Watchdog Report Vol.15 No. 32 December 7, 2014 EST.05.05.00 I go when you cannot -Celebrating 15 Years
Argus Report: John Englander tells Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce sea level rise is coming and we need to plan for its eventuality makes good businesses sense
Florida: Is Gov. Bush revving up the presidential plane in Gables? Miami Herald questions his conservatism but he is consistent in policy over the years
Obituary: “Mother Shalala” passes at 103, dynamic woman loved sports until the end
Miami-Dade County: M-DC 2013-2014 $6.2 billion Budget gets redo a staid affair and budget guru’s punishment gets mitigated by Chair Sosa’s hug of Moon
City of Miami: Obscure Miami HEP board in spotlight re demolition of Historic Home in Grove
City of Miami Beach: Mayor Levine continues to tackle sea level rising head on “was the number one issue,” when he ran for mayor and he “got floated into office,” he tells Greater Miami Chamber Luncheon
Broward County: TWO FLORIDA MEN ADMIT PARTICIPATING IN MULTIMILLION DRUG THEFT FROM ELI LILLY WAREHOUSE IN ENFIELD
City of Hollywood: Hollywood Man Sentenced to Over 12 Years for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Case Involving Theft of Over 5,000 Identities
City of Coral Gables: Residents to Benefit From New Quick Response Burglary Prevention Program
Community Events: Miami Dolphin Cycling Challenge V Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to fight Cancer event — Margulies Warehouse opens in Oct. Lotus House benefits, public students enter free
Editorials: The Miami Charter Review Committee should review perks commissioners get, especially the idea of having a sergeant –of-arms as bodyguard’s and chauffer’s, OK in commission chambers but can be a little excessive in practice
Letters: CORRECTION: The Highest ranking Haitian American is Congresswoman elect Mia Love, R-Utah – Check out the website for my relatively new organization aimed at young adults with intellectual disabilities. We are involving them in organic gardening, culinary skills (with a major chef) and other elements of lifelong learning (marine studies, creative – Reader wishes me a speedy recovery from stroke
Sponsors - Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue
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ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street
>>> John Englander tells Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce sea level rise is coming and we need to plan for its eventuality makes good businesses sense
John Englander was the featured speaker at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Luncheon on Wednesday and Global Warming and rising sea levels was the topic of the day and the man has been making presentations to a host of different organizations ranging from the Florida Bar Association to the U.S. Dept. Of Homeland Security and he is an author speaker and consultant on the subject of Rising Sea Levels that is coming and has to be addressed. And when it came to the environmental impact of global warming and people that early on have been sounding the alarm about he gave a shout out to Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and County Clerk Harvey Ruvin for their embracing of the issue early and is still controversial with some people. Englander said during the past history of the planet, “we have been given a pass,” re a possible ice age again but when it comes to global Warming “it is the biggest challenge we well ever face, he suggested. It’s coming and we “should face it squarely, “and while “some may think it is a mistake,” He says he uses Cancer as a “metaphor” and the strides that have been made over the years and the disease is “no longer a death sentence,’ it once was and while Miami when it comes to “Sea Level rising is on the leading edge,” that is also true of Hong Kong and England and even Providence Rhode Island will be affected adversely with even just a ‘One inch rise in sea levels,” he said. He noted during the earth’s past Ice Ages that there was a three to four hundred foot rise in sea levels and we have to start planning for this environmental threat for we have reached a “tipping point” and it is coming since the oceans are one degree warmer and that heat “is already trapped” in the water body. And the planet is “warming hundreds of times faster than in the past and we need to adapt” to this new reality for the “sea level will continue to rise,” Englander said and his message was a sober reminder to the business community that it has to be addressed for it is coming and needs to be considered in business plans for the future. And for more on Englander go to www.johnenglander.net.
>>> The Miami Dolphins Cycling Challenge to raise funds to fight Cancer at the University of Miami Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center is recruiting riders http://ridedcc.com/ and the race is Feb. 7 through 8th and is an event that grew after Jim “Mad dog” Mandich lost his battle with Cancer years ago and the event draws thousands of riders and organizations to raise money for Cancer Research and Richard and Jeff Berkowitz are leading the fundraising charge and they spoke about the event at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce monthly luncheon on Wednesday and corporations have contributed millions of dollars over the years to the Cycling Challenge allowing 100 percent of the money raised by hopefully the3,000 riders this year to go to Sylvester and the race is a not for profit 501C 3 and for more information and how to participate and fight the “Scourge of Cancer go to wwww.ridedcc.com http://ridedcc.com/ and the two day race is Feb. 7 through 8th and is an event that grew after Jim “Mad dog” Mandich http://ridedcc.com/ Berkowitz said and in the past has had some 700 people participating and raising $1 million was the goal this year, said Richard Berkowitz who runs a prominent C.P.A. firm in Miami.
Further since I had my own stroke back in July I had no idea how pervasive the condition was and some 600,000 Americans a year are afflicted with this condition as well. And while clearly different from Cancer, Strokes can strike at any moment with profound effects on the body, and one may not realize it is happening unless you fall suddenly and my left side of my body became numb. And below is from the Baptist Health South Florida webpage just recently given a new Stroke Healthcare Care designation and below is from the Baptists’ Health’s webpage Stroke Services Editor’s Note: I am not endorsing either healthcare organization but I thought the information might be useful to some readers.
https://baptisthealth.net/en/health-services/stroke-services/pages/default.aspx Baptist Health South Florida treats more people for stroke than any other hospital system in South Florida. Baptist Health Neuroscience Center, located on the Baptist Hospital campus, features an 8-bed neurocritical care unit and a 48-bed neuroscience inpatient unit with specially trained nurses, neurologists and neurosurgeons to meet the needs of neurological patients.
>>> Baptist Hospital is certified by The Joint Commission as a Comprehensive Stroke Center – the highest level of stroke certification available. The hospital is one of only a few nationwide to receive this distinction, which indicates that it has the resources, staff and training necessary to treat the most complex stroke cases. In addition, Baptist Hospital is part of Miami-Dade County’s Stroke Network and is designated as a comprehensive stroke center for offering neurosurgery, neuro interventional procedures, a full range of rehabilitation services and more.
South Miami Hospital and West Kendall Baptist Hospital are designated Primary Stroke Centers by the Agency for Healthcare Administration. South Miami Hospital is also part of the county-wide stroke network.
Because time is of the essence with stroke care, the multidisciplinary stroke team goes into action when paramedics notify the Emergency Center that a stroke patient is en route to one of our hospitals. Patients are evaluated quickly with high-tech imaging to determine the best treatment. Quick treatment is the best way to survive a stroke, the fourth-leading cause of death in the United States. It’s important to know the warning signs of stroke and how to respond to them.
Warning Signs of Stroke
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause.
Source: American Stroke Association
Is it a stroke?
Here’s a quick and simple way to determine if a person might be having a stroke:
Ask the person to smile.
Ask the person to raise both arms.
Ask the person to speak a simple sentence.
If the person has trouble doing any of these things, call 911 immediately and describe the symptoms to the emergency dispatcher. Baptist Hospital of Miami8900 North Kendall Drive Miami, Florida 33176Doctors Hospital 5000 University Drive
Coral Gables, Florida 33146 Homestead Hospital 975 Baptist Way(Campbell Drive and S.W. 147 Avenue)Homestead, Florida 33033Mariners Hospital 91500 Overseas Highway (MM 91.5)Tavernier, Florida 33070
>>>> Hundreds of supporters turned out Saturday night for a toy drive for Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital in Broward and Jackson Memorial’s Holtz Children’s Hospital in Coconut grove and the foundation hosting the event was the www.kevingarciafoiundation.org
>>> Zogby Report Card: Obama steps up, displays crisis leadership- >>> John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner
Press release: Pollster John Zogby finds in our weekly White House report card that President Obama turned his administration around by showing some “crisis leadership.” And the new jobs figures also helped him recover from a bad month. “Lots going on this week. The open sore of race relations again turned raw over the New York grand jury’s decision to not indict a police officer involved in another killing. Protests hit the streets but there was no violence. Anyone expecting this fervor to slow down better think twice.
Please click on the link below to view the full release: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/524-zogby-report-card-obama-steps-up-displays-crisis-leadership
Edna Shalala passed last week at 103
http://www.cleveland.com/obituaries/index.ssf/2014/12/edna_shalala_103_was_lawyer_te.html and the “Mother Shalala” as she was affectionately known of UM President Donna Shalala, Ph.D. was a sharp and thoughtful women attorney and professional tennis player and I had the opportunity to speak with her for an hour or so at the UM Oshman Lifelong learning Center years ago. Where I was once a speaker and at the time she was still practicing law but it was a real treat for me and it was like talking to a sage and she was an ardent Cane fan who loved sports but after a stroke she gave up tennis and she turned to golf and her daughter Donna a former Secretary of Health and Human Services under the Clinton Administration has led the University of Miami since 2001 and the Watchdog Report sends the Shalala family my condolences for she lived her life full right to the end.
>>>> Is Gov. Bush revving up the presidential plane in Gables? Miami Herald questions his conservatism but he is consistent while in office
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has been revving up the engines on whether he will try to be the GOP’s candidate for president in 2016 and http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article4318173.html gave Jeb a front page cover story on whether he would be conservative enough given the Republican nation’s political landscape and many politicians that worked with him said he was a solid conservative and the man has the trait of saying what he wants to do on the campaign trail and when in office doing that. Further Bush consolidated the office of governor and the Florida Cabinet posts and he was the point of the spear on creating private Charter Schools and the testing of students and the brother of two presidents has said. He believes he knows a path to be the Party’s champion but critiques wonder if voters will forgive his brother and younger voters may not warm to a do over if Bush were to face Hillary Clinton since the generational torch was passed when President Barack Obama was elected and critical voters under 45 or so are unlikely to be excited at the polls of a redo of the 1990s and a world that is so dramatically different and now dominated by Social Media. But whatever Jeb decides Miami will be political Central since he lives in Coral Gables and is an avid golfer at The Biltmore Hotel but he has said his family is a key factor if he ultimately decides to run for the nation’s highest office.
>>> Launch of Orion rocket puts Florida’s Space Coast back into the space business, program critical to developing high tech industries
With the winding down of NASA a few years ago Florida and the Space Coast is bouncing back as a hub for space exploration once thought over by many with the new Orion rocket launch and these high technology jobs are key to Florida’s future as a technological state and the recent successful launch starts what will be many more launches in the future and is a magnet for tourists wanting to witness the dramatic launch. http://www.nbcnews.com/science/space/splashdown-orion-spaceship-aces-first-flight-test-road-mars-n262146
>>> Press release: Gov. Scott: Orion Launch Shows Florida Is A Leader In Aerospace Innovation Governor Scott issued the following statement on the successful launch of the Orion spacecraft from Cape Canaveral this morning.
Governor Scott said, “I want to congratulate NASA and their entire team on a successful launch of the Orion spacecraft from Cape Canaveral this morning. Thousands of people, including many Floridians, worked to make this flight possible. Events like this bring many tourists to our great state and continue to show that Florida is the leader in aerospace innovation. Because of our strategic investments in the aerospace industry, Florida’s Space Coast will continue to excel and provide great careers for our families.”
On the well-being of our children. Visit The Children’s Movement website to read their stories and share your own. >>> I find it unacceptable, as all of us should, that at least a half-million children in Florida – all citizens — have no health insurance. How could this be in our beloved country that seeks to be a beacon to the world? Health insurance for all children is one of the five major planks of The Children’s Movement. With the support of Florida Covering Kids and Families, The Children’s Movement is working with dozens of local partners to help build a meaningful signing-up initiative in more than a dozen Florida communities. Already we have: Completed 18 KidCare trainings around the state. Signed up, trained and deployed more than a hundred volunteers. Begun to build a growing collaboration between local school districts and KidCare outreach coalitions. It’s a good start, but only the start. If you’d like to become a volunteer, just click here. Another way to help is to make a contribution – of any size – to help support this work. It is easy. Just click here. A real movement isn’t possible without your helping in some meaningful way. Dave Lawrence, Jr., Chair the Children’s Movement. >>> Update: Two encouraging meetings… The first, a visit from the Governor to the Rainbow Intergenerational Child Care center in Little Havana where he discussed his early learning priorities. That includes his support for “Help Me Grow,” a statewide parent resource system where parents would be able — via phone and online — to get answers to questions about their child’s development and connected with the proper resources. The second, a meeting with future House Speaker, Rep. Jose Oliva from Hialeah. He’s a father of three, a real reader of history and student of policy, and committed to better understanding early learning. Dave Lawrence, Chair The Children’s Movement.
>>>>M-DC 2013-1014 $6.2 billion Budget gets redo a staid, affair and budget guru’s punishment gets mitigated by Chair Sosa hug of Moon
With the Miami-Dade County Budget and public Hearing re hearing over Thursday night and it being a staid affair the winner of the evening was Jennifer Moon the County’s budget guru and Director of Budget and Strategic Management Department and Mayor Carlos Gimenez had punished her by making her pay for rerunning the public advertisement’s about $12,000 but that punishment was mitigated and ended with Commission Chair Rebeca Sosa giving Moon a well-deserved hug because she and her department are some of the county’s sharpest when it comes to finance and the Watchdog Report has covered almost 12 years of the department’s activities over the years and have never had a beef with any of them over the years.
Further Gimenez’s punishment was considered controversial and what would he do if another county employee made a mistake and it opened up a can of worms that he did not need to deal with after the bruising union negotiations before the September budget hearings.
>>> Press release: MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES KICKS-OFF BLANKET DONATION DRIVE TO KEEP SHELTER DOGS WARM AND COMFORTABLE ON COLD WINTER DAYS
Beginning, Wednesday November 26, 2014, through December 30, 2014, Miami-Dade County Animal Services (Animal Services) in collaboration with the Miami-Dade County Public Library System (MDPLS), will host a blanket drive for Animal Services shelter dogs. In preparation for dropping temperatures and the upcoming winter season, Animal Services is seeking donations of new or gently used clean blankets to keep shelter dogs warm and comfortable.
“Keeping our pets healthy and comfortable is a top priority. The blankets contributed help us keep our pets warm and dry while they await their forever homes during the winter months,” said Miami-Dade County Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz.
Donation bins will be available at the Animal Services shelter which is located at 7401 NW 74th Street, Medley, 33166 and at the Stephen P. Clark Center 111 NW 1st Street Miami, FL 33128. Donation bins will also be available at the following library locations:
COCONUT GROVE BRANCH - 2875 MCFARLANE RD., 305-442-8695
CORAL REEF BRANCH – 9211 CORAL REEF DR., 305-233-8324
DORAL BRANCH – 10785 NW 58 ST., 305-716-9598
GOLDEN GLADES BRANCH – 100 NE 166 ST., 305-787-1544
HOMESTEAD BRANCH – 700 N. HOMESTEAD BLVD., 305-246-0168
KENDALL BRANCH – 9101 SW 97 AVE., 305-279-0520
KEY BISCAYNE BRANCH – 299 CRANDON BLVD., 305-361-6134
LITTLE RIVER BRANCH – 160 NE 79 ST., 305-751-8689
MAIN LIBRARY – 101 W FLAGLER ST., MIAMI, FL 33130, 305-375-2665
MIAMI BEACH REGIONAL – 227 22 ST., 305-535-4219
MIAMI LAKES BRANCH – 6699 WINDMILL GATE RD., 305-822-6520
MIAMI SPRINGS BRANCH – 401 WESTWARD DRIVE, 305-805-3811
NARANJA BRANCH – 14850 SW 280 ST, 305-242-2291
NORTH DADE REGIONAL – 2455 NW 183 ST., 305-625-6424
NORTHEAST BRANCH – 19200 WEST COUNTRY CLUB DR., 305-931-5512
PINECREST BRANCH – 5835 SW 111 ST., 305-668-4571
SOUTH DADE REGIONAL – 10750 SW 211 ST., 305-233-8140
WEST DADE REGIONAL – 9445 CORAL WAY, 305-553-1134
WEST KENDALL REGIONAL – 10201 HAMMOCKS BLVD., 305-385-7135
About Miami-Dade County Animal Services
Every year Miami-Dade County Animal Services Department (Animal Services) provides care and refuge for over 27,000 unwanted dogs and cats. Every day, Animal Services staff and volunteers work diligently to find life-long homes for these abandoned animals by facilitating onsite adoptions, hosting off-site adoption at events and locations throughout the community, and working collaboratively with over 70 rescue organizations who share in our goal of a No Kill Miami-Dade County.
About the Miami-Dade Public Library System
The Miami Dade Public Library System (MDPLS), a recipient of the National Medal for Museum and Library Service, serves as a community center and learning place where the Miami Dade community meets to exchange ideas, learn, share, and create. The Library strives to ensure that all residents, regardless of socioeconomics, will be enriched through access to materials, technology, art and culture and programs so that they may develop the skills they need to create and produce innovations for the 21st century. Through its 48 locations, bookmobiles, special services, website (www.mdpls.org) and MDPLS library app, the library proudly serves more than 7 million annual visitors. In the more than 40 years of serving the community, the MDPLS continues to experience tremendous change and growth, evolving with the technological needs and requirements of its diverse community. It is the policy of Miami-Dade County to comply with all of the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The facility is accessible. For sign language interpreters, assistive listening devices or materials in accessible format, please call 305-418-7181 at least five days in advance.
MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ANIMAL SERVICES
7401 NW 74 Street
Miami, FL 33166
Culture Shock Miami is in its tenth year “and a huge success,” said Michael Spring the Cultural Affairs Dir. Of Miami-Dade County and the program allows students from age 13 to 22 to buy tickets to all the county museums for only $5.00 and the program has been an overwhelming success said Spring and for more information on the program go to www.cultureshockmiami.com
Press release: Miami-Dade County reports record October 2014 collections for the 2% Hotel Food and Beverage Tax collected from hotels in Miami-Dade (excluding Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside), which increased 14.7% compared to the same time in 2013. The 3% Convention Development Tax (CDT) was also a record, increasing 6.5% compared to the same time in 2013. The 2% Tourist Development Tax (TDT) collections were also a record for Greater Miami (excluding Miami Beach, Bal Harbour and Surfside), increasing 5.9% compared to the same time in 2013.
|Record Miami-Dade County Tax Collections|
|2% Hotel Food & Beverage Tax|
|October 2014||October 2013||% Change vs. 2013|
|3% Convention Development Tax|
|October 2014||October 2014||% Change vs. 2013|
|2% Tourist Development Tax|
|October 2014||October 2013||% Change vs. 2013|
>>>> Convicted Felon Sentenced for Firearms and Identity Theft Charges
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Manuel Orosa, Chief, Miami Police Department, announce that Miguel Roman, 22, of Miami, was sentenced today before U.S. District Judge Ursula Ungaro to 102 months in prison, to be followed by three years of supervised release.
Roman previously pled guilty to one count of possession of three firearms and ammunition while a convicted felon, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 922(g)(1), one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(3), and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A (a)(1).
According to court documents, during a search warrant on Roman’s apartment, law enforcement discovered three firearms, several boxes of ammunition, a variety of papers and documents reflecting the personally identifying information (PII) of other individuals, including names, dates of birth, and social security numbers, and several debit cards in other individuals’ names. The PII included a notebook containing many handwritten names, dates of birth, and social security numbers of other individuals, together with notations indicating Roman used the PII for fraudulent purposes. Also found were many documents reflecting PII, a large plastic bag containing notebooks of handwritten PII, forms from the Bureau of Prisons reflecting the PII of prisoners, and an envelope containing three treasury checks in other individuals’ names. In total, 1,114 unique names and social security numbers were discovered. Although not directly attributable to the defendant’s conduct, fraudulent tax returns were filed on behalf of at least sixteen of the individuals whose PII was found in Roman’s residence. The amount of loss resulting from the offense is $507,000. Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI, the FBI, and the City of Miami Police Department. This case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Jamie R. Galvin.A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls.
CITY OF MIAMI
>>>> Obscure Miami HEP board in spotlight re demolition of Historic Home in Grove
The City of Miami’s Historic and Environmental Preservation (HEP) Board is in the spotlight after the board was asked to hear whether a historic home on 3529 St. Gaudens Road should be designated historic or be allowed to be demolished and a host of Groveites came to what is normally a very staid meeting that in this case had the chambers packed along with a who’s who of attorneys.
The nine member HEP board is chaired by William E. Hopper, Jr., Gerald Marston is the Vice Chair and the other members are Timothy Barber, David Freedman, Gary Hecht, Jorge Kuperman Hugh Ryan, Lynn Lewis and Todd Tragash is the alternative member of the board. And when the board had to vote on the matter Hecht a real estate broker in the Grove had to “recuse” himself since a “Sotheby’s agent sold the property at one point and he wanted to keep it ‘An arm’s Length matter for me,” he told the other HEP board members. And for more on the board members and which commissioner appointed them to that board go to http://www.historicpreservationmiami.com/pdfs/2013%20updates/2013BoardMembers.p and for more on the story go to df http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article4191476.html http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article4251894.html
What about the HEP board staff?
The City’s Preservation Officer is Megan Cross Schmitt and she has a new unknown staff member (who did not have any cards and seemed reluctant to identify herself and while she promised to Email the Watchdog Report last Tuesday she never did). Further Hecht was a former Coconut Grove Village Council Chair a few years ago.
What about the Miami Commission District 2 race in 2016?
The race to see who follows Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is heating up with Grace Solaris throwing her hat into the ring and the respected community activist on steroids and North Grove homeowner is likely to face Teresa Sarnoff, 59, the wife of the incumbent commissioner but this keep it in the family idea is grating on many District 2 voters who feel after two terms of Sarnoff that is enough and was why city voters approved having term limits on the body. Further, the commissioner’s wife is no shoe in many say and while she is known in the Grove she has a mixed reputation and the race is expected to be ugly but well financed since Sarnoff the commissioner has demonstrated he can raise considerable campaign contributions in his past runs but the man is an enigma, to many that know him and there seems to be many Sarnoff’s. The first one when he was elected in 2006 to what was only a one year term and he kept his ego in check after this brutal race against incumbent Linda Haskins where Sarnoff won the office with voters two to one over the well-funded commissioner. But Sarnoff changed after that race and at his inaugural swearing in on 2006 and held outside Miami City Hall he spoke in a statesman like fashion referring to the influences on his life of people like JFK, MLK, RFK and others including his grandfather Gen. David Sarnoff the founder of NBC and made RCA a powerhouse outside of Princeton New Jersey. Where the man has his library dedicated to his legacy. But there is a problem with that claim: go tohttp://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/riptide/2008/02/marc_sarnoff_lies_about_his_li.php
What new has happened in that District 2 race?
A new candidate last week has entered the race Michael Simpson and the Watchdog Report does not know the man so he has not spent much time at city hall for that to occur. He is joining the pool of candidates that includes Grace Solaris and potentially Teresa Sarnoff and Solaris on the Miami Charter Review Committee has received a Miami Attorney’s office ruling that since she is a candidate she cannot serve on the Review Committee, but she has a letter from an attorney that argues otherwise and the attorney notes the Review Committee is not an official city Board since the committee was established by a Miami Commission resolution and not an ordinance so it appears she may be able to stay on the Charter Review Committee but the attorneys will get to argue that out in the coming weeks running up to to the Nov. 2015 elections.
However, Sarnoff once he won a full-term to office in 2007 he changed and he held his second inauguration to the office in the now torn down Grove Convention Center and there was a harpist playing and an area to be photographed with the commissioner and at the impressive podium with a speech reader I almost expected Bush II to be coming and a further change in the man occurred. For He was an early Barack Obama supporter and during the 2008 election he led a couple of hundred voters to the polls riding around the Grove in a fire truck trying to fire-up voters to go to the polls. And now he is supporting Gov. Rick Scott a Republican and in 2012 Sarnoff had no Obama campaign posters outside his house in the Grove in contrast to 2006 when they were plenty found on his fence around the compound.
And his wife Teresa is going to have to deal with this past as a candidate plus any issues voters might have with Sarnoff’s assistant and Chief of Staff Ron Nelson who has his own reputation with District 2 residents and the wife’s saving grace may be that the influence of Grove voters has diminished after redistricting and the new big voting block in District 2 is Brickell which the commissioner has concentrated on over the past years, but there is something odd about Sarnoff and he comes off as being very insecure and warm and fuzzy he is not and Teresa will have to carve out her own political personae and for her to win she may have to cut here ties with her second husband if she is to win over the more approachable Solaris in this soon to be contentious race. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article4055679.html
>>>> Defendant Convicted in Identity Theft Tax Fraud Scheme Involving Medical Patients’ Personal Identifying Information
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), and Paula Reid, Special Agent in Charge, United States Secret Service (USSS), Miami Field Office, announce that defendant Kenol Augustin, 36, of Miami, was convicted by a federal jury of one count of conspiracy to commit access device fraud, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(b). Sentencing is scheduled for January 15, 2015. At sentencing, Augustin faces up to five years in prison.
According to court documents and evidence presented at trial, in January 2012, an individual recruited into the scheme searched their employer’s database and accessed the names and Social Security numbers (personal identity information or PII) of individual medical patients. This employee then provided a list of individuals’ PII in exchange for a cash payment made by defendant Augustin. Augustin and his co-conspirators then caused false and fraudulent tax returns seeking refunds to be filed with the Internal Revenue Service using the PII that the conspirators had so obtained.
Defendant Barnard (13-20684-CR-COOKE), who was also involved in this conspiracy, was sentenced on July 23, 2014 to 36 months in prison, to be followed by two years of supervised release, and was ordered to pay restitution of $57,000. Barnard pled guilty to one count of possession of 15 or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1029(a)(3) and 2, and one count of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of IRS-CI and the USSS. These cases are being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys James V. Hayes and Gera Peoples.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
>>> Mayor Levine continues to tackle sea level rising head on “was the number one issue,” when he ran for mayor and “got floated into office,” he tells Greater Miami Chamber Luncheon
Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine was a speaker on the issue of Rising Sea Levels at the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce Luncheon and the mayor joked he “got floated into office” because when he ran for mayor “sea level rise was the number one issue, “and it was a key point he was running on since the tony Beach got inundated with tides submerging the city’s streets and was a nightmare for residents but recently 60 new pumps and other infrastructure was able to keep these King Tides waters in check but at significant cost to the city but leaders felt it had to be done. He joked people “call me the impatient mayor,” since he is tackling the issue of sea level rise head on and wants local government to be more responsive and sensitive to resident’s needs. He said on the beach they are addressing the flooding “hot spots first” and the Beach has a $300 million infrastructure plan that is being implemented and the mayor said governments and businesses must work together to face this “challenge like we did during World War II, “ the mayor said and when the expected flooding was to occur “two U.S. Senators came down to see the flooding “but because of the pumps nothing happened and it was dry,” but Levine said our position was to deal with things in phases and in the short term we have the pumps and the city is modifying its building codes for the long term he said but the Beach is tackling the issue head on because “Miami is ground zero,” and sea level rise is coming and governments have to prepare for that fact since nature is ruthless and unforgiving, the mayor said.
CITY OF CORAL GABLES
Gables webpage: Residents to Benefit from New Quick Response Burglary Prevention Program
Coral Gables residents can benefit from a new crime prevention program that will help the Coral Gables Police Department better protect them and their valuables. The Quick Response Burglary Prevention Program, adopted in September by the Coral Gables City Commission as an emergency ordinance, allows alarm companies to immediately contact the Coral Gables Police Department for dispatch if the homeowner does not answer them on the first try. Previously, the alarm company had to call up to two other numbers provided to reach the homeowner before calling the Coral Gables police for assistance. “By eliminating the unnecessary phone calls in situations when every second counts, Coral Gables residents will see faster police response times,” said Interim Police Chief Ed Hudak. “The goal is to increase our ability to respond to incidents of residential burglaries and catch the criminals.” No fee will be assessed to residents enrolled in the program for the first four false alarms in one calendar year. For non-participants of the program, only two free false alarms in one calendar year will be permitted before fees are applied. There is no charge to enroll in the new program.
To enroll, participants must fill out an Alarm User Registration Application available by calling 305-460-5280 or by clicking here. After registering, participants need to inform their alarm company of program enrollment with an Alarm Company Notification Letter that will be provided by the City of Coral Gables. For program enrollment information, please contact 305-460-5280 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
>>>> TWO FLORIDA MEN ADMIT PARTICIPATING IN MULTIMILLION DRUG THEFT FROM ELI LILLY WAREHOUSE IN ENFIELD
Press release: The United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut announced that two Florida residents pleaded guilty today in New Haven federal court to charges related to their participation in the theft of pharmaceuticals from an Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield, Conn. YOSMANY NUNEZ, also known as “El Gato,” 42, of Southwest Ranches, Fla., ALEXANDER MARQUEZ, 41, of Hialeah, Fla., each pleaded guilty to one count of transportation of stolen property.
According to court documents and statements made in court, in early 2010, NUNEZ, MARQUEZ, Amaury Villa, Amed Villa and another individual planned to steal pharmaceuticals from the Eli Lilly Company warehouse and storage facility in Enfield. The investigation revealed that, prior to the theft, NUNEZ and Amaury Villa traveled from the Miami area to Connecticut to gather information about the warehouse facility and the surrounding area. Shortly before the theft, Amed Villa and another individual traveled to Flushing, N.Y., where they purchased tools needed to break into the warehouse facility, and then traveled to Connecticut.
In the evening of March 13, 2010, individuals involved in the theft dropped off a ladder in the rear parking lot of the warehouse facility and left. That same night, MARQUEZ drove a tractor trailer to the facility. Thereafter, Amed Villa and Amaury Villa carried the ladder to the building, checked for security in the front area, climbed onto the roof, used tools to cut a hole in the facility roof, dropped down into the facility and disabled the alarm system. Amaury Villa, Amed Villa and NUNEZ then loaded more than 40 pallets of pharmaceuticals into the tractor trailer, which had been backed up to the loading dock of the warehouse. The pallets of pharmaceuticals included thousands of boxes Zyprexa, Cymbalta, Prozac, Gemzar and other medicines, valued between $50 and $100 million. The individuals who participated in the theft split up in Connecticut. MARQUEZ then drove the tractor trailer to Florida, where he subsequently reunited with Amaury Villa, Amed Villa and NUNEZ so the pharmaceuticals could be transferred from the tractor trailer into self-storage units in the Miami area.
On October 14, 2011, law enforcement authorities searched a storage facility in Florida and recovered pharmaceuticals that had been stolen from the Enfield warehouse.
NUNEZ and MARQUEZ, who are both citizens of Cuba, were arrested on April 17, 2014. NUNEZ is detained and Marquez is released on a $200,000 bond. They are scheduled to be sentenced by U.S. District Judge Janet Bond Arteron in February 2015, at which time each faces a maximum term of imprisonment of 10 years.
Amaury Villa and Amed Villa have also pleaded guilty and await sentencing.
This matter is being investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Enfield Police Department, with the assistance of several other U.S. Attorney’s Offices and federal, state and local law enforcement agencies that have been investigating large-scale thefts of pharmaceuticals and other products. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Anastasia E. King and Douglas P. Morabito.
CITY of HOLLYWOOD
>>> Hollywood Man Sentenced to Over 12 Years for Identity Theft Tax Refund Fraud Case Involving Theft of Over 5,000 Identities
Press release: Wifredo A. Ferrer, United States Attorney for the Southern District of Florida, George L. Piro, Special Agent in Charge, Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Miami Field Office, and Kelly R. Jackson, Special Agent in Charge, Internal Revenue Service, Criminal Investigation (IRS-CI), announced that Richard Anthony Siler, 50, of Hollywood, was sentenced to 154 months in prison, followed by three years of supervised release after being convicted at trial of one count of use of unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(2), one count of possession of fifteen or more unauthorized access devices, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1029(a)(3), and three counts of aggravated identity theft, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 1028A(a)(1).
According to the evidence presented at trial, Siler had previously provided lists of individuals’ personal identity information to an FBI confidential source knowing the identity information would be used for identity theft tax refund fraud. In a subsequent recorded conversation, Siler told the confidential source that Siler could sell approximately “ten thousand” to “thirteen thousand” people’s identity information a week. Siler also told the confidential source that these identities were “never before revealed.” The evidence at trial established that Siler had worked for a company where he had access to lists of people’s personal identity information.
On February 14, 2014, Richard Siler sent an e-mail to the confidential source containing an attachment with the personal identity information of approximately 5,200 elderly Medicare patients. On that same date, the confidential source provided Siler with $6,200 in currency in exchange for those identities and Siler was arrested.
Mr. Ferrer commended the investigative efforts of the FBI and IRS-CI. The case was prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Michael N. Berger and Francisco Maderal.
A copy of this press release may be found on the website of the United States Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of Florida at www.usdoj.gov/usao/fls. Related court documents and information may be found on the website of the District Court for the Southern District of Florida at www.flsd.uscourts.gov or on http://pacer.flsd.uscourts.gov.
The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida is calling visual artists in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties to submit artwork to interpret A Man Among the Peoples, that will coincide with an exhibition on the life, art and legacy of late Overtown artist, Purvis Young. Selected artwork will be displayed in the lobby of The Historic Lyric Theater as part of “Soul Basel Overtown: A celebration of Art, Music and Culture in Colored Town”.
This an art festival taking place from December 3 – 7, 2014 in Miami’s Historic Overtown District. We encourage imaginative expression in the interpretation of the theme. This project is designed to highlight the work of South Florida artists among others that will be displayed during Art Basel weekend. In addition to the public, museum professionals and art critics are invited to attend the festival. Entries will be accepted via email. Deadline to apply is Monday, November 17, 2014.To enter or for more information, please contact Adia McKenzie at email@example.com or 786-708-4
>>> About the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.:
The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Ph.D. With a mission to not only preserve the documentary and photographic history of black South Florida, but also to enrich the present and protect the future through the revitalization Miami’s former black business and entertainment district, Overtown. The Black Archives and its programming are supported by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, Miami-Dade County, The Knight Foundation, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, The Design Group Miami & Drummer Boy Sound. For more information on The Black Archives of South Florida visit www.theblackarchives.org.
Chairman of the Dolphin Cycling Challenge V
Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to fight the Plague of our generation: February 7-8, 2015 www.ridedcc.comhttps://register.racepartner.com/DCC/register http://ridedcc.com/where-the-money-goes
Special Exhibition at the
Margulies Collection at the Warehouse
through January 1, 2015
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse, Miami, in collaboration with the Bruce Silverstein Gallery, New York, is pleased to present Brancusi: The Photographs, an exhibition of the artist’s photographic works featuring 29 rare vintage gelatin silver prints from the early 20th century.
“We recognize the rarity of these vintage photographs by one of the greatest artists of the Modern era”, says collector Martin Margulies. “After seeing the works at the Bruce Silverstein Gallery in New York it occurred to us that Brancusi has never been exhibited in Florida before and bringing his photographs to Miami would provide our audience with a rare glimpse into early 20th century abstraction from such a unique and interesting perspective. We are excited to have the Brancusi photographs installed adjacent to the historical sculpture we have in our permanent installations by Miró and Noguchi. Noguchi worked as an apprentice in Brancusi’s studio from 1927-29 and was very influenced by the master’s abstract forms. The exhibition will add an important aspect to our educational mission this season.” Image: Installation view of Brancusi: The Photographs and Tony Smith,Throwback, 1976 on right, photo by Jeanie Giebel
Fifteen Year Anniversary Exhibition: Eric Bainbridge, Ronald Bladen, Calzolari, Chamberlain, Aaron Curry, de Kooning, Eliasson, Jeff Elrod, Flavin, Heizer, Gregor Hildebrandt, Hans Josephsohn, Judd, Kiefer, Kounellis, LeWitt, Charles Long, Richard Long, Mario Merz, Meuser, Domingo Milella, Miró, Wilhelm Mundt, Noguchi, Pistoletto, Segal, Serra, Tony Smith, Do-Ho Suh, Franz West The collection visiting hours: Wed – Sat 11am – 4pm
Extended hours during Art Basel Miami Beach 2014:
Mon Dec 1 and Tues Dec 2, 9am-5pm
Wed Dec 3 thru Sat Dec 6, 9am-6pm
Sun Dec 7, 9am-2pm
Special Breakfast for Art Basel Miami Beach 2014:
Wed Dec 3 thru Fri Dec 6, 9am-12pm
Guided tours of Constantin Brancusi: The Photographs at 10am and 11am
Presented by Bruce Silverstein
Admission is $10 with all proceeds going directly to the
Lotus House Shelter for Homeless Women and Children
State of Florida students with valid ID: Free
All other students: $5.00 For further information call 305-576-1051 or visit our website www.margulieswarehouse.com
Contact: Katherine Hinds, curator
The Margulies Collection at the Warehouse
591 NW 27th Street, Miami, FL 33127
p: 305.576.1051 / f: 305.576.4963
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
The Margulies Warehouse will be reopen at the end of October and all adult admission charges $10.00 will go to Lotus House Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Overtown and students are free. For more go to http://www.margulieswarehouse.com/ and the Lotus House Gala will be Oct. 25th for more information go to http://lotushouse.org/
>>> The Miami Charter Review Committee should review perks commissioners get, especially the idea of having a sergeant –of-arms as bodyguard’s and chauffer’s, OK in commission chambers but can be a little excessive in practice
Members of the Miami Charter Review Committee need to review the perks commissioners get for a host of them were never approved by voters though voters did bump up they’re salary to $58,200 but that did not include the $32,000 they receive in there expense account nor the $3,900 phone allowance and the roughly $10,800 in car allowance even though many commissioners use a sergeant-of arms to transport hem around the city and none of these perks have ever been approved by city voters and they should be asked if these are acceptable perks for the part time job, especially having a police officer as a body guard who could be out on the street at a time police are in short supply in some communities.
The creation of the position of sergeant of arms was done around 2001, by Commissioner Arthur Teele, Jr., after then Mayor Joe Carollo hired a Israeli special forces member as his bodyguard but since then the practice has grown and is almost a 24 chauffeurs service at the beck and call of commissioners and while there might be some risk at an event. For most of the ones the five commissioners attend are very staid affairs and they are no more at risk than the average citizen and Miamians should be asked if they approve of this significant perk given to elected leaders for in the tough times always discussed on the dais. It would be one way for leaders to demonstrate they understand some of these luxuries should be trimmed back and I’m sure the committee will have a healthy debate if the issue comes up for it has been simmering for years and needs to get formalized one way or the other and the Watchdog Report hopes one of the members raises the issue on the committee for it would be a fair request to ask the voters to approve one way or the other.
Highest ranking Haitian American is Congresswoman elect Mia Love, R-Utah
Arguably, Mia Love, Congresswoman-elect and a former mayor from Utah, is the most prominent Haitian-American politician in America. However, she was born in the U.S. in 1975 and her parents came from Haiti in 1973, so maybe she is considered American as a natural born citizen, rather than Haitian-American as she is sometimes referred. She is as Haitian-American as Marco Rubio is Cuban-American.
>>> Check out the website for my relatively new organization aimed at young adults with intellectual disabilities. We are involving them in organic gardening, culinary skills (with a major chef) and other elements of lifelong learning (marine studies, creative expression etc). www.naturelinks.net and our linked Facebook page
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>>>> Chairman of the Dolphin Cycling Challenge V Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to fight the Plague of our generation: February 7-8, 2015 www.ridedcc.com
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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.
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Publisher & Editor
Copyright © of original material, 2014, Daniel A. Ricker
>>> Watchdog Report is expanding as a new service and this content is now available to other news media, no longer exclusive to The Miami Herald
The Watchdog Report is no longer exclusively with The Miami Herald, and excluding the one story a week that is printed in the paper on Monday in the Metro & State section by me. The rest of the 20 or so news stories weekly sent out Sunday in the Watchdog Report are now available to television stations web pages, and all the newspapers and other media in South Florida if the publishers have an interest to run part or all of the stories. Further, in 2000, I used to have some paper’s running the report in the Spanish press, that option is available again, and publishers should contact me.
The news content will not be free, but you can pick and choose the stories of interest, edit them if necessary but you must still keep the general story intact. If you are a news outlet and would like to learn more about, the Watchdog Report and this offer contact me at email@example.com for further information.
>>> Readers who would like to read the complete University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Southeast United States Media Report go to view the complete report or download
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