Watchdog Report Vol.18 No. 5 June 11, 2017 EST: 05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 18 Years of reliable weekly publishing

Last week I downloaded a Microsoft update that froze my computer and was why you got a WDR in a different format last week and thanks to the Geek Squad at Dadeland Station I am back in the saddle. However finances are still tight and hope you will consider keeping someone out in the public domain watching over where your tax dollars are going and had one long time reader asking Friday, “Where is all the money going? “They asked with the property taxes rebounding and it was a great question and in many cases much of this money goes to mid-term adjustments when government makes adjustments to the budget and these extra revenues keep the required budgets in balance. Further my web mail is full and if you email me it will come back undeliverable and I am working on getting this resolved, thank you.

I want to thank the readers and friends who contributed to my Pay Pal account and one of the things I have to improve is invoicing my sponsors because I always go to a meeting rather than generating an invoice and that is one of the reasons I go through these cash flow issues and I hope you can help get me through this tight time that should be resolved with my readers help. If you can for. I hope in 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 not been able 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 public 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. Further, as I close in on my 18th year of weekly publishing. I think I have established myself and hope to continue for many more years with your support.

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 17-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: Did FBI Dir. Comey taint his testimony since he leaked memo to Columbia professor, calls Trump’s accusations a lie, truth still up in the air, but what will AG Sessions testify?

State Of FLORIDA: State Atty. Katherine Fernandez Rundle weighing governor bid, but will past decisions nix that race, with other candidates joining the fray? — Turbulent special session comes to close House legislator’s bulk at override of Gov. Vetoes, Visit Florida gets its $75 million in funding to support growing global tourism industry

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Will last minute amendment to MLS deal by Commissioner Diaz torpedo the deal when it comes to Miami? — Opioid Task Force, dealing with scourge of overdoes, 33,000 Americans died last year, 3,000 alone in Florida, different treatment than heroin addiction – County’s Opioid task Force says, great need for public detox centers, after state cracks down on pill mills and is exasperating this epidemic.

MIAMI-Dade County Public Schools: FIU Golden Scholarship program helps fund thousands of students in 2017 needing fiscal resources to graduate in four years, great opportunity for Miami-Dade students wanting a higher education

 PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST: AOA with UM Miller Medical school goes smoothly versus past contentious years, JHS one of few public hospitals in nation with affiliation with a medical school — Community Crown Jewel Ryder Trauma Center has its Silver Anniversary, only Level 1 public trauma center in Miami-Dade, saves lives daily!

CITY OF MIAMI: Let the MLS piñata begin after Commissioner Diaz. Kicks a curveball, demanding county police work inside and Miami police do the outside, has Diaz saying there is “enough overtime,” for both organizations to get plenty of work

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH: Mayoral campaign heats up how low will Gelber & Grieco go to win the top spot, suspicious PAC will be dissolved and money returned pro- rata

EDITORIALS: Florida Constitutional commission should insist on transparency, not darkness as Sunshine law gets diluted — Most politicians hate the press- Florida needs Sunshine Amendment many municipalizes out of control and get little press coverage or oversight, legislators on wrong side of this one

LETTERS: important mission of Lotus Village, helping women and children needs community support

>>> 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 [18h] 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!”


ARGUS REPORT: Heard Seen on the Streets

>> Did Dir. Comey taint his testimony since leaked memo to Columbia professor, calls Trump’s accusations a lie, truth still up in the air, but what will AG sessions testify?

With the James Comey testimony last week the media and public are digesting what the fired FBI director testified about his meeting with President Donald Trump and welcomed any tapes that might have been made and made the statement “Oh Lordy,” let there be tapes  and release them to the public after he documented his discussions

With the president in a memo.  However Comey said he passed on the memo to an academic and has Trump calling Comey a “leaker.” And Trump is firing back that Comey is a liar concerning Comey’s sworn testimony. And the issue continues to absorb all the oxygen in Washington and Trump’s administration appears to be getting bogged down in the weeds of this investigations

Further some senators are saying the Russian probe is blocking such legislation as immigration reform and is hindering the president’s agenda. Further AG Jeff Sessions is expected to testify next week and voters are waiting with bated breath concerning his testimony and any new revelations.


>>> With a third terroist attack in U.K. the global community is reeling and even the stiff upper lip British are feeling the carry on insecurity these random soft targets terroist attacks cause, as they carry on


“America cannot kill our way out of this,” said 13 past CIA directors in the Showtime movie “The spymasters,”—cia-in-the-crosshairs  that interviews a decade of CIA directors and it is amazing how candid they were and all agreed when it came to fighting terrorism the nation “cannot kill our way,” out of this ideology and religious fanaticism that is popping up around the globe with Britain,  France along with America as prime targets of terroist.


>>> President Trump returns to continued investigations, Kushner backchannel contact with Russians show his widening role, has been done before but investigations continue


President Trump’s whirlwind trip is over and in Europe the NATO leaders were disappointed that the president did not affirm Article 5 the mutual protection program that is based on all for one and one for all if any of the 28 nations of NATO. Were attacked. Since trump was critical of the body and how some of the nations on the campaign trail were not pulling their weight in regard to a 2 percent of GDP funding contribution, essentially to have a check on Russia and has been one of the longest most valued alliances in the world and when America was attacked after Sept.11.  Nations from NATO sent troops to the Afghanistan war zone and Trump has been playing the Great Disrupter on the world stage. And his decision not to voice support for this bedrock principle has left European Allies in a quandary and Trump supporters suggest he did this to avoid being dragged into some conflict with newer countries on the border of Russia. However, the issue of White House leaks is disturbing especially when it involves classified information. Further, the issue of terrorism is on the front burner with three terrorist’s attacks last week in Britain, Egypt and Indonesia.


>>> Trump speech in Saudi Arabia has different tone than campaign statements calls for Muslim World to fight radical Islamist terrorists that indiscriminately kill people of all faiths


The Whirlwind of the Donald Trump administration is taking a road trip to Saudi Arabia and later Israel and the White House is leaking like a sieve and critics and supporters would like things to settle down and maybe a little less “drama” said, said Sen. Mitch McConnell a senate leader. However, the trump administration is saying along with federal legislators that things are getting done. But Trump is still going after the media and created a firestorm when he told the Russian Ambassador some classified information that came from Israel and plots by terroist blowing up planes using a laptop computer and Trump saying he can declassify such information but he has the global intelligence community nervous. Further the rogue North Korea launched another missile and is putting their finger in the eyes of China with these frequent tests and has Russia Japan and South Korea on high alert since The Hermit kingdom is so unstable and unpredictable and is just another global problem the trump administration will have to face.


Further, critics are sighting the 25th Amendment in the Constitution but even Democrats are afraid of that option when the vice President and cabinet officers vote to replace the president (either through illness or difficulty in doing the required job).


And that could add instability to future administrations and would make the office more unstable in future years and even Democrats are worried about such a maneuver and its impact on the highest office in the nation. However, Republicans hope he cuts back on his tweets that continue to dominate the weekly news cycle and has reporters exhausted at the sheer volume. Coming during the weekly news cycle and some contradictory statements but the missile launch by North Korea Saturday has the country back on the front burner and the rogue regime is not only threatening Japan, Russia and Seoul but also China and the PRC has a major stake to keep Korea from having a deliverable intercontinental missile with a nuclear warhead. The North Korea ballistic missile launch Saturday and the rogue country continues to defy the Chinese and world organizations condemnation. And the ballistic missile could have a 1,200 mile range but is not capable of carrying a nuclear warhead at this time.


>>> What does the local VA badly need in the Miami Hospital District city of Miami land?


The top VA administrator locally told Miami Commissioners Thursday morning the important medical institution is having patient delays and vets are “missing doctor appointments,” because of the lack of parking and the VA wants the city of Miami  to contribute some City Land to be used for parking especially for amputees in wheelchairs  and this the kind of issue that is important but will many times fall between the cracks and the Miami Manager  a vet of Dessert Storm  and the city should try to work something out in the future..


>>> What composite rebar has UM created that can be used rather than metal rebar for sea walls and condominium balconies and is an exciting new development however structural tests need to be done and the building code modified to use such corrosion resistant polymer rebar that could be a major boon to the building and condominium uses and could reduce costs greatly since it will not degrade like conventional rebar when salt water is involved and could be great with  docks and other submerged uses say engineers.


New Citizen Scientist wanted 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:


What about Trump and the Paris Climate agreement?


Last week President Donald J. Trump said he was withdrawing the nation from the Paris climate pact and companies and states are saying they will continue with the carbon reducing guidelines. Since it was an accord, it was easy for Trump to pull out but it has environmentalists howling and the science community dumb founded. Further Trump is pushing P3 projects and will include 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:  however given the Trump proposed budget gutting HUD funding flexibility is highly unlikely.


>>> 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


>>>  Connect Miami is a new program trying to get residents to engage with their neighbors and friends to broaden community interaction something that at times may be difficult to do. And for more go to And Many of the events are free.




>>> Turbulent special session comes to close House legislator’s bulk at override of Gov. Vetoes, Visit Florida gets its funding to support growing global tourism industry


The Florida legislative session is coming to an end after a turbulent session and House and Senate leaders have finally come together and Visit Florida the state’s tourist arm got the $75 million in funding that was being asked by Scott who believes it is a critical component to the competitive global tourism industry that funds a huge part of the Florida budget and must be nurtured for tourism cuts across the state as a significant revenue stream. and for more go to:


State Atty. Katherine Fernandez Rundle weighing governor bid, but will past decisions nix that race, with other candidates joining the fray?


The top cop in Miami-Dade County Katherine Fernandez-Rundle (net worth was $2.368 million in Dec.1, 2012) is said to be considering a run for Florida governor in 2018 when Gov. Rick Scott is termed out. And she gathered a host of campaign consultants to discuss her possible bid, which could be fraught with criticism of how the office prosecuted cases related to the police with one high profile death Darien Rainey continuing staying in the news. And for more go to:


Rundle first took office when she was appointed after her predecessor Janet Reno became the nation’s attorney general in the Clinton administration and she has won reelection several times since then and given she is elected county wide critics believe she is soft on local political corruption over the years and recently the Miami-Dade Democratic Party has called for her removal after the office did not pursue the Rainey case where the man was scolded with hot water while in a county jail and has infuriated the community and is still lingering and could complicate any attempt of her running for higher office either as a gubernatorial candidate or Florida Attorney general since AG Pam Bondi is termed out and she is weighing her political options for the future but if she runs her long prosecution history will be dissected in detail and could be a rough race for her to win.


Gov. Scott announces budget compromise at MIA, will Florida Legislature buy in after $409 million in local and statewide projects axed?


Gov. Rick Scott has vetoed some $409 million in local and statewide funding and has come up with a compromise between the Florida House and senate leaders and needs to be passed during the upcoming 3-day special legislative session.


Further the Florida House Speaker Richard Corcoran, -Land of Lakes was on “This Week in South Florida,” and he discusses the compromise and realizes both legislative bodies leaders will be weighing in over the next few days. And to see the show go to:


>>>Further to search for any Florida Constitution officers net worth go to


>>> What will Gov. Scott veto in state’s $83.5 billion budget?


Gov. Rick Scott has been given an $83.5 Billion budget by the legislature for the state’s next fiscal year and he is said to be sharpening the budget veto pen and he has only one more budget until he is termed out. But a special Legislative session may be called since the constitutional Amendment for legal Marijuana has yet to be settled and to read the governor’s budget go to.


What about former state Rep. Eric Fresen, R-Miami and the IRS?


Fresen is going before a federal judge for sentencing for owing $30,000 to the IRS and his home was foreclosed on and the former state rep carried a lot of water for the Charter School industry and was also a Genting lobbyist looking to bring gambling to Miami. And for more go to  Further, he did not pay taxes for eight years and people are outraged and shows between Artiles the South Florida delegation better lift the bar concerning their activities and women who are not their wives while they claim to be a family man, and elected officials who get convicted many times lose any public pension and can be a considerable deterrent that did not work with Fresen and his family and he could be sentenced a  year in federal  prison.


The Watchdog Report can’t believe how many taxpayers are shocked he did not pay taxes for 8 years and they would never temp the federal agency in this way and it this hypocrisy that really annoys most taxpayers and U.S. District Judge Robert Scola has a history of rough sentences when comes to betraying the public trust when it is a state lawmaker and while a plea deal he could get a year in jail.




>>> Will last minute amendment to MLS deal by Commissioner Diaz torpedo the deal when it comes to Miami?


Will a last minute amendment stall a Miami Commission vote on zoning changes for a new MLS stadium on the edge of Overtown and had Commissioner Jose “Pepe,” Diaz insisting that only county first responders could work the stadium and get overtime and once again would exclude City of Miami police and fire rescue and has caused a firestorm with Miami commissioners and had Mayor Tomas Regalado calling it ‘crazy’ and given the  time sensitive nature since MLS has to approve David Beckham and his investor team waiting and the issue has been percolating for years. Ever since Miami sold the land to the county to bolster its anemic finances at the time.


However county fire chiefs are chafing at the county “dictate’ and don’t want to be responsible for the municipalities first responder duty and this adds a new wrinkle in the deal and may ultimately frustrate the Beckham investment group.


What about parking at JHS?


County Commissioner Javier Souto During the stadium discussion noted that nearby Jackson Health System had plenty of parking saying the parking garages are empty but the hospital is a 24/7 facility and the Watchdog Report does not know how empty the garages are run by the Miami Off Street Parking authority and they could provide information on parking levels at night. Further, there are a number of government parking garages nearby and the MLS is creating 2,000 parking spots and why the extra parking is needed.


What about County Mom & Pop Grants?


The County’s Mom & Pop program created to help small business expand an organizations footprint and is widely used by small business and was created 20-years ago and LeRoy Jones has been the point of the spear for the organization during county budget hearings and over the years it has been a real success.


Vice Chairwoman Edmonson’s statement on soccer stadium deal


MIAMI – “Today, after many concessions and several community meetings, Miami-Dade County approved the sale of County-owned land located in my District to the Beckham Group for the purpose of building a Major League Soccer stadium. While not the perfect deal, this was by far the most promising stadium relationship this County has seen. There are no public dollars attached, and the group will not only become a contributing taxpayer but also a community partner.  As many concerns were raised by my constituents in Overtown, I unabashedly addressed each one with careful consideration. In the end, the Beckham group diligently worked with me and the Administration to address every concern and included all of the provisions and benefits in the contract.  It is my hope that children of all ages get an opportunity to learn about this international sport and not only get a chance to play but a chance to witness this amazing sport right in their community,” Miami-Dade County Commission Vice Chairwoman Audrey M. Edmonson said.


>>> At last week’s commission meeting discussing the soccer stadium and people noting the residents in the “305” don’t walk to events. But had Commissioner Xavier Suarez trying to be hip saying he was going to change all his phone numbers to the hipper “787” exchange he said from the dais to fellow commissioners.


>>> PAST WDR:  The Value Adjustment Board (VAB) met in the County Commission chambers and it was a “historic meeting,” said Dr. Marta Perez the school board appointee to the board and County commissioner Daniella Levine-Cava chaired the important board that certifies the county’s yearly property tax role and in the past because of a cottage industry for appealing property taxes held up  this role and caused the district school board to face a revenue shortfall and this year it is on time after years of delay and below is a press release from Perez.












What did the county manager say about my being a columnist for The Miami Herald?


Stierheim at a Miami-Dade County charter review meeting said “My God Ricker,” now you are a Miami Herald columnist,” he joked since we had gotten to know each other over the years.


>>> Commissioner Levine Cava wants greater diversity on numerous County boards, says women are severely unrepresented on these commission boards


County Commissioner Daniela Levine Cava is asking County Clerk Harvey Ruvin to give breakdown on how many women are one of the county’s 93 commission created boards including the Public Health Trust and Levine Cava noted that at least half of the population of Miami-Dade are women and should be represented on these numerous boards and had County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz saying he is doing his part since “all his staff,” are women and he appointed a women to the Charter Review Committee Diaz,  noted.


What about the need for a new court house County Commission discussion?


Judges and high profile attorneys  spoke to commissioners about the need for a  new county courthouse including Steve Zack a past president of the American Bar Association and Zack was part of the 2000 election legal team in Gore Vs. Bush and he was the first Cuban American to hold that legal perch. And the county is trying to figure a way to fund this needed courthouse including a P3 proposal as a possibility and has been pushed by Commissioner Sally Heyman also an attorney.


Café Abbracci owner gets knighted, by Italy for 26 years of excellent Italian food.


Caffe Abbracci owner Nino Pernetti was knighted by the Italian consulate for his 26 years of serving light but delicious food in the landmark restaurant that has even served President Barack Obama and is a popular power lunch spot and the WDR wishes the owner another two decades in the business.


Americans died last year, 3,000 alone in Florida, different treatment than heroin addiction


PAST WDR because our Youth are dying at a terrible rate: because this is killing our kids and caused the creation of The Miami-Dade County  Opioid Task force met and heard some of the committee recommendation on how to end this scourge that kills 33,000 people in the nation of overdoses and last year. Where Florida saw 3,000 deaths from overdoses and it cuts across all ethnic lines an even physicians are saying they were guilty as well after medical reviews indicated treating someone for pain was beneficial and the clinicians were told many of these drugs were less addictive than in the past which turned out not to be true and many users in pain shifted to cheap Mexican yellow heroin mixed with very toxic fentanyl mainly from China and is highly toxic and a drop can easily kill.


Further, in New Hampshire they are arresting dealers as killers when one of their doses kills someone and here in Miami-Dade government leaders were warned about this scourge about three years ago when former addict now clean, Jon Schmidt told some commission staff the county was not prepared for the onslaught coming. And discussions are going on to increase the availability of NarCan, a drug that reverse the overdose but also has some addicts getting an immunity to the dose that may have to be given twice to the slumped over person. And the task Force will be presenting their recommendations in the coming weeks to Mayor Carlos Gimenez. Editor’s note: I keep running this story because it is such a scourge that kills across all ethnic lines.


>>> The County’s Millennial Commission met last week and the 14 member board did not have a quorum and the commission is the brainchild of Commissioner Dennis Moss and the number for a quorum should d be changed in the ordinance passed by commissioners.


>>> 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:




>> FIU Golden Scholarship program helps fund students needing fiscal resources to graduate in four years, great opportunity for Miami-Dade students wanting a higher education


>>> FIU Golden Scholar program funds for the economically distressed in Miami-Dade and is a new initiative started by the FIU Foundation             


Florida international university President Marc Rosenberg, Ph.D spoke to the Miami-Dade Schoolboard about a new scholarship program called Golden Scholars and the FIU  foundation is guaranteeing anyone that wants to work hard and qualifies will be able to get a degree in four years if the student economically cannot pay and it is a great program and school board members were enthusiastic in their support of FIU Foundation and its 54,000 students and for more on the program go to


FIU’s promise to 2017 freshmen: As good as gold

FIU Foundation News, Inspiration and Impact, Student | No Comments

FIU is making a promise to the 2017 freshman class: If your family cannot help you pay for college, FIU will. Call it a Golden Promise. FIU’s Golden Promise guarantees…

Read More


>>>>> PAST WDR:  Friends of WLRN and District at impasse little progress in getting new operating agreement with the district an entity that owns the WLRN license and Supt Alberto Carvalho says he has  “no interest,” in selling the station or “determine content”


>>> What about the federal IG audit and investigation of Friends of WLRN?


WLRN on Wednesday at the school board received some federal grants for the station that are normal and generally occur every year said Supt. Alberto Carvalho in the press room while the meeting ws going on and the grant amounts are $1,031,346 for the grant period from Oct.1 through Sept.30, 2018. Further the Corporation for Public Broadcasting grants the funding under the Radio Community Service grant in the approximate amount of $655,416 for that duration.


The Watchdog Report asked Carvalho and the district’s Chief Auditor if there was any news on the federal IGs audit of Friends of WLRN the fundraising arm for the WLRN but is facing an IG inquiry since the organization has not been able to produce a certified audit after the organizations CFO was fired and he had used an inappropriate formula that may have ginned up the federal draw down from the Corporation of Public Broadcasting. And for more go to


And here is the Friends CFO job description that apparently has been filled


>>> And here is the audit report done by the District and what has been going on at Friends and the school board’s options and it is a great read.


When it comes to the District’s relationship with WLRN there has been little progress and the item will not be discussed again until the School Audit and Budget review Committee has a signed actual agreement to review after a four hour meeting with much of the discussion on WLRN and Friends of WLRN.


And under former Superintendent Rudy Cruz the organization Friends of WLRN made a number of changes in their bylaws that currently has Superintendent Alberto Carvalho trying to clarify the relationship including another entity SFMC that pays for the News Director’s high-end salary of $200,000 after news director Tom Hudson left from PBS a few years ago.


And the station did not want staff and employees to be Miami-Dade District employees because then WLRN would have to pay union wages and does not have to know since the employees are not district employees. Further there is said to be other inequities in pay funded by an organization called South Florida Media Company (SFMC). Further an auditor’s memo states “SFPM is not subject to public disclosures of significant information that is typically included in Form 990 tax returns,” wrote the chief auditor. And during the audit committee there were no representatives of Friends or WLRN present.


Further, the issue of Friends audits has dominated the headlines but previous years certified audits are on line at the friends of WLRN web page an there office  is on Flagler Street versus the school district and i wanted to attend one of WLRN and friends board meetings but I found no information how I could attend a meeting .


The odd thing is that one or two board members are on the Friends Board including Dr. Michael Karp and other board members over the tears but some board members have spotty attendance record and at past audit committee meetings Perla Tabares Hantmen has asked for a Friends update every three months but that has not been forth coming. And Hantman reminded the board she has been on this for years and I have reporter audit packets from 20009 and WLRN and Friends are peppered with references in the minutes including 2015 packets. Further, in Hantman’s case she had a good attendance.




>>> AOA with UM Miller Medical school goes smoothly versus past contentious years, JHS one of few public hospitals in nation with affiliation with medical school


What about the Annual Operating Agreement (AOA with UM?


Last week the PHT board passed the annual operating agreement (AOA) with the University of Miami’s Miller Medical School and in prior years this had become contentious issue with critics back then saying UM was “poaching patients,” from Jackson which UM and President Donna Shalaya vigorously said was not true and physicians who did this would be disciplined, she said at a past trustee meeting. However, this year Carlos Migoya said the AOA negotiations were much smoother than in years past when the agreement was $127 million (and I could not find the Herald article that states what the new AOA was going to cost). I apologize for this lack of info on the AOA.


Further in the past Marco Lapciuc the board chair had some frustrating words and the agreement now clearly validates what physician services the university will provide and since CEO and President Carlos Migoya has navigated this matter. Jackson Health System (JHS) is getting some of the best medical services for this public hospital and is one of few such hospital systems that is affiliated with a public hospital system.


>>> PAST WDR:  WHAT about Ryder Trauma Center’s 25 Silver Anniversary saving lives since 1992?


Ryder Trauma Center created in 1992 at a time when many emergency rooms were shutting down and many hospital administrators were seeking just one incredible Level1 Trauma Center that is expensive to run given a complete complement of surgeons and physicians on site 24/7 verses other Level 1I Trauma Centers where a surgeon is less than an hour away and when it comes to Trauma time is of the essence.


However a number of private hospital trauma centers have been opened at Kendall Regional, Aventura and these trauma Centers are all owned by the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) and these centers tend to get the car crashes where there may be $10,000 in car insurance but Ryder is getting the gunshot wounds and knife blades ( and generally have no insurance and the U.S. Army surgeons before they deploy have rotated through Ryder since 20001 and this training hones the surgeons skill and the professionals also give free medical care to the health system.


And a few years back Ryder because of these other trauma centers (Ryder was losing some $28 million one year) an is why I have always kept an eye on the facility because it is a county crown jewel that other counties around the nation (would kill for) given the incredible success rate that included telemedicine with surgeons in Iraq and Afghanistan over the years and more recently Ryder has been in the news after a wounded Florida State Trooper Carlos Rosario was hit on a freeway by a texting driver and received serious injuries but he was helicoptered to Ryder and is slowly recovering after almost dying a number times while being treated.


How did Ryder come about?


On the 10th Anniversary of Ryder there was a big celebration and Jackson benefactor Jay Weiss took me aside and told me the history and how he had called the Ryder CEO and asked them to pony up some serious money to get the fundraising started for the public facility filled with UM physicians and surgeons of the first order. Further, Weiss, a philanthropist made a significant contribution at the time and Ryder is what it is today celebrating its silver anniversary and the public thanks all the staff and physicians for saving so many lives over the decades. And for more:




>>> Let the MLS piñata begin after Commissioner Diaz. Kicks a curveball, demanding county police work inside and Miami police do the outside, has Diaz saying there is “enough overtime,” for both organizations to get plenty of work


As soon as the Miami-Dade County Commission approved a county land  sale for the new MLS stadium last week I knew the deal was going to be a piñata for the five Miami Commissioners and a new secondary issue was when Jose “Pepe” Diaz  threw in an amendment  that only county police would be used for security and overtime work an issue that has plagued Miami Police Officers and has been a source of tension since it applies to the AAA arena and The Arsht Center both county facilities where Miami Police only work outside the facility and could be a canard since a number of Miami Officers said they had good relations with county officers at such events. Further county unions are protesting the county ‘dictate’ and may tamp down any future demands by the five member commission who have to vote on zoning matters and closing a street.


What about mayoral candidate Francis X Suarez?


The Watchdog Report asked Suarez about his prodigious ability to fund raise even though he has yet to get a challenger and he recently sponsored civility legislation that has been proposed by the county ethics commission. He responded “more is coming,”


However Miami commissioners will try to extract more concessions if the past is any predictor.


What about the civility program?


However Commissioner Russell has been pushing the issue and the wild card is what mayoral candidate Francis Suarez says about the controversial item first conceived in 2001 and Flagstone was the project selected because of the anticipated revenues to the city were so high that appears delinquent.  And the project is highly political now and it remains to be seen if there feet are held to the fire and the commission voted the organization was in default of the agreement, and will likely be decided in the courts. And for more go to:


What did local leaders say about the US leaving the Paris accord?


Here is a WPLG Channel 10 piece that includes mayoral candidate and potential congressional candidate Ken Russell being interviewed. Since South Florida is ground zero for sea level rise and is even impacting Vizcaya.


What about The Bay front Park Trust?


The Trust met Wednesday and negotiations are going on if the Omni CRA has to pay the Trust $2 million a year for 15 years (some $30 million) for the maintenance of a playground in Museum Park where the playgrounds facilities will cost some $2 million in a no bid contract and the playground equipment is made in Germany.


However the Omni CRA would like to use the $30 million for affordable housing in the CRA area and negotiations are going on between Miami Commission Vice Chair Ken Russell and Commissioner Frank Carollo who chairs the Bayfront Park board and readers will have to see how this all pans out.


The Bayfront Park Trust is considering building a playground in Miami Museum Park and the Omni CRA in a past agreement has agreed to pay $2 million a year in park maintenance.


 >>> Virginia Key Advisory Board, still upset with not knowing about city’s plan with developer to have tony Cabana Club, some say it disrespects Historic Black Beach


The Virginia Key Advisor Board is bristling with a city plan to let a developer put a tony Beach cabana club on the Historic Black Beach and the Miami Commission is reviewing the matter given the sensitivity of the historic beach relegated to only Blacks back in the late 1950s And at one ceremony back in 1999 then Congresswoman Carrie P. Meek and Althea Range planted a tree in memorial of the sacred beach.


However the developer has apparently bought a part of the beach and environmentalists are concerned it will be a concrete jungle that also must be open to the public and it remains to be seen what the final development will be that must be approved by the Miami Commission.




>>> Mayoral campaign heats up how low will Gelber & Grieco go to win the top spot, suspicious PAC will be dissolved nd money returned pro rata


Defense Attorney Michael Grieco has been fighting back after the Miami Herald did an investigation of a PAC that the commissioner said did not involve him and since the reporting the PAC has been dissolved and money returned to donors in a pro rata basis but the Kerfuffle has amped up the intensity of the race for mayor and pits Gelber a former federal prosecutor against his opponent a former state representative and senator and historically there have many tough mayoral races over the years and the beach has some of the tightest campaign finance rules in the county and why this became a major political issue in the race and Grieco suggests the paper of record is doing a hatchet job on him in

And for more go to:


This matter but many wonder if these type of issues will impact on the election in November and voters will make the decision


>>>Mayor Levine, calls for 2:00 a.m. drinking curfew at bars & restaurants on Ocean Drive, which draws a rowdy crowd late at night


>>> When to end drinking on Ocean Drive splits city leadership, after incidents during packed Memorial Day celebrations and has Mayor Phillip Levine calling for a 2:00 a.m. curfew though he notes (people could continue to drink in hotels) but it can’t be at the bars and restaurants on Ocean Drive and has restaurant owners up in arms but the Drive has changed over the years and is not drawing the family crowds like years past. Further Kristen Rosen Gonzalez sent a memo to City Manager Jimmy Morales questioning if the police body cams is keeping the officers from policing. However, Morales notes how the police were reacting prior to Chief Dan Oates taking the helm and the commissioner is a congressional candidate could be looking for a little press. For more on the story go to


What about the missing money?


A man from Syracuse NY has been arrested for stealing some $3.6 million from the city’s coffers and the man is already in custody and authorities are working getting the money back and the city has beefed up its finance department that in the past missed the transfers from a Sun trust bank account.


>>> Further, 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.


Community EVENTS & Public Service announcements

Margulies Collection 2


>>>> Now closed for the season and the Warehouse and check it out at

Margulies collection


>>>And the Margulies Warehouse for more info 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




>>>> Florida Constitutional commission should insist on transparency, not darkness as Sunshine law gets diluted


The rallies around the nation seeking the truth is not just a national issue but a local one where politicians say one thing and do another. And locally one high profile attorney Roberto Martinez a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Florida and he objected to the changing the Sunshine Rules for the Florida Constitution Review that were going to be watered down by the chair.


And given the state Constitution’s importance it seems odd that the chair would want to revise the basic tenants of the Sunshine Law and open government and the public needs to keep a close watch on this body when something like this becomes the first issue and with Gov. Rick Scott appointing many of the members email Scott that transparency is one of Florida’s hallmarks and should not be diluted.


>>> 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.




>>> Lotus Village provides vital services for Miami women and children


Here is some information about the Lotus Village. In Lotus Village, we seek to create a prototype for the future, in which shelter and services for those in need are fully integrated with the urban fabric of the neighborhood we call home. In addition to offering increased capacity with efficient design and land utilization, Lotus Village will include a holistic neighborhood health clinic and children’s day care and wellness center, serving Lotus House and our community.


The shelter facilities in Lotus Village, to be operated by Lotus House, are being designed to accommodate high special needs individuals and families, including programs for youth, elders and the medically needy, a safe haven for those with severe trauma histories, pregnant women and infants, and families of all shapes and sizes. The children’s wellness center will offer child therapy services, nurturing parenting classes, a day care and playground. Food service and dining facilities will include training programs for life skills and job readiness, in addition to meal preparation, dining and a wide range of social activities. A neighborhood health clinic will offer a complement of basic and preventive health care, maternal and pediatric care, eye and dental care, behavioral health and wellness, and a wide range of health and wellness programming for the shelter and our Overtown neighborhood. Deeply integrated in the fabric of our neighborhood, Lotus Village will provide critical linkages to a network of service providers and resources in the larger community, empowering those we shelter and serve to build the foundation for enriched, happier and healthier lives.

You can learn more at:

>>> 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)


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LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)




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







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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


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


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Make Checks payable to Daniel Ricker

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