Watchdog Report Vol.17 No. 47 April 16, 2017 EST; 05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Happy Easter and Passover Issue – Soon Celebrating 17 Years of Weekly reliable publishing

I want to thank the readers and friends who contributed to my Pay Pal account last week and with your help I was able to cover my rent. And I hate being dramatic in this regard and I hope the coming months to have a better cash flow for Miami is such an expensive city now if you are a renter. Further, since 2000 every person that sent a check got a thank you letter and recently I have been unable to keep that tradition going but I thank you so very much. And my Best to all.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to donate to my pay Pal account go to that accepts most credit cards in a secure site found and if you can help keep me out in the field especially with all the new GOB bonds passed by JHS, M-DCC school district and needs to be kept watch on, and I am one of the few press that covers these important oversite boards watching how your public billions are being spent.


And here is my philosophy on why I do this?


To have a free neutral community education news service resource available to all. Since over the 16-years I have used my own money to support this (And even returned some money from certain people). >>>> Further, over the past 16-years I have created a free news service brand and community education resource. I have done around 200 radio shows on WLRN 91.3 FM and since Mar.2000 and been an editorial and hard news columnist for The Miami Herald. And in regard to WLRN and why I have not been on Topical Currents for the past year. I apparently had a bad show and management has to approve me to be back on the show. Further here is a national story that ran in all the Tribune papers around the nation and covers the early years of the WDR: and s different version


>>> However, I have not used social media effectively to expand my audience with younger leaders trying to make their mark in Miami-Dade County. Further I have interviewed a large number of political candidates from former President Barack Obama, John Huntsman and presidential candidate John McCain, and a host of others since 2000 after Miami’s election fiasco back then.


>>> And having a member of the press at public meetings gives teeth to the Florida Sunshine Law and open meetings tape recorded keeps good governance in place and reduces waste fraud and abuse, and is why you don’t speed in front of a state trooper for example.


>>>> Further the  in South Florida is an established news service presence, because most people are too busy to go to these important meetings. That is why my motto is ‘I go when you cannot.’ >>> Further, I am very efficient since I work alone and all the information comes through me as a central point allowing me to see things at a 100 mile altitude and being an early warning system when projects have overruns or other issues. But my job is to sound the alarm and I have done so many times over the past years in a host of ways.



ARGUS REPORT: The Miami Herald strikes gold with two more Pulitzer Prizes, 22 over the Century, paper is the glue of Miami’s diverse demographics, long history of great investigative journalism

FLORIDA: With Florida on fire, highlights need for water conservation and role of Everglades in allowing Florida to flourish

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: County’s Opioid task Force says, great need for public detox centers, after state cracks down on pill mills and is exasperating this epidemic.

CITY OF MIAMI: Church of Scientology comes to Coconut Grove, has churches around the world, but comes with controversy in a community with one million Catholics

Bayfront Park Trust CEO Schmand, resigns, did a yeoman job on Trust that once lost money, ended in a scandal in 2000

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH: The Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust commission released a survey after city workers all went through extensive ethics classes and the survey found some employees are still being asked if they want a bribe.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES: Former Mayor Raul Valdes- Fauli takes the Gables baton, edging out former Commissioner Jeanette Slesnick for mayor, she ran an insurgent campaign

EDITORIALS: Most politicians hate the press

LETTERS: physician on free press


>>> 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


>>> And here is the story done by Miami New Times when they named the publisher as the community’s Best of Miami and Best Citizen and to read the story go to:    


>>> And here is the verbiage related to the award: Three years ago we said Ricker was our Best Gadfly. Given his dedication and perseverance, this new honor, Best Citizen, is well deserved. Ricker goes to 2500 mind-melting meetings annually, from the Public Health Trust’s purchasing subcommittee to the Efficiency and Competition Commission to the Alliance for Human Services’ nominating council to the school board’s audit committee. Sometimes he’s the only public observer. Object: to be the Public Citizen for all those out there who can’t attend, and to connect and serve as an information bridge among the special-interest-dominated Miami-Dade governmental institutions that seem newsletter, The Watchdog Report, celebrates its [16th] Anniversary. In a former life Ricker made a handsome living as an international salesman of heart pacemakers. As the hard-working publisher of Watchdog, though, he’s struggling financially — this despite the fact that his weekly compendium of meeting summaries, analysis, interviews, and commentary has become essential reading for anyone involved in public affairs. What his written work may lack in polish, it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness. So raise a toast to the man whose official slogan says it all: “A community education resource — I go when you cannot!”


>>> And checkout the new Watchdog Report merchandising campaign

Featuring Knowledge is Bliss coffee cups and includes premium cotton super soft tee shirts.


ARGUS REPORT: Heard Seen on the Streets

>>> The Miami Herald strikes gold with two more Pulitzer Prizes, 22 over the Century, paper is the glue of Miami’s diverse demographics, long history of great investigative journalism, continues


Hail to The Miami Herald for getting two more Pulitzer Prizes and they had 22 Pulitzers in years past but the awards, one for the deep dive investigation of the Panama Papers and Jim Morin a talented cartoonist won his second Pulitzer. And the Watchdog Report gives all the news team at The Herald a tip of the hat and the [paper’s investigative stories are widely loved and read given the nature of South Florida. And here is their story on the coveted awards.


>>> There is not only Citizen Reporters, but citizen scientist monitoring their local water supply and degradation of their environment


A new Citizen’s for science engagement group called Citizen Scientist’s and the Cloud are monitoring water quality around the nation and they are local eco warriors and I saw one of the programs and it involves retired scientists and retired engineers who are concerned about their drinking water and environment and some of the most distressed areas are in China where years ago The Yangtze River was on fire something that happened once with the Cuyahoga River in Ohio in 1969 that also ‘caught fire’ and convinced president Richard Nixon to create the EPA along with smog alerts in LA, NYC and a host of other cities and prompted most of the clear air and water laws. And for more on the program go to:


President Donald Trump is finding the world is not only a dangerous place but America cannot resolve all the world’s issues and with the military dropping the Mother of All Bombs on a cave area in Afghanistan, the pundits are saying he is getting his sea legs in the office and Trump has reversed course on a number of past statements and while demonstrators were out around the nation calling for the president to release his own taxes as Ap. 15th approaches and in a tweet. The president notes he is president and won the Electoral College and his voters don’t care about his taxes but the issue has not gone away and could dog him through much of his term and for more on the attack go to:


>>>> At The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce the CEO of Nicholas Children’s Hospital M. Narendra Kini, M.D. talked about how healthcare is changing in the years ahead and the institution once known as Variety Children’s has been providing top notch medical care for children in the community along with the Holtz Children’s hospital that is part of the Jackson Health System and Children’s has just finished a $200 million expansion with a new pavilion and bolstered “tech expenditures,” he said.


He also noted the facility is having a “continuous debate on data collection,” and believes telemedicine will be the wave of the future and trying to make a diagnosis “using google,” is the worst thing someone can do when it comes to their health and while computers may suggest a diagnosis a clinician still has to review the data much of which can be done at home and transmitted to the hospital and at Children’s Kini said they had 4,320 employees and a strong pediatric cardiac program. And for more go to visit and the institution’s hallmark is “is centered on the family and child,” a brochure states and between Holtz Children’s a public hospital the community has two great medical resources for children’s medical needs and that is rare in a community our size. Where for example Philadelphia has only one children’s hospital because the number of children needing surgery is a small segment of the population, in a medical area where the number of cases keeps the surgical side expertise honed to a fine edge.


>>>> Further, Kacie Conner’s, the program manager of the WIN Lab spoke and the organization is a entrepreneurship Spotlight and helps women entrepreneurs in Miami and for more go to


>>>> President Trump hits his first speed bump, 64 day schedule, for Trump health plan, too short for consensus, With ACA almost a year was spent on the legislation


With the withdrawal of President Trump’s” healthcare bill because there wasn’t enough votes since the Democratic Party’s lawmakers all abstained from supporting the bill and was facing opposition within the ranks of the GOB. And Trump understood discretion is the better part of valor.


And Speaker Paul Ryan knew he did not have the votes and withdrew the controversial bill and had Trump at one point essentially issuing an ultimatum to the GOP ranks saying he would campaign in their districts against them if they did not support the legislation. And this pullback keeps Obama care ACA as the law of the nation and is another blow to the fledging Trump administration after losing two federal court rulings in the past week on his travel ban that affects 5 mostly Muslim nation’s travelers and has caused controversy on the world scene


Further, Trump failed to account (by creating an artificial deadline) that Obamacare took over a year to craft and get through Congress versus the 64 days in the president’s push and he tweeted that the failure everything will be all right since the ACA is still the law of the land Trump is assuring Americans the federal program that might financially be collapsing with high premiums and deductibles, and companies around the nation are pulling some health plans in some states. So for many Americans when it comes to healthcare. They will still have the coverage until the GOP comes up with a replacement plan. However House Republicans are in factions and some more conservative, like Freedom Caucus, yet socially liberal ones bucked the tide and pressure Trump was trying to put on the undecided representatives.


What about politics 101  


Trump is used to transactions is learning how democracy works and representatives and senators take their responsibility very seriously and while the president may be the king of smoooze. He misread the complexity of the healthcare issue and doing tax reform is said to be even more complicated many pundits suggest. But was one of the Republican campaign pledges during the race but the president needs to recalibrate if he wants to get any substantial legislation passed during his term.


>>> Will Trump’s skinny budget and cuts in meals on wheels because social unrest with elderly residents in Miami and Hialeah major socializing program for the elderly?


President Trump’s proposed $1.06 trillion ‘skinny budget has wide spread cuts in a host of areas including the EPA department of State and deep cuts in the arts since there is $54 billion in cuts and other cultural programs are being lined out and are being done to boost the defense budget to $574 billion and howls are going off around the nation and will have some dramatic impacts in South Florida.


And what about CDBG and Meals on wheels cuts?


Further, Community Development Block Grants (CDBG) are being cut substantially and the program feeds thousands of elderly people in Little Havana. Hialeah and at retirement homes, providing socialization and in past years HUD funding was using a poor funding formula in the case of the City of Miami. They had to work with the local congressional delegation to get the needed funding formula changed but in this case that seems unlikely and Trump’s budget does not attack the $19 trillion debt. And for more go to: >>>


>>>> Update from last week?


Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado said he had an opportunity to speak to HUD Sec. Ben Carson, M.D. about the unique role CDBG block grants plays in Miami such as meals on wheels and the city had to patch the cuts in funding with $10 million in Miami Funding and the meals program also plays a major social role with elderly residents in Little Havana. Carson a neurosurgeon and presidential candidate said The Trump administration is looking for the private sector partnerships called P3 and he believes there are plenty for public housing to be done this way like Liberty Square, that partners the Related Group with Miami-Dade County and the   deal raised eyebrows with the county’s Inspector General recently with some communities getting chicken dinners. And here is more:


What about world affairs?


It is no coincidence that North. Korea tested a high-thrust rocket while Sec. of State Rex Tillerson was meeting with the premier of China and while Chinese leaders have supported the rogue Hermit Kingdom having the neighboring country have nuclear weapons and a possible delivery system has strained the two nation’s relations and has most of the countries concerned what Korea could do next given the erratic autocratic dictator nature of the state and its commitment to going nuclear.


Further, Tillerson amped up tensions when he suggested the U.S. is open to all options including nuclear and has tensions high on the peninsula. And President Trump is finding out you cannot prevent global crisis and every country is different but the instability in Asia is a big deal since both China and America are involved and mistakes or misreading of the other side could result negatively for both countries and trigger war.

However, there has been only so much China can do for they fear an influx of refugees and the state coming under S. Korea control and could put American forces on the border with China, something the Chinese will not tolerate.


>>> The CEO of Nicholas Children’s Hospital M. Narendra Kini, M.D., was the Greater Miami Chamber’s key note speaker and the physician gave his thoughts on the evolving medical landscape and the hospital has just finished major renovations and improvements.


>>> A PBS Channel 2 program called The Crowd and the Cloud documents the thousands of people that are documenting water quality as Citizen Scientists and participants range from retired engineers and scientists and with the EPA budget cuts the local people on site in their community and these people from all around the nation


What about the autocracy of cars in Miami-Dade?


I am starting to see a new phenomenon in the county and it is drivers who believe their cars give a certain status and can tailgate with impunity and pull out suddenly just because they are in a dually or high end SUV Many times a Land Rover and some of these drivers believe they own the road and I only bring it up because on Saturday someone had to come to screeching stop since the light had changed to red.


>>> Press release: Ros-Lehtinen, Wasserman Schultz Lead Bipartisan Call for Review of Havana Club Trademark License to Castro Regime-Owned Cubaexport


(Washington, D.C.) – U.S. Reps. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) sent a bipartisan letter to Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson calling for a review and explanation of last year’s decision by the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s (OFAC) to grant a license for the Havana Club trademark to Castro-regime owned Cubaexport. Ros-Lehtinen and Wasserman Shultz were joined by nearly two dozen of their colleagues.


Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “Last year’s decision by OFAC to grant a license to Cubaexport – a wholly-owned entity of the Cuban regime – for the trademark of Havana Club was an unprecedented decision with alarming implications for American intellectual property rights holders. It was a decision made for political expedience that ignored standing U.S. law and potentially opened a Pandora’s Box that could see U.S. intellectual property rights holders subject to unlawful and unjust foreign confiscations. We are asking the new administration to review this license, reverse its decision and protect rightful intellectual property owners before any lasting damage is done.”


Statement by Wasserman Schultz: “As Members of Congress, we have a responsibility to uphold the values enshrined in our Constitution, including the protection against government confiscation of property without just compensation. It is with these values in mind that we strongly urge OFAC to revoke the license it issued to the Cuban government entity Cubaexport. By allowing the Cuban regime to register the Havana Club trademark, OFAC is out of step with longstanding United States policy, and has set a terrible precedent for American intellectual property rights holders.  I urge OFAC to reverse this misguided decision and send a loud and clear message to the international community that the United States has been and always will be a global leader on intellectual property rights.” NOTE: To view the letter please click here.




>>>> With Florida on fire, highlights need for water conservation and role of Everglades in allowing Florida to flourish


Gov. Rick Scott has declared a state of emergency after wildfires have erupted around the state and is the worst drought in six years but until the rains the fires are unabated and fire fighters are fighting the fires 24/ 7 and there are 100 separate fires consuming the Florida landscape.


>>> With the speculation of Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi going to Washington her reputation of shutting down pill mills has catapulted her onto the president’s Commission Combating Drug Addiction and Opioid Crisis

>>>> PAST WDR Press release: Attorney General Bondi’s Weekly Briefing:


I have spent my entire career fighting drug trafficking and abuse—locally as a state prosecutor and statewide as Florida’s Attorney General. This week, President Donald J. Trump appointed me to the newly formed Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis to help combat drug abuse nationwide.

Our nation is in the grip of a deadly opioid epidemic. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that in 2015 more than 33,000 people in the United States died from opioid overdoses. More than 3,000 of those deaths occurred in Florida.

We have made great strides in the fight against drug abuse in Florida, shutting down pill mills, outlawing synthetic drugs and dismantling drug trafficking rings. Since 2014, my Office of Statewide Prosecution charged 148 people with charges related to trafficking heroin.

This session, I am supporting legislation to add Fentanyl to Florida’s drug trafficking statute. Drug dealers now commonly mix Fentanyl with heroin—and users are unaware of what they are taking and sometimes think they are buying a Xanax or an over-the-counter pill—often resulting in death.

While all these actions are saving lives—Florida and our nation face an unprecedented threat from opioids flooding into our communities.

Florida law enforcement alone cannot stop this national epidemic and I am deeply encouraged by President Trump’s creation of the Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis. The commission is chaired by Governor Chris Christie and includes other leaders who will fight to reduce drug abuse. I am honored to work alongside these experts to help improve our nation’s fight against drug abuse and trafficking, save lives and heal broken people.


>>> Are Florida legislators re Visit Florida gambling that tourism is a given in the competitive global tourism industry, high risk bet for state’s budget?


Gov. Rick Scott is keeping his foot to the metal and is traveling around the state also running television spots telling people their state legislators must support Visit Florida if they care about jobs and the tourism industry and Florida is competing with other states and nations and the panhandle benefits from the Florida tourism push and for many is penny foolish and pound short when it comes to the state’s largest economic engine and the state has the infrastructure and attractions to make tourists want to come to the state and he has fired back with this statement last week.

>>> Gov. Scott press release: “Today, politicians in the Florida House passed job killing legislation. We can all agree that VISIT FLORIDA and EFI need to be absolutely accountable and transparent, and both agencies have already taken major steps and implemented reforms to ensure their operations meet our high expectations. However, today’s actions by the House curb the mission of VISIT FLORIDA and bury it in more government bureaucracy – along with decimating Florida’s economic toolkit and the very programs which are directly tied to the creation of thousands of jobs for Florida families.


“Many politicians who voted for these bills say they are for jobs and tourism. But, I want to be very clear – a vote for these bills was a vote to kill tourism and jobs in Florida. I will continue to fight for Florida jobs and never stop standing up for the families and businesses whose livelihood depend on a strong and growing economy.” – Governor Rick Scott.




>>>> County’s Opioid task Force met Monday, great need for public detox centers, after state cracks down on pill mills and is exasperating this epidemic


The Miami-Dade County Joint Opioid Task force met Monday and the various committees reported on their efforts and had Judge Beth Cohen noting there were plenty of addiction clinics there were none that were public facilities and a task force member said there was new derivative of fentanyl the highly toxic chemical that gets mixed in the cheap yellow heroin coming from Mexico. And helps chronic users to overdose and has fire Rescue first responders having to give multiple doses of NarCan that can reverse a drug overdose and needs to be more available in the community like what was done with external defibrillators in public buildings and the addiction deaths cut across all ethnic lines and is an epidemic around the nation and the task force is studying how to fight this scourge.


>>> Commission’s attempt’s to end “beg athon,” and accept administration’s CBO funding choices, but “83 percent,” of requests could not be funded and after 111 speaker cards, the matter gets “deferred,” issue will likely reemerge


The Commission last week tried to approve a list of community based organizations that would receive county funding, However, there was not enough money to fund some 83 percent of the applicants, said Jennifer Moon the County’s budget guru. And the new selection process was to end the “’beg a thon,” said commissioner Daniela Levine Cava and decades ago the final budget hearing where groups testified how critical the county funding was for seniors or children and the meetings went to 6:00 a.m. back in 2001.


However, the commission deferred the matter and funding will continue until the new budget year ending Sept. 30 said Moon.


What about the dust-up with the County’s Ethics Commission and public Trust commission?


Commissioners had a Sunshine meeting and they seemed disappointed the Ethics commission had done an investigation on elected officials who got special treatment when they checked into MIA and commissioners brought up the commission’s budget and how it might be impacted and was perceived as trying to intimidate the independent entity created by voters overwhelmingly in 2006 and on the whole has given taxpayers a little more assurance and will be a critical firewall if the county wants voters to approve a one cent sales tax for transportation and this dust –up is a PR nightmare for the commission and should be very careful using this kind of language for the commission works and the Watchdog report back then was the only public at the Commission’s formation meeting where they interviewed executive director Robert Meyers and the office also had an issue with the mayor’s office back when recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez was being investigated and commissioners like this office that catches many blatant conflicts or unusual relationships and is important if voters are to trust their elected leaders.


>>> The office of the Inspector General released their Annual Report and to see what County IG Mary Cagle has accomplished over the past year go to:

GMCVB: During the month of February 2017, passengers through PortMiami reached record levels and increased by +11.9 percent compared to the previous year. Growth is due in part to the addition of a new ship offering year-round service and the extensive cruise options offered by PortMiami.

PortMiami Passengers
February 2017 February 2016 % Change
486,579 434,868 +11.9%


>>>> The County Commission named a new Miami-Dade Fire rescue Facility after R. David Paulison, a longtime chief and was in charge of FEMA after he left the county and Paulison made major contributions in the department.


>>>> Mayor Carlos Gimenez told commissioners that he had tried as “long as he could,” before buying electric or hybrid diesel vehicles instead of compressed national gas (CNG) that the county vehicles were to go to and could also be electric but currently, Gimenez said the county did not have the infrastructure yet,” to support CNG trucks and he said he “would buy as few,” of these non CNG vehicles, “as possible.” and they needed to go with as few diesel trucks as possible, commissioner Bruno Barreiro brought the matter up and he has a strong interest in transit issues.




>>> Church of Scientology comes to Coconut Grove, has churches around the world, but comes with controversy in a community with one million Catholics


The Church of Scientology cut the ribbon last week opening a new church on U.S. 1 at 2200 South Dixie Hyw. And the corner of 22th Avenue. And the church has major facilities in Tampa and around the world even in Auckland New Zealand and for an investigative story on the church by The Tampa Bay Times go to


>>>> Further, Miami commissioners got an ear full when it came to the slow progress of flagger Street downtown and is forcing struggling business to the edge some who had been there for years but their owners say they might have to move and the business owners are looking for some breaks from the city while this stalled construction gets back on the supposed time line.


Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado and Miami CFO Chris Rose did a presentation on the potential issuance of a $250 million GOB bond for a host of projects and includes some $140 million for resiliency projects and the mayor said the strategy is to follow the 2001 Homeland Security bonds passed back then and the November election was in conjunction with the Miami mayoral race that included a field of ten candidates and included, Maurice Ferre, Joe Carollo, Wilfredo Gort, and the winner Mayor Manny Diaz and the election was just after 9/11 and the bond was sold as a way to make the city safer in these new times and voters passed it. Further in this case $54 million in public safety and Miami commissioners wanted a complete list of the projects and how it affects their five districts and given the political climate and overruns of some jobs the commission should create oversight board made up of citizen’s to watch over how these new funds are spent and should give comfort to voters.


However, while a local poll indicates the voters might buy into another $250 million bond


>>> However, the city is facing lawsuits from Airbnb homeowners who had to give their name and address and the Miami administration is going after these homeowners via code enforcement after they spoke at a commission meeting on the matters and it is a slippery slope when it comes to free speech but Manager Daniel J. Alphonso said they are breaking the law and the city must act And here is a story done by WPBT Channel 10 investigative reporter Glenna MIlberg and she interviews Regalado on the subject of sending code enforcement to the people’s homes who spoke as being a Airbnb host.


>>> Bayfront Park Trust CEO Schmand, resigns, did a yeoman job on Trust that once lost money, ended in a scandal in 2000


The longtime executive director of the Bay Front Park Trust Tim Schmand has retired and the man has kept the Trust on the straight and narrow and the public forgets that back in 2000 when Ira Katz was director there was a real scandal at the trust and the city of Miami had to contribute $400,000 to keep the operation open and was chaired by J.L. Plummer and Katz later was arrested and the Trust was inflating bills and was detailed by Miami Herald reporter Tyler Bridges in an investigative story, but since Schmand’ s arrival the Trust has made money though this year it is showing a loss and I stopped by the Trust on Thursday and spoke with the director in his office and he made no mention of his departure and a dust-up with Commissioner Frank Carollo on a second concert after Ultra had just concluded and I wish him well for he was diligent and honest and his replacement should be carefully chosen. For more go to:


>>> Miami is working with the county to get agreement to build a parking garage on Virginia key and resident’s hold keep their eyes on this project in the sensitive environmental area.


>>> Coconut Grove Playhouse public hearing at Miami City Hall Commission Chambers


A flyer of the public meeting says that the plan requests the demolition of the 1,000-seat Theater and be replaced by a “300-seat Theater, restaurant, parking garage and restoration of the entrance building and the flyer asks people to speak out against “the eraser of our community’s cultural history,” states the flyer.


However, the county’s plan is facing major local resistance who have dubbed the proposal as just being a mixed use development that happens to have a theater in it. Further, residents noted the bond money was for “restoration,” of the historic structure and any final plans have to come back to the Historical environmental Planning Board with the final plans that has some disappointed with the county’s plan that includes a five story parking garage, and apartments above the structure but this battle is not over and expect Groveites to continue to weigh in on the final project that must be completed by 2020 said Florida’s lieutenant governor.


>>>>Further Francis Suarez wants open records request to be handled by the manager versus the clerk or attorney and the legislation is in front of the commission after major delays with getting public records


What about the Miami mayoral race?


Candidate and Commissioner Francis Suarez in his second attempt to be Miami mayor has amassed a $2 million war chest and that should discourage any competitors from entering the race that closes in Sept. Further Suarez is taking a page from former Mayor Manny Diaz and Marc Sarnoff where there is never too much money and gives the impression they are bought by special interests and while Suarez’s first t run had the tag line ‘it’s Our time,” and was directed toward millennials voters and it may show this new demographic has no fear of money even though he sends the message that he is a new type of city mayor candidate and when he first ran he helped his father Xavier Suarez rehabilitate his political career after getting the nickname “Mayor Loco,” when he was in office and is now a county commissioner. And the son intentionally did not use his given first name which is Xavier but ran as Francis he once told the WDR years ago after he was first elected. Further Suarez in a Miami channel 77 interview talks about his son who is just turning three and is learning that kids mimic their parents even in exercising and he is a man who is enjoying fatherhood and was playing ball with his father Xavier when the son was growing up and residents should check it out since he is running for mayor.


City of Miami Beach

>>> The Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust commission released a survey after city workers all went through extensive ethics classes and the survey found some employees are still being asked if they want a bribe.


Further these training sessions have been done in the city of Miami and across the county and like the county’s Inspector general it is another watchful watchdog. For more go to:


What about zoning plan expediters’?


Builders across the county still use a practice of using attractive women to get building plans approved on a timely basis. And the beach is known to be a tough nut to crack and I have followed them and they get off on the building department floor


The Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust Commission issued a survey of Miami Beach employees and even after extensive ethics training they still were offered a bribe and to see the press release on the matter go to below.


>>>> Ethics Commission press release: Ethics training improves ethical conduct in Miami Beach. Ethics training of public employees has become a standard requirement in government at all levels.  But is there any evidence that such training actually improves government ethics?  The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) believes the answer is yes, based on its recent survey of City of Miami Beach employees working in those departments believed to be the most susceptible to corruption.


Almost four years ago, the COE initiated an intensive ethics training regimen for hundreds of employees in the city’s regulatory departments — those that interact with residents and businesses in connection with enforcement of city regulations, including building and code enforcement, fire rescue, planning, finance, parking and procurement.  The program, recorded by city staff, has since been utilized continuously to train new employees in the same departments. Since the original training sessions, employees’ confidence in the integrity of their local government has been bolstered.  That was one of the key findings of a recent survey by the COE, intended to test the impact of the program. The COE embarked on the intensive ethics and awareness program in 2013 at the invitation of former City Manager Jorge Gonzalez, following a troubling series of ethical and criminal misdeeds in the city government.  The program was carried out with the support of current Manager Jimmy Morales and the Mayor and City Commission, which appropriated funds for the project.  The results of the December survey were compared with the results of a survey done three years earlier as part of the original program. Overall, the findings suggest that Miami Beach employees in the departments surveyed are more satisfied with the city’s ethical standards than they were in 2013.  The recent results highlighted a number of positive trends, such as double-digit improvements with respect to the City’s overall ethics and ethical standards, as well as co-worker morale. For example, 81 percent of employees told COE they felt Miami Beach government itself was “ethical” in 2016 compared to 65 percent during the 2013 survey – a 25 percent increase over three years.  Meanwhile, 77 percent of employees said they felt enough safeguards had been implemented by management to prevent corruption in the workplace – up significantly from 60 percent in 2013. Additionally, 80 percent of those surveyed said it was easier to “blow the whistle” on corrupt activity, compared to 64 percent in 2013.   They also feel better about reporting bad behavior according to the responses to a question about fear of retaliation for whistleblowers.  In the most recent survey, 67 percent of employees felt adequate protections exist, compared to just 33 percent in 2013.  The number of employees reporting a bribe offer three years ago (27 percent) was cut to 22 percent, an indication that even potential bribers may be getting the message.


The new survey showed employees seem to like the heightened emphasis on ethics, judging from the 16 percent improvement in co-worker morale over the past survey. Employees also gave higher marks to their supervisors with respect to job performance and personal ethics, the survey showed.


Ethics Commission Executive Director Joseph Centorino pointed out that the city administration should get credit for the improvement, but also said, “The results show that ethics training can raise employees’ awareness of what constitutes unethical or corrupt behavior and prepare them how to deal with it.”   “More important,” he added, “employees respect the city’s efforts to recognize and correct deficiencies in dealing with and responding to ethical issues, and that significantly improves morale.”

Centorino noted that Miami Beach officials have also taken the lead toward enhancing public trust by being the first municipality to embrace a “Civility Oath” for those in high positions, following the Ethics Commission’s January passage of a resolution calling for local governments to adopt such a vow.  Miami Beach’s Mayor, Commissioners and top staff swore to “pledge fairness, integrity and civility, in all actions taken and all communications made by me as a public servant,” during the City Commission meeting on February 8, 2016. >>> The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers. It is composed of five members, serving staggered terms of four years each. Through a program of education, outreach and enforcement, the Commission seeks to empower the community and bolster public trust.   




>>>> Former Mayor Raul Valdes-Fauli takes the Gables baton, edging out former Commissioner Jeanette Slesnick for mayor, she ran an insurgent campaign


Well the mayoral race is over and Raul Valdes- Faull the once unpopular mayor back in 2002 and had past Mayor Donald Slesnick, II beating the attorney who was pushing a controversial development behind city hall that was later demolished under the Slesnick administration. However this year it was his wife Commissioner Janette Slesnick that was competing for the mayor’s job and she was pushing for less development and more smart development.


However Valdes-Fauli had a host of endorsements and plenty of campaign cash and his political ads were plentiful and Slesnick was running an insurgent campaign and the woman a realtor is said to have “probable” sold a house to every resident in the city beautiful and had a good government committee and a number of HOA supporting her candidacy. The reason years ago the past mayor Slesnick won is because Valdes-Fauli has an arrogant abrupt side that the Miami Herald pointed out when the Editorial Board interviewed the candidates and with his reappearance in the political world many hope he will mellow out, that remains to be seen.


Community EVENTS & Public Service announcements

Margulies Collection 2


>>>> Now open and the Warehouse has a new exhibit and check it out at

Margulies collection


>>> And the Margulies Warehouse will be opening the season in weeks and to see what art is on display and when it plans to close the season for this community treasure go to

>> Press release: The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science and Miami Science Barge join together to bring the expression of art to a scientific experiment. Visitors will have the opportunity to create artworks on a drift card that will be deployed into the ocean. These drift cards will help scientists gain understanding of how the ocean currents distribute debris through the Biscayne Bay. Admission is free. Miami Science Barge 1075 Biscayne Boulevard, Miami




>>> Politicians since the dawn of time have hated the media, Trump’s fixation on press, distracts from his policies and administration, needs to get more focused and fill key lower level administration staffers


Since the dawn of time leaders have hated the press and media yet President Trump keeps harping on the “dishonest media,” and actually singled some of the nation’s news organizations and a republic needs a diverse and strong press to challenge authority and calling the media the “enemy,” of the American people which is ironic since Trump was in many ways created by the media and he is extraordinary marketer.


But people will get tired of this demand for adulation that the president seems to feed on and he won and now people want him to get to governing. For the world is a dangerous and having the national security council head vacant is a serious issue and when it comes to Russia Trump should clearly state he or his staff did not have contacts and perhaps release the transcripts of the conversations if the president wants to end this distraction on the world stage.


Further he is saying some of the executive orders are being rewritten and he is moving quickly carrying out his campaign promises. However, in many ways Trump is a creation of the press and his constant carping is getting old with the American people and some are wondering why he is so fixated on his victory considered a long shot by the media ever since he went down the escalator but he won .And Americans expect him to govern and keep the nation safe and that is the job he accepted when he ran for office.


>>> The Watchdog Report is Celebrating 17 years of weekly publishing since May 5th 2000 and when I started back then I never thought I would be doing this so this is a national story in all the Tribune papers 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.




>>> Reader and Physician supports freedom of the press with Jefferson quote about not having a government without a free press


Yes, many presidents have had issues with the media. Early in our country’s history, of course, the media was in print. As long as there is freedom of the press and other media sources to say what they want, whether based on substance or not, there will be complaints. Even Jefferson had conflicts with some of the newspapers of his time, but that did not stop him from making the following statement:


“…were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”  Thomas Jefferson, The third president of the United States


Will Blechman, M.D.

Miami, Fla.


>>> 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 providing this information is at the end of the WDR. And I hope you will consider supporting 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 l. Thank You.


And to my Supporters I pledge to keep ‘going when you cannot.’ And we have about $9 billion in GOB funds being spent through a variety of public institutions and that is no small number and in the past I have broken the story on Cuban refugees coming in droves and also the Oriental fruit fly quarantine and its huge economic impact to name just a few of the more recent stories in past WDR’s.And I also keep watch for the all-important tourism industry and with the Zika Virus people are starting to understand how vital these tourists are for a host of amenities like culture and the arts, Jackson health System and transportation dollars all entities that benefit from tourism sales tax dollars.


>>> And while the Watchdog Report has reached16 years of using my own money to survive in the costlier Miami community. And while I have cut expenses I need my readers help. In this fast changing world and with Pay Pal now you can easily use a credit card to contribute and I hope you will consider helping keeping someone out in the field. And I have not wanted to be a lobbyist but rather a lobbyist for everyone and is why I use the tag line ‘I go when you cannot’. But things were made worse after spending 18 days in the hospital with a badly infected finger. And is why I am behind sending my traditional thank you letter to any supporters contributing and hop to catch up in the near future. And I thank these people from the bottom of my heart for the past financial help.


>>> I just ask any reader, once a year who thinks this community resource is valuable to contribute via my Pay Pal account for the fiscal issues sometimes keeps me from going to a meeting sometimes, and the stress also affects my health and only with my readers support can “I go when you cannot,” thank you and hope you will help so the WDR can celebrate 17 years on May 5th.


>>> And to support the WDR go to my Pay Pal account at

>>>And you can now easily support the Watchdog Report by going to my new PayPal Button account, you know you want to do it at for as media resources contract residents still need to know that someone is also watching out for their interests. Because government watched is a better governing experience for voters and their local quality of life?


However, it is no easy task to do the WDR weekly. And years ago the county Ethics Commission did a report that suggested over the past decade some $50 million had been spent fighting waste fraud abuse and public corruption and having the press at public meetings (some very obscure) changes the tone of the meeting (and is why you don’t speed past a state trooper, if you’re smart) Further, I have tried to be an information electrolyte available to all free between these large public institutions when I first started back in 1997. And many public meetings back then were not being recorded except by me and that is no longer the case.


For an accurate public record is key and diminishes future legal action. For you either have an accurate public record or you don’t. And I hope you will consider helping me in this effort to keep the community informed and saving taxpayer monies in the process. And I thank my supporters over the last 17 years. And to read a national story and profile of the WDR publisher in the early years and background back in 2003 go to:

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


***** LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & Initial sponsors since 2000



HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr (The first contributor)


THE MIAMI HERALD (2000-2008)


WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)


LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)




>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $2,000 a year







>>> Watchdog Report supporters – $1,000 to $5,000 a year




BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants



LINDA MURPHY: Gave a new laptop in Oct. 2001 to keep me going.







>>> Public, Educational & Social institutions – subscribers at $1,000 or less




























>>> Public, Educational & Social institutions – subscribers at $1,000 or less




























>>> 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


Daniel A. Ricker

Publisher & Editor

Watchdog Report

Est. 05.05.00

Copyright © of original material, 2017, 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


>>> General subscriber’s names will not be published in the Report. To subscribe to the Watchdog Report please use the form below as a subscription invoice. ***********************

Watchdog Report Supporters Invoice-Form Thank you


Supporting Sponsors $5,000

Sustaining Sponsors $2,000

Corporate Sponsors $1,000 (All levels above will be listed in the report with web-site link if desired)


Large Business Supporters $500

Small Business Supporters $250 

Individual Supporter $150


Make Checks payable to Daniel Ricker

3109 Grand Ave, #125 Miami, Florida 33133




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