Archive for November 2015


Watchdog Report Vol. 16 No. 31 November 29, 2015 – EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Thanksgiving Holiday Issue – Celebrating 16 Years of Weekly publishing


Argus Report: “Hope is where the heart is,” at Camillus House, order of the Good Shepard’s facing refugee “crisis,” number of yearly meals provided in 2009 was 440,000 that number of hot meals spikes to 547,000 in 2015 and homeless funding is tight while demand surges, given Cuban refugee exodus

FLORIDA: Slow going when it comes to Legislative redistricting, with March 15 primary looming, will it ever get settled under new Florida Fair District amendment?

Miami-Dade County: With billions in GOB bonds is collusion seeping into the bidding process since only so many local companies can do the work, but is it stopping other firms from bidding, some of that occurred during old school board bonds back in the 1990s?


Public Health Trust: : Past WDR: IF all County employees used new Jackson First Select health plan it could save Miami-Dade some $77 million, says PHT CEO Migoya at county commission committee meeting and JHS plans new clinic in north West Dade

City of Miami: A Japanese harpist and bamboo flautist set the upbeat, and family themed swearing in tone of new Dist. 2 Commissioner Ken Russell, Miami has sister city relationship with Kagoshima and its famous volcano Sakurajima and interns from the city will be visiting Miami Monday, said Mayor Regalado last week

City of Miami Beach: It’s ShowTime with Art Basel opening Dec. 3 through Dec. 6, Miami’s cultural life gets major economic boost as hundreds of thousands of art lovers flock to Miami Beach

City of Opa-Locka: The Great City of Opa-Locka, who Mayor Taylor represents is in financial turmoil again with the firing of Mgr. Shiver and budget assistant manager, Moorish themed community likely to get state oversight board second time in over a decade, and Taylor amps up situation with disturbing racial overtones in predominately black city with a struggling tax base and why economic development of Opa-Locka general aviation airport so critical, being pushed by County Commissioner Jordan

Community Events: Major new show at The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse — Other community events- Badia Spices teams up with Dan Moreno Foundation to fight autism – And it’s that time of year Mango Strut upcoming meetings

Editorial: Miami Commissioner Russell shows truth, trust and candor can prevail over obscene amount of money challenger raised and later dropped out, leaving many contributors to the $1 million campaign war chest steaming

Letters: Reader on glad to see Sarnoff go – Pet trust founder on past WDR –

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.

Knight Foundation

>>> 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 for 16 years now, has reported back weekly on how your billions of public dollars in local government are being spent. And how to help support me and this service is at the end of the WDR, and I hope you will consider keeping an independent news service out in our community, where what is going on with all our government entities is of critical benefit for both the public institutions but voters as well. Thank You. And to my Supporters I pledge to keep ‘going when you cannot.’ And in the past I have broken the story on Cuban refugees coming in droves and also the fruit fly quarantine and its huge economic impact to name just a few of the more recent stories in past WDR’s.

>>> CORRECTION: “Chris Korge’s business partner is Barry Goldmeir not Brian,” as I reported, wrote back Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez last week correcting a past story I did on Korge last week. And his son Andrew did not work in the White House. I apologize for the error.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the street

>>> “Hope is where the heart is,” at Camillus House, order of the Little Brothers of The Good Shephard but Miami is facing a homeless refugee “crisis, “says Mayor Regalado, number of meals provided by Camillus in 2009 was 440,000 that number of hot meals spikes to 547,000 in 2015 and homeless funding is tight while demand surges, homeless trust beverage tax revenues drop four percent last month.

“Hope is where the heart is,” the motto of Camillus House and the ground breaking order of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepard is celebrating its 55th year of helping the homeless since opening in 1960. And providing Miami homeless people with a continuum of care and Camillus Health provides a host of medical services and a clinic was built using a contribution from Baptist Health South Florida a few years ago. And Camillus House was a supporter of the Watchdog Report in the early days and for that I am forever grateful. And for more on some of the services Camillus provides go to

And Camillus along with The Chapman Partnership, Inc. and The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust that funds a host of other providers including Camillus that finally moved from the old previous downtown location to the New Norwegian Cruise Lines building near Jackson Health System.

Further, back in 2010 Camillus served 440,000 hot meals but this year that number has swelled to 547,000 and the number of homeless ranks is swelling after the rumor that the Cuban Adjustment Act might be repealed and has thousands of Cuban refugees trekking through South America and was called a “looming crisis,” months ago at a Trust board meeting, by Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and reported in a past Watchdog Report at the time. And the situation has only gotten worse and these people’s plights are dominating some of the media while these people seek the freedom of America. And through all these past efforts since around 1993 the number of Miami homeless has dropped from some 9,000 homeless, where in one shanty town there was even a mayor, that number has dropped to under 1,000 and the homeless trust is using a strike force approach for the chronic homeless and the goal is to end homelessness in Miami by 2017. But has been an elusive goal but these organizations are doing their best in the face of this newest challenge that is stretching resources thin.

PAST WDR: Nov.28, 2010 >>> Camillus House turns 50; Hope is where the heart is, served 440,000 hot meals in 2009

Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado (Net worth $5,000), Commissioner Francis Suarez, and newly minted county public schools board member Raquel Regalado spoke and participated in the annual Camillus House Thanksgiving Holiday feeding celebration Thursday morning that showed the wide variety of faces of the hungry and homeless here in Miami and our nation. Camillus is celebrating a 50thAnniversary after its founding in 1960 and it has expanded over the decades, including more effective clinical involvement in the well-being of many of the needy. Over 200 volunteers came together cooking and serving almost 100 turkeys originally cooked at the Hyatt Regency Hotel downtown, and carved up by Carnival Cruise Lines volunteers earlier and another 300 lbs. of turkey was sent to Radio Paz, to be given out to the needy people gathered at the Spanish radio station and thousands of residents will be fed.  Ocean Bank has been the sponsor of the Brothers of the Good Shepard Camillus House Jubilee Thanksgiving celebration states a press handout. The organization serves more than 1,200 meals a day, and in total “is providing more than 440,000 free hot meals in 2009.” >>> For more information go to

The Watchdog Report last week ran a past story on Camillus House and the organization’s board chair Bob Dickinson sent me the following e-mail. “Thanks for the publicity on Camillus House. Since last year’s article, we have raised $30 million in pledges (vs. $23 million last year) toward our capital campaign and the CRA has pledged $10 million, but now the issue is convincing banks to lend us $17.6 million for 4 years.  The banks seemed unconvinced that the CRA will fulfill their obligation — which represents $8 million of the payback  We have been shovel ready for 6 months, with 300 primarily-neighborhood-sourced construction jobs on hold, waiting for the banks…,” wrote former Carnival Cruise President Dickinson.

>>>And On Thanksgiving Day, a broad variety of organizations volunteers feed their local homeless or people in need population be it through their church or religious organization or just with a small group of other people trying to make the day a little better for these people.  The Watchdog Report gives all these people a Tip of the Hat for your charity and giving of your time to help the less fortunate.

>>>> Florida Highway Patrol cracking down on ‘lane divers,’ who cut through yellow polls on 1 95, causing some terrible accidents, even though $179 fine and 3 points on driver’s license, but with some 300,000 south Florida drivers not having insurance or valid licenses, will the enforcement make a difference, lanes take a high toll when it comes to injuries?

The Florida Highway Patrol is starting a major campaign called ‘Drive Safe 95 Express,’ states a Sun sentinel article, people that cut through the plastic cones into the Lexus lane called ‘lane divers’ and is taking a significant toll in accidents and injuries on these express lanes that are expanding throughout Florida since that is the only type of highways Gov. Rick Scott is supporting say local transportation mavens like Maurice Ferre at a past MPO meeting. And the Watchdog Report caught up with Florida Highway Patrol spokesman Joe Sanchez, a former Miami commissioner Thursday and asked him about the new program

And he said drivers in the express lanes were complaining about the lane divers and the highway patrol is stepping up enforcement and a public service campaign warning drivers not to cut through the yellow lane dividing polls and having an accident and there are some 7,000 poles on a mile stretch up to the Golden Glades interchange intersection and are run over to the tune of 500 poles replaced per week costing to replace some $1 million a year and because the lanes are slimmer is difficult for state troopers to safely ticket these intruders with the imposed $179. Fine but more important are the 3 points on your driver’s license resulting in higher insurance costs, if in fact they have it as required but in Miami-Dade. Where an estimated 300,0000 people don’t have valid Florida drivers licenses or car insurance leaving many accident victims in the fiscal lurch when it comes to potential medical bills caused by these wayward, impatient and irresponsible drivers who feel their time is more important than being a safe driver. And while an education campaign is fine in the Wild West traffic of South Florida it is unknown how well the clamp down will be complied with while accidents will ultimately continue the Watchdog Report predicts. And the enforcement campaign will continue to June. But this has been an ongoing problem since the lanes were created and troopers can only ticket offenders if it is safe for them as well as cars zip by in the generally less congested lane that through Sun Pass charges a premium price to be on the exclusive lanes, and seems to give drivers a sense of entitlement and when the other lanes are backed up is when drivers drive over the polls to get into the less congested lanes but this lane diving has remained a persistent problem over the years since the program was instituted to enhance traffic flow and the tolls help to pay for road maintenance and other areas.

>>> Will movie ‘Spotlight’ draw future reporters into investigative journalism, powerful tale of Boston Globe’s expose of Catholic Priests abusing young parishioners, highly controversial in highly Catholic Boston and Massachusetts?

‘Spotlight,’ the soon to be awarded movie dealing with the importance of investigative reporting, done by The Boston Globe’s, spotlight investigative team details the painstaking work done at the paper exposing sexual abuse of Catholic Priests. Regardless of how controversial the story might be in Boston and former The Miami Herald executive editor Marty Baron. A man of few words was the investigational electrolyte when he kept pushing the team of investigative reporters for more sources, (that suggested only 19 priests were involved) but the topic under secret investigation was a community land mine field.

Since it involved some 90 Roman Catholic priests who abused young boys and had many of these children having disturbed lives and many with addictions or later committed suicide. But Church leadership looked the other way and the priests were sent to other Parishes but the tenacious team of reporters brought all the threads of the story together in a mesmerizing way in the movie and should inspire young investigative journalists in the future of the importance of these long and sometimes tedious stories that in this case won the Globe a Pulitzer Prize for investigative work. And the Watchdog Report was honored to be invited to an early screening of the movie that featured the reporters in a panel discussing after the movie and the story and one could hear laughs from a number of current or former Miami Herald reporters that had worked with Baron (a man of few words) when he was the executive editor of the Miami daily and he once did a brutal critique of an early Watchdog Report back then after Alberto Ibargüen the Herald’s publisher emailed one of my reports to him and Ibargüen is now the CEO of the James S and John L. Knight Foundation and the foundation hosted the special event at the O Cinema in Wynwood and it was a packed house. And for the Herald review on the movie go to

>>> Press release FastTrain Owner and Admissions Representative Convicted of Federal Student Aid Scheme

Following a 23-day trial before United States District Court Judge Joan A. Lenard, a jury convictedAlejandro Amor, the owner of a Florida for-profit college called FastTrain, of one count of conspiracy to steal government money and twelve substantive counts of theft of government money.  FastTrain admissions representative Anthony Mincey was also convicted of conspiracy to steal government money. Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Yessyka Santana, Special Agent in Charge, Department of Education, Office of Inspector General (ED-OIG) and George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, made the announcement. According to evidence presented at trial, starting in 2010, FastTrain admissions representatives, acting at the direction of Alejandro Amor, began recruiting potential students in low income neighborhoods in Miami-Dade, Broward, Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Duval Counties, where Fast Train’s seven campuses were located.  When admissions representatives encountered potential students who were ineligible for federal student aid because they had not graduated from high school or earned a GED, the admissions representatives enrolled the potential students anyway, and coached them to lie on their applications to the United States Department of Education for federal student aid, including federal Pell Grants and Direct Loans.  Often, FastTrain admissions representatives falsely promised the students they could earn their high school diplomas or GEDs at FastTrain and in some cases, FastTrain admissions representatives actually created fictitious high school diplomas on FastTrain computers.  Six student witnesses identified Anthony Mince as the admissions representative who had coached them to lie about their eligibility. Once the applications for federal student aid had been processed, millions of dollars in Pell Grants and Direct Loans were disbursed to FastTrain bank accounts controlled by Alejandro Amor and his wife.  Alejandro Amor used those funds to make payments on, among other things, his waterfront home, airplane, car, and yacht.

According to the testimony and evidence introduced at trial, Alejandro Amor routinely falsified student records, emails, policy memoranda, and reports of internal investigations to hide the actions of his admissions representatives and retain federal student aid on behalf of the ineligible students enrolled at FastTrain.  In one instance, Alejandro Amor created a fictitious disciplinary record for an admissions representative who had been caught coaching students to lie about their eligibility, before sending that admissions representative back out onto the streets to continue recruiting.Alejandro Amor is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lenard on February 3, 2016, at 3:00 p.m.  Anthony Mincey is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge Lenard on February 3, 2016, at 3:30 p.m. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of ED-OIG and the FBI.  The case is being prosecuted by Assistant United States Attorneys Amanda Perwin and Vanessa Snyder. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at or on

>>> ID theft the new ‘crack cocaine’ for thieves why sell drugs when you can steal identities with a key stroke, Classic Miami Moment when federal Judge Seitz says “only in Miami is stopping at a red light and paying all your taxes an aspirational act.”

U.S. Attorney General of the Southern District of Florida Wilfredo Ferrer is calling Identity Theft the ‘crack cocaine’ for criminals and his office is being inundated with cases and the Watchdog Report was first alerted to this looming problem back around 2009 when State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle brought the crime to my attention and Miami has become ground zero for people looting social security and Medicare fraud and stealing peoples IRS refund checks and some of the choice ways of getting this confidential information is having essentially Tupperware parties where people in large medical practice offices get paid some $500.00 to a $1,000. Per file and given the rate of return with this information it is a small rice for thieves to pay and jail time as in Medicare fraud here in Miami and identity theft is increasing and one of the most high profile case was the Carlos and Jorge de Céspedes  nine year sentence for Medicare and income tax fraud. And when the men’s defense attorney argued they should get a reduced sentence. Since they did pay some of the taxes and in a classic Miami Moment. U.S. District Court Judge Patricia Seitz stopped the attorney and then delivered the classic line just stop there, “Only in Miami is stopping at a red light or paying all your taxes an aspirational act,” the judge intoned and she had allowed Miami Herald award winning reporter John Dorschner and I to sit in the jury box in the packed courtroom so we could hear the proceedings better.

And one prominent Miamian who had written a letter asking for leniency when I said he and I were different. He wanted to know what I meant? And I said I would not have written the letter. And he responded “they gave a lot of money to the community,” and I shot back “It was not their money.” And the brothers were Pedro Pans who founded the pharmaceutical company Pharmed but much of the growth was based on Medicare fraud federal investigators found. But the community’s permissive acceptance of fraud and corruption is sometimes unbelievable and in the case of the brother’s. They hired County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz and when Pharmed lost the Jackson Health System contract worth millions, the company started to unravel and for more go to:

>>> History Miami on Jun. 26 to Jan.17 2016 features a major and moving Operation Pedro Pan exhibit, and includes comments from U.S. Sen. Martinez, Miami Mayor Regalado, to Codina, one of the many boys sent to freedom leaving their parents back in Cuba, unknown if parents were to be seen again and has changed the fabric of Miami since the 1960 airlift, and the exodus of 14,000 Cuban children

And the History Miami Museum is celebrating its 75th anniversary and an upcoming moving display of Operation Pedro Pan is being chronicled and includes interviews of the 14,000 children sent from Cuba to Miami. After Fidel Castro took over and it is a moving exhibit after the Watchdog Report saw the promotional piece on the exhibit including comments from former U.S. Sen. Mel Martinez, R-Fla, Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and a host of other children who said good bye to their parents in the Havana airport’s “fish bowl,” not knowing if they would ever be seen again or would join them in Miami. Where many were welcomed by members of their extended families and for more go to and for more on the Pedro Pan airlift, exodus by the Catholic Charities go to

>>> Dan Marino Foundation teams up with Badia Spices to help support children with autism, something appearing across all ethnic groups kids

>>> Webpage info: Badia Spices invites consumers to join their efforts in support of children and young adults living with autism. From now through December 31st, 2015, when you purchase a bottle of Badia (1 LT) Extra Virgin Olive Oil anywhere in the world where Badia Spices are sold, Badia Spices will donate 5% of the proceeds from that sale to The Dan Marino Foundation. Badia Spices believes that being a member of a community means giving back through charitable and community investment. As such, the company supports a variety of charitable and educational organizations. Through the course of the past ten years, Badia Spices and the Badia Family have contributed millions in financial contributions and in-kind donations to a variety of local and national institutions. The family’s efforts on a broad sense have focused on education, healthcare, women’s issues, youth sports, and underserved communities. For more than 23 years, The Dan Marino Foundation has been serving the autism community through unique, impactful initiatives, like Marino Campus – a post-secondary educational opportunity for young adults with developmental disabilities, ages 18-28. The Campus, which opened in 2014, was the logical next step in furthering the Foundation’s mission of “empowering individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities.” Badia Extra Virgin Olive Oil has a rich nutty flavor with delicate notes of fruitiness. The Olive Oil is made from the first cold press of Manzanilla, Arbequina, and Lechin and Picual olives. Aside from all the attributed health benefits of olive oil, it is bottled with the promise of full aroma, freshness, rich flavor. “Badia Spices is looking forward to once again partnering with The Dan Marino Foundation,” said Joseph “Pepe” Badia, President of Badia Spices. “This partnership enables us to support the Foundation and Marino Campus, in providing state of the art programing and services for children, teens and young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities on their path to independence.” Over the last three years with the support of its customers through the “Go the Extra Yard for Those with Autism Campaign”. Badia Spices has raised more than $300,000 for The Dan Marino Foundation and the Marino Campus programs for young adults with autism and other developmental disabilities. “We are continually grateful for the friendship and support of Pepé Badia. It is a privilege for all of us at the Foundation to be a part of the Badia Spices family, stated Dan Marino, Chairman of The Dan Marino Foundation. I hope Badia Spices and their customers realize the significant impact they have in changing the lives of the young people we serve.” ABOUT BADIA SPICES: Established in 1967 by Jose Badia, Badia Spices is the world’s leading privately Hispanic-owned spice manufacturer with 2012 sales totaling over $100 million. Badia Spices has brought to market the finest ingredients from all corners of the world, making it a favorite among all types of cooks. More than 350 different products are prepared, packaged and shipped to 70 countries and the entire United States. In addition Badia Spices is committed to offering their consumers the highest quality. Badia Spices has added an Organic and Gluten-Free line, and is proud to have its products certified by Safe Quality Foods, an audit recognized around the world as being one of the most rigorous and credible food safety management systems in the marketplace today. For more information, visit the company’s website


>>>> Slow going when it comes to Legislative redistricting, with March 15 primary looming, will it ever get settled under new Florida Fair District amendment?

With the redistricting dead line approaching a host of accusations of behind the scenes deals are boiling over in the Florida legislature and with primaries fast approaching March 15, 2016.But the continued deadlock continues and the legislators are getting nasty regarding some of the new district maps and for more on the every decade process in Tallahassee go to:


>>> With billions in GOB bonds is collusion seeping into the bidding process since only so many local companies can do the work, but is it stopping other firms from bidding, some of that occurred during old school board bonds back in the 1990s?

Companies doing business with Miami-Dade County had better not be in collusion, with each other something that was extensively seen in the 1990s at Miami-Dade County Public Schools where awarding of bids significantly more than initially bid and here select companies were awarded bids to build schools but would then submit 100s of change orders because they low balled bids which required political approval but resulted in a number of schools costing way more and resulted in a Miami Herald series detailing some of these irregularities and veteran reporter Tom Dubocq wrote the series at the time. And to see the extent of the problem over the years go to

And the Watchdog Report writes about this issue because there a number of GOP bonds out there, one at the public schools valued at $1.2 billion, Jackson Health System has a $830 million bond and the water and sewer infrastructure contracts estimated at about $5 billion to $20 billion to replace the county’s defective pipes enough of it to stretch to China. Further one Gimenez confident Rafael Garcia-Toledo. If all goes well is estimated to make some$ 6 million in engineering fees and to read about that go to

What about all the GOB bonds at Jackson, Miami-Dade and now the public schools district?

And the limited number of local companies capable of doing some of these large scale projects like the billions anticipated to be spent on upgrading the county’s water and sewer pipes and part of a federal decree the County mad with federal authorities and all these activities are bringing many of the same companies in the County’s bidding process where best price can be a determining factor but the scope of work might be different in reality and then pesky change orders emerge nd the cost of projects only escalates and the ultimate settlement usually involves the approvals of these change orders and that is the problem if some competing vendors get some of the business and others are excluded and was prevalent in some past bond deals and work that ultimately got contracted. And at Jackson administrators need to be vigilant in this regard and potential bid rigging since now there is an inspector general something not present in the 1990s.


 January – October 2015
Record Average Daily Room Rate (ADR)
January – October 2015 January – October 2014 % Change vs. 2014
$192.64 $180.93 +6.5%
Record Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
January – October 2015 January – October 2014 % Change vs. 2014
$150.64 $141.48 +6.5%
Average Daily Occupancy
January – October 2015 January – October 2014 % Change vs. 2014
78.2% 78.2% 0.0%
Monthly Room Supply
January – October 2015 January – October 2014 % Change vs. 2014
15,385,028 14,835,830 +3.7%
Average Daily Sold
January – October 2015 January – October 2014 % Change vs. 2014
12,031,056 11,600,720 +3.7%



Press release: Miami-Dade County Public Schools (M-DCPS) once again is being honored by the College Board with placement on the 6th Annual AP® District Honor Roll for increasing access to Advanced Placement (AP) course work while simultaneously maintaining or increasing the percentage of students earning scores of 3 or higher on AP Exams. Reaching these goals indicates that a district is successfully identifying motivated, academically prepared students who are ready for the opportunity of AP. To be included on the 6th Annual Honor Roll, M-DCPS had to, since 2013, increase the number of students participating in AP while also increasing or maintaining the number of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher.

“This national recognition of Miami-Dade County Public Schools is a testament to the collective work and dedication of teachers, students, parents, and employees as well as the effective engagement of our community and business partners,” said Superintendent of Schools Alberto M. Carvalho. “As a school district, we will continue to expand access to Advanced Placement courses so that our students graduate with the academic skills, knowledge, and preparation to ensure their success in college.”  Today’s honor re-emphasizes M-DCPS’s commitment to advanced academics: In 2014, the district was named the College Board Advanced Placement Equity and Excellence District of the Year for being the nation’s number one leader, among large school districts, in expanding access to Advanced Placement Program (AP) courses and improving AP Exam performance. National data from 2015 show that among black/African American, Hispanic, and Native American students with a high degree of readiness for AP, only about half of students are participating. The first step to delivering the opportunity of AP to students is providing access by ensuring courses are available, that gatekeeping stops, and that the doors are equitably opened so these students can participate. Miami-Dade County Public Schools is committed to expanding the availability of AP courses among prepared and motivated students of all backgrounds.

“That the committed teachers and administrators in this district have both expanded AP access and also helped their students achieve high levels of performance on AP Exams shows they’re delivering opportunity in their schools and classrooms, and it is a real testament to their belief that a more diverse population of young people is ready for the challenge of college,” said Trevor Packer, the College Board’s senior vice president of AP and Instruction. “Congratulations to these teachers and administrators, and to their hard-working students.” Helping more students learn at a higher level and earn higher AP scores is an objective of all members of the AP community, from AP teachers to district and school administrators to college professors. Many districts are experimenting with a variety of initiatives and strategies to determine how to simultaneously expand access and improve student performance.

In 2015, more than 3,800 colleges and universities around the world received AP scores for college credit, advanced placement, and/or consideration in the admission process, with many colleges and universities in the United States offering credit in one or more subjects for qualifying AP scores. Inclusion on the 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll is based on the examination of three years of AP data, from 2013 to 2015, looking across 34 AP Exams, including world language and culture. The following criteria were used. Districts must: Increase participation/access to AP by at least 4 percent in large districts, at least 6 percent in medium districts, and at least 11 percent in small districts;

Increase or maintain the percentage of exams taken by black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, and American Indian/Alaska Native students; and

Improve or maintain performance levels when comparing the 2015 percentage of students scoring a 3 or higher to the 2013 percentage, unless the district has already attained a performance level at which more than 70 percent of its AP students are scoring a 3 or higher.

When these outcomes have been achieved among an AP student population in which 30 percent or more are underrepresented minority students (black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, American Indian/Alaska Native) and/or 30 percent or more are low-income students (students who qualify for free or reduced-price lunch), a symbol has been affixed to the district name to highlight this work.

The complete 6th Annual AP District Honor Roll can be found here.


>>>Past WDR: IF all County employees used new Jackson First Select health plan it could save Miami-Dade some $77 million, says PHT CEO Migoya at county commission committee meeting and JHS plans new clinic in South West Dade

Carlos Migoya the president and CEO of Jackson Health System made a presentation to a county commission committee meeting that detailed the savings the county could receive if all county employees enrolled in the Jackson First Select healthcare plan. He noted some $77 million in savings could be achieved if these workers considered “this option,” he predicted to committee commissioners and when asked if the health trust had the “capacity,” to deal with all these new patients by Commissioner Rebeca Sosa. Migoya noted there were “14 outpatient clinics and noted of the 10,000 workers at Jackson some 6 to 20 percent of the employees were participating in the Jackson First program that also features all the physicians at the U Health System and includes a host of hospitals said Migoya and they are offering the select program “as an option,” and many of the County’s unions are buying into the idea and “six of the county’s unions,” have agreed to the plan in their negotiating contracts,, said to be “none starter,” by Vice Mayor Ed Marquez but that situation may change and the negotiations with the other unions is continuing, said Migoya and county administrative staff during the discussion. And for more on his check out next week’s WDR.

>>> PAST WDR: And the Trust is facing a big fiscal torpedo in the coming years with the state legislature not expanding Medicaid as the Affordable Care Act proposes and cutting what is known as Lower Income patients (LIP) funding by some $50 million and will hit Jackson a public hospital particularly hard since it gives some $365 million in charity and uncompensated care. And for more on these LIP cuts go to

Latest Construction Projects
Jackson Construction

Jackson is proud to begin work on major initiatives throughout Miami-Dade County, including pursuing our 100-bed inpatient… [Read More]


>>> A Japanese harpist and bamboo flautist set the upbeat swearing in tone of new Dist. 2 Commissioner Ken Russell, city has sister city relationship with Kagoshima and its famous volcano Sakurajima and interns from the city will be visiting Miami Monday, said Mayor Regalado last week

“Vote for Ken,” said the back window of newly minted Miami District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell’s white Volvo, Friday and voters by almost two-one did vote for the man with a silhouette a pole jumper on the passenger’s side and he was hard a work getting the office organized and the man with a variety of linguistic skills is in the midst of the political molasses one gets when elected but On Friday he was getting the sulfur medicine that goes with the office after his swearing in ceremony, with a Japanese international flair since his mother is Japanese and with one of his little girls Julia was perched on his shoulder in one of the most tasteful and low key inaugural events I have ever seen over the past 16 years and his boyish charm belies the variety of skills he has ranging from kiteboarding to being an accomplished wood woodworker. With a 52” professional; chainsaw he named Big Daddy. And he ran a “grass roots campaign, and it was a “family campaign,” along with extensive family and two very beaming Brazilian daughters who got him ‘number of votes, he joked. The prior yo-yo maven was a long shot who only became activated after the City was not doing a full clean-up of nearby Meri Christmas Park now open and in beautiful condition and is being used by an extensive number of kids and parents and kites are a favorite I have seen in the past.

And Russell during the ceremonies joked how he was going to embarrass his son August by “taking a selfie,” and Russel noted Democracy is alive and well and the “basic tenets of democracy works,” and believed “ the voice of the people was louder than money,” since his rival Teresa Sarnoff had raised over $1 million for her campaign to follow her incumbent commissioner husband in office but her husband Marc had a trust deficit that she could not overcome gaining only 22 percent of the vote and had her dropping out of the election but district 2 is facing a new day

“Yes, I was a FL resident and went to Martin County High School and applied to Chapel Hill in 1991.  Got in mostly on well-rounded extra-curricular and a good SAT,” score wrote Russell and I raised the question because out of state student acceptance is not easy and having been to 40   country’s He will have a good grasp of dealing with a host of different cultures since he speaks both Portuguese and Spanish, English to his daughters Juliana and Julia whom definitely got the man some votes along with the family dog Mochi and the family photo shot in his first campaign piece resonated with many voters and his Brazilian wife is a veterinarian which many animal lovers noted was a positive and for the sports maven it was a “crusade,” to get new leadership and


Commissioner Russell selfie with his son August, who knows after the victory he will “know in life you can absolutely do anything,” even though I “forced my son to do a selfie,” he joked during the ceremony. And to hear his speech go to vb.746769565421366/869208393177482/?type=2&theater

What about the George Nakashima connection?

And Russell is a accomplished wood working artist and when some of his furniture looked similar to me I asked him if he knew the world known Japanese wood worker George Nakashima who was a patient of my fathers and delivered his two children Mira and Kevin and it just shows how small the world is these days. And our home was filled with many of his pieces of furniture And for more on Nakashima go to

Did Russell find anything interesting in the vacated commission office with some spectacular views of the City’s Miami Marina?

Russell told the Watchdog Report Friday that there was one locked closet in the vacated office he opened and inside was a popcorn maker and a large wall plague honoring Ben and Saralynn Sarnoff from the now defunct Miami Heart Institute for the Couples financial contribution to the institute and was a prominent hospital back in 1985 and it was an odd object to leave behind given its expected sentimental value to outgoing commissioner Sarnoff. Since it is honoring the couple for “their concern for the relief of human illness,” and donations to the Miami Heart Institute but there it was.

About Sarnoff’s salaw law firm email account, and will they be subject to public records request?

The Watchdog Report brings up this issue again because the commissioners past records must be preserved and Sarnoff did a lot of public business at that email address. And I noted the Watchdog Report had become aware that the commissioner uses two email accounts when he conducts public business. And I asked his law partner Jay H. Solowsky, if his “server was secure?”   And he said the salaw account was supposed to be used “only for business,” but that is not always the case. And Solowsky said the firm’s server “was as secure,” as one can be in today’s world he noted referencing all the cyber-attacks that have hit the nation.

And at a Miami Exhibition and Sports Authority (MESA) meeting that Solowsky sits on with Commissioner Sarnoff, Willie Gort and is chaired by Mayor Tomas Regalado. A speaker making a presentation noted the people in the room were very “erudite,” and Sarnoff, quipped he must be talking about only “Solowsky,” but it was a snarky comment the others in the room did not deserve. Update: Sarnoff at Thursday’s commission meeting honored Solowsky with a proclamation saying he is one of the “five smartest people he knows,” and he is the number five,” of them and the snarky comments keep coming from the man who is clearly going to miss the life of an elected Miami commissioners and all the perks that come with it, after voters approved a salary bump for them but included commissioner term limits, something his wife is trying to get around with this election maneuver. And Sarnoff is being coy about his future plans still believing he has a political future and will the man be like a phoenix rising from the political wilderness for as Abraham Lincoln said, “You can measures the mettle of man, when he is given power,” and Sarnoff seemed to inhale it and why him being a mediator is almost funny. And for more on his departure and after life go to;


>>> It’s ShowTime with Art Basel opening Dec. 3 through Dec. 6, Miami’s cultural life gets major economic boost as hundreds of thousands of art lovers flock to Miami Beach

And it’s ShowTime Art Basel in its 24th year is coming to Miami and Miami Beach Dec. 3 through Dec. 6th and Basel brings art mavens from around the globe and is a huge boost to the local economy and for hotels on the Beach and it spotlights Miami to the world and for ways to get around including a Uber Boat ferry app and for more on ways to get around the global art spectacle go to:

>>> And newly minted commissioners Aleman, Arriola, and Rosen Gonzalez take to the dais Wednesday

And the newly minted Miami Beach Commissioners were sworn in Wednesday in the Beach chambers and voters elected John Elizabeth Aleman, Ricky Arriola, and Kristin Rosen Gonzalez and in a moving ceremony they all took their oath pf office in the packed commission chambers and a host of leaders and lobbyist attending the public event that was seen as a clear victory for Mayor Philip Levine who supported Aleman, Arriola and Betsy Perez but was beaten by Kristin Rosen Gonzalez and Levine is expected to continue pushing for the hardening of the tony city against sea water rise that is putting billions in real estate in jeopardy and is seen by sea water intrusion where fish can actually be spotted in the water coming up from drainage grates in the city of 100,0000 residents but swells in population like when Art Basel is being held and was one of the things that surprised the new City of Miami Beach manager Jimmy Morales when I asked him about being the manager of the tony city. And proud father Joe Arriola was there with his son Eddy and wife watching his son Rickey be sworn in and Arriola is Chair of the PHT board.


>>> The Great City of Opa-Locka, who Mayor Taylor represents is in financial turmoil again with firing of Mgr. Shiver and budget assistant manager, Moorish themed community likely to get state oversight board, and is why Commissioner Jordan wants the local airport to be developed

The fiscal turmoil continues in The Great City of Opa-Locka, as Mayor Myra Taylor introduces herself when she is in the County Commission Chambers and members pf the city’s staff continue to get fired as the beleaguered municipality tries to right itself but is facing enormous debt with no resolution in sight and includes not only manager Steve Shiver being given the heave ho but also an assistant city manager on the budget side and the Moorish themed city. And it is looking even more likely that a state financial oversight board like Opa-Locka has had before will be established when it was in financial trouble back in 2001. And for more on the fiscal meltdown go to


King Mango

The Next King Mango Strut Meeting and gathering will be held

TUES., Nov. 17th, 2015, 7:00 p.m., at
Select Happy Hour drinks, some free appetizers
Come join us for our meeting of the
Mangoheads & Mangominds.

We can’t wait to poke fun at any and everything, satirizing 
the people and events that made news during the year. 
Put the word out to your friends, family and anyone who you think would want to join the Mango Madness! Mark your calendar for upcoming meetings and events. Wed., Dec 2, Bookstore in the Grove, 3390 Mary St., 7:00 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 8, Taurus, 3540 Main Highway, 7:00 p.m.

Tues., Dec. 15, Coconut Grove Sailing Club, 2990 S. Bayshore Dr.


Mon., Dec. 21, Berries in the Grove, 2884 SW 27 Ave., 7:00 p.m. hotline: 305-582-0955
Margulies Collection

>>> THE MARGULIES COLLECTION AT THE WAREHOUSE is proud to announce its new exhibitions Anselm Kiefer: Paintings, Sculpture and Installation -Susan Philips: Immersive Sound Installation -through April 30, 2016 – Anselm Kiefer: Paintings, Sculpture and Installation 

Staged across 18,000 sq. ft. of space the new Kiefer exhibition at the Margulies Warehouse is the largest presentation of the artist work ever made in the United States. 

The show includes major sculptures, installation and paintings from 1986 to 2015. Four immense rooms within the Warehouse have been built specially to house the exhibition.

“Anselm Kiefer is one of the most important European artists of the past four decades,” says curator Katherine Hinds. “In our ongoing process of building the collection we recognized that Anselm Kiefer was critically important. This exhibition comes at a pivotal time. It is the most comprehensive project ever undertaken by the collection. We are honored to present this exhibition, which is the result of an ongoing collaboration between the collector Martin Z. Margulies and the artist. We see this exhibition as a fulfillment of our educational mission at the Warehouse to produce powerful exhibitions of seminal work by the greatest international artists of our times.” 

The artist traveled to Miami to install his 17ft high work Die Erdzeitalter (Ages of the World), 2014 that was the centerpiece of his retrospective at the Royal Academy in London in 2014. The largest work in the show, Geheimnis der Farne (The Secret of the Ferns) is based on a work Kiefer created eight years ago for Monumenta 2007 Grand Palais exhibition. After meeting with the collector, Kiefer changed and rearranged elements of the work and made a site-specific installation for the Margulies collection. Included in the show is the 3-ton workSprache der Vögel, 1989, which was the first work by Anselm Kiefer acquired by the Margulies collection. It has been on exhibit at the Warehouse since 2013. 

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse is honored to join the exemplary collection exhibitions devoted to the art of Anselm Kiefer including the Hall Art Foundation at Mass MoCA, the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, The Broad Art Foundation and HangarBicocca, Milan. 

Anselm Kiefer was born in Donaueschingen, Germany in 1945 and has lived and worked in France since 1993. He has exhibited widely, including solo shows at MoMA, New York (1987); Neue Nationalgalerie, Berlin (1991); The Metropolitan Museum, New York (1998); Fort Worth Museum of Art (2005); the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (2006); Mass MoCA, Massachusetts; Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao; the Grand Palais, Paris; Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, Denmark (2010); the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam (2011), Tel Aviv Museum of Art (2011) and The Royal Academy, London (2014). In 2007 Kiefer became the first artist to be commissioned to install a permanent work at the Louvre, Paris since Georges Braque some 50 years earlier. In 2009 he created an opera, Am Anfang, to mark the 20th anniversary of the Opéra National in Paris. The Centre Georges Pompidou and the Bibliothèque Nationale de France in Paris will stage major solo presentations of his work in 2015.

Susan Philipz

Susan Philipsz: Immersive Sound Installation  

The Margulies Collection is also pleased to feature a large scale Immersive Sound Installation by the acclaimed European artist Susan Philipsz, winner of the prestigious Turner Prize in 2010, Tate Britain. Drawing from the histories of 1930’s emigrant artists who fled Germany for America only to experience McCarthy-era blacklist censorship, Susan Philipsz’ work evokes the emotions of alienation, loss and exile. The audience views the work by walking into a large room with abstract sound emanating from 12 speakers placed in a symmetrical pattern at eye level. On the walls of the room 12 large prints of musical compositional scores are layered over with redacted FBI documents. “The sound of the deconstructed music heard over 12 channels combined with the visual experience of the recognizable but evasive censored text in the prints is a stunning and evocative experience,” says Ms. Hinds. “This has been a very ambitious project for us, it is the very first sound art installation work here at the warehouse and we are excited about adding a new dimension to the Collection.” 

Permanent exhibitions: Magdalena Abakanowicz, Ron Bladen, Pier Paolo Calzolari, Anthony Caro, John Chamberlain, Willem de Kooning, Olafur Eliasson, Dan Flavin, Michael Heizer, Jannis Kounellis, Sol LeWitt, Mario Merz, Joan Miró, Isamu Noguchi, Michelangelo Pistoletto, George Segal, Richard Serra, Tony Smith, and Franz West 

New works: Meuser, Lawrence Carroll, Liat Yossifor, Mark Handforth and Martin Boyce Click here for more information about this season’s exhibitions

Instragram logo facebook logo Margulies logo

   The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse 
   591 NW 27th Street, Miami, FL 33127 
   p: 305.576.1051 / f: 305.576.4963 

The Martin Z. Margulies Foundation, inc. is a not for profit institution dedicated to the presentation of exhibitions and educational programs. The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE houses an extensive collection of contemporary and vintage photography, video, sculpture and installation art. 

Curator, Katherine Hinds 


>>> Miami Commissioner Russell shows truth, trust and candor can prevail over obscene amount of money challenger raised and later dropped out, leaving many contributors to the $1 million campaign war chest steaming

With words flying among all the presidential candidates the issue of trust has to be the coin of the political realm and elected leaders find that out when they get busted in lies or embellishment of their accomplishments and experiences and once trust is lost. It’s almost impossible to turn around that perception with voters and all the candidates must realize there is extreme skepticism among the electorate and a politician at his peril sheds this sacred bond with voters he or she is trying to woo and a local example of this is the election of Ken Russell as the new Miami District 2 commissioner despite the long odds given the formidable fund raising machine he faced and the man was able to overcome that fiscal deficit because he sounded genuine and had a normal family life populated by two fun loving daughters and a son who campaigned with him and will probable remember the long shot activity the rest of his life. And after the previous commissioner’s lock-down approach Russell has an opportunity to reinvigorate the district and he will find his civility and Kentucky up bringing will serve him well and the Watchdog Report wishes him the best of luck and a Tip of The Hat for a job well done and running a positive campaign and shows candor and honesty can overcome any perceived obstacle with voters if they are truly committed to being in public service.


>>> I hope you held your wallet when you were interviewing Sarnoff. Good riddance.

Our town has become a concrete jungle thanks to him. I’ll wonder always if any “consideration” changed hands with the developers. He is a slime ball.


>>> Great story on the Pets’ Trust.  I’d love to speak with you and tell you more.  You are right… will be an issue in the Mayor’s race.  

Please watch this…      Pets’ Trust…the Story    password is     movie

And read this……..

Michael Rosenberg

President Pets’ Trust

Rita Schwartz Cofounder

>>> And another reader sent the following the shocking truth about Miami-Dade Animal Services,


Coconut Grove

>>> The Watchdog Report is Celebrating 16 years of weekly publishing since May 5th 2000 and when I started back then I never thought I would be doing this so And while I have taken a licking over the years including some medical issues I have kept at the job thanks to my supporters who I thank so very much over the many years. And the community’s public institutions are better when it comes to them knowing what the other is doing and why I have tried to be an information electrolyte for these giant institution’s leaders and things and here is a national story done on why I started to watch government back in 2000 and to all the people along the way that have helped me I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

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>>> Publisher’s Statement on the mission of the Watchdog Report and the special people and organizations that make it possible:  Government Subscribers/Corporate Subscribers/Sustaining Sponsors/Supporting Sponsors the Watchdog Report covers a few of the meetings attended weekly. It remains my belief that an informed public will make better decisions. Therefore, I go to meetings, make the presence of an informed citizen known, and bring the information to you.   The Watchdog Report is in the fourth year of publication and it has been an honor to be able to send this information to you. It is sent to readers in Miami-Dade, Florida, the U.S. and the world. The Watchdog Report is sent to thousands free and while readers have been prodded to subscribe the results have been mixed. Over 250 reports and Extras have been sent since May 5, 2000 and over one million words have been written on our community’s governments and events.  The report is an original work based on information gathered at public meetings, interviews and from documents in the public domain. I welcome letters via e-mail. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and must refer to material published in the Watchdog Report.  Please see address and contact information. Please send any additions and corrections by e-mail, fax or snail mail. All corrections will be published in the next Watchdog Report. If you or your organization would like to publish the contents of this newsletter, please contact me. Please send your request to 

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Publisher & Editor

Watchdog Report

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Copyright © of original material, 2015, Daniel A. Ricker

>>> The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel & Sun-Sentinel articles on the Watchdog Report publisher over the years.

Published on September 9, 1999, Page 1EA, Miami Herald, the (FL)


Published on January 3, 2000, Page 1B, Miami Herald, the (FL)


Published on January 20, 2003, Page 1E, Orlando Sentinel, PAPERWORK TIGER, Miami’s citizen watchdog piles up government files in his quest to keep the “little people” informed.

>>>Watchdog Report publisher named ‘Best Citizen’ 2003 by the Miami New Times

The publisher would like to thank the weekly alternative paper Miami New Times for bestowing their 2003 Best of Miami, ‘Best Citizen’ award to me and I am honored.  Thank you. To read the full story go to

From the spring of 2003:  U. North Carolina, Chapel Hill:  Southeast U.S. Media Report lists Watchdog Report publisher as leading Florida commentator >>> Selected excerpts from the report on Florida’s media sources-Those who do read the newspaper in Florida have a bevy of options for state government and political coverage. The dominant newspapers in the state are Knight-Ridder’s The Miami Herald (Acquired by the McClatchy Company in 2006) and the Poynter Institute’s St. Petersburg Times. Both papers endorsed Gore in 2000 but split on the 2002 gubernatorial race, with the Herald endorsing Republican incumbent Jeb Bush and the Times backing Democratic challenger Bill McBride. Daniel Ricker of The Miami Herald also writes an influential column as well as an email newsletter called the Watchdog Report that goes out to more than 100,000 subscribers. FEBRUARY 2004 – Florida: Columnists in Abundance —ERIC GAUTSCHI, graduate student, School of Journalism & Mass Communication, UNC-Chapel Hill – D) LEADING COMMENTATORS – Resource Commentator Organization Type Web site –Steve Bousquet St. Petersburg Times Column -“First Friday” WPBT TV (Miami) TV Show –Lucy Morgan St. Petersburg Times Column  –Daniel Ricker Miami Herald/Watchdog Report Newsletter –

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