Archive for December 2014


Watchdog Report Vol.15 No.35 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot -Celebrating 15 Years


Argus Report: President Obama Jettisons nation’s Cuba policy after 50years, believes after all these years’ time for a change of tact, Local Cuban American Exile community goes ballistic

Florida: Will a surging state economy and strong tourism bring in an extra $1 billion in funding for the Florida budget this year? The Stanly G. Tate Florida Prepaid College program, the largest  in the nation, is going gangbusters and over a million families have signed up for the program that will pay for a child’s College Education and is a real bargain for Floridians.

Miami-Dade County: Commissioner Chair Sosa saying sayonara to leadership post, commission under her leadership was civil and efficient in many ways, because “when they [Commissioners] work together it makes life easy,” she believes

Miami–Dade County Public Schools: Community’s oversight firewall gets new leadership as attorney’s Sanchez-Medina and McGhee take leadership positions on critical Audit and Budget Advisory Committee watching over $2.3 billion in public tax dollars, nation’s fourth largest public schools district

Public Health Trust: New Jackson Memorial Foundation CEO Tribble takes the helm after controversial predecessor Rodriguez resigns, but now PHT board member’s on Foundation board

Village of Coconut Grove: The 69th Annual Orange Bowl Regatta is coming to the Grove and the Coral Reef Yacht Club is one of the main organizers of the popular race that draws thousands of sailors

City of Coral Gables: M-DC Ethics Commission Make a New Year’s resolution to run a clean campaign

Community Events: Miami Dolphin Cycling Challenge V Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to — Margulies Warehouse opens in Oct. Lotus House benefits, public students enter free

Editorials: Will local construction boom cramp the results at JHS and public schools bond programs, cost of concrete going through the roof?

Letters: — Check out the website for my relatively new organization aimed at young adults with intellectual disabilities.  We are involving them in organic gardening, culinary skills (with a major chef) and other elements of lifelong learning (marine studies, creative – Reader wishes me a speedy recovery from stroke

Sponsors – Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue

>>> Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you. –Pericles (430 B.C.)

>>> If you wish to be deleted, just e-mail me with that message.

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center 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 publisher needs help and I hope you will consider supporting me allowing me to stay out in the field so that I can keep at this and report back how your billions of public dollars in government are being spent on a weekly basis. And how to do that is at the end of the WDR. Thank You.

>>>> CORRECTION and Clarification to a past WDR: “Daniel, thanks for the shout-out! I really appreciate the “ink”. I am the Chair of the Miami Dolphins Cycling Challenge V and 100% of the funds raised by our participants (hopefully 3,000 riders and 1000 walkers/runners) will stay local for cancer research at the Sylvester [Comprehensive Cancer Center]. So far, DCC I-IV has raised $7million. Our goal this year is $6 million!! The important part of this effort is that it supports Sylvester attaining National Cancer Institute Designation which is a regional imperative! Please see the attached. We need to raise the bar on fighting cancer in South Florida! By the way,” See more at,” wrote Richard Berkowitz, C.P.A.

>>> May you and your family have a great, safe and reflective Christmas Holiday and Chanukah and the Watchdog Report will return after the Holidays reporting on what is going on with your $13 billion in public institutions in a Hi Definition news manner.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>>>> President jettisons nation’s Cuba policy after 50years, believes after all these years’ time for a change of tact, Local Exile community goes ballistic

In a stunning announcement after 50 years of a Cuban Embargo and other sanctions President Barack Obama has through an executive order has changed the relationship with Cuba and the Castro brothers and the Cuban American Community in South Florida is in shock and dismay at the foreign policy change that many believe gives Castro to many things and concessions and not enough change on the Communist controlled Island. Obama said for 50 years the current American Policy was not working and because of that, He believed it was time for the nation to try something different since the current policy was clearly not working Obama believes. ON Wednesday during the press conference Obama during the press gaggle was relaxed and afterwards he left D.C. to Holiday in Hawaii on vacation. And in Miami over the weekend at Miami Jose Marti Park demonstrators were shouting that Obama was a ‘traitor’ and that sums up the sentiment many Cuban Americans are expressing in relation to the announcement and long serving GOPCongressman Lincoln Diaz-Balart was lambasting the president in the media along with the rest of the local Congressional Delegation.

What about the hour long press conference where he called on eight women reporters?

President Barack Obama decided to limit the questions at his last press conference before going on vacation this week to eight reporters and one of them was veteran Miami Herald reporter Leslie Clark the McClatchy papers White House Bureau correspondent and the veteran political reporter has been covering the beat for years around 2006, and she asked Obama some questions on Cuba and in the past Clark was the political reporter for the Miami Herald in Tallahassee and covered former Gov. Jeb Bush extensively and now that the younger Bush is running for president Clark will have a unique insight on the governor and  Bush having covered him for years in the Florida capital prior to the DC posting.


PRESS RELEASE:CANF responds to today’s announcement regarding U.S. – Cuba policy. Miami, FL – The Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) throughout its history has been at the forefront of advocating the right of the Cuban people to live in freedom under a democratic system where the rule of law protects all Cubans. The announcement today by the United States that encompasses a myriad of policy changes is unprecedented in its scope and places the success of these policy changes on the Cuban regime extending limited space and rights to the Cuban people. The eventual outcome of this agreement will depend on whether or not the Cuban political prisoners who have been released are not subject to a carousel of re-arrests and harassment as has been the norm, that the acts of repression against the Damas de Blanco and all other non-violent opposition and civil society groups permanently cease, that all Cubans are given unrestricted access to internet and social media and that there is substantial, unreversed, progress in human, economic, civil and political rights for all of the Cuban people.
It is our firm conviction that any negotiation with the Cuban regime will only have value towards the prospects of a democratic Cuba if the voice of the Cuban people as well the exile community has a seat at the negotiating table. Now is the time for action and CANF will continue to place all its faith and resources toward the support and the empowerment of Cuba’s independent civil society without whom there will be no meaningful change in Cuba.We urge the Obama administration to confirm its support for the right of the Cuban people to be free by increasing the funding of the Cuba Democracy programs which have provided much needed aid and support to the repressed Cuban civil society. The Castro regime’s record on fulfilling its agreements has been poor at best allowing little expectations as to its will to fulfill its part of the agreement. We thank, His Holiness Pope Francis, for his intervention on behalf of the Cuban people and urge him to remain vigilant for the fulfillment of the Castro government commitments to release all prisoners of conscience and cease the repression of the Ladies in White and the rest of the human rights activists. Since 1981, the Cuban American National Foundation has worked to enlighten public opinion on problems of Cuban concern, protect human rights

>>> Press release: Zogby Report Card: Support for Obama on Cuba, two to one -John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner Pollster John Zogby finds in our weekly White House report card that President Obama grappled with several historical events this week, and ended up with a better approval rating. “Game-changing news this week. Horrible murders of over 200 school officials and children in Peshawar that must give pause to any overtures to Taliban or skittishness about dealing with ISIS. Please click on the link below to view the full release:


>>> Will a surging state economy and strong tourism bring in an extra $1 billion in funding for the Florida budget this year?

With the Florida economy booming state lawmakers may find they have an extra $1 million in revenues for the upcoming new Florida budget and tourism has been the point of the spear in bringing in this new state revenue that tanked during the Great Recession years ago but has bounced back and Scott has been a major supporter of extra tourism marketing dollars that seems to be paying off bigtime and in the legislature there is expected to be extensive debate about how any of this new public money will be spent and interest groups are lining up to make their case for more state funding for a host of issues.

>>> Gov. Scott press release: Today, Florida industry leaders congratulated Florida job creators that have helped add 715,700 private-sector jobs since December 2010, far surpassing Governor Scott’s goal to create 700,000 jobs in seven years. In November 2014, Florida experienced the highest single month of private-sector job growth since Governor Scott took office, with 38,600 jobs created. Florida’s statewide unemployment rate in November was 5.8 percent, the lowest since May 2008.

Mark Wilson, President of the Florida Chamber of Commerce said, “The Florida Chamber shares the Governor’s goal of making Florida the number one destination in the world for businesses, and today’s announcement of more than 700,000 jobs created in less than four years is another great step for our state. We look forward to making Florida even more competitive through continued private sector job creation.”

Tom Feeney, President of Associated Industries of Florida said “Since he took office, Governor Scott has been committed to creating a business climate that fosters growth and success for our job creators and our families. Today’s news of 715,700 jobs created since December 2010 is a great accomplishment that proves Florida is on the right path. Associated Industries of Florida is anxious to continue working with Governor Scott’s team to enhance economic prosperity in Florida.”

Carol Dover, President and CEO of the Florida Restaurant and Lodging Association, said, “Florida is on a mission to be the best state in the nation for job creation and today’s news of 715,000 jobs created in the past four years is proof that it’s working. We applaud Governor Scott’s leadership and will continue to work with him to ensure the state remains a wonderful place to live, work and play for Florida families and our millions of visitors seeking a world-class hospitality experience.”

Bob Burleson, President of the Florida Transportation Builders’ Association (FTBA) said, “Transportation is the lifeline of any successful business. We are meeting this need here in Florida and can show real results with the creation of 715,700 new private-sector jobs. The past four years have seen historic investments into Florida’s transportation system, and we will continue building a network of connectivity for Florida’s businesses under Governor Scott.”

Ron Howse, Chairman of the Florida Transportation Commission said, “Efficient transportation shapes the development of our state’s economy.  It is important for businesses throughout Florida to be accessible and maintain relationships even across geographical distances. I applaud Governor Scott for reaching the goal of 700,000 jobs in seven years. By continually building upon transportation development, Florida’s job growth will keep moving forward.”

Allen Douglas, Executive Director, Florida Engineering Society (FES)/Florida Institute of Consulting Engineers (FICE) said, “Investment into Florida’s transportation system improves overall connectivity resulting in unhindered access to business. The great news of 715,700 private-sector jobs added in Florida serves as testament to the priority that Governor Scott and his administration have made toward developing our state’s infrastructure.”

Doug Wheeler, President of the Florida Ports Council said, “Not only does transportation investment enhance our quality of life, but it is a catalyst for significant economic growth. We must ensure that Florida remains the best state in the nation for transportation infrastructure as we continue to build upon the more than 700,000 jobs created since 2010. Under Governor Scott’s leadership and direction, I feel confident that we will exceed our expectations in further job expansion.”

Matthew D. Ubben, President of Floridians for Better Transportation (FBT) said, “New projects that improve Florida’s infrastructure bring jobs to local economies. The improvements to our transportation system under Governor Scott reduce the costs and increase the efficiency and create greater mobility of interregional business. Our capacity of job growth is expanding as we continue to add onto the great news of 715,700 new jobs in Florida.”

Will Seccombe, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said “With nearly 145,000 jobs added since Governor Scott took office, Florida’s thriving tourism industry is essential to growing employment.  Today’s announcement of the creation of 715,700 total jobs since December 2010 is great news for our industry and our families.  We are grateful to Governor Scott for his support as we work to bring a record number of visitors to the Sunshine State.”

Bill Lupfer, President and CEO of the Florida Attractions Association, said “Florida is one of the top tourism destinations in the world, and our record-breaking amounts of visitors have helped define our industry as a major driver of Florida’s economy. We are proud to have worked with Governor Scott to help exceed his goal of creating 700,000 private sector jobs in seven years.”

Bobby Cornwell, President and CEO of the Florida Association of RV Parks & Campgrounds, said, “Governor Scott’s goal to turn around the economy has not only led to incredible job creation, but also to record-breaking visitors in our state.  Our industry is tied to the state’s economy, and the creation of more than 700,000 jobs since 2010 is great news for our families, businesses and visitors.  I couldn’t be happier with how Governor Scott has turned Florida’s economy around and embraced the importance and power of Florida tourism.”

Robert Skrob, Executive Director of the Florida Association of Destination Marketing Organizations, said, “Because of Governor Scott’s leadership, Florida’s tourism industry is about to set an all-time record of more than 100 million visitors within one year.  It all started as an audacious goal set by Governor Scott followed-up by his commitment to promote our state to attract new out-of-state visitors.  More customers for Florida businesses create new jobs for Floridians.

William D. Talbert, III, CDME, President and CEO of the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, “We are proud that Miami and the State of Florida are among the top tourism destinations in the world.  Our record-breaking number of visitors generating travel and tourism industry jobs locally and at the state level have helped define our industry as a major driver of Florida’s economy. We are thrilled to have worked with Governor Scott to help exceed his goal of creating 700,000 private sector jobs in seven years.”

>>> Governor Rick Scott Appoints Timothy M. Cerio as General Counsel

Press release: Governor Rick Scott today announced the appointment of Timothy M. Cerio as General Counsel effective January 5, 2015. Pete Antonacci will serve as Special Counsel for a brief transition period.

Governor Scott said, “Tim has had a distinguished legal career and was a great leader at the Department of Health under Governor Jeb Bush. I look forward to Tim joining our team and helping us make Florida the best state in the nation for job growth. Pete Antonacci is a friend and he has done a great job as General Counsel and I appreciate all he has done to help make Florida a better place for families.”

Tim currently practices law at GrayRobinson. Previously, he served as chief of staff and general counsel at the Florida Department of Health from 2005 to 2007. In 2013, Tim was appointed by Florida Governor Rick Scott to the Judicial Nominating Commission for the First District Court of Appeal. Tim received his bachelor’s and law degrees from the University of Florida and is the president-elect of the University of Florida Alumni Association.

>>>> The Stanly G. Tate Florida Prepaid College program, the largest  in the nation, is going gangbusters and over a million families have signed up for the program that will pay for a child’s College Education and is a real bargain for Floridians.

Press release: Sales of Florida Prepaid College Plans Continue to Smash Records

Today, Governor Rick Scott and Florida Prepaid Chairman Duane Ottenstroer were proud to celebrate the Florida Prepaid College Board’s announcement of record-setting plan sales. For the first week of open enrollment, total prepaid plan sales were up 208% over last year, with more than 6,000 plans purchased by Florida families working towards an affordable college education.

Florida Prepaid Chairman Duane Ottenstroer said, “Governor Scott worked with the Legislature to sign HB 851 to hold the line on tuition. The results: tuition is lower, families are getting refunds and there’s more excitement for Florida Prepaid Plans. Governor Scott and the Legislature succeeded in putting hundreds of dollars back into the pocketbooks of Florida families each month and making the dream of a college education a reality for many more families.”

Governor Scott said, “With our effort to hold the line on tuition more-and-more families are excited to send their children to Florida schools. Families shouldn’t have to put themselves under mountains of debt for their children to receive a good education, and that’s exactly what the previous administration’s policies forced them to do. The Florida Prepaid College Board’s announcement demonstrates an affordable education benefits our students, our schools and our state, and we’ll continue working to make education accessible for every family.”
The incredible surge in sales is credited to lower plan prices that were made possible because of House Bill 851, which passed during the 2014 Legislative Session and was signed by Governor Scott. The four-year university plan dropped by more than half this year from $53,729 to $27,379, or from $350 to $173 a month. >>>> The plan, the most popular offered by Florida Prepaid, is the now the lowest since 2008-2009. And for more on the plans go to

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 aand she htoughtnswers 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.

>>>>The Miami-DADE County Commission last week deferred voting on its appointment to the state created Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) board that recently came under fire for a significant bump in tolls paid by drivers and Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz wants to interview the applicants that the commission might appoint to the board and this is a sea change for the process and County Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa also suggested working with the state legislature on the matter to see if a “cap” could be established for future toll increases,” since the some “40 percent” toll increase was difficult for many people to pay if they are students or work in hotels and she thought some limit should be established.

>>>>And if you would like to see you’re County or state elected leaders financial disclosures forms on file go to website (


>>>> Vigil remembers and honors 70 homeless that passed on street this year, down from 102 passing last year

A somber and moving Ceremony and vigil Friday was held at the Stephen P. Clark Government Center in commemoration of “National Homeless Persons Memorial Day” remembering those people that died on the streets the previous year and this year 70 homeless died on the streets and that is down from 102 who passed last year and these deaths occur dispute an elaborate homeless program administered by the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust and service providers like Camillus House and the Chapman Partnership that both run shelters and Camillus has a healthcare arm as well and participants at the solemn vigil ring a bell representing each person’s death that has many of these people being veterans and is a community tragedy that gets marked every December and similar services are held in 150 other cities around the nation.

>>> Press release: Friday at 12:30 is the annual Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day Candlelight Vigil.  The Homeless Trust, and partners, will remember those homeless who died, including many whose stories were covered over this past year – most recently, the hit and run fatality in Miami. >>> (MIAMI, December 15, 2014) – On Friday, December 19, 2014, Miami-Dade County will join more than 150 cities nationwide in hosting a “National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day” event with a candlelight vigil and memorial service. The vigil will be held at the Stephen P. Clark Center fountain in Downtown Miami and will include reading the names of more than 60 homeless individuals who passed away in Miami-Dade County over the past 12 months. The memorial service is being jointly coordinated by the Homeless/Formerly Homeless Forum, Inc., the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, and the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, Inc. National Homeless Persons’ Memorial Day takes place on or near the first day of winter to bring attention to the tragedy of homelessness.

>>> Commissioner Chair Sosa saying sayonara to leadership post, commission under her leadership was civil and efficient in many ways, because “when they [Commissioners] work together it makes life easy,” she believes

The end of the County Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa administration  as chairwoman of the Miami-Dade County Commission is ticking down and Jose Pepe Diaz gave Sosa a teacher and educator  a small gift from her peers and she did a marvelous job allowing the public to speak but all with the same amount of time and commission meetings many times ended way earlier than in past years and the former Mayor of West Miami, an accomplished vocalist, calls U.S. Sen Marco Rubio, R-FL a dear friend and she worked on Gov. Rick Scott’s campaign and she was seen at a number of Scott events over the past years but was visible during his reelection campaign. Sosa during her tenure was a blend of diplomat and facilitator but she had a favorite phrase she used often on the dais and the teacher would remind her peers that “when we work together it makes life easy,” she reminded her fellow commissioners. And when it comes to her voting record she many times says she is voting a certain way because “I have to be consistent,” and if something has changed she will vote against something if she has taken an alternative position prior.  Further she has insisted that Miami-Dade County get its “fair share” of state revenues and the cost of promotion of many events and believes County residents “WE want our fair share of state taxes that come in from hotel and tourists and other visitors,” she believes, and the goal is to only use taxpayer dollars” to bring other new dollars to the community through tourism.

What about incoming Commission Chair Monestime?

Commissioner Monestime elected in 2010 replacing former Commissioner Dorrin Rolle has been a breath of fresh air on the body and his low key style should play well with his 13 peers on the dais and the family man has a intriguing life story since he arrived from Haiti and has worked in a variety of jobs yet building a successful career in real estate and he becomes chair of the commission on Jan1. Just after midnight and his first mission is to name commission chairs to the commission committees that has varied in number from chair to chair over the past decade since the commission got approval by county voters to be able to select their own leadership that used to be done prior to 20002 by the County Mayor but after voters gave the commission the go ahead they have elected their own leadership over the years.

What about Sally Heyman?

County Commissioner Sally Heyman got a verbal broadside of criticism at a County Committee Meeting when she  tried to modify the County’s Historic Preservation ordinance and critics said it watered down the existing model and legislation that has won state wide praise but ultimately the committee members suggested the issue be fleshed out more but Heyman a veteran politician took a hit for her strong siding with with what are perceived as Developers interests versus preservation of historic architecture in some of the County’s smaller municipalities like Bay Harbor Island. Preservation advocate former Miami Beach Mayor Mattie Herrera Bower said “no one from the county reached out to us and [she thought] the only opinion that mattered was politician’s and developers,” she carped against the change in the preservation ordinance she told Heyman and other committee commissioners.

Heyman who describes herself as “tough as nails,” and went through a county firefighter program back in 2004 with Commissioner Jimmy Morales shocked her past supporters with the shift in preservation policy that has benefited Miami Beach so much and also in Heymans’s commission district. Heyman an attorney and former state representative has carped over the years about Commissioner pay and the Sunshine Amendment and appears to want to be back in the legislature and when asked what was her most treasured piece of clothing was Heyman said it was her Florida Legislative jacket.

>>> Newly Minted Levine Cava wants to be informed when she votes on contracts, chides the administration for why so many “emergency contracts” are coming before the body, also good steward of how general funds spent

Newly minted County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava carped last week the administration is bringing to many “emergency” items that have  to be voted on and she is unable to get through the briefing material and vote informed she said and her criticism is similar to complaints by Commissioner Juan Carlos Zapata who has been critical over the years for the same issue of getting items at the last minute and then being asked to vote on them without fully understanding the issue or concerns about a contract. Levine Cava is also demonstrating that she will be a good steward of how general funds are being spent versus money from some other source.

Public is being asked to attend Transportation Summit Jan. 22 at M-DC

The Public is being invited to a Transportation Summit being held on Jan. 22 at Miami-Dade College by the Citizens Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) created to watch over how a half cent sales tax for transportation enhancements is being spent when voters approved the countywide sales tax back in 2002 an brought in $228 million last year and that was a 5.5 percent increase in revenue but the tax has not been the silver bullet to traffic  congestion many first thought it would be and much of the money is now being used to cover debt obligations and  the County Commission in 2007 unified the funding stream with the county’s transportation obligations and the CITT is not as independent as was originally planned and all there items must  first be approved by the County Commission and the Trust’s executive director is one of highest paid employees at county Hall round $200,000 and public critics comp-lain the CITT has been co-opted by the County administration and transportation improvements have fallen short from what was promised when the issue was first brought to voters and this Summit is a combination venting session by the public and an effort to prioritize what is most important to the public.  For information on the Summit see below.

January 22, 2015 8:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.

Address: MDC – Wolfson Campus
300 NE 2 Avenue
Miami, FL 33132
Contact Person: Ann Carmouze
Phone Number: 305-375-1357


Beginning, Wednesday November 26, 2014, through December 30, 2014, Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Animal Services) in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Public Library System (MDPLS), will host a blanket drive for Animal Services shelter dogs. In preparation for dropping temperatures and the upcoming winter season, Animal Services is seeking donations of new or gently used clean blankets to keep shelter dogs warm and comfortable.

“Keeping our pets healthy and comfortable is a top priority. The blankets contributed help us keep our pets warm and dry while they await their forever homes during the winter months,” said Miami-Dade County Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz.

Donation bins will be available at the Animal Services shelter which is located at 7401 NW 74th Street, Medley, 33166 and at the Stephen P. Clark Center 111 NW 1st Street Miami, FL 33128. Donation bins will also be available at the following library locations:


CORAL REEF BRANCH – 9211 CORAL REEF DR., 305-233-8324

DORAL BRANCH – 10785 NW 58 ST., 305-716-9598

GOLDEN GLADES BRANCH – 100 NE 166 ST., 305-787-1544


KENDALL BRANCH – 9101 SW 97 AVE., 305-279-0520


LITTLE RIVER BRANCH – 160 NE 79 ST.,  305-751-8689

MAIN LIBRARY – 101 W FLAGLER ST., MIAMI, FL 33130, 305-375-2665

MIAMI BEACH REGIONAL – 227 22 ST.,  305-535-4219



NARANJA BRANCH – 14850 SW 280 ST, 305-242-2291

NORTH DADE REGIONAL – 2455 NW 183 ST.,  305-625-6424


PINECREST BRANCH – 5835 SW 111 ST., 305-668-4571

SOUTH DADE REGIONAL – 10750 SW 211 ST.,  305-233-8140

WEST DADE REGIONAL – 9445 CORAL WAY,  305-553-1134


For more information, contact or call 3-1-1. To find a branch library near you, visit and click ‘Find a Library.’

About Miami-Dade County Animal Services

Every year Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services) provides care and refuge for over 27,000 unwanted dogs and cats. Every day, Animal Services staff and volunteers work diligently to find life-long homes for these abandoned animals by facilitating onsite adoptions, hosting off-site adoption at events and locations throughout the community, and working collaboratively with over 70 rescue organizations who share in our goal of a No Kill Miami-Dade County.

About the Miami-Dade Public Library System

The Miami Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, serves as a community center and learning place where the Miami Dade community meets to exchange ideas, learn, share, and create. The Library strives to ensure that all residents, regardless of socioeconomics, will be enriched through access to materials, technology, art and culture and programs so that they may develop the skills they need to create and produce innovations for the 21st century. Through its 48 locations, bookmobiles, special services, website ( and MDPLS library app, the library proudly serves more than 7 million annual visitors. In the more than 40 years of serving the community, the MDPLS continues to experience tremendous change and growth, evolving with the technological needs and requirements of its diverse community. It is the policy of Miami-Dade County to comply with all of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The facility is accessible. For sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices or materials in accessible format, please call 305-418-7181 at least five days in advance.


7401 NW 74 Street

Miami, FL 33166


Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service jobs increased +3.0% in November 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. This marks 4 years and 11 months of consecutive increased employment in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service Industry.
Record Greater Miami Accommodations and Food Service Jobs
November 2014 November 2013 % Change
116,500 113,100 +3.0%


>>> Community’s oversight firewall gets new leadership as attorney’s Sanchez-Medina and McGhee take leadership positions on critical Audit and Budget Advisory Committee watching over $2.3 billion in public tax dollars

The School Board’s Audit and Budget Advisory Committee had another smooth change in its leadership after having issues in this regard back in 2004 when a chair had directed the board for ten years and would not step down despite a board Rule that called for the rotation of the leadership position. The committee made up of tax attorney’s and CPAs is the community firewall concerning how the public’s $4.2 billion in public tax dollars is spent and over the past years the committee has done a superb job watching over the public’s tax dollars. And the new Chair of the body is Roland Sanchez-Medina, Jr., and the Vice Chair is Rayfield M. McGhee Jr. and he is an attorney and longtime member of the committee and the Watchdog Report wishes them good luck in his new leadership capacity that few in the public ever get to see yet, this is one of the community’s most important oversight boards


>>> New Jackson Memorial Foundation CEO Tribble takes the helm after controversial predecessor Rodriguez resigns, but now PHT board member’s on Foundation board

The Jackson Memorial Foundation has new leadership and the not for profit charity’s CEO is Keith Tribble and he replaces former and resigned CEO Rolando Rodriguez who was forced to resign after a scathing and critical report done by the Miami-Dade County Office of the Inspector General and the current board of directors is chaired by Silvia Rice Fortun and the body’s Vice Chair is Rudy Moise, D.O. and PHT board members represented on the Foundation that a few years ago was in the media’s eyes are PHT CEO Carlos Migoya and PHT Chair Daryl Sharpton, C.P.A. and the organization raises money for the indigent and the Foundation is an important component of the Jackson Health System and below are some of the recent accomplishments for patients using JHS including new maternity suites and here is the press release on the new maternity patient rooms

Foundation webpage: Like proud parents showing off their newborn, Jackson Health Foundation gave tours of the newly renovated maternity suites in The Women’s Hospital at Holtz Children’s Hospital on Oct. 30 to show donors how their contributions have made a difference. About 40 supporters attended a reception prior to a tour of the “Little Miracles Maternity Suites.” The third floor unit, which hadn’t been remodeled in 40 years, got a complete makeover and features a spa-like atmosphere, high-tech equipment and 20 private suites. The suites are outfitted with flat-screen televisions, hotel-style safes, pullout couches for loved ones to sleep comfortably and modern bathrooms. The unit also includes a family education center, breastfeeding rooms, and spouse and sibling lounge and discharge suite.

Jackson Health System CEO/President Carlos A. Migoya thanked donors for updating the facility so that it doesn’t look like a typical public hospital and urged them to increase their commitment. Steven Burghart, chief administrative officer of the Women’s Hospital, and Silvia Rios Fortun, chairman of the JHF Board of Directors, also attended the reception. CEO Keith Tribble joked that Burghart told him the hospital’s needs when they first met. “We stand ready to help,” Tribble told the crowd. The “Little Miracles Maternity Suites” admitted their first patients on July 30.

Keith Tribble

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Donors Tour Renovated “Little Miracles Maternity Suites”

November 6th, 2014

Like proud parents showing off their newborn, Jackson Health Foundation gave tours of the newly renovated maternity suites in The Women’s Hospital at Holtz Children’s Hospital on Oct. 30 to show donors how their contributions have made a difference. About 40 supporters attended a reception prior to a tour of the “Little Miracles Maternity Suites.” […]

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Guardian Angels Start Countdown for Annual Guardians of the Children Luncheon

November 6th, 2014

The Guardian Angels membership support group of Jackson Health Foundation received personal pointers on pulling together a Roberto Cavalli look at a private luncheon and trunk show on Oct. 16 at Saks Fifth Avenue Dadeland. As models strutted around tables, guests mulled over which outfit from the fall 2014 Collection would be perfect for the […]

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>>>> Sarnoff strategy for Commission seat is a twofer, vote for his wife to continue present governance legacy but will Grove voters buy it?

It appears to be a twofer where you vote for one but get two in the District 2 race seat now held by Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and includes Coconut Grove and there have been rumors his wife Teresa would run in his place since he is termed out but his wife has been coy with the press and she has said she is just thinking about it but Sarnoff in public is telling people that if you want a continuation of his governance style she is the candidate to vote for and the local voters are waiting for her to decide one way or the other and now she has two other challengers in Grace Solaris and Michael Simpson. However, Sarnoff who governs with a WWMD style, What would Machiavelli do strategy believes that even with term limits. He has done such a good job that voters will flock to his wife’s support and electe her to follow him on the five member commission but that may be no easy sale for Sarnoff has an abrasive side and comes off as being very smug and gives the impression  voters should be thankful that he decided to represent them and his wife will have to overcome some of these objections and feelings by voters though her race will be well funded given her husband’s fundraising ability. And the man who first ran as an activist trying to stop the construction of a Home Depot, which ultimately was built in the Grove he after winning a full four years term he shed that moniker and had people joking there were two Sarnoff’s regarding his changed personality.


>>> 69th Orange Bowl Regatta kicks off in the Grove, thousands of sailors participating in The 69th Annual Orange Bowl Regatta is coming to the Grove and the Coral Reef Yacht Club is one of the main organizers of the popular race that draws thousands of sailors from some 275 countries and states and is a real economic shot in the arm to the Grove and the sight of a host of sailors racing out on Biscayne Bay is a beautiful sight during the Holiday’s and the race is from Dec. 26 to the 30th and for more on the races go to

$120,000 County loan paid off by Miami off Street Parking, County still looking at architectural proposals under Cone of Silence

Michael Spring the Director of the Miami-Dade Cultural Affair’s Department told Council members Wednesday that when it comes to the Coconut Grove Playhouse that $120,000 has been paid back towards a loan and lien by the County at the facility  by the Miami Off Street Parking Authority that is running the adjacent parking lot  and he said the selection of architects is under the County’s “Cone of Silence,” but said “ Gables Stage was  hard at work” on the future design and what elements will be included in the theater he told Council members. The Playhouse closed suddenly in 2006 and has been shuttered but the County has some $20 million set aside for renovations and the reopening of the iconic facility.


>>> New Convention Center to get some $4.3 million in new Art in Public Places along with another $2.6 million for the ballroom and other areas

With Miami Beach finally going forward with a new modern Convention Center the facility will also be getting some $4.3 million in Art in Public Places from the county and there is a call for artists for “four opportunities and the $1.3 million in art for the new center’s Ballroom is budgeted to cost of some $1.3 million and is part of the county program that includes public Art  in any county funded facilities and is based on a percentage of the overall project going into art on the sites.

>>> Got a beef with Mayor Levine take it to the Breakfast Club meeting?

Mayor Philip Levine up for reelection in 2015 will be speaking at the Tuesday Morning breakfast Club a political group that provides an important civics function on the Beach and past quests have included gubernatorial candidates and the County Mayor and is of real benefit to local residents and if you have a beef with Levine this could be the forum to bring it to his attention.

Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club

Meeting Date: January 13th, 2015 Meeting Time: 8:30 AM-Meeting Place: Abuela’s Cuban Kitchen, 1654 Meridian Ave., South Beach -There will be no Breakfast Club Meetings over the Christmas and New Year holidays.  The first meeting of the 2015 New Year will be on January 13th and it will feature Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine as our guest speaker. Happy Holidays to all! There is no charge for attending and everyone is welcome. David Kelsey, Moderator Visit our web site at (Miami Beach Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club).


>>> M-DC Ethics Commission Make a New Year’s resolution to run a clean campaign

Ethics Commission press release: Citizens considering running for elected office can resolve to do it properly by attending the first Campaign Skills Seminar of 2015, sponsored by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.  Votes are scheduled in more than a dozen cities throughout the county in the coming year. The two-hour seminar takes place from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. on Friday, January 9, 2015, in the Coral Gables City Commission Chambers.  Speakers — including representatives from the Ethics Commission and the Elections Department — will provide essential information on fundraising and record keeping to candidates, campaign treasurers, volunteers and anyone else who wants to understand the legal and ethical obligations of seeking public office.  The event is free and open to the public.  Attorneys can earn Continuing Legal Education credits from the Florida Bar.

Campaign Skills Seminar

Friday, January 09, 2015 3:00 p.m.

Coral Gables City Commission Chambers
405 Biltmore Way
Coral Gables, Fl. 33134
For more information or to reserve a seat, call Robert Thompson at 305-350-0630 or e-mail The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers.  It is composed of five members, serving staggered terms of four years each.  Through a program of education and outreach, the Commission seeks to empower the community and bolster public trust.


December 17 | Chamber Connection in Brickell
Join us at our next business-after-hours networking reception! Network with new Chamber members and the Chamber Champions, volunteers participating in the Each One, Reach One, Achieve One Campaign in an effort to spread the good work of the Chamber throughout South Florida for maximum business involvement, engagement and enrichment. New members will have the chance to spend “a minute at the mic” to highlight their business. This opportunity is limited to a select number of members — if interested contact Gabriela Diaz with your pitch.

Register Online

Contact: Gabriela Diaz 305-577-5471 |

January 7 | January Trustee Luncheon
Be sure to mark your calendar for Wednesday, January 7 and make a reservation to attend the Chamber’s January Trustee Luncheon to hear from one of America’s top CEOs, Jeffrey R. Immelt of General Electric. His presentation has been made possible by Baptist Health South Florida and it’s a terrific way to begin the New Year. Immelt has been named one of the “World’s Best CEOs” three times by Barron’s and under his leadership GE has been named one of “America’s Most Respected Companies.”

Register Online

Contact: Special Events 305-577-5433 |

For details on these and other upcoming events

visit the Calendar of Events at

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>>>>  The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida is calling visual artists in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties to submit artwork to interpret A Man Among the Peoples, that will coincide with an exhibition on the life, art and legacy of late Overtown artist, Purvis Young. Selected artwork will be displayed in the lobby of The Historic Lyric Theater as part of “Soul Basel Overtown: A celebration of Art, Music and Culture in Colored Town”.

This an art festival taking place from December 3 – 7, 2014 in Miami’s Historic Overtown District. We encourage imaginative expression in the interpretation of the theme. This project is designed to highlight the work of South Florida artists among others that will be displayed during Art Basel weekend. In addition to the public, museum professionals and art critics are invited to attend the festival. Entries will be accepted via email. Deadline to apply is Monday, November 17, 2014.To enter or for more information, please contact Adia McKenzie at or 786-708-4

>>> About the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.:

The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Ph.D. With a mission to not only preserve the documentary and photographic history of black South Florida, but also to enrich the present and protect the future through the revitalization Miami’s former black business and entertainment district, Overtown. The Black Archives and its programming are supported by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, Miami-Dade County, The Knight Foundation, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, The Design Group Miami & Drummer Boy Sound. For more information on The Black Archives of South Florida visit

>>> The Margulies Warehouse will be reopen at the end of October and all adult admission charges $10.00 will go to Lotus House Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Overtown and students are free. For more go to and the Lotus House Gala will be Oct. 25th for more information go to


>>> Will local construction boom cramp the results at JHS and public schools bond programs, cost of concrete going through the roof?

The clock is ticking when it comes to public Capital projects and the Miami-Dade Public Schools has some $1.2 billion for projects and IT enhancements for some of the county’s 400 schools and Jackson Health System has $8.3 million for infrastructure improvements but the current building boom while not as robust as in 2004 is sending the price of concrete through the roof and many top construction companies are busy and may not bid on these new public capital projects and the question is will all that was promised voters materialize when this money is gone and the public needs to keep a watchful eye on how this money is spent and while both JHS and the public schools system have oversight boards these boards need to keep in mind any delay in this environment will have consequences and time is of the essence for these are one shot deals for the public will likely never again approve such bonds for these public institutions and JHS must really kick in the afterburner for they are in a competitive environment with the changes in healthcare around the nation and while a public hospital they are competing in a private not for profit world when it comes to where patients go for their healthcare and alternatives exist and having state of the art facilities must be the norm if they are to draw these patients and hat is where the bond money becomes so critical for this is a one shot deal.


>>> Check out the website for my relatively new organization aimed at young adults with intellectual disabilities.  We are involving them in organic gardening, culinary skills (with a major chef) and other elements of lifelong learning (marine studies, creative expression etc). and our linked Facebook page.

Greg Bush

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