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Watchdog Report Vol.18 N0. 35 February 18, 2018 EST 05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Deeply saddened by the parkland High school massacre

I want to thank all my readers that helped me financially recently it meant a lot to me as I close in on nearly19 years of weekly publishing http://paypal.me/WatchdogReport Further, if you would rather send a check send it made out to Daniel Ricker and mail it to 3109 Grand Ave., #125 Miami, Fla. 33133. Thank you, Dan

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 believe I have established myself and hope to continue for many more years with your support.

And here is my philosophy on why I do this?                   

 

>>> 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 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 many political candidates from former President Barack Obama, John Huntsman and presidential candidate John McCain, and a host of others since 2000 after Miami’s election fiasco back then.

 

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

>>> May you and your family have a reflective and safe Presidents’ Day after the horrific shooting at Parkland’s Marjorie Stoneman Douglas High School. And given the fact the whole community is mourning these loses. I am finding it difficult to write this week. However, a multitude of students are taking this catastrophe to heart and plan on getting lawmakers to strengthen gun controls and some more mental health funding and Gov. Rick Scott is calling on the legislature to beef up funding for mental health programs and is asking for$100 million in funding to deal with this crisis issue. However, students on television are looking very determined and may finally tip the balance with lawmakers and as one person said, it also could have been a truck or other vehicle. But we all mourn this tragedy and with Miami-Dade having an unusually high percent of kids with mental issues and some 44,965 kids in Florida attempt suicide. further, some 15 to 17 percent of that population consider suicide and 25 kids of that group try again. A hopelessness, sever anxiety and “giving away valued items,” is one of the early signs say mental health experts. And for more go to: https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/nikolas-cruz-we-had-this-monster-living-under-our-roof-and-we-didnt-know/ar-BBJgp8y?li=BBmkt5R&ocid=spartandhp

 

>>> And the Watchdog Report will return next week. After I get over this tragedy and loss of students and teachers lives. In the community of which I live. My prayers to all the families, but that is not enough anymore as these shootings of our future just continue around the nation.

 

CONTENTS

 

ARGUS REPORT: Parkland High School massacre stirs the soul of Florida, after 17 students and teachers’ dead will AR -15’s assault rifles finally get banned, one of most popular guns in nation? – Proper U.S. Census count for 2020 critical, costs us millions in federal funding and maybe an extra congressional seat, will status question skew the count, happened in 2002 national count because of fear after child Elian extracted by federal government –Fraud trifecta: Now it’s a Miami police officer Ponzi scheme busted, Lt. Col Colmenares arrested stole $300,000 in donations for veterans, school board uncovers “7 fraudulent Po numbers,” with local contractor, controller of firm cannot be found, phone “out of service, ‘state auditor documents– Women’s Movement alive and well, women candidates on the rise in 2018–Taxpayers are trying to figure out what GOP tax bill means for them, people will get a chance on April 15 if passed by the new year- Men in power now know inappropriate sexual harassment is forbidden, as more accusers come forward regarding this bad behavior —

STATE of FLORIDA: Judge Ortiz, doesn’t remember free suite and VIP tickets to Bongos night club, when does this end net worth $1,336 million in 2016, lists “N/A,” when it comes to gifts on state disclosure form– Florida Prepaid has open enrollment, largest in nation with over 1 million parents enrolled ensuring a college education — ‘Is I don’t remember,’ all one has to say too state to avoid prosecution, it worked for Judge Sarah Zabel, husband charged in $150,000 investment scheme, she unaware, home almost in foreclosure.

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY: All day union impasse debate gets heated, union atty. Richards wants parity with other county workers who settled back in 2016 and got some cuts restored

MIAM-Dade County Public Schools: Two Chief Auditor finalists are Trevor Williams and Menendez-Cartaya, both C.P.A.” s

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST: Trust continues to have clean audits, challenges continue ahead, closed the year with $30 million budget surplus, 50 days cash on hand, new rehabilitation Center property prepped Friday — Ryder Trauma Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary — 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 Commissioner Carollo wants former Mayor Diaz to tell commission what he thinks of Marlins stadium now, calls it worst deal ever, total sellout of Miami residents,” says Carollo – Some leaders leave office with grace, others Sarnoff can’t live without the limelight, walking the halls and commissioners offices during commission breaks, even had a book done of his achievements something rarely done

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Levine’s campaign says no to off shore drilling, and strong sea level rise mitigation in crowded field of candidates rises in polls -Democratic gubernatorial candidate Levine’s campaign says no to off shore drilling, and strong sea level rise mitigation in crowded field of candidates

EDITORIALS: The Florida Legislature should keep its hands off the 20 counties that have Home Rule Charter local government is better with local leaders but yes not perfect, at least we arrest our own – Where does Miami draw the line with Lt. Col. Colmenares, stealing $300,0000 in donations for veterans? –Politicians don’t realize voter’s frustration is they are such hypocrites, many times (like now when congress gets paid but no other federal departments with the shut-down) 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:  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    

 

>> Given his dedication and perseverance, this new honor, Best Citizen, is well deserved. Ricker goes to 2500 mind-melting meetings annually, from the Public Health Trust’s purchasing subcommittee to the Efficiency and Competition Commission to the Alliance for Human Services’ nominating council to the school board’s audit committee. Sometimes he’s the only public observe

 

Object: to be the Public Citizen for all those out there who can’t attend, and to connect and serve as an information bridge among the special-interest-dominated Miami-Dade governmental institutions that seem newsletter, The Watchdog Report, celebrates its [18h] Anniversary. In a former life Ricker made a handsome living as an international salesman of heart pacemakers. As the hard-working publisher of Watchdog, though, he’s struggling financially — this even though his weekly compendium of meeting summaries, analysis, interviews, and commentary has become essential reading for anyone involved in public affairs. What his written work may lack in polish, it more than makes up for in comprehensiveness. So, raise a toast to the man whose official slogan says it all: “A community education resource — I go when you cannot!”

 

ARGUS REPORT: Heard Seen on the Streets

 

>>> Parkland High School massacre stirs the soul of Florida, after 17 students and teachers’ dead will AR -15’s assault rifles finally get banned, one of most popular guns in nation?

 

The horrific mas shooting at a Parkland High School has spread a sad cloud over all of Florida has once again asked why people with mental issues can buy a AR-15 one of the most popular rifles in the nation and while he clearly has some mental issues. The press emphasizing, he was aged out of foster care made it seem any one in foster care must have mental issues and mental health is a national problem and some 44,965 children try to commit suicide and another 15-17 percent of kids try again.

 

What about Trump?

 

President Donald J. Trump came down from Mar-A-Lago to thank the first responders on their quick response and some of the victims who were treated just minutes after being shot. Trump is also planning to meet with students. He is expected to get an earful and children marches on Washington are being organized.

 

>>>>Baptist CEO Keeley, honored with Chambers top honor, health system has helped raise customer service and patient satisfaction at Jackson Health System, in competitive healthcare market

 

Brian Keeley, the four decades long serving CEO of Baptist Health South Florida received the business community’s highest honor from The Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, the Sand in My Shoes Award on Wednesday and the veteran navel officer has been at the health systems helm for decades and the health system has saved my life twice. Further the Chamber had a record crowd for the evening ceremony and the family man has soft spoken low-key style but is passionate about the system’s medical care, ethics and boards with members that have no conflicts of interests at the -not-for profit health system. He attributes the health system’s success to the employees and during an extended stay at South Miami Hospital. I saw a host of different nurses during the 18-day stay and included some fine physicians one of which was head of a medical department at the FIU medical school and he had some residents in tow and the Jackson Health System has also put an emphasis on patient satisfaction which has increased dramatically under the Carlos Migoya management and his new team.

 

Further Baptist has elevated customer service at other hospitals and even have signs at check-in places and at Urgent Care Centers dotting the community that say, “Director of First Impressions.” And if someone is not doing that the sign will get removed, Keeley once told me.

 

However, since I worked at Cordis Corp a cardiovascular instrumentation company making cardiac pacemakers in Miami. After I came back from living in Japan and trying to set up distribution there for the company I was assigned the Miami territory. I was a technical representative in the operating room testing the pacing electrode for its ability to function properly with the pacemaker, but when I arrived in Miami back in 1979. I was told there was a new administrator at Baptist who was shaking things up at the time. And the main hospital on Kendall drive a street known as “the road to nowhere,” back in 1960 and I remember the OR core where supplies were kept, was so cold and was done to keep infections down and for more on Keeley go to: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article200554104.html

 

Further, I tested pacemaker systems with cardiovascular surgeons at Baptist Hospitals including A. J. Furst, James Jude, Reza Golcar and surgeons Brea and Chesney back then. I remember it so clearly, because at. Jackson. The institution was on C.O.D. and I had to wait for a certified check before I could give the electrode to surgeon Richard Thurer to place in the patient’s right ventricle. Editor’s note: Keeley has been a friend and teacher in my understanding what it’s like to run a health system. Something I also learned from past JHS CEO Marvin O’Quinn who commented that Miami-Dade “is so political,” given the county commission and Migoya has been able tamp down some of that behind the scenes pressure.

 

>>>Past WDR: Proper U.S. Census count for 2020 critical, costs us millions in federal funding and maybe an extra congressional seat, will status question skew the count, happened in 2002 national count because of fear after child Elian extracted by federal government

 

The idea of having a question on your immigration status in the upcoming 2020 U.S. Census will be highly detrimental to South Florida. I have been covering this national census since 2000 when we were clobbered in the undercount since that Census came during the Elian Gonzalez saga that split the community and had many residents frightened of people doing the count even though it is done by the Department of Commerce and not a law enforcement agency. Further, since many residents would not open the door counters had to do “curb counting,” where seeing a pink bicycle would suggest a little girl and back then someone not being counted resulted in losing some $300 million in federal funding being denied per year and perhaps a congressional seat.

 

Further the community had to fight to get this undercount corrected and did create a new congressional seat after the adjustments but that may not be possible in the future.

 

https://www.washingtonpost.com/local/social-issues/white-house-proposal-to-ask-immigration-status-in-census-could-have-chilling-effect-experts-say/2017/02/01/1fc51b8e-e8af-11e6-bf6f-301b6b443624_story.html?utm_term=.daf4a990a031

 

>>>>Judge Ortiz, doesn’t remember free suite and VIP tickets to Bongos night club, when does this end net worth $1,336 million in 2016, lists “N/A,” when it comes to gifts on state disclosure form

 

The arrest of the building director on Miami Beach for taking gifts and free hotels and resorts. The one thing that jumped out was he was married to Circuit Court Judge Maria D. Ortiz and the Nova University law grad was also a City of Miami attorney and was elected to the bench in 2004 and is up again in 2019, and I tried to review her form 6 financial disclosure but it’s not online (but I did get her 2016 forms but she has not filed her 2017 forms due in June). For I wanted to see if she listed some of this as gifts as required but I doubt it. This problem starts with the first comped meal and once that line is crossed it just goes on and just escalates.

 

Judge Ortiz
Judge Maria D. Ortiz

 

https://www.local10.com/news/florida/miami-beach/former-miami-beach-official-arrested-on-corruption-charges-1

 

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article198607234.html

 

What have we learned about her finances?

 

The Watchdog Report requested her 2016 financial and gift disclosures and while the wife went with her husband to many hotels and resorts that were comped state’s the state attorney. Yet on her gift disclosure notarized form she lists “N/A,” which is odd, and the judge lists her net worth at $1.336 million through Dec.31, 2016 and her home is valued at $700,000. She owns $13,300 in guns states her financial disclosure form and she owes J.P. Morgan Chase $787,846 and her salary as a judge was $138,019 and she is the second judge whose husband was busted, and that judge did not remember signing corporate documents. She tells authorities that she was unaware that the hotel stays were free and included at one resort a suite and a VIP ticket to the Bongo Night club at a International resort. Judges don’t get much scrutiny overall but when you see this type of activity it must be called out.

 

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

 

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

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/article184872028.html

 

Further, new Miami Beach Mayor Dan Gelber has been pushing for a IG and this will add impetus but the problem of free meals and other favors is not new and as so many say “what’s the issue everyone is doing it,” and that attitude really flourished after Hurricane Andrew when many residents padded their insurance damage and the federal government wrote off billions of dollars and some of that money kept Miami from going under until later and because Andrew came as the administration was changing the FEMA director back then. He told the WDR once at County hall they “wrote it off,” and few were ever prosecuted for fraud and that planted the seed that what is the issue and decades ago past Miami Commissioners used to eat a many places for free and this is insidious, since when it comes to ethics and honesty ‘you can’t be a little bit pregnant.” the saying goes. Further, if convicted the man loses his pension and other benefits and public servants should remember that fact. For working in public service is not a right but a privilege and that attitude fosters this corrosive behavior of the public trust and must be rooted out whenever it rears its ugly head. Further, so many public servants say what people do on their own time is their own business, but it does reflect on the institution an over the years I have seen many bad behavior examples. And for more on the scandal go to:www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article198607234.html and here is another take: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article198607234.html

 

What about long serving county manager Merrett Stierheim’ s observations?

 

Government trouble shooter and Ivy League educated Merrett Stierheim gave an extensive interview with retired and longtime The Miami Herald business reporter John Dorschner in a long in depth interview and his observations of how South Florida has changed over the decades and when I first started watching government back in 1997 he was very supportive and after one post when I said he would be gone in January 2001 after then Mayor Alex Penelas was reelected in a decisively divided ethnic election that had Angelo Jay Love running against Penelas and Miguel Diaz de la Portilla and Love garnered some 20 percent of the vote back then. And Penelas squeezed out a victory and thus had no more need for Stierheim to stay around and the man picked former Homestead Mayor Steve Shiver to replace the experienced Stierheim and a few years later Shiver (now a lobbyist for the PBA) was fired and George Burgess became the new manager after a commission vote of no confidence, partially led by then Commissioner Katy Sorenson. To read the interview go to:

http://biscaynetimes.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2875:the-world-according-to-merrett&catid=46:features&Itemid=252

>>> The community is outraged that a Miami Police Officer who ran a Ponzi scheme and defrauded fellow officers of their retirement savings and has only gotten house arrest after the FBI arrested him trying to flee the country. He has a $400,000 bond and must stay in his home except for doctor’s appointments and his attorney argued he was not trying to flee but to try and recover what he could from the bogus scheme and the man is a veteran Miami cop and one officer said it was a real embarrassment that this happened to the force under a new chief, but it continues the scandals that have plagued the department over the past decade and had the Justice Department in an oversight role a number of times. For more go to: https://www.local10.com/news/crime/miami-police-officer-accused-of-ponzi-scheme-posts-bond and here is the bonding info:

https://www.local10.com/news/crime/miami-police-officer-accused-of-ponzi-scheme-posts-bond

 

And now there is Lt. Colonel retired Anthony Colmenares stealing $300,000 in donations for veterans, was on county’s military affairs committee along with Pepe Diaz and Lt. Col. Donald Slesnick, II, tony was major face of local veteran’s issues      

 

The FDLE arrest of Antonio Colomenares sent shock waves through the veteran’s community after he was accused of selling $300,000 in donated goods for veterans and he was the veteran affairs consultant in the Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado administration and the WDR has known him for years and was shocked someone like this would defraud a veterans’ charity. Further someone in the comments section questioned how he was wearing his dress uniform and his tie pin but it is another Miami Moment and a sad one foe all those veterans’ who needed the supplies later sold off including MRIs and the man hobnobbed with fellow Marine Jose Pepe Diaz and was on the veterans Affairs committee chaired by Diaz. For more go to

https://www.local10.com/news/crime/u-s-marine-known-as-miami-s-veterans-advocate-arrested-for-grand-theft

 

Troubled Miami Police get new Chief Jorge Colina, wants community policing

 

Jorge Colina is the new Miami Police Chief and the family man wants to do community policing but will have challenges in the sometimes-politicized office over the decades and he is I the first appointment for new Miami manager Emillio Gonzalez, but the department has been an embarrassment with the contamination of the property room under a I 95 overpasses. And the unaccounted-for hand guns gone from the facility and some of the evidence was contaminated and it remains to be seen how he handles Javier Ortiz, who had a restraining order but was promoted to captain and the past chief said it was because of “civil service,” he said a few weeks ago after I asked about the promotion and has been the subject of a few blogs.

 

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

 

The John S. and James L. Knight foundation has committed $2.5 million to organizations fighting fake news and the idea of fake news. I believe started when Dan Rather of CBS ran a story on George Bush II that turned out to be wrong and after that mistake broke a republican candidate when I was interviewing him said “are you going to Rather me?” I joked back you want me to FOX you instead and that blunder on Rather’s part started the ball rolling and then Brian Williams (who still has a snarky attitude) 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

 

>>> 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

 

>>> Florida Prepaid has open enrollment, largest in nation with over 1 million parents enrolled ensuring a college education

 

The “Stanley G. Tate Florida Prepaid College,” program is having its open enrollment and it is the largest such program in the nation and was championed by Tate along with congresswoman Ileana Ros Lehtinen, then a Florida senator along with her husband also a Sen. Dexter Lehtinen in the legislature and it is a major success and families have a host of options on how to save for their children’s higher education. And in many ways, is a real bargain and for more go: http://www.myfloridaprepaid.com/

 

>>> The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade Annual Report is out and to see what the organization has done over the years go to; https://www.thechildrenstrust.org/ and is seen when children have to repeat a grade and results in a large community bubble and County Commissioner Dennis Moss noted when he was in school there was a “Truancy officer,” and they would pick you up take you to school and also “call your mama,” said Moss but that oversite is hard since a parent may be taking care of multiple kids and not able to ensure her children are in school and the lack of literacy was brought home when the County’s Police Department Director Juan J. Perez told a committee when he was in school he spoke no English and was held back and he said he learned to read ‘real fast after that,” wake up call. And at a county commission meeting the issue of literacy and the lack of it among certain parts of the community had Jean Monestime wondering how he can do more in his own community to foster literacy and the Children’s trust has a host of reading programs throughout the county including in the summer free books being sent to eligible students.

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

 

High Technology body scanners are coming to the Miami-Dade department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and these are needed to catch all the “contraband,’ including opioids that have killed some inmates and over the years phones were found in “body cavities,” said the director. However originally the department was going to buy seven of the machines costing $122,000.” But that was changed to three since state law does not allow these machines to be used on visitors and only inmates and the law may need t be changed since jails are a “microcosm of the nation.” And with the opioid epidemic is just another form of contraband.

 

>> All day union impasse debate gets heated, union atty. Richards wants parity with other county workers who settled back in 2016 and got some cuts restored

 

Mayor Carlos Gimenez gave his state of the Count address and he was bullish on how things are going in the state’s largest county and while he tried to address the perennial issue of traffic, he noted he was being teased about suggesting “Jetson,” technologies for traffic alleviation in the future. He also gave a shout out to the school’s district for the 141 shelters opened when hurricane Irma was bearing down and left over 4 million cubic yards of trash that had to be picked up and while metro rail has new cars coming these are now behind schedule because of flooding at the Hitachi factory in the mid-west.

 

What about the seven-union impasse debate?

 

An all-day meeting on the seven county unions at impasse had long time union attorney Mark Richard making a passionate argument that overtime previously given up during the Great Recession should be restored. He argued they should be made whole and “not punished for it,” said Richard’s and he wants “parental leave,” reinstated and you change it through bargaining and while it is a three-year contract and he further claimed we did a ‘terrible job after,” Hurricane Irma. He also discussed “gain sharing,” when a county department makes reforms and saves the county money through these efficiencies. A decade ago the county commission had an Efficiency Committee chaired by then commissioner Jimmy Morales. And the concept was if the unions could do something as efficient as the “private sector,” they would share in the savings and that was called a “gain sharing,” and Richard’s noted that the mayor Carlos Gimenez is very sharp when it comes to the budget and budget director Jennifer Moon is “sharp as a tack,” and he has no beef with the department. Further, the county and Gimenez has said he wants parity of salaries and Richardson believes Gimenez has planted “stories,” in “The Miami Herald,” and other media including Miami Today.

 

Richard’s, said these water and sewer employees were “incredible heroes every day,’ and believes the commissioners are getting dragged into a “pollical fight.” All the other departments have their parity and Gimenez said that was because they settled back in 2016 when ASCME local 127 went to impasse.

 

What about the Independent Review Panel (IRP)?

 

The IRP was dissolved in the Great Recession and it kept many county employees from being fired back then. However, in a major discussion on a sponsored ordinance by Commissioner Barbara Jordan and the commission decided not to not approve a new Independent Review Panel citing the $23 million spent on human resources and $1 million for the human rights department and commissioners felt there were a host of places to file a complaint already including the ethics commission, and the county IG to name a few commissioners considered and if the panel was approved the past Executive Director Eduardo Diaz or his equivalent was slated at $226,000. in salary said budget staffers.

 

What about the BBC Chairman’s Policy Council meeting Thursday?

 

Jim Murley the head of the sea level rise division at the county gave commissioners an update on how the county is working with the 34 municipalities and he has hired an employee to be the liaison with the municipalities some of which have their own water and sewer systems and may have different size pipes (noted Commissioner Bruno Barreiro). He also suggested that Miami-Dade do something that the “Keys,” have done and consider requiring homes to be “built on stilts,” given the low terrain and would be cheaper than trying to raise a highway. Something if done should be only for major “arterial roads,” heading north he suggested at the policy council meeting last week. And Barreiro is a GOP candidate running for congress.

 

>>> The master plan for a new civil courthouse was debated at a county committee meeting and, and after 31 years of study, still little progress

 

At the Chairman’s Policy Council last week there was an extensive discussion on how to fund the county’s SMART transportation plan, a new civil courthouse, and commissioners know when it comes to creating a one cent sales tax for transportation and maybe bumping up the gas tax to 2 cents something done in Broward and Palm Beach County.

 

However, transportation maven Dennis Moss said in south Dade any tax increase was dead on arrival and he would “personally, “not support, the increased tax because of the lack of projects completed after voters were assured expansion of public transit options and the funding fell far short of the needed revenue. Moss noted people have paid into the fund but they “did not get what they wanted.”

 

Back in 1999 the county commission put on the ballot a full one cent sales tax suggested by Commissioner Bruno Barreiro which was needed to fund the promises put to voters back then. However, back around 2008 the decision was to “unify,” the revenues and shifted to maintenance and further 34 municipalities get a slice of the half cent revenue and why you have free trolleys in several municipalities and a maintenance of effort requirement by the municipality.

 

However, despite it being a late August vote and a major rain event it went down two to one and only in 2002 did voters finally approve the half cent sales tax based on the public being told more promises and the county is trying to put another too [in the funding mix] l in the tool box,” said Moss and “try to make good on something we promised,” closed Moss. However, endless studies have slowed the progress and Moss believes the past “momentum,” is cooling and he wants to rev it back-up. The CITT trust has a new CEO Javier Betancourt and we need to look at other funding support, said Charles D. Scurr then just the half cent sales tax and it is not growing as fast as expenses rise and the dilemma is how to fund public transportation.

 

What about the crime statistics?

 

Juan Perez the director of the Miami-Dade County Police Department gave an impassioned speech in front of commissioners on the fact that the department no longer has “the jump out boys,’ a nickname given to officers and not an official name and Perez said if that was what commissioners wanted. They have the wrong chief he said because he believes community policing is the only realistic way to go to reduce the murders in south Florida and end the no snitch culture hampering criminals being caught.

 

What did the OIG find back in 2009?

 

Back in 1999 the newly created office of the Miami-Dade County inspector general did an investigation of 30,000 water meters and found some two thirds or 15,000 meters were bypassed, and it was a cottage industry back then and farmers in Homestead were using county water for fields using fire hydrants for the long lines and the report concluded some $30 million was being lost in county revenue through leaks and this systematic bypassing of water meters and is a cottage industry in South Florida. I bring this up because the county has raised the price of water and if you have any leak it will involve serious money and will hit renters hard in the coming years

 

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

https://www.frostscience.org/exhibition/monster-fish/

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article190087984.html

 

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

 

Additionally, I would like to take the opportunity to address an item I see below in the watchdog report titled, “What about the Coconut Grove Playhouse?” Our Department in managing this project on behalf of the County and we have been diligent to put all materials on our website with updates on the project. http://miamidadearts.org/coconut-grove-playhouse-updates

Indeed, the selection of Arquitectonica for the A/E services was a competitive selection process that complied with all County regulations. You can find information on that solicitation here: http://www.miamidade.gov/govaction/matter.asp?matter=150530&file=true&yearFolder=Y2015 ,wrote Lisa D’Andrea-Thompson, LEED AP a staffer in Spring’s office.

 

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

 

The Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust along with Jackson Health System is opening a one stop public facility for homeless who qualify for a new diversion program with a mental illness and includes many veterans on the streets and is an old facility previously used by the state, but it will offer a continuum of care and was briefly discussed at the trust board meeting Friday. The whole community has been seeking ways to resolve the mental health issues of the homeless now drawing in people with opioid addiction and a drop of fentanyl can kill and many times is cut with cheap yellow Mexican heroin that appeared years past and is causing thousands of overdoses and the city of Miami spent $150,000 in procuring the miracle drug Narcan that can revive a overdosed person almost immediately and these people cut across all ethnic lines and the issue was discussed Sunday on “This Week in South Florida,” and to see the show go to https://www.local10.com/this-week-in-south-florida/this-week-in-south-florida-oct-29

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The facility will also include space for the courts and for social service agencies such housing providers, legal services, and immigration services that will address the comprehensive needs of individuals served.  By housing a full array of services and supports in one location, it is anticipated that many of the barriers and obstacles to navigating traditional community mental health, substance abuse, and social services will be removed; and individuals who are currently recycling through the justice system, crisis units, hospitals, and other deep end services will be more likely to engage in ongoing and sustainable treatment and recovery services. The Mental Health Diversion Facility is championed by Judge Steven Leifman, who chairs the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust’s Finance & Audit Committee.  The project has been developed with input from the Department of Children and Families and the Agency for Health Care Administration, which will be responsible for designating and licensing service providers at the facility.  The Miami-Dade County Legislative Delegation spearheaded efforts to occupy the building based on a 99-year lease at $1/year.  The facility is funded, in large part, with county General Obligation Bond funds, with additional funding provided by the Jackson Health and The Public Health Trust.

 

>>> GMCVB press release: RECORD ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICE JOBS IN GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES REPORTED FOR APRIL 2015 MARKING 5 YEARS AND 4 MONTHS OF CONSECUTIVE JOB INCREASES
Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service jobs increased 4.5% in April 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. This marks 5 years and 4 months of consecutive increased employment in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service Industry.

HOSPITALITY JOBS, JOBS, JOBS…
Record Greater Miami Accommodations and Food Service Jobs
April 2015 April 2014 % Change
121,800 116,600 +4.5%

 

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

 

The trust has a new program where people with rental housing can register their rental with the county and for more on the program go to: http://www.homelesstrust.org/rentconnect.asp

 

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS

 

>>> Two Chief Auditor finalists are Trevor Williams and Menendez -Cartaya, both C.P.A.’s

Two names re being suggested as the new Chief Auditor and one is Trevor Williams, C.PA. and the other is Iraida Menendez- Cartaya, C.P.A. and is an inter-governmental liaison and she has worked with Deloitte and has a master’s degree from UM. And both candidates gave a clear and passionate reason they should be selected and after doing a search one of them in the future is expected to become the new Chief Auditor of the nation’s third largest public schools district.

 

>>> Chief Auditor Montes de Oca retires, one deputy Auditor Trevor Williams, C.P.A. applies to be considered, decision put off for now

 

Chief Auditor Jose F. Montes de Oca is retiring after 38 years with the district and he cites taking care of his 93-year-old mother and in goes into effect in March and at the audit committee one assistant chief auditor had applied to follow in his footsteps. However, Superintendent Alberto Carvalho wanted to follow the process and in the past the district did a national search and hired the auditor from the South Dade Water Management District and he later moved on to be the head auditor at Florida International University and de Oca followed him into the pressure cooker office that watches over the billions in public tax dollars. The applicant was Trevor Williams, C.P.A., and the man is well known to the audit committee board and the Watchdog report has the confidence he will continue the strong oversight policy of his predecessor and I suspect a final new chief auditor will be considered and voted on in the future.

 

However, I give Montes de Oca a Tip of the Hat for a job well done and hope you have a great retirement with your family and I never had a beef with you and your team.

 

School board Chair Perla Tabares Hantman wants the district chief Auditor Jose de orca to “provide an exit report on matters relative to his role and scope,” of the position. Further, she “requests the Audit and Budget Advisory committee,” call a special meeting as soon as practical to identify a “interim Chief Auditor,” formulate recommendations for a search process for the position of Chief Auditor and to be “provided to the school board by Feb.21, state’s the board’s Jan. 17, 2018 agenda.

 

The auditor’s job is massive given the size of the district and includes overseeing the $1.2 billion GOB passed by voters in 2012 and has a citizen-based oversight board but the job sometimes gets political and for the last few years de Orca has had a steady hand on the tiller. Editor’s note: He may be retiring, which was the case but the WDR will keep my eye on this office and leadership change.

 

What about the comprehensive annual financial Report (CAFR)?

 

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

http://mca.dadeschools.net/AuditCommittee/AC_December_5_2017/Agenda.pdf

 

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST

 

>>> Trust continues to have clean audits, challenges continue ahead, closed the year with $30 million budget surplus, 50 days cash on hand, new rehabilitation Center property prepped Friday

 

The PHT trustees meeting was short and sweet Wednesday with the health trust having a “clean,” KPMG audit for last year and the auditing firm has been the trust’s auditor for 7 years but having no audit exemptions is a big deal and back in 2004 under previous management the trust took a $84 million chargeback on past audits going back to the late 1990s.

 

Where was the televised meeting held?

 

The board meeting was held in the Diagnostic Treatment Center instead of the county commission chambers, but the commission changed the ordinance and allowed the trust to hold it at other locations. Since many times the commission chambers were unavailable. The television quality was good and trust Chair Joe Arriola was in a jovial mood making many jokes. One was “here’s the doctor with a 300-yard drive,” referring to Steven Falcone, M.D. and a senior medical representative for the Miller Medical School.

 

Carlos Migoya the trust CEO noted that Gov. Scott recently signed an agreement with the Israeli Trauma Surgeons network and some 80 percent of the trauma surgeons in the country trained or rotated through Ryder Trauma Center and should remind people what the Class I Trauma Center represents and is a community jewel most communities could only dream of.

 

Further, Sergio Gonzalez Aries a FIU medical school representative said the school has a “great relationship with, JHS and its students are seen at a host of hospitals training and are said to be good physicians. Migoya also noted the health trust closed the year with a $30 million surplus and is the sixth year in the black, said the former banker.

 

What about the new rehabilitation Center?

 

Migoya said Friday dignitaries were going to start the demolition of buildings on land that will be used for the new rehabilitation facilities long awaited and needed at JHS and is being founded from the $830 million obligation bond passed overwhelmingly by voters after the trust righted itself with help of the unions and currently there are some 1,200 full time workers an there is currently “50 days of cash,” on hand and at one point years ago it was only some 9 to 15 days and put the health trust in jeopardy but Migoya and his team has turned that fiscal situation through efficiencies in the rear mirror.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

file:///C:/Users/DAN%20RICKER/AppData/Local/Microsoft/Windows/INetCache/Content.Outlook/8UMCRP67/Mayor-BCC-PHT%20-%20CAC%20Quarterly%20Report%20-%20July%20to%20September%202017.pdf

 

CITY OF MIAMI

 

>>> Miami Commissioner Carollo wants former Mayor Diaz to tell commission what he thinks of Marlins stadium now, calls it worst deal ever, total sellout of Miami residents,” says Carollo

 

Dereck Jetter the new owner of the Miami Marlins spoke to the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on his plans for the new team he acquired. “Every player is playing for his job,” he told the crowd and they are going to build a new team from the ground up. He further noted that he is “listening to fans’ and believes some of the new perks given for season holders will help bring fans back.

 

What about the sale and no money going to the county?

 

What did Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo say Thursday about the stadium deal?

 

Carollo said the ‘deal for the stadium,” was the worst deal ever, for residents” and “was a total sellout of Miami residents,” the former mayor said. And this is just another example. He requested for past Mayor Manny Diaz who crafted the deal while meeting with county officials at the old Grand Bay Hotel in the Grove, getting room service, smoking some cigars and hashed out the financing with then county manager George Burgess and recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez and the county’s budget office also had concerns with the financing package that through the life of the 30-year bond will come out. To some $1.6 billion. And the terms are set in stone and the deal is generally described as tax payers getting “hosed,” is the phrase heard often.

Carollo wants Diaz to come to the commission “to explain what he thinks of the deal now.”

 

Lotus Village gets a $50,000 Drake donation

 

The Lotus House village since Feb.2, 2018 has 265 women and children at the facility and will eventually hold 500 women and children in the future and the shelter provides much need services for women and their children. And for more go to

http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/article198995194.html

http://www.miamiherald.com/entertainment/article198995194.html and for more go to

https://lotushouse.org/

 

>>> Ransom Everglade’s school got its new master plan approved, community benefits highlighted by Break Through Miami where 1,600 inner city youth get mentored, with most going to college, school kicks in $5 million for program

 

The Thursday commission vote on a new master plan for the Ransom Everglades school located on main highway brought to light a number of community benefits not known to the WDR and it’s a program called Break Through Miami and it has helped 1,600 inner city youth and the novel program that Ransom participates in contributes $5 million into the program and Miami Commission chair Keon Hardeman also participated in the program and on Thursday during the schools discussion a young girl and young man helped chair the meeting giving them the chance to see what it’s like to run a public meeting. And for more go to: http://www.breakthroughmiami.org/portal/home

 

The results are impressive since all graduate from high school and many colleges and includes mentoring and Hardeman noted the school’s student body president had just been accepted to “Harvard University,” said the chair from the dais.

 

Any update on termed out commissioner Sarnoff?

 

Sarnoff who has been plying the halls of dinner Key and was highlighted in an ad his law firm Shutts& Bowen ran on the back-page of the Herald’s business Monday section touting 11 attorneys many who I know, and I tried to check what items he might be working on and I contacted Miami Clerk Todd Hannon and asked if Sarnoff had registered to lobby with the city and. He responded in an email: “Marc Sarnoff is not a registered lobbyist with the City of Miami, wrote Clerk Hannon. Last week so he maybe is just giving political advice.

 

Sarnoff went to the county’s state of the county address given by a, Mayor Carlos Gimenez with Carollo and the two re friends after Sarnoff helped his campaign raise some serious money and it remains to be seen if this friendship gives the attorney lobbies an edge in the city’s procurement process.

 

>>> Some leaders leave office with grace, others Sarnoff can’t live without the limelight, walking the halls and commissioner’s offices during commission breaks, even had a book done of his achievements something rarely done

 

Some elected leaders leave office with grace, while others still crave the adulation and former Miami Dost. 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff at the last commission meeting was shuttling between Commissioners Manolo Reyes and Joe Carollo’s offices and the man in a Miami Herald opinion column last week reminded readers that the issue of affordable housing in the Village West in Coconut Grove and the man who pushed his wife into running for his past office since he was termed out. Further, using public money he christened a book on his accomplishments while in office.

 

What was shocking at a commission meeting?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

 

>>> Democratic gubernatorial candidate Levine’s campaign says no to off shore drilling, and strong sea level rise mitigation in crowded field of candidates rises in polls

 

Democratic gubernatorial candidate Phillip Levine is pounding the political television airways and his message is he will fight and support sea level rise mitigation and is against oil drilling off the Florida shoreline and is continuing his living room tour and pledges “to do the Right thing,” something his mother drilled into him.

 

Levine a Ann Arber graduate built a successful media company and self-funded his mayoral races and while in office things were relatively peaceful on the beach and he did recruit Beach Manager Jimmy Morales, an Ivy League attorney former Miami-Dade commissioner and helped create the office of the Inspector General and has been a strong hand on the city’s tiller.

 

Further, his name recognition after these ads put him third among the other Democratic Party candidates. However, a state campaign takes some $3 million a week in ads given the size of Florida said political pundit Marc Caputo on This Week in South Florida

Sunday and Levine who is self-financing is starting to gain traction and as the primary approaches in the summer.

 

>>> Ricky Arriola the scion of Jose “Pepe” Arriola is being accused by a blind date of sexual assault which he denies and he says he ended the date because she had too much to drink and tells the media people who saw the two will corroborate his claim of innocence and to see more go to:http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article194207344.html The businessman and Harvard MBA runs his own company and his father Joe Arriola is the chair of the Public Health Trust a board that oversees Jackson Health System.

 

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

 

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

 

Photo credit: Leslie Harris

>>> The Warehouse new exhibit is closed and the pop art show was very popular

New Margulies Exhibit

THE MARGULIES COLLECTION 

AT THE WAREHOUSE

 

“No need to go to New York. The hottest pop art is in Wynwood.” – Siobhan Morrissey, Miami Herald

 

Pop Art exhibition up through December 10th, 2017

 

Visiting hours:

Regular season: Tues through Sat 11am – 4pm

Art Basel: Monday through Saturday 9am – 6pm,

Sunday 9am – 2pm

 

The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse

591 NW 27th Street, Miami, FL 33127

p: 305.576.1051 / f: 305.576.4963

mcollection@bellsouth.net

Instagram: Margulies warehouse

www.margulieswarehouse.com

 

The Martin Z. Margulies Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit institution dedicated to the presentation of exhibitions and educational programs. The Margulies Collection at the WAREhOUSE houses an extensive collection of contemporary and vintage photography, video, sculpture and installation art.

 

Curator, Katherine Hinds

 

http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/index.php#/exhibitions and for more about the new show go to www.miamiherald.com

Margulies Collection 2

 

>>>The Warehouse, check it out at http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/#/home

 

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

 

EDITORIALS

 

>>> The Florida Legislature should keep its hands off the 20 counties that have Home Rule Charter local government is better with local leaders but yes not perfect, at least we arrest our own

Thank you, Florida Legislature, for requiring at local meetings the public has “a right to be heard and at the county commission and at local municipal meetings law makers are hearing a host of matters many times with the bark on and usually deal with a local community dilemma that might be heard without this new opportunity to be heard.

However, the legislature is wrong to dilute the powers of Home Rule Counties and try to put a state overlay of laws that don’t represent the diversity of the state’s communities and since there are 20 Home Rule Counties local government is always better for residents and voters should let their legislators know they should keep their hands off parenting local government since counties already get beat up in the capital and since Miami-Dade is the state’s largest county with 2.5 million residents and a donor community by some 34 percent of the state’s budget, said the Florida CFO years ago. The state lawmakers should keep that in mind and let local government decide their own legislation regarding issues that affect the local communities.

 

>>> Where does Miami draw the line with Lt. Col. Colmenares, stealing $30,0000 in donations for veterans?

 

The Watchdog Report is trying to understand how a respected retired Lt. Col. Antonio Colmenares. Could commit a $300,000 scam after he sold veteran donations and collected the money for himself. The man a respected veteran on a host of boards including the Miami veteran’s boar and was close to mayor Tomas Regalado who used the man to show how supportive he was of the veterans many of whom are homeless on Miami’s streets. However, as in past examples of fraud or different schemes I don’t know how these people live with themselves and after questioned             how he wore his uniform and tie pin was off. I hope someone checks his service record because this is a very unusual behavior from a Marine Officer of such rank.

 

>>> Mayor Suarez needs to lead by example, and be careful who he hob nods with, city needs to tighten-up

 

New Miami Mayor Francis Suarez has a unique chance to change the permissive culture of the city where practically no Miami employee wears their city ID or carries cards. Further, city leaders have to tighten up with whom they associate with and if someone is a convicted felon one might want to steer clear because the mayor sets the tone of the administration and after the last few years things were very loose and who you knew versus your competency, was many times over rode and Miami residents deserve better and every city employee represents all and should never forget that you are a public figure and a public servant something many employees seem to forget.

 

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

 

Politicians are always asking for our trust but it is the hypocrisy of their actions that has gone on for years that makes voters jaded and even if voters pass something they then renege on any promises made and the Pet Trust is one such example and for many local politicians who are high maintenance they forget they work for the people and voters should not have to say thank you for running for office which periodically raises its ugly head and that it is a privilege that just sometimes is based on someone getting their resume punched and the idea of political dynasties in the coming 2017 election is not the way to elect our local representatives and the public can only hope that their true colors will not be seen during their time being a public servant. Further, with municipal elections coming. Since you did not run yourself will you at least vote Nov. 7 and make your community a better place with quality elected leaders or have a small minority chose your leaders. It is up to you.

 

>>> The Watchdog Report is soon Celebrating 18 years of weekly reliable publishing since May 5th 2000 and when I started back then I never thought I would be doing this so this is a national story in all the national Tribune papers: 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

 

>>> 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        

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

 

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FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

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

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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

 

Make Checks payable to Daniel Ricker

3109 Grand Ave, #125 Miami, Florida 33133