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Watchdog Report Vol.18 No. 21 October 15, 2017 – EST: 05.05.00 Celebrating almost 18 Years of Weekly publishing – A community education resource free to all

>>>With all the natural and unnatural disasters. I know people’s pocket books are strained and in my case I lost 8 days of fundraising and am once gain sadly short on my rent. Given the Vegas massacre and flattened Puerto Rico. I feel embarrassed asking for monetary help given what these people are dealing with in the scheme of things and I do not ask lightly and if I can get through October my fiscal position should be better but right now I am facing a my own big issue and hope you would consider helping and to make a contribution go http://paypal.me/WatchdogReport

What about the make Miami better community discussion?

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 http://miamifoundation.org/my-miami-story-conversations-to-bring-thousands-together-to-talk-about-common-local-experiences-on-october-17/

Further government has come out of its dormant period and woke up in September 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 http://paypal.me/WatchdogReport 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?                   

This national story ran in all the Tribune papers around the nation and covers the early years of the WDR: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190045_1_ricker-miami-watchdog  and sand here is a different versionhttp://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american

 

>>> 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 www.watchdogreport.net  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.

 

CONTENTS

 

ARGUS REPORT: President Trump’s comment about “the calm before the storm,” has world diplomats scratching their heads pondering what the president is thinking? —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: Former congressman Riviera tells federal Marshalls, catch me if you can regarding serving federal civil lawsuit documents

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: Some 600 homeless people taken to shelters with Irma bearing down, getting them to safety was a “passionate effort to get people off the streets,” by The Homeless Trust, a few had to be Baker Acted for their own safety, one man gets a dose of NarCan, is revived  — 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: Has a resolution been crafted for Friends of WLRN, still being worked on  and how it operates with the district where the board holds the license says Supt. Carvalho?– When it came to hurricane Irma school district’s “42 shelters,” capable of three days of food and water, Mayor Gimenez said the district schools were critical in such weather events — — 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: Miami Dist. 2 Commissioner Russell kicks off his congressional campaign Sunday at Merrie Christmas Park in Grove, “wants to listen to neighbors’ concerns, and do the right thing,” —  in the contentious house race, has raised $200,000, to challenger Haggman’s $500,000 in large democratic  Party field of candidates.– Outgoing Mayor Tomas Regalado now believes in climate change and got a long story in the Herald and in some ways the man is an enigma while being a populist, contrarian and commissioner for 22 years – 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:  Convention Center event update after Irma – Mayoral campaign calms down as candidate Grieco drops out of race after controversies and state attorney probe

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.

 

knight-logo-300

 

>>> 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: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/best-of/2003/people-and-places/best-citizen-6399517       

 

>> 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

 

>>>> President Trump’s comment about “the calm before the storm,” has world diplomats scratching their heads pondering what the president is thinking?

 

Further a perceived rift between Sec. of State Rex Tillerson is being talked about in the media, something the secretary is denying but has not outright said he did not call the president a ‘Moran’

 

Further, Trump’s visit to Puerto Rico had an odd tone after he threw paper towels to the crowd in front of his podium as if suggesting that the towels would help clean up the island. Like the Bounty ad the quick picker upper and he almost seemed to enjoy tossing the paper towels to the audience

 

“The calm before the storm,” said President Donald J. Trump last week and the world is shaking its head what that statement means and while the business says he will not telegraph his plans he still does not seem to understand how every word or tweet could have unexpected consequences and given all the talk about the nuclear option. Many Americans are concerned and have not felt this way since the 1950s when there was a jingle, when you see the flash duck and cover under your desks school children were told at the time.

 

Further the nation was stunned when a man in Las Vegas sprayed a crowd of concert goers killing and

 

What about the physiological impact of Hurricane Irma on children and the loss of social media?

 

I have talked to a number of physicians I know about the effect of the storm on children and what these physicians said was the profound withdrawal from social media and the community has a great opportunity to study the impact of this social media and its  denial among young people and could possible provide some empirical data of the effect how the technology has  almost become an addiction for these young people of today and given the size of the potential cohort scientists should study the effects the outage had on our young.

 

However Trump who was playing golf at the end of the week doesn’t seem to care what the optics might be and some are wondering if he would want a second term now that he knows what it involves and is fighting to get some legislative victories and tax reform a heavy lift but he periodically is dismissive of the two legislative branches and needs to tone down some of the divisive rhetoric in 2018 if Republicans want to have majorities after that election.

 

>>> Joe Copper of Topical Currents on WLRN says sayonara after 18 years and 4,000 shows decides to retire, show was a great source of a host of news topics and their contribution will be missed will be missed. And the show helped me establish myself in the early years.

 

Topical Current founder Joe Cooper and Bonnie Berman said sayonara on their last show on Thursday and past regular people were commenting on the show including Michael Putney, Jim DeFede, Sen. Bob Graham and the Watchdog Report along with Dan Christian of The Broward Bulldog and is doing stories on the north Broward hospital district. And to listen to the final show go to: http://wlrn.org/post/topical-currents-program-finale . Further, on Wednesday the Miami-Dade County school board sponsored by Dr. Martin Karp gave a proclamation to Cooper and Bermen at its monthly board meeting.

 

>>> 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 it 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 and that blunder on Rathers part started the bowl rolling and Brian Williams added to the fire when he embellished his military coverage and saying he had been under fire which was not true.

https://knightfoundation.org/press/releases/knight-foundation-announces-major-trust-media-and-democracy-initiative-to-build-a-stronger-future-for-journalism

https://knightfoundation.org/press/releases/knight-foundation-announces-major-trust-media-and-democracy-initiative-to-build-a-stronger-future-for-journalism

 

Further, Knight has donated $2 million for relief in Caribbean nations destroyed by Irma and hurricane recovery. For ore go to: https://knightfoundation.org/press/releases/knight-foundation-donates-2-5-million-for-hurricane-recovery-in-puerto-rico-u-s-virgin-islands

 

Norman Braman the automotive magnet is looking to create a contemporary Art Institute in Miami and the civic leader led the charge to derail the Miami Marlin’s enclosed ballpark costing with interest some 41.6 billion over the life of the bonds and many of the higher payments come in the next 15 years

 

>>> A hail of death rains on concert goers in Las Vegas worst mass killing in America

 

What about the massacre in Las Vegas the deadliest mass shooting in the nation’s history with over 50 killed hundreds wounded and before the frightening event whom had heard of bump stocks that can turn an assault rifle into essentially a machine gun and apparently there are a number of ways to achieve this automaticity some not very sophisticated but the horror of the event has shocked and spooked the nation when it comes to large crowds gathering and given the man’s high perch in the hotel it was easy for him to rain death on the concert goers and it appears he was alone yet deeply troubled mentally and investigators are searching for a motive with the investigation continuing.

 

>>> 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:http://www.redcross.org/about-us/our-work/disaster-relief

 

What about the good and the bad and the ugly?

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article175368391.html

 

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.

 

Further, after Irma drivers were driving like they were at Monte Carlo even with massive debris on both sides of the streets and the storm seemed to unleash any sense of traffic laws in drivers.

 

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: http://gondolaproject.com/ Images By Cynthia Fleischmann & Edgar Alvarez

 

Gondola MMB3 Gondola MMB4

 

Out of the box: http://gondolaproject.com/  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 http://neighbors4neighbors.org/

 

>>> 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:  http://www.pbs.org/video/2365985099/

https://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=the+crowd+and+the+cloud&view=detail&mid=CD84F5C8382A9CB88ED3CD84F5C8382A9CB88ED3&FORM=VIRE

 

>>> 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

http://www.pbs.org/video/2365985099/

>>>  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 www.connectmiami.org And Many of the events are free.in the future.

 

STATE OF FLORIDA

 

>>> Former congressman Riviera tell federal Marshalls, catch me if you can regarding serving federal civil lawsuit

 

David Rivera is on the lam trying to avoid a federal civil lawsuit and an election fine of some $486,0000 and federal Marshalls have on multiple occasions tried to serve the controversial Republican Legislator who escaped prosecution because of a statute of limitations to past election irregularities where he funneled some $69,000 to a straw candidate and he is claiming he is out of the country and unavailable to be served and the federal judge gave an extension to the Marshalls on serving the document.

 

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article178797496.html

 

>>> Fresen’s trademark smile is gone after being sentenced for tax evasion after almost ten years of not filing taxes, point of the spear for charter Schools in Miami-Dade

 

Past WDR: Former state Rep Erick Fresen was sentenced to 90 days in jail and one year of probation for failing to file his taxes for almost a decade (but was charged for only 2011 non filing) and the high flying legislator with the gleaming white teeth had an arrogant streak in him and he would represent charter school application s in many of Dade’s municipality and more  recently at coral Gables where the charter school was very controversial and Fresen spoke in favor of the Academica charter school in the city beautiful and the chambers were packed with pro and con residents. However, known as the education representative has now lost his luster and can never again run for elected office but critics wonder why such a lenient sentence by U.S. District Judge Richard Scala. And for more go to: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erik_Fresen

 
>> Candidate Taddeo takes a past Republican senate seat out spent some 2/1, after trying to win office for years, used Trump against opponent Diaz
 

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 pick 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: https://www.local10.com/lifestyle/legal-news/gov-rick-scott-wins-death-penalty-legal-battle-against-state-attorney-aramis-ayala

 

>>> 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.”

 

>>>> 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. https://www.thechildrenstrust.org/parents/initiatives/read-to-learn-book-club

 

>>>Further to search for any Florida Constitution officers net worth go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/reshttp://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article159147759.htmlhttp://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article159147759.html isults.cfm

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

 

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.

 

What did Commissioner Xavier Suarez say about the 42,000 properties the county owns?

 

>>> Some 600 homeless taken to shelters with Irma bearing down, getting them to safety was a “passionate effort to get people off the streets,” by The Homeless Trust, a few had to be Baker Acted for their own safety, one man gets a dose of NarCan, is revived

What about land for Key Biscayne deferred for a parking garage and possible government offices and Martinez asked if parking was going to be free given the $1 dollar lease payment and could not be converted to commercial use

 

What about county Legacy contracts #1 Moss?

 

At the last Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust meeting members discussed how the trust handled people on the streets and “some 600 homeless people,” were placed in shelters. Long time trust chairman Ron Book said the  organization “with great passion,” tried to get as many people possible to safety as Irma approached and Book talked about one man he saw living on the seawall at the Bayfront Park site. He said the man was unresponsive and “barely had a pulse,” but Miami Fire Rescue came and gave the man a dose of NarCan and he was revived immediately and taken to safety and any homeless who would not go to shelters were Baker Acted following the “Laws,” so they would get to safety, said Book

 

What about the sexual predator encampment?

 

Book noted, when it comes to a sexual predator encampment the trust and county are “working hard,” given “residency law to shut down this “encampment,” he noted the population fluctuated from a low number during the day but swells to a much larger number at night and the trust is creating a map of the county which will show where a sexual predator can live given the various laws restrictions like schools or other places children congregate

 

What about the trust’s Rent Connect?

 

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: http://www.homelesstrust.org/rentconnect.asp 

 

A middle school civics and law studies instructor who leads his students in community service and academic competitions is the recipient of the 2017 Ethical Governance Day Teacher Award.  The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) endorsed that designation today for Isaiah Thomas, a 7th and 8th grade teacher at Carrie P. Meek/Westview K-8 Center.  Thomas will receive the honor during the 6th annual Ethical Governance Day commemoration on Thursday, October 19, 2017. 

Thomas, a product of Miami-Dade Public Schools, earned recognition last year when his Law Studies students created a class activity for Project Citizen called “Done with the Guns,” in response to the violence the 7th graders experienced in their Northwest Miami-Dade neighborhoods. The students wrote to lawmakers and pushed for measures to help keep them safe, including afterschool activities, social media campaigns and conflict resolution programs.  More recently, Thomas and his students fed families in Opa-Locka after Hurricane Irma, collected supplies for families affected by Hurricane Harvey in Houston and helped host monthly Black Marketplaces at the Little Haiti Cultural Arts Center.  Before joining Miami-Dade Public Schools in 2013, the Florida A & M University graduate worked with the Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools and for Teen Up-Ward Bound. 

On Ethical Governance Day, the Ethics Commission encourages citizens and community groups, public agencies, professional associations and private businesses to hold activities and events that focus on how to become more active in their governments.  The COE places citizen activists in government classes throughout Miami-Dade senior high schools to talk with students about the importance of being informed and involved citizens.  Anyone interested in participating On Oct. 19th can learn more by visiting ethics.miamidade.gov or calling 305-579-2594.

In other action today, the Ethics Commission determined that the domestic partner of an administrator in Miami-Dade County’s Department of Cultural Affairs may not be considered for public art projects sponsored by the agency because of his relationship with the administrator.  That was the Commission’s response to a Request for Opinion (RQO 17-05) by Amanda Sanfilippo, Curator and Artist Manager for the County’s Art in Public Places Program.  While she has no say in the selection of artists under the program, she does coordinate and oversee the application process.  Her domestic partner, visual artist Justin Long, had been eligible to compete and had been recommended for public art commissions prior to Sanfilippo’s County employment in June 2016. Sanfilippo also directs and administers the South Florida Cultural Consortium Visual and Media Artists Award Program, which awards fellowships of $15,000 to selected participants.  The Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance prohibits an individual from entering into a contract or transacting business with the County if an immediate family member is involved in the contract.  Under the Ethics Code, domestic partners are included in the definition of “immediate family member.” Although Sanfilippo’s role in the selection of award recipients is only ministerial, she is in a position of perceived influence with the selection committee members, which may create an appearance of impropriety and is prohibited under the Ethics Code due to her employment in the department that oversees the fellowship awards. The prohibition may be waived by a two-thirds vote of the Board of County Commissioners.

The Ethics Commission gave its approval for the executive secretary for the Director of the County’s Public Housing and Community Development Department (PHCD) to participate in the Home-Ownership Second Mortgage Program, in response to RQO 17-06, an opinion requested by PHCD Director Michael Liu.  Mary Pacheco wants to apply for the publicly-funded program that helps qualified applicants complete financing when they are unable to obtain a loan for the entire mortgage from a private lender.  She performs secretarial and clerical duties for the Executive Director of the Department, but since neither she nor her boss are involved in the decision-making or oversight of the program, it was determined Ms. Pacheco may participate.

COE members accepted a proposed settlement agreement with a Miami-Dade County lifeguard who has worked a second job for the past six years without disclosing it, as required.  Jose A. Cancelo is employed by Miami-Dade Fire Rescue as a lifeguard at Haulover Beach, but also has worked part-time for Miami-Dade Public Schools performing similar duties at MAST Academy without submitting Outside Employment statements as required by County rules. As part of the settlement, Cancelo has filed the appropriate disclosures for the past three years, and will pay a $500 fine and accept a Letter of Instruction regarding the complaint (C 17-17).

The Ethics Commission found No Probable Cause to a complaint (C 17-05) accusing Opa-Locka City Manager Yvette Harrell and City Attorney Vincent Brown of violating the Citizens Bill of Rights or Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance.  The complaint was filed by the head of Universal Waste Services of Florida, a waste-hauling company that was competing for a city contract, charging that the officials failed to produce public records in a timely manner and imposed unreasonably high fees.  The Ethics investigation found that the company made numerous public records requests demanding voluminous amounts of information, including text messages over two years from a variety of public and private phones, at the same time the beleaguered city was receiving numerous records requests from other entities. While, the staff memo recommending the “No Probable Cause” finding stated that the City’s process for responding to records requests may be described as “inept,” there was insufficient evidence that Harrell and Brown intentionally withheld records.  And, since civil litigation initiated on the issue by the complainant has been settled, the complaint was dismissed by the COE.

The COE found No Probable Cause that a long-time local lobbyist improperly tried to influence Miami-Dade County on behalf of a dental insurance provider, but also acknowledged that loopholes exist in the County Ethics Ordinance that led to confusion over whose interest the lobbyist was presenting.  Complaint C 17-12 was filed by a representative of Humana South Florida against Eston “Dusty” Melton, who had, in fact made several contacts with County staff, apparently on behalf of Delta Dental’s efforts to contract with the County earlier this year. But Melton, who has been a registered lobbyist in Miami-Dade for 20 years, had been properly registered to represent The Comprehensive Companies (TCC) on insurance and financial issues.  Delta Dental contracted with TCC to act as its marketplace representative and Melton was one of TCC’s paid consultants.  While dismissing the complaint, the Ethics Commission noted that this situation is not addressed in the lobbying rules that are supposed to promote transparency.

One citizen of Surfside apparently was upset that Mayor Daniel Dietch evacuated with his family in advance of Hurricane Irma and filed a complaint (C 17-25) against him and all elected Surfside Town officials and top administrators, questioning their compliance with the City Charter’s provisions for emergency management.  However, the Ethics Commission does not have jurisdiction to enforce the Town Charter and, since the complaint does not allege any violation of the Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance, the complaint was dismissed as Not Legally Sufficient.

The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers. It is composed of five members, serving staggered terms of four years each. Through a program of education, outreach and enforcement, the Commission seeks to empower the community and bolster public trust.

 

>>>> County Commissioners name road on Krome and south Dade Robert M. Levy Memorial Way, had support of three south Dade commissioners Moss, Heyman, Levine Cava

 

County Commissioners Sally Heyman, Dennis Moss and Daniela Levine Cava all supported the county naming a street off Krome Ave in South Dade the Robert M. Levy Memorial Way and the highly respected man was a decade long man to go to in Tallahassee and his firm represented a host of municipalities and charities throughout the county and the highly decorated Vietnam combat veteran in one fire fight almost lost his life and would send out a reflective email on the anniversary of the battle and his surviving called my Life story day. I believe and the man was a teacher and mentor to the Watchdog Report in my early years and became a good friend and his memorial after his death was packed with friends and elected leaders paying their respects and he certainly deserves this honor.

 

>>> 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 the Homeless Trust?

 

Vice Mayor Russell Beneford is leaving the Carlos Gimenez administration and is taking a high profile job at Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines  and trust  chair Ron Book noted how talented and reliable he was and said if you looked in a “dictionary,” looking for a true competent “public servant.” you would see his face, said Book and the chairman said he was being replaced by Miami Fire Chief Maurice Kemp in the Gimenez administration and Beneford during his tenure was a solid Vice mayor and over saw the police fire rescue and a host of other departments and the Watchdog Report gives him a Tip of the Hat for a job well done and Book believed the cruise line saw his potential saying he had been a city manager in North Miami before coming to the  county  and all at the trust wished him well. Further Commissioners Dennis Moss and Jean Monestine said the man was all over the county and was an effective leader both men agreed.

 

What about FEMA?

 

When it came to cleaning up the county with debris Gimenez said the county has 1,600 miles of roads on private property and while the county picks up the trash they have to get a memo of understanding from these many developments and the county has an estimated 3 million cubic yards of trash to pick up says the mayor.

 

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, Further the county commissioners with Gimenez dissected how the county did and how the county departments did. Gimenez said the county worked closely with the public schools district and that 42 shelters were opened very quickly. However the mayor thought in the future they should identify an ice source and carped that elected officials giving out water was odd since there was no boil water issued and the county’s water was just fine, he said.

 

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. Further the production  of the cars ‘is on track,’ said Alice Bravo and all the cars are due by July 2018 and the Hitachi built cars in Medley “are on track,” regarding the delivery timeline and all should be in service by that time said transit director Alice Bravo.

 

Further transit director Alice Brava said metro rail cars were from 1984 and parts an keeping the running has been a “yeoman’s,” job said the engineer and she noted the county is working with procurement in Washington D.C. where the cars on its system are being replaced and may give the county an opportunity to procure replacement parts

 

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.

 

The Citizens Independent Transit Trust (CITT) is looking for a new executive director and long serving member Dr. Anna Ward is leaving the board and one trust member has missed three meetings because of a “Medical issue,” and one trustee wanted to know how long the trustee would be gone on the small oversite of the half-cent sales tax for transportation passed by voters in 2003 but has 30 percent going to municipalities around the county and pays for  many of the local trolleys but this does bleed revenue for other uses.

 

Kris Korge a long time lobbyist close to former Mayor Alex Penelas spoke in front of a county commission meeting Korge who holds a host of contracts at MIA

 

>>> 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 also applies to dogs. Further the IG report puts more pressure on the Mayor Gimenez’ administration to get these numbers further lowered.

http://www.miamidadeig.org/Reports2017/1.%20IG14-39%20Transmittal%20&%20Executive%20Summary%206.26.17.pdf 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:

http://www.miamidadeig.org/Reports2017/TrafficControlModernizationServicesBidWaiver06.12.17.pdf

 

>>> 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 http://www.miamidade.gov/mayor/opioid-addiction-task-force-group.asphttp://www.miamidade.gov/mayor/opioid-addiction-task-force-group.asp

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/21/20-facts-hurricane-andrew-anniversary_n_1819405.html has saved millions by refinancing the extensive bond holdings

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

>>> Has a resolution been crafted for Friends of WLRN and how it operates with the district where the board holds the license?

 

The administration will be discussing the different proposals on how Friends of WLRN should operate and its relationship to the school board and the federal IG report is finished and can be read the report in the Miami Herald story and the IG is suggesting Friends should repay PBC over $1.0 million for its embellishment of under writing when applying for PBC grants to the station and this activity brought in the administration of Superintendent Albert Carvalho. Further Carvalho created an advisory board to help craft a possible solution and once had the superintendent saying he “had no desire to run the station,” at a past board Audit and Budget Review committee meeting that is being held this Tuesday at noon. And here is the longer story on the matter

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/education/article177497526.html

 

>>> When it came to hurricane Irma school district’s “42 shelters,” capable of three days of food and water, Mayor Gimenez said the district schools were critical in such weather events

 

Mayor Carlos Gimenez said having the schools open 42 shelters in two days was a lifesaver and he and district Superintended Alberto Carvalho had worked closely as the need continued to increase and these school had three days of food supplies, something not found at all public schools and inn future storm events the county is going to need the nation’s fourth largest public school district.

 

>>>> 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: http://mca.dadeschools.net/AuditCommittee/AC_July_18_2017/Agenda.pdf

 

>>> 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:: http://www.miamidadeig.org/Reports2017/GOBIG0013FinalReport6.15.17.pdf

 

>> 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 https://give.fiu.edu/tag/golden-scholars/

And for more go to http://sas.fiu.edu/golden-scholars/

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

 

CITY OF MIAMI

 

>>> Miami Dist. 2 Commissioner Russell kicks off his congressional campaign Sunday at Merrie Christmas Park in Grove, “wants to listen to neighbors’ concerns, and do the right thing,’ in the contentious house, has raised $200,000, to challenger Haggman’s $500,000 in large democratic  Party field of candidates.

 

A rumor that outgoing Commissioner Frank Carollo is looking to be the next director of the Bayfront Park Trust is in the media and for years I have covered the trust but have missed the last few meetings but it is an odd report since he is a certified public Accountant and the charge is being pushed by Steven Kneapler a longtime friend and confident of outgoing mayor Tomas Regalado whose son Tommy is running against former mayor Joe Carollo for the commission District 3 seat and the former mayor has a history of conspiracy theories and high drama especially after an earlier election won by Xavier Suarez was overturned by a judge due to widespread voter fraud and Carollo was brought  into office. But he fanned Miami’s ethnic breach to red hot in the spring of 2000 when the federal government was debating the fate of the young Cuban Boy Ileana Gonzalez whose mother died during the voyage from Cuba and it caught the world’s attention and Miami led national news almost every night for months and the outlets were camped out at Camp Elian, and included hats and coffee cups saying camp Elian.

 

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 Carolllo 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 ws 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: http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94153&page=1http://abcnews.go.com/US/story?id=94153&page=1 And here is more on Elian

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eli%C3%A1n_Gonz%C3%A1lez_affair

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article124820224.html

 

What about Jimbo’s Lagoon?

 

Under Commissioner Ken Russell’s guidance a more environmentally sensitive plan was created and there is a graded beach now to the lagoon shoreline and Russell a water board enthusiast of all types including paddle boards.

 

What about Russell’s run for congress?

 

Democratic Party underdog Ken Russell announced he was running for U.S. Rep. Dr. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen’s, R-Miami’s Dist. 27 seat Sunday at a picnic and there are a host of challengers in the crowded Democratic Party field including Matt Haggman formerly of the Knight Foundation and an attorney and a former Miami Herald county reporter.

 

What did Russell say at Merrie Christmas Park in Coconut Grove Sunday to about his run for congress?

 

One hundred supporters attended the kickoff event. The former yo-yo executive born at Doctor’s hospital said he got involved in politics because of the contaminated park he lived next to and the city of Miami’s initial response to the problem.

 

The introductory speaker Bobby a former elected official said Russell was running for the “right reasons,”  and the man who believes in “social equality,” and Russell noted excluding asking his wife for marriage this  “is the biggest decision in my life,” and he talked about his family and how his dad while at the University of Miami was a P51 mustang fighter instructor and his Japanese mother was the top yo-yo player in the country and since Russell is from Kentucky he may have some of Daniel Boone’s blood in him he once joked with the WDR and given there are a host of candidates running for the coveted congressional Dist. 27 seat. The candidate believes “the large field,” increases his chances of winning and believes the numbers show in the primary that he only needs some 10,000 Democratic Party voters to face the GOP candidate primarily former school board member Raquel Regalado who has the support of Ros- Lehtinen who is retiring after 22 years in the house.

 

Further, Russell noted that he has “traveled to [over] 50 countries and speaks “four languages,” including Spanish and he is the first Miami District 2 commissioner to speak the dominate language in Miami and the business man “loves water sports,” and had a business selling paddle boards and a host of other products to “100 surf shops,” in America and he gave money to such organization’s as “big brother and Big Sister,” he told the assembled crowd.  He also said he was committed to “listening to the people and doing the right thing,” he highlighted his underdog status when he ran against Teresa Sarnoff the wife of the former commissioner Marc Sarnoff who Russell beat by two to one even though her campaign war chest was over $2 million and was ten times the amount he had but voters are getting tired of dynastic political families and are looking for new blood and Russell believes he fills the bill. And supported a resolution urging tolerance for the 70,000 Muslims in the city and the county and he said what has been going on in Washington ‘and “national level issues,” had been tugging at him and he noted one success was overturning a rare Miami Mayor Regalado veto on a large scale development and when he ran for the commission seat “he did not make promises and people trusted him,” and that has been his North Star in politics. He also is concerned with President Trump’s “twitchy trigger finger,” an abrogation of the Iran nuclear deal as some of his concerns in the nation’s capital.  For more go to:http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2017/10/miami-commissioner-ken-russell-joins-race-to-replace-ros-lehtinen.html  And for more on the Haggman campaign go to http://floridapolitics.com/archives/246254-matt-haggman-appears-top-cd-27-field-512k-haul-third-quarter

 

>>>> Outgoing Mayor Tomas Regalado now believes in climate change and got a long story in the Herald and in some ways the man is an enigma while being a populist, contrarian and commissioner for 22 years

 

The mayor originally ran on slowing some of the rampant development and more affordable housing most of which never materialized during his eight years in office and many of his siblings have lived off the campaign cash for work on the fathers or sisters  campaigns and now his son Tommy is running for aa commission seat facing off against former Miami Mayor Joe Carollo and Regalado and Carollo used to butt heads when he was a commissioner and while he calls himself a Republican his political afflation has shown some flexibility depending on which is the majority party at the time and during his first swearing in years ago the surprise guest was then Gov. Charlie Crist who would later become a Democrat  and is a congressman in St. Petersburgh now after failing a bid for the Florida senate.

 

However his family has traveled extensively for a variety of reasons and recently his son Jose  went to the Paris Climate Change conference where he is saying it was on his dime but no documentation has been produced and there are a number of open questions that he just generally ignores and is a Trumpian type excuse. And many of Regalado’s activities have been chronicled in the adult content www.crespogram.com blog and to read the Herald’s longer story on Regalado go to:

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article177433831.html

 

>>> 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 a number of 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

 

What about the Miami Out board Club wanting an extended lease?

 

Regalado noted the organization has an annual boat parade and one of the fees is to bring toys to be given out to needy in Miami and now I know where all the toys come from during the Christmas holiday. And it is this blending of politics and development that continued after Mayor Manny Diaz left office and after 23 years in public service the next administration headed probable by Francis Suarez needs to end some of these loose practices because over the past 18 years a number of past commissioners have been removed from office for a variety of reasons.

 

Further his son Tomas “Tommy,” Regalado is running for a commission seat and is facing former Mayor Joe Carollo a Regalado nemesis and his father’s administration went through city managers like M&Ms with almost ten coming and going in the administration and one of the worst was Johnny Martinez a former Sec., of FDOT and he could drink with best of them.

 

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 to be the city’s movie czar 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,”

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article170804042.html   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.

 

>>> 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 $400 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 http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article159278724.who html

 

Further while there will be a oversite board the members will be picked by commissioners and generally they pick people to be on it who are the  usual suspects and this cash bonanza becomes a feeding frenzy for many  prominent lobbyist given past over sight boards.

 

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

 

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:

http://ethics.miamidade.gov/library/2017-meetings/summary_jan_17.pdf

 

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article154960954.html

 

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.

 

VILLAGE OF COCONUT GROVE

 

>>> IS low cost affordable housing coming to county’s Shannon Rolle community center?

 

The county owned Shannon Rolle administrative center is being looked at by the county for a new affordable housing development that will also include some affordable housing and the former site years ago had a Winn Dixie shopping center and the project came in front of the Miami planning and zoning board and local residents were concerned about the cost of the affordable housing which will depend on how much government housing assistance is given versus costlier units and the range of units is estimated from $450.00 to $700.00 depending on the size of the unit. However this transit village is also facing some resident opposition and the county and developers are going to have to hear further the concerns they have for the long neglected area and its residents.

 

Further the new development on Main highway near Greenstreet’s café is going to be a five story office building with two stories of retail on the bottom at street level and the project is moving along at a brisk pace.

 

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

 

>>> Mayoral candidates debate on Tuesday at breakfast club forum free for all

 

The Tuesday Morning breakfast Club is having a mayoral debate Tuesday and it should be a lively affair. It is free and open to all and for more go to http://miami.cbslocal.com/tag/tuesday-morning-breakfast-club/

 

>>> Convention Center event update after Irma

Manager’s memo edited: Did the Building suffer any damage due to Irma?

Although Hurricane Irma has significantly impacted construction activity and the ability of the MBCC project to be cleared for occupancy by the public, the structure itself suffered minimal damage and was re-certified for contractor occupancy on 9/18/17.  There was roofing damage and some additional minor water infiltration damage to the finished interior on the east side of the building, which is currently being addressed.

 

Note:  On August 1, 2017, portions of the building suffered damage through the roof due to a heavy rain event that occurred on that date unrelated to Irma.  These roofing repairs were taking place but were not completed prior to Irma affecting South Florida.  These repairs have now continued after the contractor’s roofer remobilized last week.

 

What is the time delay impact to the project?

 

The construction manager, Clark Construction, has estimated that the project has lost a minimum of 2 weeks, which includes 1 week for Hurricane related preparations to secure the project site and demobilize, and 1 week after the storm event to re-mobilize once power was brought back to the building, the trailer compound and staging area.  In addition, full work crews, many of who left the state, were not back as of Friday of last week, 9/22/17. The City’s construction Manager, Clark Construction, is doing everything possible to ramp up their labor force to gain the momentum lost as the result of the hurricane.

 

What was the impact of Irma to events?

 

A total of 4 events had to either cancel or be relocated as a result of Irma’s impact. For both, the cancellation and relocation of shows, City and MBCC staff have worked in lockstep with each show to protect the best interests, safety and security, and overall event success for the show producers, exhibitors, and guests. City and MBCC remain committed to providing world-class support and partnership to these valued clients. The 4 effected events (listed below) are under contract to return in 2018:

 

Auto Show – Irma struck during the scheduled Auto Show event, therefore the show had no other option but to cancel.

America’s Food & Beverage – The City cancelled the show due to there not being enough time to clear the building for occupancy by any event or show by the authorities having jurisdiction, i.e., the building official and Fire Marshall.

ICFF Miami – For similar reasons related to the ability to clear the MBCC for occupancy by the general public, the event was relocated to the Broward County Convention Center (Fort Lauderdale)

Jewelry Trade Show – For similar reasons related to the inability to clear the MBCC for occupancy by the general public, the event was relocated to the Broward County Convention Center (For Lauderdale)

 

Why did the shows have to cancel and/or relocate?

 

During preparations for Irma the City took precautionary measures to avoid the possibility of substantial storm surge damage to temporary fire walls and life safety partitions.  This included partial removal of drywall below 4 feet as well as other measures.  These walls could not be re-built and re-certified on time for the building to be cleared for occupancy for any event.

 

Will Art Basel Miami Beach (ABMB) come back in 2017? The Show is under contract to return in 2017.

 

What is the impact of Irma to the ABMB event? There was no impact to the exhibit hall gallery area or the newly completed east entrance or support areas.  There are ongoing discussions with the ABMB team, the City’s construction team, and the authorities having jurisdiction (Building Department and Fire Department) as to what will be available for use on the West entrance along Convention Center Drive.

 

What is the cost of the delay?

 

The amount of the delay and the premium time required to recover time lost from the hurricane interruption has not yet been fully quantified.  The City is focusing efforts on proper documentation and submittal of receipts to insurance agencies for potential builder’s risk insurance and/or FEMA reimbursement.

 

Will Design Miami be returning in 2017?

 

The City is currently under contract with Design Miami for 2017 and the usual location in the City’s parking lot will be made available to the event.  City staff is currently coordinating event details with Design Miami show executives.

 

>>> 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: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article141609749.html

 

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

Claws for Kids

 

Margulies Collection 2

http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/index.php#/exhibitions

 

>>>> Now closed and will reopen in October. Check it out at http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/#/home

Margulies collection
Photo credit: Leslie Harris
 

>>>And the Margulies Warehouse for more info for this community treasure go to http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/#/home

>> 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 www.CynthiaFleischmann.com
+1. 508. 479. 6631 cynthia@cynthiafleischmann.com

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

 

EDITORIALS

 

>>> 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: http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190045_1_ricker-miami-watchdog. 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 http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190045_1_ricker-miami-watchdog and to all the people along the way that have helped me I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

 

LETTERS

 

>>> Press release: XAVIER L. SUAREZ MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSIONER

DISTRICT 7The Miami Herald Letters to the Editor<http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/>

July 11, 2017 11:20 PM

 

Restore full funding to People’s Transportation Plan Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor/article160867494.html#storylink=cpy

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: http://lotusendowment.org/about-lotus-village/

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation www.knightfoundation.org for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center www.knightfoundation.org   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 https://paypal.me/WatchdogReport

>>>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 https://paypal.me/WatchdogReport 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: http://articles.sun-sentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190341_1_ricker-school-board-president-miami-s-first-cuban-american        

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

 

Mr. ANGEL ESPINOSA – (Deceased) owner COCONUT GROVE DRY CLEANER’S

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr (The first contributor)

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

THE MIAMI HERALD www.miamiherald.com (2000-2008)

ARTHUR HERTZ

WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)

ALFRED NOVAK

LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)

JOHN S. and JAMES L. KNIGHT FOUNDATION www.knightfoundation.org

THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE

 

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

 

BADIA SPICES www.badiaspices.com

RONALD HALL

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.miamidade.gov

UNITED WAY OF MIAMI-DADE COUNTY www.unitedwaymiamidade.org

 

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

 

EIDSON, COLSON & HICKS www.eadisoncolsonon.com

BADIA SPICES www.badiaspices.com

BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants www.bpbcpa.com

JEFFREY L. BERKOWITZ TRUST

BERKOW RADELL FERNANDEZ & LARKIN www.brzoinglaw.com

RON BOOK

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

WILLIAM PALMER www.shutts.com

Rbb PUBLIC RELATIONS www.rbbcommmunications.com

ROYAL MEDIA PARTNERS www.royalmp.com

SHUBIN & BASS www.shubinbass.com

WILLIAMSOM AUTOMOTIVE GROUP http://williamsonautomotivegroup.com/

 

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

 

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

CHAPMAN PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.chapmanpartnership.org

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY www.fiu.edu

THE STATE OF FLORIDA www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION OFFICE OF THE CHAIR www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ETHICS & PUBLIC TRUST COMMISSION

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOMELESS TRUST: www.miamidade.gov/homeless/

MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE www.mdc.edu

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY INSPECTOR GENERAL www.miamidade.gov/ig

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPT. http://superintendent.dadeschools.net/

MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY www.miamidda.com

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST & JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM www.jhsmiami.org

THE BEACON COUNCIL www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

THE GOOD GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE http://goodgov.net/

THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY LEAGUE OF CITIES www.mdclc.org

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION www.miamifoundation.org

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA http://www.firstgov.gov/

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI www.miami.edu

 

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

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

CHAPMAN PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.chapmanpartnership.org

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY www.fiu.edu

THE STATE OF FLORIDA www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COMMISSION OFFICE OF THE CHAIR www.miamidade.gov

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY HOMELESS TRUST: www.miamidade.gov/homeless/

MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE www.mdc.edu

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION ON ETHICS and PUBLIC TRUST www.ethics.miamidade.gov  

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY INSPECTOR GENERAL www.miamidade.gov/ig

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS SUPT. http://superintendent.dadeschools.net/

MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY www.miamidda.com

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST & JACKSON HEALTH SYSTEM www.jhsmiami.org

THE BEACON COUNCIL www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

THE GOOD GOVERNMENT INITIATIVE http://goodgov.net/

THE MIAMI-DADE COUNTY LEAGUE OF CITIES www.mdclc.org

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION www.miamifoundation.org

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA http://www.firstgov.gov/

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI www.miami.edu

 

>>> 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 watchdogreport1@earthlink.net

 

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)

CITIZEN ADVOCATE’ KEEPS TABS ON POLITICIANS

 

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

MIAMI-DADE WATCHDOG WILL BE MISSED

 

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. http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190045_1_ricker-miami-watchdog

 

>>>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 http://www.miaminewtimes.com/best-of/2003/people-and-places/best-citizen-6399517

 

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

Watchdog Report Supporters Invoice-Form Thank you

 

Supporting Sponsors $5,000

Sustaining Sponsors $2,000

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

 

Large Business Supporters $500

Small Business Supporters $250 

Individual Supporter $150

 

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3109 Grand Ave, #125 Miami, Florida 33133