Archive for December 2017


Watchdog Report Vol.18 No.28 December 31, 2017 EST: 05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 18 Years of Weekly Publishing – Happy New Year

>>> I apologize for not reporting the past few weeks. I had to replace my hard drive. Further, may you and your family and friends have a great and Happy New Year and a safe and prosperous 2018. And the Watchdog Report is soon turning 18 years as a weekly news service. Thanks to my past supporters.

I know people’s pocket books are strained and in my case. I feel embarrassed asking for monetary help my fiscal position should be better but right now I am facing my own big issue and hope you would consider helping and to contribute go

This past week was a continuation of my struggle to keep the community informed and when it comes to a community discussion of how we can make Miami better.

I would submit that these community discussions are on the whole based on many times inaccurate or no information and that has been one of the problems I have talking with people and their lack of knowledge is widespread and we see it in voter apathy and lack of public participation at public meetings and when it comes to better and more ethical government having a member of the media changes the dynamics of citizens performance on public boards and even a camera flash gets people’s attention and if county government is only 1 percent more efficient that is a big deal since national IG’s estimate that is the case with many government entities. Further, I listen to people 24/7 from the County’s Community Relations Board (CRA) first created in 1992 as well as commission meeting speakers and for most people they do not have the time to know their political actors and the policies they might support, and I wish this community dialogue the best but in many cases, you are going against the tide when it comes to the public and their knowledge of their governance.

To host a conversation go to

Further government has come out of its dormant period and woke up in October when all the public budget meetings are held. And I will back in action next week with fresh news on 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 thumb 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?                   


>>> This national story ran in all the Tribune papers around the nation and covers the early years of the WDR: and 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 many 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. 




ARGUS REPORT: Is “Little [nuclear] Rocket man,” The #1 threat to America in the coming New Year, top challenge for Trump administration and his tweeting? –Taxpayers are trying to figure out what GOP tax bill means for them, people will get a chance on April 15 if passed by the new year- Men in power now know inappropriate sexual harassment is forbidden, as more accusers come forward regarding this bad behavior — Could 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: What will Florida leg do with Gov. Scott’s proposed $83.5 billion budget? cyber security gets increased funding — ‘Is I don’t remember,’ all one has to say too state to avoid prosecution, it worked for Judge Sarah Zabel, husband charged in $150,000 investment scheme, she unaware, home almost in foreclosure.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Commissioner Sosa, did not push mayor’s raise, was asked to have it discussed, stop the calls, Moss pushes independent committee to review the issue — Community stunned with talk of bumping Mayor Gimenez’s salary to $324,000, comp. to date $3.8 million — homeless trust is trying to resolve “colony of sex offenders,” using all resources available major “public health crisis,” says trust chair Book, –City of Miami thinking of using injection wells in seal level rise mitigation –Massive $4.9 billion Water & sewer Replumbing has 100 active projects, $129 million or “20 percent,” goes to SBEs says director Sola to BCC — 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: Another smooth transition of leadership on community firewall audit and budget review committee leadership Chair is Erick Wendelken, C.P.A. — federal audit of Friends of WLRN shows fine could range from $1.128 million to $544,000. -District bond workshop Carvalho says $512 million spent, further revenue comes in after bond over could equal $1 billion “over the years,” says Carvalho–

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST: South Florida delivered two medical miracles, the removal of a ten-pound facial tumor and a small premi baby girls is reunited with parents at Baptist Children’s hospital — Ryder Trauma Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary — New report on how JHS spending $830 million bond monies, going well — 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: Miami commission torpedoes red light cameras, despite terrible driving in Miami, but seen as city being greedy for revenue, Carollo seems uncomfortable in new role — Some political ghosts from the past show-up at Reyes swearing in, Gonzalez, Hernandez, only Odio missing from removed officials – depending on Florida Supreme Court ruling, city could go “bankrupt,” if courts rule in favor of unions cut in pay, cost could be as high as $200 million, says union rep at commission meeting– 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: Beach leaders should look at MOU with county IG Cagle

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:    


>> 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 even though 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


>>>> Is “Little [nuclear] Rocket man,” The #1 threat to America in the coming New Year, top challenge for Trump administration and his tweeting?


With the year coming to an end. The world is reflecting on “Little Rocket, man,” as President Donald J. Trump refers to North Korean President Kim Jung Un and the rogue country under increasing global sanctions fired 15 missiles in the past year and even one went over Japan’s northern Island Hokkaido putting residents on alert and the United Staates is trying to forge an alliance of stakeholders in the tinder box region including China, Russia, Japan and Taiwan and China has no interest having the U.S. having a larger footprint on the peninsula since it borders the Hermit Kingdom, and is its biggest economic trading partner and banker. However, given the president’s use of tweeter the concern is accidental misunderstandings of a nation’s intent in the nuclearized peninsula that Trump says will end in fire and death.


What about the media?


Further, Around the world hundreds of journalists are in jails and people are wondering what will happen if the administration goes after “leakers” that has plagued the Trump administration not seen for years. With the administration calling any negative stories as Fake News and people are getting used to this dismissive quip, and has diminished a strong press already under assault by lack of newspaper and print media in many regions. However as one pundit said. It is the Trump Show and at his age. He will not stop being himself and the 2018 elections could be the defining year for his administration and will also see off year elections in the House and Senate and will be a barometer on the president’s tenure


However, In the year of Trump, the North Korean regime is the nation’s greatest challenge and with the rocket capability increasing at an alarming rate America faces a threat not seen since the late 1950s at the height of the Cold War. The president needs to tread verbally very carefully and humiliating the rogue dictator in Asia may backfire and could lead to an accidental exchange that would kill millions.


>>>> Taxpayers are trying to figure out what GOP tax bill means for them, people will get a chance on April 15 if passed by the new year


Americans are digesting the Congressional tax cuts and while increasing the deficit t     by $1.5 trillion the GOP is convinced if the economy grows at decent clip it could cover the increased national debt, if the legislation passes which so far is likely and Republicans are betting this legislation will translate in the 2018 off year elections where candidates are becoming wary of Trump’s low poll numbers around the nation and could indicate a Democratic wave election in the off year races similar to what the GOP did in 2010.


>>>> Men in power now know inappropriate sexual harassment is forbidden, as more accusers come forward regarding this bad behavior


An earthquake is rolling through the nation and it is based on politicians and sexual harassment by men in power and the debate and issue is raging like the wildfires in California. However, while most of the accusations involve congressional and senatorial leaders with many resignations. Politicians in local and municipal governments have been spared any scandals yet, but this national awakening of sexual harassment is fueled more by the fact the congress has paid some $17 million in sexual harassment settlements in secret, but a dam has been breached and more silent women are expected to come forward for the examples are so frequent.


What about Miami-Dade in this regard?


The Watchdog Report suspects this problem and watershed moment is not just limited to the nation’s capital, but the same dynamics cut across businesses all government lines and politicians should acknowledge they get the message. Since they so many times use their families and sons and daughters in their campaigns and would certainly not want their daughters to face these issues.


What about the new Trump tax plan?             


Nonprofits are crying foul with the tax plan and organizations like United Way which has organizations. In every state are expected to fight this lost deduction and it will impact the thousands of NGOs around the nation that play a critical role in filling in social service costs local governments cannot support.


Further, these organizations are expected to put up a spirited defense politically against losing the deductions that would also hurt the arts and a host of other organizations like WLRN and PBS.


The Watchdog Report covered the Miami-Dade County public Schools bond workshop and the $1.2 billion bond passed in 2012 and a host of schools have benefited from this capital construction infusion and small and minority subcontractors have benefitted and the OIG just busted a front firm awarded a minority electrical contract and to read the report go to:   And to read the bond documents go to:


And here is another IG report on MIA


Further the Knight Foundation’s former CEO and President Hodding Carter, III, back in 2000 when I was starting the WDR gave me a pep talk about how what I was doing going to all these meetings was “fundamental journalism,” and he gave me the confidence to continue watching and reporting what your government institutions were doing with the taxpayer’s money amid a host of scandals at the time and here we are 18-years later, thanks to the power of the internet.


>>>> District bond workshop Carvalho says $512 million spent, further revenue comes in after bond over could equal $1 billion “over the years,” says Carvalho


The reason the issue of minority contracts has been a constant thorn is when the public district did its last bond over a decade ago and many of the contracts went to insiders and failed to stimulate small business enterprises and included buying some land on a Native American burial site or having to spend millions to “demuck,” a piece of land of a connected man. However, with the bond Superintendent Alberto Carvalho has been going out of his way to expand that pool of certified minority firms and in the first year and “right these historical concerns,” he told board members and noted their “neck was on the line,” given what they told voters and 150 projects have been completed ‘on time and on budget,” the award-winning superintendent just back from Tallahassee said 45.2 million has been allocated and another $86 million is out there. Further for the first time with press present he noted there is a “$368 million revenue stream outside the bond,” “equaling $1 billion to spend over the next few years.”


What about the handout documents


And the school’s IG just released a memo on a straw minority electrical contractor and to read it go:


What about the Coconut Grove Playhouse?


A non-televised resident and county meeting on the Coconut Grove Playhouse at Miami City Hall was contentious after the County tried to stack the deck with supporters of the county’s smaller theater plan being pushed by Michael Spring who was also involved in the tennis Tournament negotiations (And I was surprised he was part of the negotiating team) at Crandon Park and was the topic of a long commission discussion on the matter Tuesday and the man faced opposition from local Grovite and cultural maven Mike Eidson who has been pushing for a larger venue with some 800 to 1000 seats versus the smaller county plan which diminishes the historical nature of the site. And now has County Commissioner Xavier Suarez joining the fray believing Gables Stage should not be the artistic director and a more historic version be considered and even republican Lt. Gov. Carlos Lopez Cantera has his reservations and he has pushed for a resolution to the dormant site shuttered in 20007 after massive debt brought it down and the regional theater was always an economic boost to the Grove but that has since dried up in many ways. Further it was Cantera who wanted a reverted clause in 2020 that would have the site return to the state and could be considered as surplus property, but it is clear the community is divided, and the City of Miami has $10 million to help bring it back to life.


The county’s plan for the Coconut Grove Playhouse has landed with a thud and many people are calling it a mix use retail property with a theater and some residents have been fighting the design conceived by the locally politically connected Architectonica firm and people are looking for details on how the firm was selected for that project and under the eye of Michael Spring director of Cultural Affairs at Miami-Dade County. Since many people believe Richard Heisenbottle who has extensive preservation experience and did the city of Miami’s chambers restoration years ago and his final product is seen by commissioners everyday on the chambers and while the county has the $20 million set aside in the 2004 bond passed by voters but all plans have stalled to date, and the theater languishes and is essentially becoming demolition by neglect. And I am going to ask about how the firm was selected and if it was a competitive process. Editor’s note: The state will not approve a grant based on the county’s design for its lack of historical integrity and could be a sign for another design since opposition has developed including the power couple with the architectural firm cutting a huge swath of protected mangroves and has stirred the ire of the community. For more go to:


What is the update and the 90-day delay?


The Miami Commission recently gave attorney Lewis “Mike” Eidson 90 days to raise his funds needed for a larger 1,000 seat theater estimated at $15 million that the county believes cannot be sustained and the Miami Parking Authority with a smaller parking garage in height is expected to contribute $100,000 a year to the Playhouse and currently the county budgets some $3.3 million for the South Dade Cultural Arts Center also designed by Architectonica and while functional it is nothing special in its design and the only reason the some $45 million structure did not become a scandal (because it was late and over budget) was the company Tower Construction was bought by a large Spanish Company that was also seeking contracts in Palm Beach County and could not afford a scandal down here but in many ways the question is trust. Spring says after his 30 years in county government and not-for-profits that apply for cultural grants, he knows what he is talking about, but residents are pushing for historic preservation not the proposed drawings done by Jorge Hernandez and the architectural firm is politically active and specializes in high-rises that dot the Miami skyline. Further some of its founders recently hacked down a large stand of mangroves to get a better view and Grovites are furious about that as well.


Further, Spring for months mislead the WDR when I kept asking, if the Frost museum was still on budget? He would say yes, and I could “look at the documentation,” in his office he retorted (however it was later reported Frost just ran out of money and benefactors Dr. Phillip Frost and his wife Patricia bailed out the organization along with a county advance of future funding for maintenance).


He also oversaw along with assistant county manager Bill Johnson the creation of the Adriane Arsht Performing Arts Center that ultimately opened 20 months late, had over 100 change orders and needed a immediate infusion of around $100 million from the local CRA and ended the idea of a “big hole,” in the downtown site and I write about this because Spring put his honor on the line and word and given the iconic nature of the historic building the county’s plan almost looks like a glorified strip mall that happens to have a theater and residents just want the theater to reopen including a relationship with FIU that wants to offer a master’s in Fine Arts program at the facility.


Spring told Miami Commissioners if they required “saving the shell,” The city won’t have “a 21st Century theater,” with ADA requirements and the state had a number of conditions including the theater “must be sustainable,” and he pledged that the new design would save every bit of preservation that we can get,” he said to skeptical Grovites packing the chamber.

Further, Joe Carollo was concerned about operating costs since most theaters need subsidies and he did not want the city to take on a new expense.


>>> Knight Foundation injects $2.5 million to fact check news


The John S. and James L. Knight foundation has committed $2.5 million to organizations fighting fake news and the idea of fake news I believe started when Dan Rather of CBS ran a story on George Bush II that turned out to be wrong and after that mistake broke a republican candidate when I was interviewing said “are you going to Rather me?” I joked back you want me to FOX you instead and that blunder on Rather’s part started the ball rolling and then Brian Williams added to the fire when he embellished his military coverage and saying he had been under fire which was not true.


>>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 many 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 the 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. Further given the complexity of the Kendall Corridor where residents object to heavy rail a gondola design could be quite interesting if transit officials are able to think out of the box.


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: what do you think Miami Beach?


>>>> 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. Further some cities on west Florida are also looking at this technology.


>>> 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.




>>> What will Florida leg do with Gov. Scott’s proposed $83.5 billion budget? cyber security gets increased funding
Gov. Rick Scott in his final year of his two-term tenure has proposed a $83.5 billion state budget for the coming year and with the legislature meeting in the coming weeks mid a host of sexual harassment scandals and elected at the height of the tea party popularity some are wondering where his fiscal chops have gone now that the hospital executive is considering challenging Sen Bill Nelson, D-Fla. In 2018 and will likely challenge Nelson the only statewide Democrat in the state. Further, Scott was in front of the cameras doing warnings about the oncoming Hurricane Irma that pounded the whole state, but the intensity was not as severe as it could have been but showed the flaw of ordering an evacuation that had all roads north clogged and congested with hotels in the north all booked, and the legislature will have to see the impact the storm had on the state’s tourist based budget. That got a boost with the frigid temperatures up-north at record lows and tourists are expected to descend in a big way after the storm.

 >>> Democratic Party gubernatorial candidate Levine, kicks off political ads for his run for governor since GOP Scott termed out, running for U.S. senate likely against incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Fla.


Former Miami-Beach Mayor Philip Levine has fired up his Democratic Party campaign for Florida governor next year and his political ads are laying the basis for his strategy of taking government back to the people. The businessman took his role as mayor for a significant drive focusing on sea level rise and its impact on the low lying coastal city but has GOP Gov. Rick Scott not buying in to the climate changes the planet is going through and he has a crowded Republican field of candidates


>>> ‘Is I don’t remember,’ all one has to say to state to avoid prosecution, it worked for Judge Sarah Zabel, husband charged in $150,000 investment scheme, she unaware, home almost in foreclosure


In Miami-Dade to avoid being charged all one must apparently say is ‘I don’t remember [or recall if I signed papers at a bank where a clerk remembers the Circuit Court Judge Sarah Zabel, where is the bank video?]’. Further her husband was charged with a $150,000 fraud charge after he used the proceeds for personal items and keeping a house from going into foreclosure and the jurist says she knew nothing about the deal and failed to even acknowledge if it was her signature on incorporation documents. For more go to:




>>> Commissioner Sosa, did not push mayor’s raise, was asked to have it discussed, stop the calls, Moss pushes independent committee to review the issue


County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa wanted to make it clear that she did not sponsor the mayor’s proposed pay raise she only was asked to put the discussion on the agenda

Sosa noted she was responding to a mayor’s memo on the issue that generated critical media and she was getting the blame and all the commissioners felt uncomfortable talking about his compensation and former state Sen. Javier Souto noted he liked the mayor but his not supporting bumping the compensation that Gimenez would get from his reduced salary of $150,000 he voluntarily took back in 2011 when he was firsts elected under tough fiscal times and he wanted to lead by example,” when he was asking county employees to take cuts after the Great recession decimated the county’s general fund coffers. Further, Souto believed he was doing Gimenez a favor because “perception quickly becomes reality,” when it comes to this type of item and had the Spanish media a buzz.


>>> Community stunned with talk of bumping Mayor Gimenez’s salary to $324,000, comp. to date $3.8 million


The county commission had an extensive discussion on Mayor Carlos Gimenez salary that when elected in 201. He cut the salary in half to $150,000 and was something he ran on after the much higher paid mayor Carlos Alvarez. A man who was later recalled and got a bump in his salary in 2004 when then county manager George Burgess threatened to leave, and the commission bumped his salary and later made the mayors salary just a hair above the county manager and Burgess now a lobbyist at Becker Poliakoff has retired and his other claim to fame was the Miami Marlin’s baseball stadium that during the life of the bonds will come to some $2.6 billion.


What about Suarez and his $25,000 expense he used for tips?


Suarez during the discussion said the mayor should be paid “no more than $250,000,” noting (when he was Miami mayor he only had a $25,000 expense account and he used the cash for tips). Suarez an attorney said that is more than the Florida governor and more than a supreme court justice. However, Gimenez so far even with his reduced salary has received “$3.8 million,” since being in office and as Commissioner Dennis Moss said that is essentially not chicken feed given the amount the body is looking at and Moss had a problem with the process and the mayor dropping the controversial item on the commission’s lap was not appreciated and cries of foul are being heard in the media. If his salary gets bumped to $324,000 up including benefits and this package will be paid by taxpayers for years to come and while the man may be termed out his time in public service will reward him handsomely at the end including his retirement with the city of Miami where he was a manager and firefighter before running for the county commission and in 2011 winning the top post after Alvarez and ex commissioner Natacha Seijas were recalled by voters. Further, many said the commission should not be put into this position since the item came up in a memo from Gimenez.


What about the Frost Science Museum?


The Patricia and Phillip Frost Science Museum is having record crowds and a new exhibit called river monsters is on display and for more go to


And the extra attendance is a good sign that the facility will not bleed the county in operation costs and needed an emergency bailout when funding ran out suddenly and the WDR has been keeping an eye on this after it received $165 million in GOB bond funding passed in 2004. However, I have been sending emails to two county departments and have yet to get final cost of the new community treasure. And us why I am having doubts about Michael Spring and his comments on the Coconut Grove Playhouse.


>>> Past WDR homeless trust is trying to resolve “colony of sex offenders,” using all resources available major “public health crisis,” says trust chair Book,


The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust has amped up the pressure to close a “colony of sexual predators,” living near Hialeah and Miami. And County commission chair Estephan “Steve” Bovo had legislation heard Wednesday that asks these people who cannot live 2,500 feet from schools and where children congregate. Be offered a shelter since the encampment has become “a health crisis,” and a major public health issue. Book said, “housing first,” was the goal to get these people out of the colony and years ago a task force was created by County Commissioner Barbara Jordan. After a colony of predators was living under the Julie Tuttle expressway and a MOU between different government entities was signed “except the Florida Department of Corrections,” and because of the population has grown with the state saying the probation officers are not telling these people to go to these sites and the FDC was at the table when the county adopted the MOU, when asked why are they there, “ the Department of Corrections (and the FL DMV gave them licenses with the address), said Commissioner Pepe Diaz and sent them there, said Book. It’s a “lack of a discharge plan,” for these people and some of the predators are from around the nation and they found “several people,” who could be in shelter said Book. Are first “priority is the homeless,” but property owners have their own rights and some of the people in the colony ‘defecate and urinate on private property.”


Further, the homeless Trust voted to support Bovo’s ordinance at their commission meeting Friday and it passed at its committee meeting


Here is the ordinance’s wording that will be heard at the Public Safety and Health Committee on Dec. 13 in the commission chambers and it passed with an amendment.


It amends the code “related to overnight camping on County property… and provides an exception to the requirement that law enforcement give violators the opportunity to go to a homeless shelter related to sexual predators, sexual offenders and other persons,” state the advertised item. They have 72 hours to register a street or cross street and “we have been at this for months,” and there is no deadline, but the sexual offenders and this is a “effort to get people off the street.” This is a “health crisis,” said Book but for the fact the surgeon general has not declared the actual declaration and without this change we cannot offer a solution. And it passed Tuesday at the BCC and the “encampment is a Catch 22 said,” M-DPD director Juan Perez. And some critics believe this sexual predator problem is due to a 2,5000-foot restriction where these predators can live not next to schools and cannot be put in homeless trust “shelters.” And the “colony is growing,” and the attorney insisted the state was telling these sex offenders to go to this location and Book and other advocates are going to see if “affidavits,” to that effect can be signed by some of these people in the colony.


“A very difficult situation and we are not trying to arrest are way out of this, “said Vice Mayor Maurice Kemp last week. “However, the status quo is not acceptable,” said Kemp. The one alternative would be for the state to build affordable housing for this troubled population and criminalization is not the goal said Book, but something needs to be done.


What bout annexation and incorporation in Miami-Dade


County Commissioners explicitly said they aren’t pushing for incorporation and for Rebecca Sosa incorporation would just add a never level of government and that residents in unincorporated Dade some 43 percent of the county are happy with these services. However, the issue is always a new municipalities tax base and “cheery picking,” certain areas because of the assets and leaving the poorer communities to fend for themselves and this issue came to head back in 2007 when then commissioner Natasha Seijas got the commission to put the process in “abeyance,” and froze any new municipalities being created by local voters, which roughly is where it is today.


Back then however, one of the main issues was whether the county should have a large regional police and fire force capable of responding to issues of WMD and Jackson Hospital in 2002 set up a make shift emergency medical center outside the Burger King corporate headquarters and simulating a terrorist attack on the building, and about anti anthrax medicine Cipro by the tens of thousands ( and some of this medicine would later be shipped to Nicaragua to friends of then county commissioner Pedro Reboredo), and a Miami Herald reporter Karl Ross and I took an elevator to upper floors and we walked down the stairs and one memorable quote was, “Are you Osama Ben Laden?” asked one office worker Duane Crisp in the building at the time of the drill.

GMCVB press release: For November 2017, hotel rooms sold in Greater Miami and The Beaches increased by +8.3% compared to the same time in 2016.  During this same time, hotel room inventory increased by +0.2%.

Hotel room occupancy reached 78.6 %, an increase of +8.1% versus the previous year.  ADR increased by +2.5% and Rev PAR increased by +10.8%. During November 2017, Greater Miami’s hotel market ranked among the top five in the Top 25 Hotel Markets in the U.S. as reported by Smith Travel Research.

Greater Miami and The Beaches continues to be impacted by global economies, the Miami Beach Convention Center expansion and renovation, an increase in hotel room inventory, and other factors including alternative accommodations.

 November 2017
Rooms Sold
November 2017 November 2016 % Change vs. 2016
1,288,860 1,189,278 +8.3%
Rooms Supply
November 2017 November 2016 % Change vs. 2016
54,652 54,543 +0.2%
Miami #3- Occupancy
November 2017 November 2016 % Change vs. 2016
78.6% 72.7% +8.1%
Miami #4- Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
November 2017 November 2016 % Change vs. 2016
$141.64 $127.78 +10.8%
Miami #5 – Average Daily Room Rate
November 2017 November 2016 % Change vs. 2016
$180.18 $175.75 +2.5%



But there are a persistent group of county residents who want “self-determination,” and the incorporation process to move forward.


>>> Massive $4.9 billion Water & sewer Replumbing has 100 active projects, $129 million or “20 percent,” goes to SBEs says director Sola to BCC


An update of the county’s massive Water & Sewer replumbing and the $4.98 billion needed to complete the projects within the 15-year federal consent decree guidelines, where no fines have been assessed by the federal government and rehabilitating of aged pump stations is a central task said WASA Director Lester Solas in charge of running the massive project that has $129 million and some 20 percent of the work going to small businesses in the county said Sola.


He noted there are “100 active projects,” including “$215 million in rehabilitating pump stations,” a critical component and when it comes to passing this work to small business enterprises some $129 million has gone to these smaller companies and represents some 20 percent of the business let out said Sola last week.


What about the re-plumbing in the city of Miami and sea level rise?


When it comes to the City of Miami and sea level rise one option apparently is to use injection wells for any areas flooding versus the pump system used in Miami Beach and injection wells draw concerns regarding contaminating the fresh water aquifer that supplies all the natural water in South Florida. And Miami’s Sea level Rise Committee has a new “science,” guy on the panel now and he is a higher education graduate of UMs Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science.


>>> New continuum of care center coming for homeless with mental issues, JHS involved one stop center


The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust along with Jackson Health System is opening a one stop public facility for homeless who qualify for a new diversion program with a mental illness and includes many veterans on the streets and is an old facility previously used by the state, but it will offer a continuum of care and was briefly discussed at the trust board meeting Friday. The whole community has been seeking ways to resolve the mental health issues of the homeless now drawing in people with opioid addiction and a drop of fentanyl can kill and many times is cut with cheap yellow Mexican heroin that appeared years past and is causing thousands of overdoses and the city of Miami spent $150,000 in procuring the miracle drug Narcan that can revive a overdosed person almost immediately and these people cut across all ethnic lines and the issue was discussed Sunday on “This Week in South Florida,” and to see the show go to


>>> And here is a broader explanation on the new facility Health System – Public Health Trust.


“Progress is being made to create a first of its kind mental health diversion and treatment facility which will centralize, coordinate, and provide a seamless continuum of care for individuals, including homeless individuals, who are frequent and high cost users of taxpayer funded services in the criminal justice and acute care treatment systems. South Florida Behavioral Health Network, Inc., DCF’s Managing Entity for administering state substance abuse and mental health funding in Miami-Dade County, will lead the renovation of a former state forensic hospital in Miami which will bring together community based treatment and social services providers under one roof.


The project will include an integrated crisis stabilization unit and addiction receiving facility, various levels of residential treatment, day treatment and day activities programs, intensive case management, peer support and mentoring services, outpatient behavioral health and primary care treatment services, and vocational rehabilitation/supportive employment services. All services will be designed to address the complex and co-occurring needs of the target population, including mental health, substance abuse, physical health, histories of physical and emotional trauma, and risk factors for future criminal justice involvement.


The facility will also include space for the courts and for social service agencies such housing providers, legal services, and immigration services that will address the comprehensive needs of individuals served.  By housing a full array of services and supports in one location, it is anticipated that many of the barriers and obstacles to navigating traditional community mental health, substance abuse, and social services will be removed; and individuals who are currently recycling through the justice system, crisis units, hospitals, and other deep end services will be more likely to engage in ongoing and sustainable treatment and recovery services.


The Mental Health Diversion Facility is championed by Judge Steven Leifman, who chairs the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust’s Finance & Audit Committee.  The project has been developed with input from the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration, which will be responsible for designating and licensing service providers at the facility.  The Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation spearheaded efforts to occupy the building based on a 99-year lease at $1/year.  The facility is funded, in large part, with county General Obligation Bond funds, with additional funding provided by the Jackson Health and The Public Health Trust.


>>> Camillus House held its 57th annual Thanksgiving feast and during the last year the organization gave out 220,000, free meals this past year and the organization offers a wide array of services including a clinic donated by Baptist Health South Florida a few years ago.


Further, new Camillus CEO Hilda Fernandez was on Your South Florida Friday and thanks to a $500,000, grant from The South Florida Health Foundation some programs were expanded, and Camillus got a medical facility donated by Baptist Health South Florida a few years ago but the facility is a national model in many ways.


>>>The arts have risen from the grave generating $1.43 billion in economic impact, 40% jump since last study, the last few years and people now come to Miami for the arts as well as New York, Chicago and Philadelphia where centuries have gone by versus Miami’s transformation during the last decade said Cultural Affairs chair Adolpho Henriques.


He noted there have been “300,” studies showing the economic benefits of the arts and the recent study showed a 40 percent increase in economic impact


Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa is on a tear when it comes to selling countryman preferring a long-term lease since the properties in many cases are in the unincorporated area UMSA and she believes these “properties are the people’s properties and an asset to the county.


>>> However, the county’s Homeless Trust held its annual Vigil reading the names of 139 people who had died on the streets this past year and by my deadline I have yet to receive that number of deaths on Miami-Dade streets this past year. But back in 2016 the number was 162 souls passed on the streets for that year and this year the mother and baby died and that typically is very rare case but sadly occurred last year.


What about the Homeless Trust’s Rent Connect program with landlords?


The trust has a new program where people with rental housing can register their rental with the county and for more on the program go to:

>>> 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 and applies to dogs. 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 swimming pool and is still occurring in south Dade.


>>> 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 physician is 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




>>> Another smooth transition of leadership on community firewall audit and budget review committee leadership Chair is Erick Wendelken, C.P.A.


While the school board budget and advisory committee made up of CPAs and tax attorneys has been briefly in the news at its past meeting an orderly transition of the leadership occurred something that did not happen before 2004 on a regular basis and then Hank Mack had been chair for over a decade and it was during this time that you had some dubious land deals later detailed in a series done by the Miami Herald and led to the firing of then Dist. Supt. Roger Cuevas.


In Mack’s case a plaque thanking him for his service was ready but when it came time to nominate a replacement expected to be done by Mack, “there was an awkward pause,” was how the minutes portrayed what happened during the nominating process back then and he would later step down after a Florida Sunshine violation and his cardiologist suggested he step down wrote Mack in his resignation letter to the audit committee.


Further, Erick Wendelken, C.P.A. was voted chair and attorney Christopher Norwood, J.D., is the new vice chair and these men and women are the community’s firewall and plays a important job of keeping the publics eyes on how the district’s billions are being spent and one of the reasons there have not been substantial scandals over the years as was the case back in the 1990s and started me covering the audit committee since 1997 and I still have tapes of the discussions back then but the meetings were also not being recorded and I had my tape recorder and are now taped.


What about the comprehensive annual financial Report (CAFR)?


The CAFR for the nation’s fourth largest public schools district was a “clean document,” with no exceptions and years ago this was not always the case and to read the document go to:


>>> Federal audit of Friends of WLRN shows fine could range from $1.128 million to $544,000.


The federal audit of Friends of WLRN and its misstated finances on organization’s draw down of funds from the Public Broadcasting Corporation shows there is a range of penalties the fundraising arm of the station might have to pay from $1.128 million to only $544,700 and the report looks at the organization’s books from 2007 to 2015 and to read the reports go to . Here is   adjusted amount report


And long serving school board member Perla Tabares Hantman was elected board chair last week and as in the past she reviewed all of Robert’s rules of order for her peers on the nine-member board and she is an astute political board member., that if you lose her support like in the case of a board attorney you may not be in that capacity for long. And I wish her luck in this post she knows so well, and Dr. Martin Karp is the boards vice Chair.


>>> 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::




>>> South Florida delivered two medical miracles, the removal of a ten-pound facial tumor and a small premi baby girls is reunited with parents at Baptist Children’s hospital


With the holidays some families got medical miracles for the holidays at Jackson Health System a team of surgeons took out a ten pound facial tumor on a young boy and at Baptist Health South Florida Children’s hospital a premature baby gained some weight and recovered and was returned to the diligent parents who stayed with their daughter most of the three month time she was in the NICU and WPBT channel 10 did a great human interest story on the improving bundle of joy and residents should look at the healthcare landscape available in south Florida and we are becoming a medical destination given the broad array of medical skills and technology available and JHS is seeing paying patients coming to the public hospital. Editor’s note: I appreciate Baptist is a competitor with JHS, but these two good news stories just demonstrate there is great healthcare opportunities to our incredible diverse community and shows the medical heart of south Florida over the holidays and the joy these medical procedures bring to so many residents who may be in distress.


>>> New report on how JHS spending $830 million bond monies, going well


Here is the most recent update on the $830 million GOB passed by County wide voters to update the ageing facilities at Jackson Health System and the projects are going very well and includes minority vender participation similar the public schools oversight system and this public money is key to the communities’ health since there is a big push toward prevention and wellness has FIU physicians doing primary and family medicine and is a real boon in keeping healthcare costs down. To read the report go:





>>> Miami commission torpedoes red light cameras, despite terrible driving in Miami, but seen as city being greedy for revenue, Carollo seems uncomfortable in new role


>>>> The Miami commission ended the red light camera program that had been pushed by former state Sen. Miguel Diaz de la Portilla, R-Miami, and his brother Alex ways plying the halls of the Miami Commission Thursday and while Miguel is a registered Miami lobbyist his brother Alex is not listed on the clerk’s lobbyist registration documents and the GOP power brokers are well known in political circles and when the commission passed the cameras Miguel then a senator elect was relaxed and dominated the chambers along with J.C. Gimenez the son of the county mayor but while the cameras reduced car accidents it was a campaign issue for commissioner Joe Carollo and Suarez as well but it does hurt funding for the Miami Paralysis project at UM and the hope is the Florida legislature will make up any lost funding from the cameras removal.


Further at Thursday’s meeting Carollo went down memory way when he discussed approving Suarez’s city manager choice Emilio Gonzalez the former aviation director at MIA and the man a retired colonel is getting good reviews for his handling of the massive complex and its economic impact on the county and he had to fend off lobbyists. However, Carollo wanted to do a national search for a new manager but commissioners thought otherwise and believed any search should also include three candidates from Miami citing how past national searches had turned out from Angela Gittens at MIA and Rudy Crew at the public schools and both had problems adjusting to Miami-Dade’s unusual politics and ended up either leaving or being terminated. Carollo also asked if there was a “conspiracy,” under way and if there were others waiting in the wings. However, newly minted commissioner Manola Reyes said he wants someone who knows the importance of “little Havana<” to Cubans and] believes Miami is so unique the city needs to hire someone that is local for past outsiders from the school district on to MIA have had mixed success navigating the diverse community


But Carollo is finding what many others have found once a mayor always a mayor and this type of personality may slow Suarez in his fast approach to government and would later be manifested during the long discussion regarding a legal appeal concerning the historic restoration of the Coconut Grove Playhouse shuttered in 2016 with extensive debt after poor leadership and management and residents don’t want just a shell of the historic structure which many believe would happen with the county’s mixed retail proposal and Michael Spring said the mayor Carlos Gimenez was upset with the lack of agreement about what design to use


Anything odd happen?


While Mayor Suarez may be trying to be a peacemaker with the body Carollo now commissioner seems to only reminiscent about when he was mayor and while many people hoped Carollo would have mellowed over the years. He tends to still act like he is mayor in the city of 500,000 people with a deep divide between the haves and have nots in our community.


What about outgoing manager Daniel J. Alphonso?


The Watchdog Report gives Alphonso a tip of the hat for his fiscal skill and calm leadership and he came out of the county’s pressure cooker budget office and with some $120 million in reserve he was a steady hand o on the finances not always the case and residents will see if that tradition survives in the years ahead and the Gulf War 1 veteran will be missed and was not indicted something that has plagued past Miami managers and I wish him well in his new endeavors. And for more go to


What about Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo any controversy yet?


Newly sworn in Miami commissioner Joe Carollo was sworn into office and he thanked former Commissioner Marc Sarnoff for his support and in fundraising so now the termed-out commissioner has two close allies Commissioners Carollo and Manola Reyes on the five-member body as he mullls what he will run for next since he misses the public spotlight since he helped them fundraise for their campaigns.


The Alfie Leon campaign is challenging Carollo’s residency status, but the Watchdog report ran into a long time Carollo friend and he said he helped the man move and that Carollo was a “stickler,” regarding the requirements for seeking the political position and his brother frank helped rehabilitate his brother’s “Crazy Joe,” reputation and he is catching up to speed and when it comes to the funding of theaters from the $400 million GOB recently passed by voters in November. He noted Miami had a host of theaters that could benefit from this new money when the Coconut Grove Playhouse restoration was being discussed and any injection of these monies would have to pass the oversight board yet to be created by Miami


What was shocking at a commission meeting?


A Overtown woman Karen Cartwright gave a blunt assessment of what it is like to live in the area calling it a “warzone,” with residents being threatened with AR-15 type of firearms and children are getting used to seeing “dead bodies,” on the streets and Miami Commission Chair Keon Hardeman who represents the area called what is going on is “domestic terrorism,” that all the government employees see every day and Hardeman said around the nation Overtown is “known as where someone can get the best drugs,” he said. Yet the area also receives released inmates from county jails and since there is a UM state legislation allowing a “needle exchange program,” the commissioner wondered why the not -for-profit van doing the program resides in Overtown and wondered why this area is so neglected and has “residents in fear.” The exchange was more a pleading for the city to do something about it. He said he was tired of Overtown being treated like a “freak show,” said the chair.


What about the nickname “Crazy Joe,” and what could he be like on the five-member commission dais?


Joe Carollo with a mercurial paranoid personality is planning on being a force again on the five-member commission and if Francis Suarez the younger son of the elder Suarez is elected mayor as planned. He may find Carollo is a major ongoing stumbling block and the mayor once flew to San Jose to complain to Miami Herald publisher Tony Ridder about the paper’s coverage of him and while I was a Herald editorial columnist I asked him why he just did not phone the man versus a flight to San Jose. Further, I asked was it on his dime or the city’s back then and he did pay for the flight. After I checked and he claimed at the time angrily “that I was being used by the Miami Herald,” he insisted and ultimately I got up and walked out telling Ronda Vangates don’t call me again and “He hears things I don’t here,” I told her back in 2000 and while he got the moniker crazy Joe people would always say “at least he is honest,” no small achievement in Miami politics but the WDR anticipates he will be a continuous thorn in little Suarez’s side and he is very confrontational for more go to: And here is more on Elian


>>> Depending on Florida Supreme Court ruling, city could go “bankrupt,” if courts rule in favor of unions cut in pay, cost could be as high as $200 million, says union rep at commission meeting


The Miami commission’s final budget hearing Thursday was a staid affair and earlier in the day FPO union head Javier Ortiz said the Florida Supreme Court was hearing their case concerning the city claiming a financial emergency and believes the city’s exposure could be some $200 million in past pay and said the city could settle now and if that doesn’t the union plans to demand the full amount and could “bankrupt,” the city something the police and fire rescue members don’t want to do. But he claims the lack of any negotiations in the waning days of Mayor Regalado’s administration and could sour his legacy in office that has had many controversies like taking his children on international trips contributed by a local airline and other perks while in office including asking for concierge service at MIA and while the mayor pushes himself as a populist, but he has always been quick to have someone else pay for things.

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




>>> Beach leaders should look at MOU with county IG Cagle

Mayor Dan Gelber wants to create an office of the inspector general and the city should consider doing a MOU with the county’s IG Mary Cagle and the organization also is the IG for the nation’s fourth largest public schools district.


Photo credit: Leslie Harris

Margulies Collection 2 and for more about the new show go to


Margulies collection




>>> 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. Further, with municipal elections coming. Since you did not run yourself will you at least vote Nov. 7 and make your community a better place with quality elected leaders or have a small minority chose your leaders. It is up to you.


>>> 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.




>>> 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:        

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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


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