Argus Report: President Obama’s State of the Union speech in GOP controlled Congress lands with a thud, will he be able to craft compromises with Republicans to get some legislation passed?
Florida: Will FDLE’s continued controversy over Dir. Bailey’s resigning or firing dog Gov. Scott in the months ahead? Tries to dispel it with a press release but will Ag. Commissioner Putnam buy into it?
Miami-Dade County: Commissioner Barreiro’s item to end Cuban Adjustment Act draws controversy, and he has “courage” bringing up the third rail for local politicians but “mature,” discussion highlight how many commissioners benefited from the federal law, he has been thinking about the issue since May 2009, not because of new Cuban negotiations with Obama administration
Miami–Dade County Public Schools: District’s community firewall Audit and Budget Committee does its job behind the scenes will little fanfare, but is time consuming commitment for professional CPAs and Tax attorney’s on body made up of Dade residents
Public Health Trust: JACKSON SOUTH COMMUNITY HOSPITAL, With new Helipad– Jackson Health System is a step closer to expanding world-renowned trauma services in South Miami-Dade
City of Hialeah: Ethics Commission press release: Hialeah mayor faces complaint for lying The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) today found
City of Miami: Police Chief Orosa has left the building and top state and federal law enforcement agencies attended the going away luncheon.
City of Miami Beach: County Mayor Gimenez and financial staff huddle at tony restaurant, “just a general discussion,” says his staff
Village of Coconut Grove: $120,000 County loan paid off by Miami off Street Parking, County still looking at Playhouse architectural proposals but still under “Cone of Silence,” says Spring
Bay Harbour Islands: Ethics Commission settles complaint with Mayor Yaffe
Community Events: Gloria Steinem at UM — 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: Miami-Dade Ethics Commission proposes “Honor Code” for County employees but would it make a difference? Or just open up people to blackmail?
Letters: Reader Corrects Sarnoff story: Hi, Dan, and I hope all goes well for you in the New Year. Firstly, thanks for your continuing work with the Watchdog Report. – — – Reader wishes me a speedy recovery from stroke
Sponsors – Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue
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ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street
>>> President Obama’s State of the Union in GOP controlled Congress lands with a thud, will he be able to craft compromises with Republicans to get some legislation passed?
President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Speech last week landed at the Congress with a thud and while termed out, his most quoted line was since he no longer has any more elections was and he had won them “all,” he was free now to pursue his legislative agenda in the Republican controlled Congress and his lack of mentioning the results of the November elections, where Democrats were “drubbed,” caught some by surprise since these are the politicians he has to work with in the months ahead. However, Obama and his administration is also suffering from public fatigue and while unemployment is down, income levels are not up and the nation does not feel like the economy is getting better and the new 101st Congress still needs to deal with the nation’s $18trillion debt and that number will play into any new policies like free Community College education a new program being pushed by Obama which while having support, it is the financing that worries the fiscal hawks in the Congress and the President is going to have to smoooze better with federal legislators if he is going to get any legislation passed and it remains to be seen is he can craft some compromises with the Republican controlled body.
>>> Press release: Zogby Report Card: Obama didn’t cower in speech, but won’t get much done either -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 was surprisingly defiant in his annual State of the Union Address, but is unlikely to get many of goals OK’d by the GOP Congress. “Anyone expecting a cowering President Obama at the State of the Union had to be very disappointed. Mr. Obama was confident, defiant and in charge.
>>> Will FDLE’s continued controversy over FDLE Dir. Bailey’s resigning or firing dog Gov. Scott in the months ahead? Tries to dispel it with a press release but will Ag. commissioner Putnam buy into it?
With The Shake-Up at FDLE, the new Gov. Rick Scott administration is getting off to a shaky start when it comes to transparency and good governance and conflicting charges are flying about what exactly went down with the termination of the long serving Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Director Gerald Bailey and whether he was fired or resigned as the governor said. But the controversy continues in the media and is becoming a major distraction for Scott, “who is quoted saying Bailey did a great job [and is being petty,” and a further news story in the Herald shows the debate will not be going away. Since the law enforcement agency has a rich history of being apolitical and not getting involved in political matters.
And while Gov. Rick Scott is still being hammered over the firing, of Florida department of Law Enforcement Director Gerald Bailey. Some of the Cabinet members are calling for an independent investigator be used to investigate the matter. That caught Florida Cabinet members, Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater taken unaware when asked by the press about the firing. Further, Adam Putnam a former congressman for a decade prior to taking state wide office in 2010 is considered to have a bright political future and potentially a gubernatorial candidate in the next cycle in 2020 and he is starting to take the lead in the matter and Putnam knows how serious the ramifications could be of the possible political intrusion with the FDLE that has a long storied history of being a nonpartisan state law enforcement arm but the controversy whether Bailey was fired by Scott and his contradictory statement by the governor that Bailey quite, which the special agent denies since Bailey was set to retire in just a few months which also puzzles critics. And for Putnam the political stakes are the highest and he needs to be the point of the spear in getting this matter cleared up for the longer it festers and lingers it will be corrosive not only to Scott but how the Florid Cabinet is viewed as a whole and that dark cloud may well infect Putman’s future political career if not resolved for he is in a position to do something about getting to the root of the story and while below is a press release from the governor’s office on the controversy trying to end the debate and it remains to be seen if this explanation will tamp down the controversy, especially since Putnam is a longtime Floridian and he has the reputation of being a straight shooter.
What do we know about Putnam’s finances?
Putnam through Dec. 2013 had a $7.8 million net worth and to read his full disclosure form go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/Forms/2013/234671-Form6.pdf
>>>> INFORMATION ON BAILEY’S ACCUSATIONS
Gov. Scott Press release Governor Scott’s Press Office: FAQ on FDLE
Q: Is it true that Gerald Bailey was forced to resign? Prior to December 16, 2014, the Governor’s staff notified cabinet staff (including the offices of the Attorney General, the Chief Financial Officer, and the Commissioner of Agriculture) that the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE. Cabinet staff raised no objection.
On Tuesday, December 16, 2014, cabinet staff were notified that Gerald Bailey would be met with that day about the Governor’s desire for new leadership at FDLE. Peter Antonacci, then general counsel, met with Bailey and said the Governor wanted new leadership at FDLE and requested his resignation.
Bailey sent a letter to the Governor saying he was “stepping down” that same day, December 16th.
Q: Is it true that you or your aides instructed FDLE to identify Alan Williams in a daily media report about the Dream Defender protest at the capitol?
The Governor’s office, FDLE and DMS worked to produce daily media reports in response to a high volume of media requests for information (including the costs of the protest, activities of protestors and incidents in the capitol during the protest). Representative Williams was first identified by name in an incident report memo from Gerald Bailey emailed to the Governor’s office on Tuesday, July 23, 2013 at 4:40 pm and then included in a memo to press at 4:57PM that same day. During the protest, it was standard practice to provide as much information to the media as possible without compromising the security concerns of the capitol building.
Q: Did Governor’s staff direct Bailey to target Interim Orange County Clerk Colleen Reilly as part of the investigation of two escaped inmates?
No, Frank Collins met with FDLE communications personnel to help coordinate an FDLE press conference. Bailey asked to speak with Collins and FDLE communications staff before the press conference.
The discussions with Bailey were about how to provide the most complete account of who could have been involved in the high-profile escape of two inmates, which included both the Clerk’s Office and the Department of Corrections. The discussion was not about targeting any individual.
Q: Did you ask FDLE to get involved in a federal money laundering case so a donor could be appointed to a position?
No, the Governor did not ask Bailey to get involved in any type of investigation in any way. While there is no record of an appointment application in the Governor’s office, it is likely he was considered for an appointment at some point because there was a request for a background check. However, there was no request to FDLE to influence any kind of investigation.
Q: Is it true that FDLE was forced to transport staffers from your re-election campaign in state vehicles? The campaign paid an invoice from FDLE for the estimated cost of staff to travel with the Governor and the First Lady.
FDLE would not transport Meghan Collins on one occasion, which created some confusion because the campaign was already working to reimburse any cost to the state for staff travel.
Q: Is it true your campaign solicited donations from FDLE on their state emails?
Any emails used for campaign donations would have been obtained through lists operated by organizations that included individuals who opted in for communication. Unfortunately, those lists were not regularly cleaned to ensure they did not have any government email addresses on them.
The law requires mass emails to include an unsubscribe link that would have allowed any recipient to automatically be removed from a list at any time.
Q: Is it true that Pete Antonacci requested FDLE to delete public records?
Q: Is it true that campaign aides asked for FDLE to help develop campaign policy by getting on a phone call? FDLE did the right thing by ignoring a campaign staffer’s inappropriate request for assistance.
Q: What about the allegation from Bailey that your administration forces agencies to make certain hiring decisions? Our office frequently makes suggestions on qualified candidates, but we do not require agencies to hire anyone.
Q: What about the allegation from Bailey that the Governor’s office stopped FDLE from briefing the cabinet on their plan to increase pay for crime lab employees?
In October, the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget advised FDLE to not include any pay increases in their Legislative Budget Requests because pay increases for all state agencies were to be considered as a whole at a later date. The Governor’s full budget proposal will be released next week.
>>>> https://www.floridaprepaidcollegefoundation.com/ 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 http://www.myfloridaprepaid.com/what-we-offer/ https://www.floridaprepaidcollegefoundation.com/
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 and she thought 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.
>>> Press release The Children’s movement of Florida
“I have one last question, Mr. Speaker: What percentage of 17 to 24 year olds cannot enter the American military?”
“Maybe 15 percent,” said Steve Crisafulli, the Brevard County Republican. (A most able man, I promise.) “75 percent is the answer” I told him. Startled, and so he said: “How could that possibly be?”
It’s true, I told him in our conversation in his office earlier this week. The reasons? Challenges having to do with academics, disabilities and other physical-mental issues, substance abuse and/or criminal justice. That statistic – three of every four young people – is a matter of national security for a country we love.
My pitch to the Speaker, as it is to all those involved in building The Children’s Movement, is this: The greatest return on investment for the future can be found in the early childhood years.
The Speaker could make a major difference in the lives of countless children. I hope he will. There is much more to do for children – by all of us, elected and unelected. Wrote, Dave Lawrence, Jr., Chair the Children’s Movement of Florida
>>>>And if you would like to see you’re County or state elected leaders financial
Disclosures forms on file go to website (www.et hics.state.fl.us):
>>> Commissioner Barreiro’s item for “the elimination,” of the Cuban Adjustment Act draws controversy, and he has “courage” bringing up the third rail for local politicians but “mature,” discussion highlight how many commissioners benefited from the federal law, he has been thinking abiut the issue since May 2009, not because of new Cuban negotiations with Obama administration
In a shocking break from tradition Miami-Dade County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro suggested to his colleagues last Wednesday that the commission should support the “elimination” of the Cuban Adjustment Act that has helped a host of Cuban nationals become citizens and get social service benefits, though in some cases these people do abuse the system and Barreiro a former state representative said he just wanted the federal authorities to perhaps refine it and “give Congress Leeway to deal with these items,” and perhaps to close some of the blatant loop holes that has allowed Cuban Nationals who have been abusing the system, including sending money sometimes often gotten from Medicare fraud or other methods back to the Communist nation and He “just believes there should be a debate on the matter and he understands that people want “to seek the American Dream,” and he believes the “regime has benefited” from this by giving “Cubans a way out,” Barreiro said and the ‘focus has not been how to improve the government,” but how to get out he said. He thinks the CAA “has served its purpose when people were being imprisoned and tortured,” and he wants “true and meaningful change in the structure of the government.” And there is still ways for people to ask our nation for political asylum and he just thought “we should revisit the issue,” he believes and the law “has helped keep the regime in power,” he closed his thoughtful heartfelt comments last week.
However, Commissioner Rebeca Sosa told her own immigration story and she noted “the law says it will only end and can be “repealed when Cuba becomes a Democracy,” she intoned and in her case she left Cuba and went to Puerto Rico and why she is hesitant to change anything. The Adjustment Act was signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson in 1966, but Barreiro believes it is outdated but political insiders were shocked that the former state representative would venture into this political mine field in the Cuban Exile community he lives in and for more go to http://www.nbcmiami.com/news/local/Miami-Dade-Commissioner-Bruno-and for more Barreiro-Wants-End-to-Cuban-Adjustment-Act-289369651.html and “discussed in such a “mature way,” said Commissioner Dennis Moss at the end of the discussion.
>>>> Sayonara Bill Johnson, the recently named “toilet Czar,” of the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department last week was taped by Gov. Rick Scott to be the new CEO of Enterprise Florida
http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article7930827.html that seeks out and brings businesses to Florida and Lester Sola a long time county employee and County procurement guru will assume Johnson’s portfolio in taking own the over $10 billion plumbing of the County’s ageing water and sewer infrastructure that is being done under a federal judge’s decree and is a massive and expensive undertaking given the over hundred miles of pipes that have to be replaced or upgraded. And for more on the appointment go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article7930827.html www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article7930827.html
And Johnson has been a County turnaround artist ranging from the A
Airlines Arena to the Arsht Performing Arsht Center that had become a ”nightmare” after the costs spiraled out of control and he was assigned to take it over and got the job done, though 20 months late and needing millions more in new funding
And the Arts Center came in at $472.4 million up from $255 million but Johnson got it done and while he has been the Port of Miami Director he is also a major cheerleader and is a dynamic speaker and will be a good fit for the job, since over the years Johnson has carped he could make more money in the private sector but his leaving in the middle of the replumbing of the County is a loss and Sola has been been very able on past assignments but this current gig is significantly larger than anything else he has taken on at the county. And for more go to www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article7930827.html
GOV SCOTT: NEW EFI HEAD BILL JOHNSON WILL HELP FLORIDA BECOME >>>> GLOBAL LEADER FOR JOBS TALLAHASSEE,
>>> Press release: Governor Rick Scott released the following statement on Bill Johnson becoming the new Executive Director of Enterprise Florida. Governor Scott said, “I am thrilled that the Enterprise Florida Board has voted for Bill Johnson to become the new Executive Director. For over thirty years, he has worked with local, state and federal officials to get projects done in Florida to benefit our families – and I know he will continue to work with elected leaders at all levels of government to bring more opportunities to Florida and ensure we continue to win job creation projects. “Bill did a stellar job running PortMiami – one of the nation’s top container cargo posts and the busiest cruise port in the world- and has overseen the massive Deep Dredge project which will generate around 30,000 jobs in our state. His vision to expand and grow PortMiami will allow Florida to take advantage of increased trade opportunities with global markets and enable our state to grow as the leading hub for trade and logistics. Bill has a clear record of creating opportunities in our state and is laser-focused on our goal to make Florida the global destination for jobs. I am confident he will help us on our mission to beat Texas to become the number one state for job creation.”
>>> STATEMENT FROM MIAMI-DADE COUNTY MAYOR CARLOS A. GIMENEZ ON Johnson leaving
Press release: “Governor Scott and the Enterprise Florida Board made a great choice hiring Bill Johnson as CEO. Bill has been a public servant in Miami-Dade County for nearly 35 years. He has led key departments in the fourth-largest municipal government in the country which included times as director of PortMiami during the approval and construction process of the PortMiami tunnel, and most recently leading the Water and Sewer Department. “Although Bill’s departure is a loss for Miami-Dade County, it is a win for Florida. Congratulations to Bill. We look forward to working with him and Enterprise Florida. “Bill will be replaced by the current director of the Internal Services Department, Lester Sola. I have great confidence in Lester’s ability to lead the Water and Sewer Department as it begins the largest public infrastructure system modernization in County history.”
>>>And to see Mayor Carlos Gimenez discuss the issue of Johnson leaving go www.to/wpbt2.typepad.com/issues/ though the show is yet on the web page.
>>> Ethics Commission press releases: A complaint (C 14-54) filed against Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez, the Board of County Commissioners and Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez for refusing to adapt a finance system was dismissed as Not Legally Sufficient. Friedrich Siegel represents ELPAS-USA Foundation, which he claims is an innovative monetary, financial, economic and governance system that can solve important social problems such as poverty, unemployment and crime. Since the officials are under no duty to implement the system the complainant invented, the complaint was dismissed.
>>>> The Ethics Commission found No Probable Cause to a complaint (C 14-38) against former State Rep. Eddy Gonzalez for violating the Mandatory Fair Campaign Practices Ordinance when he ran for Property Appraiser that was filed by the candidate who won the election last fall. Pedro Garcia alleged that the Gonzalez campaign lied in political ads which stated that, in his first term as Property Appraiser, Garcia paid a $400,000 salary to a no-show employee. The investigation found the ads were misleading, but did not expose Garcia to hatred, contempt or ridicule or injure him in his business or occupation, as required for there to be a violation of the ordinance. The COE will, however, issue a Letter of Instruction to Gonzalez, advising him to avoid similar misleading political advertising if he should run for office again.
>>> The COE found No Probable Cause that two supervisors in Miami-Dade’s Public Works and Waste Management Department retaliated against an employee. Sanitation truck driver Rolando Valdes had reported to the Office of the Inspector General that many waste trucks were operating at capacities over a safe weight load. Valdes filed a complaint (C 14-52) alleging that his performance evaluation and merit increase were withheld due to his “whistle blower” status. However, an investigation found that an earlier leave of absence caused Valdes’ rating period to change. Once the situation was brought to the attention of his supervisors, Valdes immediately received his evaluation and recommendation for a merit raise.
GMCVB Press release: RECORD ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICE JOBS IN GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES REPORTED FOR DECEMBER 2014 MARKING 60 MONTHS (5 YEARS) OF CONSECUTIVE JOB INCREASES
Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service jobs increased +3.1% in December 2014 compared to the same period in 2013. This marks 60 months (5 years) of consecutive increased employment in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service Industry.
Record Greater Miami Accommodations and Food Service Jobs
|December 2014||December 2013||% Change|
>>>> Press release: POINT-IN-TIME HOMELESS CENSUS TAKES PLACE TONIGHT, Number of Homeless on the street has dropped from around 9,000 in 1993, to some 850 at last Census
The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust is conducting its annual Point-in-Time Homeless Census with crucial counts taking place on January 22. All individuals and members of families who are homeless but currently sheltered, as well as all individuals sleeping on the streets, will be counted as part of the bi-annual “point-in-time” count coordinated by the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. While the Homeless Trust has been conducting these counts bi-annually for more than a dozen years, all communities across the country are required by US Housing and Urban Development (USHUD) to count their homeless on one day during the last ten days of January. In addition, the Homeless Trust, in partnership with the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, is engaging in a weeklong census of unaccompanied, homeless youth ages 13-24, dubbed the “iCount,” The public has an important role to play in census efforts. Any person who knows of an unaccompanied homeless person 13-24 should encourage the youth to call 2-1-1 or visit www.icountmiami.com between January 22 – 28 where they can conduct an anonymous survey about their circumstances. These “Point-In-Time” counts are designed to assist USHUD and The Homeless Trust in achieving their goal of ending homelessness. “Miami-Dade’s homeless census operates like a well-oiled machine,” said the Chair of the Miami Dade County Homeless Trust, Ronald L. Book. “Outreach workers, providers and volunteers literally comb every single street by foot and by vehicle to find those who need our help. It’s a tedious and long process, but it is necessary to ensure we understand the trends and needs of the homeless in our community.” The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust is the lead coordinating and funding agency for all efforts. The iCount youth census is done in partnership with the Miami Coalition for the Homeless, and includes the support of Miami-Dade County Public Schools, Pridelines, LGBTQ Alliance, Educate Tomorrow, Lotus House, University of Miami School of Education & Human Development and Switchboard of Miami. When: Teams are leaving at 10 pm, Thursday, January 22 and return early in the morning of Friday, January 23. The youth census continues from January 22 – 28.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOL
>>> District’s community firewall Audit and Budget Committee does its job behind the scenes will little fanfare, but is time consuming commitment for professional body of Dade residents
The Citizen staffed Miami-Dade Public Schools Audit and Budget Advisory Committee is meeting in the coming weeks and the board is the community firewall overlooking how the billions of your tax dollars are being spent and is one of the best functioning boards in the County and over the past 16 years the Watchdog Report has rarely missed one of the meetings unless I was in the hospital and to get a sense of what this ten member board is reviewing ever six months or so go to the agenda on behalf of Mr. José F. Montes de Oca, Chief Auditor. Please find below the link to access the Agenda for the Audit and Budget Advisory Committee meeting of January 27, 201 5. Embedded in the Agenda are the links to access the individual items and reports. If you plan to attend this meeting, please review the Agenda, and print any reports that apply to your office, as hard copies of reports will no longer be available for distribution.
>>> Press release: The School Board unanimously approved two items proposed by Board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman at its regular meeting this week. The items endorse the addition of schools to the Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program and March 2015 as Arts in Our Schools’ Month.
“The District’s goal is to provide SRTS improvements for all public schools. Since 2007, the School Board has endorsed and submitted 91 SRTS applications and funds totaling over $13.5 million have been awarded for necessary infrastructure improvements,” said Ms. Hantman. “Additionally, every March, the many benefits and contributions of arts education and the arts are recognized in schools and municipalities across the country.”
The Board voted to: Endorse additional schools for submittal under the Safe Routes to School infrastructure grant program sponsored by the U.S. Department of Transportation. Designate March 2015 as “Arts In Our Schools” Month.
PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST
South Dade residents get new helipad at Jackson South Community Hospital to get patients to Ryder Trauma sooner
The opening of a new helipad at Jackson South Community hospital is expanding the access people in South Dade will have to world-class Trauma Care since patients will be able to be airlifted to Ryder Trauma Center a world class Level II Trauma Center and a community jewel and this new airlift capability will be beneficial to all county residents in distress and is part of a $100 million upgrade ( using GOB bond money) of the facility that has made the hospital a competitive state of the art community hospital.
CITY OF HIALEAH
>>> Ethics Commission press release: Hialeah mayor faces complaint for lying
The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) today found Probable Cause to a complaint (C 14-36) accusing Hialeah Mayor Carlos Hernandez of making false statements to the public about income he earned from a private loan. In one of the first cases prosecuted by the Ethics Commission since it was given punitive powers to enforce the Citizen’s Bill of Rights in 2012, investigators compared statements Hernandez made at press conferences in both English and Spanish in October 2011 with testimony he gave during the federal tax evasion trial of former Mayor Julio Robaina last year. At the press briefings, then-Interim Mayor Hernandez disputed reports that he failed to report tens of thousands of dollars in interest on his Source of Income Statements for 2007, 2008, and 2009 when he was a Hialeah Councilman. Instead, he stated that he invested money with convicted Ponzi schemer Luis Felipe Perez, but didn’t recover his investments and had no earnings. However, under oath during the Robaina trial on April 14, 2014, Mayor Hernandez testified that he did receive monthly interest payments totaling approximately $100,000 over the three years, contradicting his public statements. The false account violates the portion of the County Charter entitled Truth in Government which states, in part, “No County or municipal official… shall knowingly furnish false information on any public matter, nor knowingly omit significant facts when giving requested information to members of the public.” The case will proceed to a public hearing before the Ethics Commission.
CITY OF MIAMI
>>> Police Chief Oroso has left the building and top and top state and federal law enforcement agencies attended the going away luncheon.
Miami Police Chief Manny Oroso has left the building Friday and at the obligatory going away luncheon at City Hall on the Mayor’s outdoor balcony some high powered law enforcement officials attended the event including U.S. Atty. Wilfredo Ferrer and state Atty. Katherine Fernandez-Rundle and both people have had issues with the outgoing Chief and the department is under a federal decree after a rash of police shooting currently under investigation.
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
>>> County Mayor Gimenez and financial staff huddle at tony restaurant, “just a general discussion,” says his staff
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez held a power lunch with Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and Manager Jimmy Morales at the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab last week on the Beach and it included some of the county’s top financial people (ED Marquez and Jennifer Moon) and the Watchdog Report contacted Michael Hernandez the mayor’s press person asking what was discussed at the get together and he responded back by email that, “ Mayor Gimenez and Mayor Levine meet monthly to discuss issues that affect both Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach. They usually invite one or more of their top deputies to participate. Mayor Gimenez and Mayor Levine meet monthly to discuss issues that affect both Miami-Dade County and the City of Miami Beach. They usually invite one or more of their top deputies to participate. The discussion did not involve sales tax revenue. It was a general discussion, wrote back Hernandez.
CITY OF BAY HARBOUR ISLANDS
>>> Ethics Commission settles complaint with Mayor Yaffe
Ethics Com. Press release: The COE today approved a settlement to a complaint (C 14-53) against the Mayor of Bay Harbor Islands for violating a provision that prohibits officials from being compensated by a third party seeking a benefit from the official’s government. Mayor Robert Yaffe served as attorney for 9300 Condominium Association in a real estate transaction involving the transfer of property from the town. According to the Miami-Dade Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance, a municipal official should not be involved in any transaction with his or her city that benefits a private client. Mayor Yaffe agreed not to contest the allegation, pay investigative costs and accept a Letter of Instruction from the Ethics Commission.
>>>> 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or 786-708-4
To view this message online, visit http://www.miami.edu/communications/evites/des/steinem/index.html
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 www.theblackarchives.org.
|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 http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/ and the Lotus House Gala will be Oct. 25th for more information go to http://lotushouse.org/|
good in the long run for the city is too large now to have unqualified neophyte running the city and voters should be asked to codify that certain jobs have qualifications, other than the person might be tight with the mayor like Arriola, Who Mayor Manny Diaz never even mentions in his book on the city and shows there was some friction.
>>> Miami-Dade Ethics Commission proposes “Honor Code” for County employees but would it make a difference, or open up people to blackmail?
The Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust Commission’s idea of having a County “honor Code” has merit but the question also is will anyone follow it except for a few select people and since all county employees have gone through Ethics training would such an honor code be respected since even now if someone does not report wrong doing they are complacent and contaminated themselves and would an honor Code just come back and open more employees up for intimidation or blackmail if they had not reported a violation and the Honor Code while a good idea is a double edged sword that might work in a County where many municipal attorney’s work for just three votes on the dais, versus what is good for taxpayers something the Watchdog Report was told years ago but by a municipal attorney and that comment appears to be a pretty fair representation of many people’s attitudes and can be seen by how people resist the Public Records Laws. And here is what the County’s Ethics Commission is proposing on the matter.”Mr. [Joe] Centorino also presented the implementing order to establish an Honor Code for Miami-Dade County employees and politicians. The proposed Honor Code, which was approved by the Ethics Commission last year, requires county staff and elected officials – among other things — to protect the public interest above any personal or institutional interest and loyalty and report gross ethical misconduct within the government. The Honor Code and Implementing Order will be submitted to the Board of County Commissioners for approval,” states the Ethics commission press release on the matter and its Director’s comments on the legislation.
>>> Hi, Dan, and I hope all goes well for you in the New Year. Firstly, thanks for your continuing work with the Watchdog Report.
I’m writing to clarify a small point in your recent article of 1/9 re Marc Sarnoff and the Home Depot campaign. (I’m a director of the Grove First group that organized that campaign and I am the person that developed the Grove First strategy.)
Our strategic objective was to stop the construction hard not of a large-scale big box store and retain a grocery/food market in the neighborhood. Our approach was to constrain the tenant (Home Depot) to operate within the then-existing zoning laws without variance. Ultimately Home Depot agreed to all conditions.
Since then, and generally speaking, Home Depot has operated within the agreed constraints. The impact of the operation on the nearby community has been minimal and some would argue beneficial. Milam’s food market was able to remain, renovate and expand.
The members of Grove First would therefore consider the “Home Depot” campaign a success and we are grateful for the support of the many people–Marc Sarnoff central among them—that made it possible. (Len Scinto, a Grove First director, is copied.)
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