaurant was one of the first to establish the Gables as a mecca for fine food and entertainment.
>>> OTHER STORIES AROUND FLORIDA
>>>> Russell Adler Sentenced in Connection with Rothstein Case
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 Russell S. Adler, 52, of Ft. Lauderdale, was sentenced today by United States District Judge James I. Cohn to 30 months’ imprisonment, to be followed by 2 years’ supervised release in connection with his conviction for one count of conspiracy to violate the Federal Election Campaign Act and to defraud the United States, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 371. The defendant was a shareholder of the former Ft. Lauderdale law firm of Rothstein, Rosenfeldt and Adler, P.A. (RRA).
During his April 4, 2014 guilty plea, the defendant admitted that, in order to circumvent campaign finance laws setting limitations on the amounts which donors can contribute, RRA Chairman and CEO Scott W. Rothstein enlisted some of the attorneys and administrative personnel of RRA, and other persons associated with RRA, including Adler, to make political contributions to various political campaigns which were unlawfully reimbursed to them by RRA.Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Lawrence D. LaVecchio, Paul F. Schwartz and 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.
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced the reappointment of Hobel Florido to the South Broward Hospital District Board of Commissioners.
Florido, 48, of Miramar, is an attorney with the Florido Law Group PA. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of South Florida, his juris doctorate from the Stetson University College of Law, and his masters in business administration from Stetson University. Florido is reappointed for a term beginning July 1, 2014, and ending June 30, 2018.
>>> Thank you for using the Broward County Commission Agenda E-mail Notification System. A new Broward County Commission Agenda is available. Point your browser to http://www.broward.org/commission/welcome.htm to view
the new agenda.
PALM BEACH COUNTY
Gang Member Sentenced As Armed Career Criminal For Firearm Possession
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Hugo Barrera, Special Agent in Charge, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), and Ric Bradshaw, Sheriff, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office (PBSO), announce that Edlord Dieujuste, 30, of Lake Worth, a documented member of the criminal street gang “Top 6”, was sentenced yesterday by United States District Judge Kenneth L. Ryskamp to 180 months (15 years) in federal prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release for being an armed career criminal in possession of a firearm and ammunition.
According to court documents, Dieujuste has multiple prior felony convictions for robbery with a deadly weapon, robbery, aggravated assault with a deadly weapon, robbery by sudden snatching, and felon in possession of a firearm. On November 1, 2013, Dieujuste was arrested by the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Gang Unit on local charges after detectives recovered a loaded semi-automatic pistol and marijuana from his vehicle following a traffic stop. A federal grand jury indicted Dieujuste on December 3, 2013, charging him with being a felon in possession of a firearm and ammunition and possession of marijuana. In February 2014, Dieujuste pled guilty to the indictment as charged. Dieujuste was sentenced under the Armed Career Criminal Act, which provides a sentencing range of fifteen years to life for individuals who have been convicted of federal gun crimes and have at least three prior felony convictions for crimes of violence and/or serious drug offenses. Mr. Ferrer commended the ATF, and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, for their work on this case. This case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney John McMillan. This case was brought as part of Project Safe Neighborhoods (PSN) which is the anti-gang, anti-gun violence initiative of the United States Department of Justice. This program emphasizes and facilitates cooperative federal, state and local prosecution of firearm crimes, violent criminals, repeat violent offenders and gang related criminal activity. 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.
DEL RAY BEACH
>>> Former Delray Beach Resident Convicted In Third Case Involving Identity Theft
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that Jeffrey Emil Groover, 53, formerly of Delray Beach, was convicted by a jury of all six counts with which he was charged. Specifically, Groover was convicted of one count of conspiracy to commit bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1349, three counts of bank fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1344, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A.
Sentencing is scheduled for September 3, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Dimitrouleas. At sentencing, Groover faces a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison for conspiracy to commit bank fraud, 20 years in prison for each count of bank fraud, and a mandatory term of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term in prison, for the aggravated identity theft charges.
According to evidence presented at trial and court documents, Groover used the personal identifying information (PII) of an individual without her knowledge or consent to open a checking account and obtain a debit/VISA card at TD Bank. The defendant forged the name on the signature card for the account and, when asked for identification, produced a fraudulent, photo-switched Florida Driver’s License with the individual’s correct information, but the defendant’s photograph. Approximately one week after opening the account at TD Bank, the defendant again used the individual’s PII to open a checking account at PNC Bank. When asked to provide two forms of identification for the account, the defendant used the fraudulent debit/VISA card obtained from TD Bank, and the fraudulent, photo-switched Florida Driver’s License. Groover directed the PNC banker to set up overdraft protection for the fraudulent checking account using the individual’s existing home equity line of credit. Between September 27, 2013 and September 30, 2013, the defendant and his co-conspirators withdrew and attempted to withdraw approximately $170,000 from the individual’s home equity line of credit by cashing a $20,000 check drawn directly on the line of credit.
In a separate case involving an identity theft tax refund fraud scheme, Groover was sentenced on April 18, 2014, before U.S. District Judge Robin Rosenbaum to 60 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay $350,373.86 in restitution. Groover previously pled guilty to the indictment in this case, which charged him with making and presenting false claims to the Internal Revenue Service, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 287. In sentencing the defendant to a sentence significantly above the sentencing guideline range in this previous case, the judge noted the defendant’s extensive criminal history, his arrest for a new identity theft crime while on bond awaiting sentencing, and the large number of victims who suffered, some for years, as a result of his repeated commission of identity theft crimes. The judge also noted that while serving a 46 month sentence for identity theft in 2004, the defendant provided testimony to the Senate Special Committee on Aging, in which he explained how easy it was to commit identity theft using the internet and how his 46 month sentence would cause him to never commit such crimes again. Since the 46 month sentence had not deterred Groover from committing new crimes, the judge imposed a 60 month sentence. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Adrienne Rabinowitz and Alexandra Hui. 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.
>> And to read all the Palm Beach elected leader’s financial disclosure reports go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/results.cfm
St. LUCIE COUNTY
>>>> Port Saint Lucie Return Preparer Convicted in Tax Fraud and Identity Theft Schemes
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, and Jose A. Gonzalez, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announce that defendant Stevens Nore, 33, of Port Saint Lucie, was convicted by a jury of thirty counts, including twenty-one counts of preparing false tax returns, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(2), four counts of filing false tax returns, in violation of Title 26, United States Code, Section 7206(1), three counts of theft of public money, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 641, and two counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A. The Court has reserved judgment as to four of the counts pending argument by the parties. Nore was immediately remanded to the custody of the United States Marshals Service. At sentencing, Nore faces a possible maximum statutory sentence of up to three years in prison for each count of preparing and filing false tax returns, up to 10 years in prison for each count of theft of public money, and a mandatory term of two years in prison, consecutive to any other term in prison, for each count of aggravated identity theft. According to evidence presented at trial and court documents, from June 11, 2009 through April 2012, Nore owned and operated Fraternity Tax and Services, a tax return preparation business located in Fort Pierce, Florida. Nore prepared and submitted Individual Tax Returns (Forms 1040), with accompanying schedules, to the IRS on behalf of taxpayers claiming false deductions and credits for tax years 2009 to 2011. Nore also filed false tax returns for 2010 and 2011 by falsely stating the amount of gross receipts and sales on Schedule C forms. The defendant stole three tax refunds totaling $26,349.30 to which he was not entitled, and used the identity of two individuals without their permission. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Shaniek Maynard and Russell R. Killinger.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 Jill Compton as a school board member of Highlands County. Compton, 38, of Sebring, has been an educator with the School Board of Highlands County since 1998. Compton received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Florida and her Master’s of Educational Leadership from the University of South Florida as well as a Master’s of Communication Science and Disorders from Northern Arizona University. She is appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Andy Tuck for a term beginning June 27, 2014, and ending November 11, 201
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott announced the appointment of State Representative Charles “Dave” Hood, Jr. to the Seventh Judicial Circuit Court.
Representative Hood 60, of Daytona Beach Shores, is currently the State Representative for District 25, covering a portion of Volusia County, and is a partner with the law firm Smith, Hood, Loucks, Stout, Bigman & Brock, where he has practiced since 1988. He previously practiced with the Cobb Cole firm from 1978-1988. Representative Hood served as the Mayor of Ormond Beach from 1997-1999 and as City Commissioner from 1992-1997. Representative Hood received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of South Carolina.
Governor Rick Scott said, “Representative Hood’s leadership and dedicated service to the families of his district combined with his decades of practicing law will make him a great addition to the Seventh Judicial Circuit bench. I am proud to appoint Dave Hood today with confidence that he will continue to his service to Florida with a keen sense of justice and compassion.”
>>> 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.
>>> With the arrival of Jul. 1, elected leaders and many others on public boards need to get in their required financial disclosure forms in on time
With the arrival of Jul.1, 2014 it is time for all elected officials to file they’re financial disclosure forms for the past year and while they are now on line they do give voters a small glimpse into their elected leaders financial lives and if there is significant debt or conflicting financial interests this is important to know and elected leaders that fudge on these required forms, The penalties are getting stiffer and a accurate accounting of ones financial life is the right policy. If you are one of the rarified state officials and you should get the document in on time for it is part of elected life or being on a public board and if you don’t it will eventually get flagged by the Florida Ethics Commission, and this will not be a resume builder for voters who expect their leaders to follow the rules and while here in South Florida some elected officials have played it fast and loose when it comes to their financial disclosures’ voters have the right to expect much more and leaders should take this important chore seriously for it is not a game and the only losers are the voters and that is not a good thing.
>>> Reader objects to Village of Coconut Grove section since not a municipality
Does not exist legally. It is just an area of the City of Miami, not an official municipality. You might want to correct that.
>>> 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.
I welcome letters via e-mail, fax, or snail mail. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and must refer to material published in the Watchdog Report. Please see address and contact information. Please send any additions and corrections by e-mail, fax or snail mail. All corrections will be published in the next Watchdog Report. If you or your organization would like to publish the contents of this newsletter, please contact me. Please send your request to firstname.lastname@example.org
Daniel A. Ricker
Publisher & Editor
Watchdog Report www.watchdogreport.net
Copyright © of original material, 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.