Archive for September 2017


Watchdog Report Sept. 24, 2017– EST 05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating almost 18 years of weekly publishing – I am still recovering from H Irma and will be back next week

>>>Further government is in its dormant period and reawakes in September when all the public budget meetings are held and I will back in action next week with fresh news how your billions in local public dollars are being spent and how your elected leaders are protecting your community tax dollars and why I cover the public schools Audit and budget review committee the community’s firewall made up of citizens and most have CPA qualifications, but was not the case a decade ago.

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. Micro Soft has given my Pay Pal account a thumbs up and dropped the warning about the site since they thought I was a phisher

And here is my philosophy on why I do this?                   

ran in all the Tribune papers around the nation and covers the early years of the WDR: and sand here is a 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 public corruption, 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. 


>>> Correction: I incorrectly reported that Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado did not list his income from being a trustee at Coral Gables Hospital and he told me he did “not attend,” enough meetings to get any compensation. I had emailed him about this but he only replied verbally last week.




ARGUS REPORT: If S. Florida was “spared,” what would have happened if direct hit? Asks County Commissioner Levine Cava -Could vexing Miami Beach community transportation dilemma be solved by solar powered self-propelled gondola, air conditioned, and system from Miami to Miami Beach, TPO looking at possible use on beach corridor

State Of FLORIDA: Candidate Taddeo calls in the big political gun with VP Joe Biden making robo calls, in her Sen.40 race against Rep. Diaz, a long time Trump supporter-The Florida Supreme Court rules Gov. Scott can reassign cases involving the death penalty after one state attorney said she did not believe in it

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: First Public Budget hearing a long affair with many speakers, transit cuts, and animals were just some of the topics citizens brought to the chambers, final hearing expected to be a rowdy affair -Charter Review Task force members concerned about lack of public input in the process, also ask if commission needs to produce counter county budget that gets reconciled. PBA union representative Rivera, says current form of strong mayor makes Gimenez more powerful than the other 13 commissioners, “my way or the highway, he says about union negotiations.”   — With $50 million spent on studies on the six transit corridors Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava would like to see a final report — Ferre asks why the charter review body has no money wants two elections with finalist running countywide and believes the task force needs better media coverage of the important review of the County’s constitution. Further Ferre and Neisen Kasdin both believe a commissioner pay increase should be included but not the first item on the charter ballot in 2018 — When it comes to Hurricane Andrew Commissioner Moss wondered “where was the cavalry?” first arrived in the form of Miami-Dade County police officer Lt. Robert parker who (would later become the first African American County Police Director now deceased).Are surveillance Cameras coming to county’s regional parks, hope is to cut down on gangs and drug sales in Miami-Dade County Regional Parks, will prevent rapes says, Souto. Also Thousands of cameras left over after FTAA event where security was massive are in the county’s warehouses, dropped after privacy rights rears its head. –After five years of a surplus, Jackson Health this year with budget cuts only “breaks even, but at end of year has surplus, “has become the “hospital paying patients want to go too, not because they have to,” said PHT board chair Arriola in joint trust BCC meeting — 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 only 20, after state cracks down on pill mills and is exasperating this epidemic.

MIAMI-Dade County Public Schools: WLRN’s Community Advisory Board (CAB) is meeting Sept. 7th @ noon at the stations min office and the WDR will be there — Florida House bill 7069 is fiscal “Armageddon,” to nation’s fourth largest public school says, Carvalho district credit rating drops to “credit negative,” by Moody’s credit agency. Further on Aug 16 a WLRN workshop is being held on Friends of WLRN— Supt. Carvalho focus on education excellence pays off in big way with no F schools after state rating, has been an elusive goal over the years — OIG report looks at minority owned firms getting contracts under GOB and is a priority with Supt. Carvalho — FIU Panther Scholarship program helps fund 1,131 students in 2017 needing fiscal resources to graduate in four years, great opportunity for Miami-Dade students wanting a higher education

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST: PHT gets a $20 million bump as a result of JHS settlement with ACHA, County attorney’s office praised for their work in this matter- JHS ends sixth fiscal year in the black but challenges remain — Community Crown Jewel Ryder Trauma Center has its Silver Anniversary last week, only Level 1 public trauma center in Miami-Dade, saves lives daily a community treasure!

CITY OF MIAMI: Mayor Regalado rides into the sunset in November legacy is a mixed bag, created his own nemesis, Crespogram with some of his patronage hire – See all of Miami’s elected leaders financial disclosure forms for the year

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH: Mayoral campaign calms down as candidate Grieco drops out of race after controversies

EDITORIALS: Politicians don’t realize voter’s frustration is they are such hypocrites, many times in their own actions 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: Commissioner Xavier Suarez on county’s use of half-cent sales tax — Fordham student Ram co-editor Knight intern studying how people get there local news, what about you where do you get your micro local news let us know? ­­— 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.




>>> 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 observe

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


>>> If S. Florida was “spared,” what would have happened if direct hit? Asks County Commissioner Levine Cava


If South Florida was “spared,” the fury of Hurricane Irma Daniela Levine Cava said the county commissioner what might have happened if it had been a direct hit and with the oppressive heat and no power tempers were on red alert and neighbors got to meet their neighbors an many types of kindness was exhibited by friends and neighbors but the clean-up will take months and Irma was not a Andrew that sounded like a freight train was next to your pillow and in my case power was out for almost 8 weeks back then and I was 40 versus 66 which makes such storms harder to physically tolerate and now Puerto Rico needs are help after it was ravaged by Hurricane Maria and the island previously facing financial problems will have a massive undertaking to rebuild and to contribute to the victims of the storms go to the Red Cross web page:


What about the good and the bad and the ugly?


With elections in November candidates and leaders were handing out food, water and ice to many residents shell shocked but a semi class war erupted when people perceived richer communities were getting preferential treatment and FPL is facing a number of lawsuits from Coral Gables to other municipalities but given the storm touched the whole state resources were limited given the scope of the devastation. Further the Watchdog Report knows a number of people that opened their homes to some of the line men to shower and sleep and these technicians came from Canada to Tennessee to help rebuild the south Florida community and the region should expect an influx of new arrivals from Puerto Rico since power could be out for six months and many of their residents have relatives in South Florida. Editor’s note: FPL denies that was the case


What about N. Korea?


The exchange between President Donald J. Trump and the despot leader of the rogue state has escalated into insults and the communist country has shown no willingness to back down from the harsh rhetoric from the petulant leader and Trump just seems to egg him own and is diminishing a diplomatic solution


President Trump is learning all kinds of problems come to the Oval office and earlier in the week it was North Korea and its threatening rhetoric and had the president threatening the rogue nation with ‘fire and fury,’ like the world has never seen and China’s premier Li Kegiang, an economist, asked the president to restrain his comments when it came to Hermit Kingdom and the PRC has told the belligerent nation that they are own their own if they escalate the tensions. However, the area of most danger is the ballistic missile test launches. Since the world cannot determine if it is nuclear tipped and is why the Trump administration through a back channel is pushing a diplomatic solution. However, the world is worried if Korea continues its provocative tone and a misunderstanding could trigger an accidental exchange.


>>>PAST WDR: Could a vexing community transportation dilemma be solved by solar powered self-propelled gondola, air conditioned, and system from Miami to Miami Beach?


>>> A local millennial Cynthia Fleischmann, an artist and someone I know from Switzerland and an active environmentalist came up with the idea of using a solar powered self-propelled, air conditioned gondola from Miami to Miami Beach a barrier Island. And I showed these design renderings to a number of millennials who all said they had, “no problem riding,”   and one person I showed it to said it “was cool,” and two others had the same “cool” comment and of course would have no problem riding in the pod. And the terminal could be near a Metro station located around the old Herald property, if Genting bought into it and given there Asian connection might see the eloquence of the design that would become known around the world for solving a major transportation problem, especially using solar power. Further it could be one of the global iconic views of the Miami and Beach skyline especially at night and given Baylink a wireless street car est. costing $2.44 million, this design could be another creative feature to any mass transit to the beach.


Editor’s note: I have no financial interest in the project. But it could be a low cost way to fix a vexing long term community dilemma. Further, this is a guaranteed tourist drawer with families taking the gondola and seeing the Miami skyline. Especially at night and it would put the rusty pelican view of the Miami sky line to shame. But if leaders can think out of the box: Images By Cynthia Fleischmann & Edgar Alvarez


Gondola MMB3 Gondola MMB4

Out of the box: Still no response from Miami-Dade County, >>>> update at the County’s” Transportation planning Organization (TPO) is looking at new emerging technologies and one is for the Miami to Beach corridors: And the Watchdog Report contacted TPO vice- Chair Francis Suarez and he responded when asked about the gondola project he wrote back, They’re looking at it, writing, “Yes on the Beach corridor,” wrote the Miami mayoral; candidate.


>>>Neighbors 4 neighbors an organization that helps a wide swath of people needing help turns 25 years and the organization a not-for-profit was created after Hurricane Andrew flattened South Dade and Homestead and for more go to


What about China and technology?


When I first went to China in 1978 the Cultural Revolution was just ending and the people looked like they were mentally wiped out and 1 billion people wore a green, blue or gray Mao jacket and if there were breast pockets that was sign of authority. Further, at the time Americans were sure it would take decades for the Middle Kingdom to catch up with western technology like the stealth fighter jet they have, that is just like the F-35 stealth fighter after they breached the pentagon’s computers a few years ago. And now they are leading in quantum-teleportation and the following sites give details in this breakthrough can could create a very secure internet, or beam me up technology


>>> However Lotus House Village is seeing cuts to the tune of $750,000 said Constance Collins who runs the facility for homeless mothers with children and she said about one third of residents are “youths,” and “Many times with children,” and what is “happening is a humanitarian crisis,’ said Collins to trust board members. And Trust staff said there were “41 families with children,” in shelters and the “length of stay is just too long,” said Trust chair Ron Book and the trust has spent over” $1. Million” for the year for these families needing homes said executive director Vicky Mallette at a past trust meeting.


>>> 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.. And one of the only good things when it comes to parking if you are disabled parking is a little bit easier but Miami is a city with a long history of supporting the military should get the parking issue resolved if the city really cared for the veterans something Mayor Tomas Regalado touts in public speeches


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:


>>> 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 the future.




>>> Candidate Taddeo calls in the big political gun with VP Joe Biden making robo calls, in her Sen.40 race against Rep. Diaz, a long time Trump supporter


With The Florida Senate race for Dist. 40 heating up and the clock is ticking until the special election with candidates Annette Tadddeo and Jose Diaz saying they were pulling campaign ads because of Irma and it would be unseemly but the ads have filled the airwaves despite the plight of many south Florida residents and the two debated on WPLG Local Channel 10 and the race is nasty and Democrats are hoping to ick up a GOP seat in the Republican controlled senate but it is unknown if the V.P endorsement will be significant in the tight race interrupted by Irma and its misery. Further Taddeo a perennial candidate has yet to cross the finish line in many of her past races and she is hoping this time will be the charm but voter turnout is expected to be light.


>>> The Florida Supreme Court rules governor Scott can reassign cases involving the death penalty after one state attorney said she did not believe in it


>>>> Gov. Scott press release: Governor Rick Scott Reassigns Kissimmee Police Officers Homicide Cases from State Attorney Aramis Ayala to State Attorney Brad King

Today, Governor Rick Scott issued Executive Order 17-222 reassigning the case of Everette Glenn Miller from State Attorney Aramis Ayala to State Attorney Brad King. Everette Glenn Miller is accused of shooting and killing two Kissimmee police officers – Officer Matthew Baxter and Sgt. Richard “Sam” Howard. In March, State Attorney Ayala unilaterally decided to not seek the death penalty in any case prosecuted by her office. As Governor, Governor Scott has sole authority in Florida to reassign cases when he determines that the reassignment will serve in the interest of justice.


Governor Rick Scott said, “Last night’s violence against our law enforcement community is reprehensible and has no place in our state. In Florida, we have zero tolerance for violence and those who attack our law enforcement. Today, I am using my executive authority to reassign this case to State Attorney Brad King to ensure the victims of last night’s attack and their families receive the justice they deserve.”


Attorney General Pam Bondi said, “Two Florida police officers were brutally murdered and the victims’ families deserve a prosecutor who is willing to consider all sentences, including the death penalty – that is why the Governor and I agree the investigation and prosecution of this case must be reassigned.”  And for more go to:


>>> Press release: Gov. Scott: Florida Sets All-Time Tourism Record in First Half of 2017


TAMPA, Fla. – Today, Governor Rick Scott announced that Florida set another record by welcoming the highest number of visitors of any six months in the state’s history with 60.7 million visitors, according to VISIT FLORIDA. This represents a 4.1 percent increase over the same period in 2016, and includes 53.2 million domestic visitors, 5.3 million overseas visitors and 2.2 million Canadian visitors.


Governor Scott said, “I am proud to announce today that Florida has continued its record breaking success by welcoming more than 60 million visitors to our state over the first half of 2017- the highest number of visitors of any six months in our state’s history. This means back-to-back record quarters for our state. Now, with the investments made in VISIT FLORIDA during this year’s Special Legislative Session, we can continue to break records and work toward our goal of 120 million visitors this year. Florida’s booming tourism industry supports 1.4 million jobs across the state, and I know that VISIT FLORIDA and their many local partners are continuing to focus on breaking more records in order to help create even more opportunities for our families.”


VISIT FLORIDA estimates that a record 29.9 million visitors traveled to Florida in the second quarter of 2017 (April-June), an increase of 6.8 percent over the same period last year. This Q2 number breaks down to 26.4 million domestic visitors, 2.6 million overseas visitors and 899,000 Canadians coming to Florida. Total enplanements at Florida’s 18 major airports in Q2 2017 increased 6.1 percent over the same period the previous year, with a record 22.8 million enplaned passengers. The number of hotel rooms sold in Florida during quarter two of 2017 grew by 4.2 percent compared to quarter two 2016. During the same period, Florida’s average daily room rate (ADR) increased by 4.0 percent and occupancy by 2.5 percent.


Ken Lawson, President and CEO of VISIT FLORIDA, said, “With more than 60 million visitors to the state so far this year, this is an exciting and historic time for the Florida tourism industry. VISIT FLORIDA is committed to continuing to create cutting-edge marketing programs for our industry partners of all sizes that showcase the state to visitors and help make Florida the number one vacation destination in the world.”


The Florida Aquarium President and CEO Roger Germann said, “I am proud to join Governor Scott for this exciting announcement today. Our team at The Florida Aquarium welcomes hundreds of thousands of Tampa Bay residents and guests from around the world every year, and we are incredibly proud of our economic and educational impact in the community and our state. I look forward to working with Governor Scott, VISIT FLORIDA and our partners across the state to continue Florida’s thriving tourism industry and create even more opportunities at The Florida Aquarium.”


The Florida Aquarium Chief Operating Officer Scott Rose said, “The news that Florida tourism has had another record quarter and the biggest six months in our history is no surprise to me. Florida is an incredible state with so many things to see and experience, especially right here in Tampa Bay, including The Florida Aquarium. Our partnership with VISIT FLORIDA contributes significantly to our success and we look forward to continuing to work with them to share our mission and vision with others.”


Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association President and CEO Carol Dover said, “Florida continues to set record tourism numbers, which supports our economy and the 1.4 million industry jobs across the state. As ambassadors of Florida’s tourism industry, we will continue to work diligently to attract even more visitors to enjoy our incredible state. The Florida Restaurant & Lodging Association is proud to be a champion of the tourism industry and honored to share Florida’s world-renowned hospitality with residents and visitors alike.”


Mise en Place President and CEO Maryann Ferenc said, “Six consecutive years of record visitation and now two more record quarters to start off the year do not happen by accident. It’s the result of really smart marketing by VISIT FLORIDA and the entire Florida tourism industry. Now is the time for all of us – big, small, public, private, DMO, commercial entity – to work together so that we can achieve our goal of 120 million visitors this year and make Florida the number one travel destination in the world.”


Madame Tussauds Orlando Senior Trade Sales Manager and Board Chair of the Florida Attractions Association Nick Romeo said, “With another quarter of record visitation numbers, it’s clear to see why Florida is a top worldwide destination. Florida’s world-class attractions play an important role in bringing people here, and we are working every day to market ourselves more aggressively. We look forward to continuing to work with VISIT FLORIDA to set more records and make Florida the number one global destination.”

To view additional Florida visitor data, go the Research page on VISIT FLORIDA’s media website. *Preliminary estimates are issued 45 days after the end of each calendar quarter. Final estimates are released when final data are received for all estimates in the report


What about the python hunters?


Python hunters hit the 500 mark in catching the invasive python that is decimating the smaller animals in the Florida Everglades and while these creatures have been in the public eye but the invasive Nile Monitor a meat eater is also increasing in population and along the tegue


Nile Monitor

Varanus niloticus

Nile monitors are a conditional species in Florida (68-5.002, Florida Administrative Code).



The Nile monitor is a large, nonnative lizard that has been introduced to Florida. A typical adult Nile monitor can grow over 5 feet in length and weigh close to 15 pounds. Nile monitors are light yellow to dark olive or brown in color. They have a pattern of light yellow chevron markings on the back, which appear as bands or stripes closer to the head and tail. The top side of the tail tapers up in the shape of a rudder to assist in Swimming. Nile monitors are semi-aquatic and are often found basking or foraging for food along canals.


Tupinambis merianae



The Argentine black and white tegu is a large, nonnative lizard that has been introduced to Florida. Tegus are black and white in color with banding along the tail. They can reach up to four feet in Length. In Florida, tegus can be seen on roadsides or other disturbed areas. They spend most of their time on land, though they can swim and may submerge themselves for long periods of time. Like many reptiles, they are primarily active during the day and will burrow or hide overnight.

Native range

South America, specifically Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Argentina.

>>>> PAST WDR: With the summer break the Children’s Trust of Miami –Dade has a host of summer activities including getting one free book for a young person and helps with a child’s reading ability.


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




>>> First Public Budget hearing a long affair with many speakers, transit cuts, and animals were just some of the topics citizens brought to the chambers, final hearing expected to be a rowdy affair


The County commissioners worked over Mayor Carlos Gimenez’s budget during the first public hearing last week and Commissioner Xavier Suarez and called the proposal a “minimalist budget,” since it included cuts in transit funding  in a system that has seven years of fare collection reductions and is crimping the creation in any new mass transit lines.


Further, Gimenez noted when it came to affordable housing dollars the number was a respectable figure


What about FEMA?


FEMA does not reimburse all expenses and clear documentation must be provided and ice is excluded as well as tree replacement something county Commissioner Dennis Moss wants the county to help with to reestablish down trees and try to keep as much of the county canopy as possible but it is clear it will be awhile before Miami-Dade gets back on its feet and at the first public budget meeting very well attended millennials and others talked about the need for a better transit system and objected to funding cuts in the system. Further after Andrew FEMA had to write off billions in federal aid back then and the city of Miami essentially used some of this money to run the city and that will not be the case this time because money is scarce versus back then.


What about the massive citizen participation at the long meeting and how millennials and community based organizations (CBO) have bed the “safety net, “lifeline for so many needy in the county providing critical services from the elderly to the community’s youth


>>> Some Charter Review Task force members concerned about lack of public input in the process, also ask if commission needs to produce counter county budget that gets reconciled. PBA union representative Rivera, says current form of strong mayor makes Gimenez more powerful than the other 13 commissioners


The Miami-Dade County Charter Review Task Force had a healthy discussion on whether the strong executive form of government should stay in place or go back to the previous form of government that had a county manager in the past. But was changed by county voters in 2007 and one issue was how the commission draws up its budget and whether the commission’s auditor should do “a competing budget.” And maybe the commission should be reconciling the mayor’s budget with the one the commission creates. Further, John Rivera told the task force members that when there was a manger regarding labor negations. There were tough times but the current structure has the mayor Carlos Gimenez pretty much saying, “MY way or the highway and he believes there are “14 commissioners,” with one being a stronger member, the PBA union president   told charter review members,. Further former Pinecrest Mayor Cindy Leaner said she thought a professional manager was a good thing and others wanted to know what the skills set should be and in Gimenez you have an administrator with experience but other candidates might not. However that would be up to voters if they felt someone was not qualified and the idea of going back to the past structure was because of all the “scandals,” at the County and “there was no one who could be held accountable and why voters voted for that strong mayor structure pushed by recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez and would later be inherited by Mayor Gimenez. Further attorney Marlon Hill said the task force needs to generate more interest with the public and need to hear from residents and Robert Cuevas, said if the task force wanted to they could “poll the public, “but he also said the task force and the former county attorney said since this was the “fourth meeting,” and during that time the attorney, said we have only agreed on “one issue, he closed.


Clerk Ruvin gets stop gap funding after finding savings for six more months


What about the Miami-Dade County Clerk’s office and needing at least $2 million in funding after the Florida legislature cut funding to clerks offices around the state and had Clerk Harvey Ruvin, telling commissioners that through savings in his office he had found $2 million in savings and the county has given the office enough to operate for the next six-months, said the long serving clerk, after discussions with Mayor Gimenez’s budget office.


Ruvin also wants to get more funding from the state abut commission Chair Estephan Bovo, Jr., a former state representative said they have to be careful when state costs are born by a county and becomes a repeated scenario when it comes to budgeting. Ruvin in frustration said Tallahassee, “treats Miami-Dade County like a step son,” and does not appreciate the volume of court work that is being done in such a diverse community.

>>> Metro Rail is getting “136 new train cars,” in the coming months said Mayor Gimenez and they are needed since metro rail‘s polder cars are not as reliable as they should be.


What about enhanced security cameras at MIA and the Port of Miami?


Commissioner Rebecca Sosa at a committee meeting last week asked the administration to look at the use of cameras at MIA especially in the baggage loading area given the attacks around the world and she noted both facilities are “our gateway,” to the world and must have enhanced protection. Further at MIA commissioner Dennis Moss wondered why with all the heavy rains at MIA “there are a lot of buckets,” catching water at MIA, “and is odd given the $6.5 billion spent to upgrade the airport over the past decade.


>>> Animal Activist are getting some attention after the Miami-Dade County inspector General released a report on how successful the county’s Animal Services no kill rate was especially with cats and I had heard that some thousands of cats were killed because they were considered aggressive. Further the IG report puts more pressure on the Mayor Gimenez’ administration to get these numbers further lowered. Further I have learned that many animals adopted are not checked on and some dogs are said to be “bait dogs” used in dog fights that can be held apparently easy in any empty pool and is still occurring in south Dade.


Further JHS has sixth year in a row in the black through Sept 30th


What about FIUs fifth year medical school students?


The FIU Herbert Wertheim Medical school graduated 114 new physicians, the universities 5th class and many are staying in the community and some 30 percent are going into primary care said Medical school Dean John Rock, M.D. and the medical school is working to “create a primary care program as well,” and is one of the prime reason FIU got the medical school since these doctors were hoped to go into primary care medicine and these students are seen at a number of hospitals including the Baptist Health System and are a welcome addition to patients with chronic diseases and getting the appropriate treatment before it gets worse and is saving “Jackson\n Health System money.” Said Rock


What about Jackson first?


PAST WDR: Jackson First is a program to serve the county’s 26,000 employees health needs and is doing well and in the past few years have served employees medical needs and has grown to 1,431 at the beginning and is now heading up to 2,981 paying county employees and since the county is self-insured and if this population continues to increase the savings to the county is significant and all the PHT new facilities take into consideration “resilience,” and the perception among Miami- Dade residents is Jackson health System “is the hospital you want to go to,” rather “than the hospital you have to go to,” said PHT board Chair Joe Arriola and Migoya and Arriola told commissioners UM Miller Medical School “relationship has never been better nd is helping to provide cutting edge medical care, and Jackson just completed a three year contract with the institutions nurses and it is “maintaining the nursing ratio,” said Migoya and the nurses leadership is working well with the administration and SEIU Union Local 1991,said the CEO Carlos Migoya. Further, the JHS has reduced the “length of stay,” a major cost saving and while the health system had a $830 million GOB, the trust still has a $1.2 billion capital plan and the institution is “stretched thin,’ and with the “squabble,” in Washington “we are heading for some very tough times,” said Migoya to commissioners that had a number of trustees at the dais and Arriola stressed the point that “Carlos is one of the lowest paid presidents of large healthcare systems, and had Migoya saying his work at Jackson is “one of the proudest chapters in my career,” he closed.


County employees raise $ 1.million for Miami-Dade United Way yearly fund drive, helps fill in “some gaps,” the county can’t cover, says CEO Mogul


The county workers that were loaned to the United Ways yearly fundraising, raised over $1 million and includes the mayoral ball and a host of other events and the organization helps fill in gaps that the county can’t, said united Way CEO Harve Mogul


>>> The Miami-Dade Office of the Inspector General is making some recommendations on an $11.852 million no bid waiver to modernization of the traffic control services at MIA and it is a great read with some suggestions and recommendations being made for the administration to consider and to read the report go to:


>>> PAST WDR: Americans died last year, 3,000 alone in Florida, opiate addiction different treatment than heroin addiction, but death toll nationally huge


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. Further to read the county task force’s report go to has saved millions by refinancing the extensive bond holdings




>>>> Board’s Audit and Budget Review committee meets Tuesday and a verbal report will be given on the Friends of WLRN federal audit is expected at the meeting according to the agenda and the fund raising arm of Worn is undergoing a federal audit and previously reported in the WDR and the audit is being done briskly but until the conclusion the audit committee is essentially monitoring the overall process after the station for number of years did not submit audits to the school district. To read the agenda go to:


>>> OIG report looks at minority owned firms getting contracts under GOB and is a priority with Supt. Carvalho


At the $1.2 billion GOB oversight board recently there was a discussion on how many minority contracts have been given to minority firms and primes since the school board let out contracts and Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has made this a crusade in that was promised when the bond was first voted on and the schools IG did a study of these minority contracts and to read the IG report go to::


>> Past WDR: FIU Golden Scholarship program helps 1,131 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

And for more 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   >> Further The Irma and Norman Brahman Foundation donated $1 million for needy students at MDC and FIU and is a great boon for those residents lacking the financial resources to continue their education and the WDR gives the foundation a Tip of The Hat for this very needed donation




>>> Mayor Regalado rides into the sunset in November legacy is a mixed bag, created his own nemesis, Crespogram with some of his patronage hires


Lame duck Mayor Tomas Regalado gave his last budget presentation to commissioners noting that while in office he has kept taxes flat but the city’s tax base has also grown through the roof with the rampant development and housing is no longer affordable for many residents and there is an increased divide from the haves and have nots and the mayor is pushing a $400 million bond dubbed “Miami Forever,” and the original amount was $250 million but commissioners bumped that number to the higher when some sweeteners were added to the list of projects and at Thursday’s commission meeting the commission overrode a mayoral veto and Regalado has been a political fixture in Miami for decades an went through a time when a number of commissioners were removed from the dais when they were inducted


What about all the FEMA money after Hurricane Andrew?


What about all the past managers and some of his own new hires?


Further, Mayor Regalado has brought in a number of controversial people since he first became mayor. First was Angel Zayon as the city’s communication director and later fired after complaints by city employees and Regalado even created his own nemesis Al Crespo of the adult Crespo gram when he hired a local Grovite Harry Gottlieb who used to claim erroneously that he helped get the mayor get elected which was certainly not the case. Since he ran against former Commissioner Joe Sanchez who ran a very weak campaign and was associated with former Mayor Manny Diaz and the toxic Miami Marlins baseball stadium costing over $1.6 billion given the way the financing was constructed and is considered a “tainted” stadium an why major league soccer wanted a different location to the enclosed stadium and the team is up for sale after the team hood winked Miami-Dade County Commissioners who supported the deal like lemmings’.


However Regalado has a history of taking numerous international trips and many times takes his daughter Raquel (now running for congress) and his son Tommy now running for the commission and has in the past shown showed little interest in government and he is facing Joe Carollo in the commission race a former Miami mayor with the moniker “crazy Joe,”


>>> Miami Commission keeps Mayor Regalado’s final reach with deferral of a $50 million marina complex on Virginia Key, won’t be on municipal ballot in Nov. City still has bonding capacity for 45 million Marine Stadium restoration


The Miami Commission deferred a vote e on putting on the municipal ballot in November, a theme hotel on Jungle Island and a Marina development on Virginia Key and a lease extension for Monty’s Raw Bar and Marina managed by Regalado confidante Steve Kneapler, whose corporation is registered as “Hocus Pocus,” and the man had issues with the SEC but he sits in a number of key city boards like Miami Exhibition Sports Authority (MESE) that the city uses to bend deals generally for Miami waterfront property. Further the mayor made a tactical mistake in calling commissioners” s (no show Monday) trying to suppress voter participation rather than the commissioners just not believing the administration’s proposals and wanted them more fleshed out. Further the mayor’s family are all jumping into politics with his son Tomas Regalado, Jr., running for a commission spot and his daughter Raquel Regalado running for vacated congressional seat 27 district an is facing a host of challengers and the father has blended his radio show host with politics as has the daughter and while she won a school board seat. She lost a bid for County mayor and many wondered why she did not run for mayor but past issues have dogged her political life and had to pay a fine when she was treasurer of her father’s campaign. And for more on the mayor go to:   Editor’s note: My criticism of the Regalado family and the way they govern has cost me a long time sponsor, but I will bounce back.


>>>Past WDR Mayor Regalado writes letter in support of disgraced Panamanian leader Martinelli, who embezzled $45 million from school lunch program, claims it was because the man has a ‘heart condition,’ seems odd for such a diehard critic of the Castro brothers


The Watchdog Report almost fell out of my chair when I read Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado had written a letter in support of former Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli now being held in federal provision for crimes when he was in power including embezzling 45 million from a children’s school lunch program. This show of support demonstrates. The secret in Miami is who do you know and the acceptable bar is not that high since some 90 people wrote letters to federal U.S. District Judge Patricia Seitz’s before the sentencing hearing for Jorge and Carlos de Céspedes brothers for Medicare fraud and the hearing produced one of the best lines about Miami, “where stopping at a red light and paying all your taxes was a aspirational act,” the jurist said from the bench. Further the mayor tells the Miami Herald that he wrote the letter because a media friend told him the disgraced leader had a heart condition but Regalado who is a hard liner when it comes to the Castro regime must somehow have softened his view since Martinelli has some of the same traits as the Castro regime and the $45 million embezzlement. And for more go to:


“I was embarrassed” at the pathway to the Perez Art Museum and people on the July 4th had to use flashlights since the anticipated solar lighting has not been completed, said Carollo. And he wants the money rehab the path to fit the enormous investment in the Perez Museum of Art PAMM.


What about the city’s new proposed budget?


The city of Miami with its booming real-estate market is looking at a $1 billion budget total budget and includes a host of projects that may or not pass and while Regalado says these deals are not about his legacy and tells the media “it either passes or it doesn’t’ he says in an extensive story in The Miami Herald on the last few months of the administration that ends in November. To read the budget go to: and her is the long story on the Regalado administration:

>>> And here are the July 1 financial disclosure forms for ‘Miami commissioners and the mayor Tomas Regalado


Commissioner Francis Suarez: file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Suarez%20Francis.pdf


Commissioner Wilfredo Gort file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Gort%20Wifredo.pdf


Ken Russell: file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Russell%20Ken.pdf


Frank Carollo: file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Carollo%20Frank.pdf


Keon Hardeman: file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Hardemon%20Keon.pdf


Tomas Regalado: file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Regalado%20Tomas.pdf


>>>>And next week I will run all the Miami commissioners July 1 financial disclosures and on the whole there is nothing to exciting about them except that Regalado is a paid board member on the HCA Coral Gables Hospital board where county commissioner Rebeca Sosa is the chair of the for profit board located in Sosa’s commission district. However in Regalado’s financial disclosure form he fails to list the $42,00 he is paid from Coral Gables Hospital as a board member too the for profit hospital. And I got this number from County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa who is also a board member and she lists the income but the mayor just lists being on the board but no income is listed. And to see the disclosure go to file:///C:/Users/DAN% 20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Regalado%20Tomas.pdf Editor’s note I emailed Mayor Regalado and asked him about the unreported income but he did not respond by my deadline. CORRECTION: Regalado verbally told me he did not attend enough meetings to warrant a payment.


Miami residents warning!


The city is rushing a deadline to get a proposed development on Virginia Key in front of voters to approve and this has been a past tactic for years and the Flagstone development had this same urgency back in 2002 and voters should wake up because the city has a long history of voters getting suckered in these “terrible deals,” said Commissioner Frank Carollo in the past and the matter is being rushed so that it can be on the Nov. 7 ballot that will also likely include a $250 million GOB bond called ‘Forever Miami,” and city leaders use this urgency to many times pull a fast one and frankly it is about the money, that in a number of cases never materializes. And for more go to


>>> Former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo made an appearance in city Hall and he suggested to commissioners that when doing leases there should be “penalty,” if they don’t begin the development after three years, the commission candidate said. However people are wondering if Carollo might jump into the mayoral race that has Francis Suarez with a $2 million campaign war chest


What about mayoral candidate Francis Suarez and the 1,000 petitions he submitted to the Miami Clerk’s office and he would avoid paying the $100.00 candidate fee for qualification and is a nice   gesture and shows the young man is willing to do the work necessary to earn the job of mayor no small achievement given his age.


>>>> What about Miami City Manager Daniel J. Alfonso who is looking at other opportunities?


Manger Alphonso is said to be shopping around his resume since he was a Regalado appointee and the Gulf War veteran has serious financial skills and came out of the pressure cooker county budget department and during his time the city was able to hire a number CPAS who a few years back would not come to the city and currently the city’s reserves are around $120 million. However, he has also crossed swords with a number of commissioners and if Suarez is elected mayor people think this manager is gone despite the management skills and fiscal understanding, but has been accused of not talking to commissioners enough about issues facing the city.


However, Miami at one point in the 1990s went through ten managers ( and later two managers went to jail) and the city since then has had to defend two bond offerings after the SEC found irregularities and Alphonso and his CFO Chris Rose also a budget guru, will be very helpful if the city’s voters approve a $250 million to $400 million GOB and requires fiscal transparency if the city is to not run afoul of the SEC again, And the Watchdog Report believes they have a gem in the manager and the city is on solid fiscal ground. But Miami has a history of appointing political managers and not based on their skill set and taxpayers should realize after the Great Recession the administration under Regalado has bounced back partially because of the rising tax base given the development of Brickell


>>>>When it comes to hiring outside Atty’s, Commissioner Russell wants to be sure the city “is not out gunned,” in court after testy exchange with city attorney Méndez


When it comes to hiring attorneys, “I want a knockout punch, “believing the commission’s decision to call Flagstone in “default,” of the agreement had with the city and Flagstone now suing Miami for $120 million on damages for breaking the agreement first created back in 2002 when the city’s voters approved a massive project on Virginia Key and has yet to really get anything done except a mega yacht Marina


What about the exchange between Commissioner Ken Russell and Miami attorney Victoria Méndez?


Russell and Méndez got into an exchange where she said he did not “understand the law,” since he was not an attorney and after the exchange the city attorney kind of rubbed it in saying “she could lose her Florida Bar License and highlights the strain between Russell who a few months ago wanted to have her fired because of a past performance but it did not occur and just simmers in the background


The County Ethics Commission has a new civility program and Miami-Beach and Coral Gables have all signed on including Miami and to see the program go to:


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 the park and includes a proposed playground in Museum Park where the playgrounds facilities will cost some $2 million in a no bid contract for playground equipment that is made in Germany, and the deal was part of the County’s Global Agreement, with Miami. However the Omni CRA would like to use the $30 million for new 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 trust board and readers will have to see how this all pans out.


Further, 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 that Russell wants to go affordable housing in the CRA district.

>>> 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 and 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

>>> 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

Photo credit: Leslie Harris


Margulies Collection 2


>>>> Now closed and will reopen in October. 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

Cynthia Fleischmann Gallery
+1. 508. 479. 6631

Gallery visits are available by appointment. Other

Posted by Cynthia Fleischmann

12 Jun to Utopia Court + 25 neighborhoods ·


Cynthia Fleischmann

Bodypaintography: ‘Front Door’ FL, 2017                                                                                                                     Cynthia Fleischmann




>>> Politicians don’t realize voter’s frustration is they are such hypocrites, many times in their own actions


Politicians are always asking for our trust but it is the hypocrisy of their actions that has gone on for years that makes voters jaded and even if voters pass something they then renege on any promises made and the Pet Trust is one such example and for many local politicians who are high maintenance they forget they work for the people and voters should not have to say thank you for running for office which periodically raises its ugly head and that it is a privilege that just sometimes is based on someone getting their resume punched and the idea of political dynasties in the coming 2017 election is not the way to elect our local representatives and the public can only hope that their true colors will not be seen during their time being a public servant.


>>>> 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 soon Celebrating 18 years of weekly reliable 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 national 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.





DISTRICT 7The Miami Herald Letters to the Editor<>

July 11, 2017 11:20 PM


Restore full funding to People’s Transportation Plan Read more here:

In 2002, Miami-Dade County voters approved a half-cent sales surtax to be used to expand and improve mass transit. However, as a result of the 2008 financial crisis, the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) voted to allow the surtax revenues to be used to support operations and maintenance expenditures of the entire Miami-Dade Transit system.

Two years ago, I attempted to restore full funding back to the People’s Transportation Plan (PTP) for expanding and improving mass transit. At the time, the Miami Herald editorialized in favor of that restoration. Now the need to fund new transportation is even more critical and, fortuitously, the resources are available and ample.

The proposal is to use one-half of the fiscal year 2017-18 estimated incremental real-estate taxes (equivalent to $50 million) to begin funding the SMART Plan.

The administration wants to begin using PTP funds in three to four years. However, I believe that the surtax revenues must be returned to the CITT now.

The county has more than enough funds to return half of the new property tax revenues to the PTP, maximizing CITT’s bondable capacity. There is plenty of fat in the county bureaucracy. We have 4,283 managers; 7,240 county automobiles; and 18 administrative buildings!

Local officials who support this initiative include: mayors Tomas Regalado (Miami), Peggy Bell (Cutler Bay), Smith Joseph (North Miami), Phillip Stoddard (South Miami), Enid Weisman (Aventura), George Vallejo (North Miami Beach), and Cindy Lerner (formerly of Pinecrest); state representatives Nick Duran, Roberto Asencio, and Kionne McGhee; and Sen. Anitere Flores; and commissioners Vince Lago (Coral Gables) and Francis Suarez (Miami).

As Rep. McGhee has said: “It is time to give us the rail!”

Xavier Suarez, Miami-Dade County commissioner, District 7


>>> 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)


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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. ********************

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