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Watchdog Report Vol.18 No. 30 January 14, 2018 EST: 05.05.00 Celebrating almost 18 Years of Weekly publishing

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

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 1962 as well as commission meeting speakers and for most people they do not have the time to know their political actors and the policies they might support, and I wish this community dialogue the best but in many cases, you are going against the tide when it comes to the public and their knowledge of their governance.

To host a conversation go to

Further government has come out of its dormant period and woke up in January when a. And I am back in action with fresh news on how your billions in local public dollars are being spent and how your elected leaders are protecting your community tax dollars and why I cover the public schools Audit and budget review committee the community’s firewall made up of citizens and most have CPA qualifications, but was not the case a decade ago.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart. And to donate to my pay Pal account go to that accepts most credit cards in a secure site found and if you can help keep me out in the field especially with all the new GOB bonds passed by JHS, M-DCC public school district and needs to be kept watch on, and I am one of the few press that covers these important oversite boards watching how your public billions are being spent. Further, as I close in on my 18th year of weekly publishing. I think I have established myself and hope to continue for many more years with your support.

And here is my philosophy on why I do this?                   

>>> This national story ran in all the Tribune papers around the nation and covers the early years of the WDR: and here is a different version

>>> However, I have not used social media effectively to expand my audience with younger leaders trying to make their mark in Miami-Dade County. Further I have interviewed many political candidates from former President Barack Obama, John Huntsman and presidential candidate John McCain, and a host of others since 2000 after Miami’s election fiasco back then.


>>>And having a member of the press at public meetings gives teeth to the Florida Sunshine Law and open meetings tape recorded keeps good governance in place and reduces waste fraud and abuse, and public corruption, and is why you don’t speed in front of a state trooper for example. >>>> Further the  in South Florida is an established news service presence, because most people are too busy to go to these important meetings. That is why my motto is ‘I go when you cannot.’


>>> Further, I am very efficient since I work alone, and all the information comes through me as a central point allowing me to see things at a 100-mile altitude and being an early warning system when projects have overruns or other issues. But my job is to sound the alarm and I have done so many times over the past years in a host of ways. 


>>>> Further, may you and your family have a safe a and reflective Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., birthday and remember our citizens in Hawaii who woke to an 8:00 a.m., alert that there was an imminent incoming ballistic missile coming and the alert was a false alarm and “human error,” However, students at university of Hawaii ran for shelter and parents put kids in manholes.




ARGUS REPORT: Hawaiians on edge after false Imminent ballistic missile attack, seek shelter not a drill, shows flaws in Hawaiian Islands defense, terrified residents —

Is “Little [nuclear] Rocket man,” The #1 threat to America in the coming New Year, top challenge for Trump administration and his tweeting? –Taxpayers are trying to figure out what GOP tax bill means for them, people will get a chance on April 15 if passed by the new year- Men in power now know inappropriate sexual harassment is forbidden, as more accusers come forward regarding this bad behavior — Could community transportation dilemma be solved by solar powered self-propelled gondola, air conditioned, and system from Miami to Miami Beach, TPO looking at possible use on beach corridor?

STATE of FLORIDA: Consensual affair rocks senate after video of Sen’s Flores & Braynan surfaces, will they ever get voters trust again? — ‘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: With “300 properties,” with mix use residents after Miami 21, county trying to give condo owners a break being charged for water at commercial rates because no individual water meters residents charged commercial rate, seems unfair says Sosa and Barreiro — AA has strong hold on MIA with its 340 flights a day, claims during Irma no price gouging says lobbyist White – Commissioner Sosa, did not push mayor’s raise, was asked to have it discussed, stop the calls, Moss pushes independent committee to review the issue — Community stunned with talk of bumping Mayor Gimenez’s salary to $324,000, comp. to date $3.8 million — homeless trust is trying to resolve “colony of sex offenders,” using all resources available major “public health crisis,” says trust chair Book, –City of Miami thinking of using injection wells in seal level rise mitigation –Massive $4.9 billion Water & sewer Replumbing has 100 active projects, $129 million or “20 percent,” goes to SBEs says director Sola to BCC — Opioid Task Force, dealing with scourge of overdoes, 33,000 Americans died last year, 3,000 alone in Florida, different treatment than heroin addiction – County’s Opioid Task Force says, great need for public detox centers only 20, after state cracks down on pill mills and is exasperating this epidemic.

MIAMI-Dade County Public Schools: If Supt. Carvalho must bring any contract over $25,000 to Board. It “would create procurement paralysis,” could result in “900 RFP’s,” staff tells Supt. Carvalho

PUBLIC HEALTH TRUST: South Florida delivered two medical miracles, the removal of a ten-pound facial tumor and a small premi baby girls is reunited with parents at Baptist Children’s hospital — Ryder Trauma Center Celebrates 25th Anniversary — New report on how JHS spending $830 million bond monies, going well — Community Crown Jewel Ryder Trauma Center has its Silver Anniversary last week, only Level 1 public trauma center in Miami-Dade, saves lives daily a community treasure!

CITY OF MIAMI: Commission approves new manager Gonzalez, man straight shooter hard nose by the book leader, salary set at $265,000 plus benefits, should be plus for residents, mayor Suarez believes – Carollo’s residency hearing in court pits dueling bow-ties, Atty’s Kuehne vs Planas — Some political ghosts from the past show-up at Reyes swearing in, Gonzalez, Hernandez, only Odio missing from removed officials – depending on Florida Supreme Court ruling, city could go “bankrupt,” if courts rule in favor of unions cut in pay, cost could be as high as $200 million, says union rep at commission meeting– Mayor Regalado rides into the sunset in November legacy is a mixed bag, created his own nemesis, Crespogram with some of his patronage hire – See all of Miami’s elected leaders financial disclosure forms for the year

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH: Commissioner Arriola hit with sexual assault charge on first time on line blind date, says he is innocent, and people seeing him will confirm that he says

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


>>> Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you. –Pericles (430 B.C.)


>>> If you wish to be deleted, just e-mail me with that message.




>>> And here is the story done by Miami New Times when they named the publisher as the community’s Best of Miami and Best Citizen and to read the story go to:    


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


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


ARGUS REPORT: Heard Seen on the Streets


>>> Hawaiians on edge after false Imminent ballistic missile attack, not a drill, shows flaws in Hawaiian Islands defense, terrified residents


Americans in Hawaii woke up to imminent ballistic missile attack alert and someone pushed a “button” sending out an mistaken alert that a ballistic missile is imminent and to “take shelter and this is not a drill,” and thank God it turns out to be “human error,” during a shift change but it highlights the concerns of many of a possible mistake and with North Korea holding talks for the first time in years and past diplomats in discussions were told by the communist negotiators that since the two nations technically are at war. These diplomats could be held by Korea as “combatants,” these negotiators are reminded.


However, the reverberations and fear in Hawaiians is visceral now and while a complete investigation and upgrade of the alert system that clearly is flawed must be undertaken for history has taught wars can start by unintended mistakes and while to many Hawaii seems far away the military installations there are critical to the nation’s security and the islanders need that security and this is a wake-up call to the nation.


What about this week and President trump?


After a televised 49-minute live discussion in what Trump called the “studio,” and a round table bipartisan discussion on DACA and trying to normalize the 800,000 residents that fall under this program facing deportation.


However, while the discussion on DACA was going on later in the week. The theme shifted later after Trump’s vulgar comments about immigration specifically singling out Haitians. The first free African-American Republic in the New World and whose soldiers fought during the Revolutionary War with Americans but while so close to heaven the U.S. it suffers from great poverty.


However, people are recounting different versions of the conversation, but it has set off a firestorm and Trump may be right that he needs to “tape,” these impromptu discussions but if the comments are corroborated then it must be considered not in economic terms since many of the countries mentioned were poor but as racist. Editor’s note: A comment like what is inferred is not what America is about in my opinion.


Haiti has been politically and economically stunted over the Centuries and Haitians. However, ten years ago, some 300,000 died in a severe earthquake and they form a major group here in South Florida. Further, in the 2000 Census the strength and number of Haitians became apparent and Haitian leaders were pushing the Miami-Dade County Commission to redistrict a seat for the ethnic group but did not happen until years later when former County Commission Chair Jean Monestime, a Haitian-American was elected to the 13-member body in 2010 and would later become the chairman.


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


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


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


What about the 10th Anniversary of the Adrian Arsht Performing Arts Center?


On its tenth Anniversary of the Arsht Center John Richards the CEO for the highly successful Arts center that has drawn some 4 million patrons and the organization got financial stability after Arsht injected a timely $30 million contribution and the former banker has been a major philanthropist and even has a Metro station near the complex named after her and her low key style is legendary and she can be seen periodically being a usher and taking patrons to their seats in the almost perfect acoustically hall.


Further the center has spurred some “$2 billion,” in economic impact writes Richard’s in a published letter in The Miami Herald.


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


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


What about Miami-Dade in this regard?


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


What about the new Trump tax plan?             


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


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


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


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


What about the handout documents


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


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


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


>>>> Update at the County’s” Transportation planning Organization (TPO) is looking at new emerging technologies and one is for the Miami to Beach corridors: And the Watchdog Report contacted TPO vice- Chair Francis Suarez and he responded when asked about the gondola project he wrote back, they’re looking at it, writing, “Yes on the Beach corridor,” wrote the Miami mayoral; candidate. Further some cities on west Florida are also looking at this technology.


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




>>> Consensual affair rocks senate after video of Sen’s Flores & Braynan surfaces, will they ever get voters trust again?


Another scandal hits the Florida legislature after two senators from different parties admitted having a consensual affair. The story broke after video surfaced of Sen. Oscar Braynan, II., D- North Miami and Antera Flores, R- SW Miami-Dade. Going to each other’s room on the same floor of a condo where last year Braynan found a concealed camera and that is being investigated.


However, this is being perceived differently than the recent spates of sexual harassment and is considered a family matter since both are married but both veteran politicians need to hope voters will trust them again, because this is more than poor judgement but a breach of voter trust, something extremely hard to achieve. Further, his father is a former fighter pilot and must be so embarrassed.


>>> Further this this is the 3rd   senate lawmaker resigning because of a scandal and included a Democratic Party senator who also had affair months earlier but there is a tense fear that there may be more fallout before this sordid behavior is finally over.


>>> ‘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:


>>> The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade Annual Report is out and to see what the organization has done over the years go to;




>>> With 300 properties in the county with mix use residents after Miami 21, county trying to give condo owners a break being charged for water at commercial rates because no individual water meters residents charged commercial rate, seems unfair says Sosa and Barreiro


County Commissioner Bruno Barreiro is trying to give residents who live in mix use developments popular after Miami 21 a new city zoning code passed years ago and the issue is the county has “300,” such buildings that only have a commercial water meter and not for individual condo dwellings and residents are having to pay the commercial price for their personal use and Rebecca Sosa thought that was unfair and she along with Barreiro tried to find a solution to give these condo residents a more reasonable cost for their water use. However, while they may be getting a break Barreiro believes it is not enough and the county is undertaking the multibillion replumbing under a federal consent decree an is seen in all the county roads under construction with Bird road being a perfect t example and new pipes stacked along the roadway all had holes and perhaps a sleeve is going to be used since they can be replaced. The cost of this savings to the department is some $1.3 million said county staff.


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.


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


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


What about the Frost Science Museum?


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


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


Spring in an email sent me the following information on Frost and The Playhouse


I’m following up with you on your prior request for information on the final cost of the Frost Museum of Science. We still expect the costs to be around $306 million. However, the final numbers are not in yet, because the project is technically at 99% complete as the Museum continues to address punch list items with the contractors and commission the mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems while those same contractors compile their close out documentation. I expect the final numbers to be in around the end of the year.


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.

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: ,wrote Lisa D’Andrea-Thompson, LEED AP a staffer in Spring’s office.

>>> Update: Ron Book was on WPBS “Your South Florida a few weeks ago,” and he updated residents on the colony that the trust is trying to end o see the show go to: and


Back then however, one of the main issues was whether the county should have a large regional


What about the replumbing in the city of Miami and sea level rise?


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

TOP STORY – RECORD PORTMIAMI PASSENGERS FOR JANUARY-NOVEMBER 2017 GMCVB press release: During January-November 2017, passengers through PortMiami reached record levels and increased by +4.6 percent compared to the previous year. Growth is due in part to the addition of a new ship offering year-round service and the extensive cruise options offered by PortMiami.

PortMiami Passengers
January-November 2017 January-November 2016 % Change
4,753,395 4,527,603 +4.6%


Visit the GMCVB live webcams for a view of Greater Miami and The Beaches’ current weather by clicking here.


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:

>>> 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: has saved millions by refinancing the extensive bond holdings




>>> If Supt. Carvalho must bring any contract over $25,000 to Board. It “would create procurement paralysis,” could result in “900 RFP’s,” staff tells Supt. Carvalho


The School Board’s Financial Committee met Wednesday and there were many lively discussions on a host of topics including looking for a way it might be possible to enhance teacher’s salaries that is limited by the inadequate state of Florida funding. Board chair Perla Tabares Hantman said after decades on the board she has “always supported teachers,” and their salary needs that is mentioned to all board members when meeting residents, but the board members know how sensitive the issue is in the community.


What about the 900 RFP’s if the authority level for Superintendent Alberto Carvalho purchasing is changed from $50,000?


Another discussion was on what contract monetary level be before the superintendent has to bring purchasing contracts ( That would change to $25,000) rather than the preferred $50,000 and could result in some “900individual contracts and RFP’s” and would cause “procurement paralysis,” if changed to the lower level , said Carvalho and it was in response to a legislative item trying to reduce the trigger number per contract that would have to come to the board for approval and Carvalho says excluding the smart boards purchase that included over 1,000 of the new boards made by only one company but at the time getting them into the classrooms as soon as possible was the goal and they met the deadline years ago and was the only real example he said where the board approved the item and the ones bought we’re let out at a brisk pace, he noted to committee members. Staff also noted at the Broward County public schools district the superintendents limit was $500,000 and while a smaller district to the nation’s 4th largest the higher number seems more suitable given the size of Miami-Dade County’s public schools district.


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:

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


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




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


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


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


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





>>> Commission approves new manager Gonzalez, man straight shooter hard nose by the book leader, salary set at $265,000 plus benefits, should be plus for residents, mayor Suarez believes


After a misfire the City of Miami has a new city manager, Emilio Gonzalez, Ph.D. the former Director of MIA and he is a hard nose by the book kind of man and the retired U.S. Army full colonel has held a variety of positions over the decades. Further Dr. Gonzalez taught at West Point and has held many federal positions requiring senate confirmation and he was newly minted Miami Mayor Francis Suarez’s first choice but ran into trouble because newly elected Commissioner Joe Carollo was unable to meet with him since he is in a lawsuit challenging his residency when he ran and did not have time to meet with the man.


However, the man who lives in The Roads Area is known to many and for years attended the roads homeowner’s association said former commission candidate Grace Solares who lives in the same area. Gonzalez’s salary will be $265,000 with a host of benefits but the man is a force on his own and I have watched him for years at the county and he can handle any pressure and will get the job done.


>>> Carollo’s residency hearing in court pits dueling bow-ties, Atty’s Kuehne vs Planas


“Dueling bow-ties,” is how one observer described the court hearing Friday( Benedict Kuehne for decades has worn them and J.C. Planas has added it to his style) at a court hearing when Miami Commissioner Joe Carollo and his wife under oath told of their living arrangement and the former Miami mayor’s residency is being challenged by losing candidate Alfie Leon on if Carollo met the residency requirements of living in the District 4 location for at least a year and hurricane Irma adds to some of the confusion of the man’s residency. However, a future trial has been set and Miami residents hope this gets resolved soon. For more go to


Who was in the court room during the hearing?


Former Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff attended (and he helped Carollo raise campaign funds, another was controversial former state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla, J.C Gimenez, the son of county mayor Carlos Gimenez and a, major lobbyist for the red-light cameras since repealed costing some $6 million in lost revenues. Further Miami Clerk Todd Hannon was there since he certified the candidate’s paperwork.


What about outgoing manager Daniel J. Alphonso?


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


What was shocking at a commission meeting?


A Overtown 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. And here is more on Elian


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




>>> Commissioner Arriola hit with sexual assault charge on first time on line blind date, says he is innocent, and people seeing him will confirm that he says


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: 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

New Margulies Exhibit

James Rosenquist, Fahrenheit 82, 1982




“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

Instagram: Margulies warehouse


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 and for more about the new show go to


>>>> Now closed and has reopened in January. The Warehouse and check it out at


>>> And the Margulies Warehouse for more info for this community treasure go to




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


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


>>> The Watchdog Report is soon Celebrating 18 years of weekly reliable publishing since May 5th 2000 and when I started back then I never thought I would be doing this so this is a national story in all the national Tribune papers: And while I have taken a licking over the years including some medical issues I have kept at the job thanks to my supporters who I thank so very much over the many years. And the community’s public institutions are better when it comes to them knowing what the other is doing. And Why I have tried to be an information electrolyte for these giant institution’s leaders and things and here is a national story done on why I started to watch government back in 2000 and to all the people along the way that have helped me I thank you from the bottom of my heart.




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


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


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

You can learn more at:

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center   to maintain my webpage. The Watchdog Report webpage is free, has no pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.


>>>> The Watchdog Report publisher for 16 years now, has reported back weekly on how your billions of public dollars in local government are being spent. And how to help support me providing this information is at the end of the WDR. And I hope you will consider supporting keeping an independent news service out in our community, where what is going on with all our government entities is of critical benefit for both the public institutions but voters as well l. Thank You.


And to my Supporters I pledge to keep ‘going when you cannot.’ And we have about $9 billion in GOB funds being spent through a variety of public institutions and that is no small number and in the past I have broken the story on Cuban refugees coming in droves and also the Oriental fruit fly quarantine and its huge economic impact to name just a few of the more recent stories in past WDR’s.And I also keep watch for the all-important tourism industry and with the Zika Virus people are starting to understand how vital these tourists are for a host of amenities like culture and the arts, Jackson health System and transportation dollars all entities that benefit from tourism sales tax dollars.


>>> And while the Watchdog Report has reached16 years of using my own money to survive in the costlier Miami community. And while I have cut expenses I need my readers help. In this fast changing world and with Pay Pal now you can easily use a credit card to contribute and I hope you will consider helping keeping someone out in the field. And I have not wanted to be a lobbyist but rather a lobbyist for everyone and is why I use the tag line ‘I go when you cannot’. But things were made worse after spending 18 days in the hospital with a badly infected finger. And is why I am behind sending my traditional thank you letter to any supporters contributing and hop to catch up in the near future. And I thank these people from the bottom of my heart for the past financial help.


>>> I just ask any reader, once a year who thinks this community resource is valuable to contribute via my Pay Pal account for the fiscal issues sometimes keeps me from going to a meeting sometimes, and the stress also affects my health and only with my readers support can “I go when you cannot,” thank you and hope you will help so the WDR can celebrate 17 years on May 5th.


>>> And to support the WDR go to my Pay Pal account at

>>>And you can now easily support the Watchdog Report by going to my new PayPal Button account, you know you want to do it at for as media resources contract residents still need to know that someone is also watching out for their interests. Because government watched is a better governing experience for voters and their local quality of life?


However, it is no easy task to do the WDR weekly. And years ago the county Ethics Commission did a report that suggested over the past decade some $50 million had been spent fighting waste fraud abuse and public corruption and having the press at public meetings (some very obscure) changes the tone of the meeting (and is why you don’t speed past a state trooper, if you’re smart) Further, I have tried to be an information electrolyte available to all free between these large public institutions when I first started back in 1997. And many public meetings back then were not being recorded except by me and that is no longer the case.


For an accurate public record is key and diminishes future legal action. For you either have an accurate public record or you don’t. And I hope you will consider helping me in this effort to keep the community informed and saving taxpayer monies in the process. And I thank my supporters over the last 17 years. And to read a national story and profile of the WDR publisher in the early years and background back in 2003 go to:        

Publisher’s Statement on the mission of the Watchdog Report and the special people and organizations that make it possible:  Government Subscribers/Corporate Subscribers/Sustaining Sponsors/Supporting Sponsors


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



HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr (The first contributor)


THE MIAMI HERALD (2000-2008)


WILLIAM HUGGETT, Seamen Attorney (Deceased)


LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)




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







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




BERKOWITZ POLLACK BRANT Advisors and Accountants




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







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





























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




























>>> Publisher’s Statement on the mission of the Watchdog Report and the special people and organizations that make it possible:  Government Subscribers/Corporate Subscribers/Sustaining Sponsors/Supporting Sponsors the Watchdog Report covers a few of the meetings attended weekly. It remains my belief that an informed public will make better decisions. Therefore, I go to meetings, make the presence of an informed citizen known, and bring the information to you.   The Watchdog Report is in the fourth year of publication and it has been an honor to be able to send this information to you. It is sent to readers in Miami-Dade, Florida, the U.S. and the world. The Watchdog Report is sent to thousands free and while readers have been prodded to subscribe the results have been mixed. Over 250 reports and Extras have been sent since May 5, 2000 and over one million words have been written on our community’s governments and events.  The report is an original work based on information gathered at public meetings, interviews and from documents in the public domain. I welcome letters via e-mail. Letters may be edited for length or clarity and must refer to material published in the Watchdog Report.  Please see address and contact information. Please send any additions and corrections by e-mail, fax or snail mail. All corrections will be published in the next Watchdog Report. If you or your organization would like to publish the contents of this newsletter, please contact me. Please send your request to


Daniel A. Ricker

Publisher & Editor

Watchdog Report

Est. 05.05.00

Copyright © of original material, 2017, Daniel A. Ricker


>>> The Miami Herald and Orlando Sentinel & Sun-Sentinel articles on the Watchdog Report publisher over the years.


Published on September 9, 1999, Page 1EA, Miami Herald, the (FL)



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



Published on January 20, 2003, Page 1E, Orlando Sentinel, PAPERWORK TIGER, Miami’s citizen watchdog piles up government files in his quest to keep the “little people” informed.


>>>Watchdog Report publisher named ‘Best Citizen’ 2003 by the Miami New Times


The publisher would like to thank the weekly alternative paper Miami New Times for bestowing their 2003 Best of Miami, ‘Best Citizen’ award to me and I am honored.  Thank you. To read the full story go to


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

Watchdog Report Supporters Invoice-Form Thank you


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3109 Grand Ave, #125 Miami, Florida 33133