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Watchdog Report Vol.16 No.14 Aug. 23, 2015 EST.05.05.00 – I go when you cannot – Celebrating 16 Years of weekly publishing

CONTENTS

Argus Report:  Trump starting to replicate crowds Obama got at first, his brash in your face approach and can’t be bought, approach appeals to GOP faithful, making JEB look like low “energy,” candidate, Rubio still in the pack

State of Florida: House & Senate squabble ends with redistricting work undone, now it will be up to the courts

Miami-Dade County: There should be no difficulty getting names of candidates for MPO director, not dealing with “launch codes” here, I remarked Miami-Dade County Public Schools: “Code of silence,” in community, has “45 students killed,” since Carvalho took over in Sept. 2008, parents must teach students, “respect, responsibility, and restraint,” he tells NBC 6 Nesperal

City of Miami: Miami to get Royal visit King Felipe, VI & Queen Letizia of Spain stopping by in Sept., says Mayor Regalado

City of Miami Beach: Tiff between Commissioner Wolfson & WPLG reporter Putney detonates in Miami Herald and internet, over legal PAC with $1.5 million in it from vendors

Franklin County: Governor Scott taps Pinki Jackel as the Supervisor of Elections of Franklin County.

Hardy County: Gov. Scott names Chet Huddleston as the Supervisor of Elections of Hardee County.

Monroe County: Gov. Scott taps Spottswood to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Community Events: A host of cultural events

Editorial: Trump embodying electorate discontent, why no party affiliation fastest growing voter party demographic – Feds need to control drones, now, and ban lasers before disaster strikes a plane in flight During budget Public hearings in Sept., will politicians get to the point, or drone on repeating the same points, public in attendance go bananas, as much fun as a root canal!

Letter’s:- Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Gimenez hold Animal Services Summit at Port of Miami – suggestions wanted

Sponsors - Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue

>>> 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. I apologize to a couple of people that I could not delete recently.

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

>>>> The Watchdog Report publisher needs fiscal help and new Sponsors and I have for 16 years now, reported back weekly how your billions of public dollars in local government are being spent. And how to do that is at the end of the WDR. Thank You. And to my Supporters and Sponsors, I thank you for your confidence over the past 16 Years.

>>> CORRECTION: The Watchdog Report last week incorrectly reported that former Miami Mayor Manny Diaz had to spend $1 million in legal fees to defend a complaint by the Miami-Dade County Ethics and Public Trust Commission, which was incorrect. However, in fact some people have had to pay “$100, 000,” in legal fees on some of these cases and was why it was mentioned by the speaker Robert Thompson an outreach coordinator with the commission. And I apologize for the error.

ARGUS REPORT: Heard and Seen on the streets

>>> Trump starting to replicate crowds Obama got at first, his brash in your face approach and can’t be bought, approach appeals to GOP faithful, making JEB look like low “energy,” candidate, Rubio still in the pack

With some 20,000 plus supporters packing a sports stadium in Alabama to hear front running GOP candidate Donald Trump. The Republican Party’s political world is being put on its head and the developer, showman candidate is getting mobbed by the media and all week his name has dominated the political television talk shows and his made for television campaign is forcing errors on the part  of former Gov. Jeb Bush who is still finding his campaign voice, but appears tired in many of the interviews and exchanges and his reliable brand is being dismissed by Trump as Bush being a  “low energy level,” candidate and both of Florida’s native sons Jeb and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla. Are finding running for president is no cake walk and both are now taking pot shots at the presumptive front runner, despite the GOP faithful being so desperate for a winning candidate after years of being in the political doldrums, when it came to winning the White House.

But Trump is showing no signs of going away anytime soon and the Party is having to deal with the man who does press conferences as often as he takes a breath and he is feeding off the crowds and their adrenaline energy that Red Bull could only wish for. But he has yet to flesh out how he would accomplish and pay for some of his outlandish statements on the stump but supporters are betting he will change the game in Washington. Something many people thought Obama would be the catalyst for but that failed to materialize leaving many disappointed that the culture of money did not change in the nation’s capital and Trump is seen as the man that would truly clean house in Washington and the man is someone America watched grow up over the years from the time when he finished a long delayed iconic Wollman Rink at Rockefeller Center in record time, and his companies have been running the facility and a restaurant ever since  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wollman_Rink and he got Mayor Ed Koch to relent and let him do it. After Koch got intense public pressure to let the real estate mogul get the job done and the rink open by Christmas Time and draws millions of tourists who want to skate on the iconic rink. And more and more people I am finding have said, “They had thought they had seen everything,” but “he might just do it,” said a federal corrections officer Saturday night, and in politics the currency of the realm is trust and people are giving him that benefit of the doubt for the moment.

And Hillary Clinton is dealing with another issue, her email server, and her camp is believing when the facts are out. The issue of the security of her server as Secretary of State will blow over regarding her emails and their security status rating, but Vice President Joe Biden is waiting in the wings if the Secretary of State falters and the investigations continue and the race is on and the trust issue of candidates is being reflected in the polls.

>>> Tensions high along the Korean DMZ, leaders trying to defuse the situation in unpredictable Hermit Kingdom and its new leadership

Petulant North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is looking for attention with tensions running high along the DMZ and people forget America has only a Armistice with the Hermit Kingdom that periodically provokes, its South Korea neighbor and incidents like this recent one, where the South Koreans believe the North planted mines on a frequently used path and subsequently killed two Koreans started the tit for tat, but North Korea has the bomb and the South is under the United States nuclear umbrella (with some 30,000 troops) and the People’s Republic of China is the world stage broker in the region and China is impacted by the nation’s instability and also have to deal with refugees, who are trying to flee the country frozen in  the 1930s and the goose stepping military in many ways has not evolved since that time excluding the nuclear capability that the country has developed to the rest of Asia’s determent. http://www.cnn.com/2015/08/22/asia/koreas-tensions/

Kim Jong-un

>>> WPBT2 Celebrates 60 years of public broadcasting quality of programs have only gotten better

WSPBT2 celebrated its 60th year on the air giving the public commercial free broadcasting in South Florida, and the station has played an important role over the decades and the Watchdog Report got some major early television exposure from the station in my early years back in 2000 on Helen Ferre’s Show Issues and since then I have been privileged to be a frequent quest over the past 16 years.

And back in 2002 I was one of the few reporters that ever covered the station’s board meeting back when George Dooley was the general manager. After decades in the office and the station first resisted my dropping in but I persisted and covered the luncheon board meeting (and found I knew most of the board members, who were very accommodating, including Edward Easton the board chair) and wrote about it at the time and Dooley would later retire later in the year, and since then the station’s content has only grown in quality and hosts a variety of platforms to see the programs. http://video.wpbt2.org/program/wpbt-issues/ And the Watchdog Report gives the station A TIP OF THE HAT, for a job well done in serving the community.

>>> Zogby press release: newsmakers John Zogby’s Obama Weekly Report Card is Featured in Paul Bedard’s “Washington Secrets” Published weekly in The Washington Examiner

In his weekly presidential report card, pollster John Zogby finds that the vacationing President Obama remains a sidebar to other major headlines as he golfs on Martha’s Vineyard. “The president is still on vacation and so is news coverage focusing on him. Major news this week was Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, the stock market and the Federal Reserve, the ousted Greek prime minister, wildfires, and the female ‘Viagra’ pill.

Please click on the link below to view the full release: http://zogbyanalytics.com/news/634-john-zogby-s-report-card-golfing-obama-a-sidebar-to-bigger-newsmakers

Miami gets a new scam

The arrest of some local police officers for filing false papers claiming people’s credit ratings were terrible because of identity theft has people shaking their heads as South Florida creates another scam. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/crime/article21123588.html and police sign off on false identity theft reports clearing a person’s bad credit history and it won’t be long until residents start exporting this new way of skirting the system around the nation if Medicare scams are any indication and had U.S. Atty. Wilfredo Ferrer  saying once,  yes we do “export fraud,” at a big Medicare bust press conference a few years ago and this new identity theft scam is the latest permutation of a way to work the system and with identity theft rampant, this could be a new up and coming industry whether people had their bad credit repaired and a natural side industry would to use this enhanced credit rating to mortgage homes and with flipping homes coming back this could be a vehicle for the scammers to take advantage of this like was done years ago when it came to mortgage fraud and people were  qualifying for loans based on income but were not legitimate.

What about FL D Congressional Dist. 26?

The Florida Legislature is trying to find a redistricting solution for the state’s 27 Congressional Districts that can withstand a court challenge that has had past maps thrown out by the Florida Supreme Court and Congressional District 26 continues having a turbulent history that had former school board Member Carlos Curbello, R-Miami in the seat after he defeated incumbent Rep. Joe Garcia, D-Miami in a nasty campaign back in 2014 and in 2016. He is facing failed Democratic Party lieutenant governor candidate Annette Taddeo. The former chair of the Party in Miami-Dade County, and the campaign is expected to be spirited and given the district’s diversity one of the maps suggested includes, a significant percentage of what are considered Democratic Party voters into the District and Curbello followed Garcia and former Rep. David Rivera, R-Miami into the Congress but Rivera ran into trouble with the feds and lost the office in the previous years back in 2012 and Rivera’s life has only become a strange walk into the political wilderness that yet had him attending the Fox GOP debate and shown with Florida Sen. Marco Rubio after it was over and the men shared a house in Tallahassee when they were both in the Florida legislature. And his former girlfriend a political operative, ended up serving time for being part of a scheme that had a bogus candidate run in the Democratic Party primary for the seat, and to attack his expected opponent Congressman Garcia prior to the General Election back in 2010. And for more on the whole scandal go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/politics-government/article9132944.html

STATE OF FLORIDA

>>>> House & Senate squabble ends with redistricting work undone, now it will be up to the courts

The Florida Legislature said, we are out of here ending a special session Friday and the departure left the Florida lawmakers without approving redistricting maps for the Senate and Congressional seats after the House did not want to meet with the Senate leadership and lawmakers appear to be leaving up the required redistricting after the 2010 Census to the Courts after the Florida Supreme Court kicked previous maps back because they were “tainted” by political considerations leaving lawmakers to finish the job in the special session which they failed to do.http://miamiherald.typepad.com/nakedpolitics/2015/08/this-is-how-the-house-and-senate-left-their-proposed-congressional-maps.html And it is now up to Circuit Court Judge Terry Lewis to draw the new districts that will satisfy the higher courts and must keep within the confines of the Fair District Amendment Act passed by statewide voters in 2010 and is part of the Florida Constitution but law makers just can’t seem to get it right.

>>> Leaders need to keep eye on Brazil, with economic downturn since 1.7 million tourists come to Fla., yearly

And Gov. Rick Scott may have limited influence though he could call back the legislature but a more likely alternative would be to have the Florida Courts draw the lines and while tourism is a major economic driver for the Sunshine State.

Leaders should keep their eyes on Brazil and its fiscal health since these visitors represent some 1.7 million visitors of the statewide tourists coming to Florida. And if Brazil’s economy is slowing down that tourist number could drop which includes many of them buying condominiums in Miami.

>>> And to see the financial disclosure forms for your state and county elected officials go to http://public.ethics.state.fl.us/search.cfm?CFID=1281157&CFTOKEN=fc4bb5bc54cc8c3d-90AA1687-F952-15D1-78EF4A94DB042F82

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY

>>> There should be no difficulty getting names of candidates for MPO director, not dealing with “launch codes,” here, I remarked

The Watchdog Report last week tried to find out who were the six finalists interviewed to be the new Metropolitan Planning organization’s (MPO) director last week but County Commission press staff said. I had to make the candidate’s name request because of “protocol,”  to Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert, III,  the Chair of the MPO committee chairing the screening process that once had Commissioner Rebeca Sosa saying she wanted “to know,” the new director given the critical role the office plays in guiding the County’s regional transportation planning.

However, MPO member Maurice Ferre cautioned Sosa the board should not discount anyone that is not local saying some of them come from a distance for the interview. And Ferre a transportation maven, and former Miami Mayor believed she should keep an open mind regarding the issue, which Sosa has historically done in the past. But the position has been open for months now, and generally pays around $200,000. And I joked, on a phone call with a Commission press staffer that “I was not asking for launch codes,” in this request and had I been able to attend the last selection committee meeting. I would have had the names of the finalists, and I will try again next week to get the names that are public if you went to the public meetings but I could not get to. And I write this up as a Teaching Moment for public records are just that and are open to all.

Mayor Gilbert, III

Commissioner Dennis C. Moss appointed to serve on the MPO Executive Director Selection Committee
Press release: After years of dedicated and valuable service, Irma San Roman is retiring from her post as Executive Director of The Miami-Dade County Metropolitan Planning Organization. A selection committee has been appointed and will search for the ideal candidate with extensive knowledge and experience in the transportation planning area including directing and developing short and long term transportation plans in a large metropolitan area.

Commissioner Dennis C. Moss, Chairman of the Miami-Dade County Transportation and Aviation Committee, was appointed to the MPO Selection Committee charged with evaluating candidates and negotiating compensation. “Director Irma has done a wonderful job for this County,” said Commissioner Moss. “We will be looking for the best and the brightest professionals to help this board develop comprehensive transportation plans and policies that serve the needs of one of the largest and most diverse regions in the nation.”

The Director is appointed by the MPO Governing Board and reports to the Chair of the Board. The Metropolitan Planning Organization Governing Board approves federally required plans and transportation policies. It is composed of 23 voting members, and 2 nonvoting members.  The Board is vested with the responsibility for the final decision on all policy matters, adoption or endorsement of transportation plans and programs, adoption of budgets, approval of agreements or contracts, adoption of rules, and establishing its internal operating structure.

Recruitment for the next Executive Director will be conducted in the Sunshine establishing an open process and advertised by the Human Resources Department. Deputy Director Jesus Guerra will serve as Interim Director. Other members of the Committee include Mayor Oliver Gilbert III, Perla T. Hantman, Mayor Philip Levine and Commissioner Esteban Bovo Jr.  Candidates will be recommended and submitted by the Selection Committee to the MPO Governing Board for final action.

What about outside employment and the Ethics commission?

>>> PAST WDR: Commissioner Juan Zapata said there are “emergencies,” he considered. And noted the commissioner’s job was part time, said Juan Zapata at a committee meeting when he asked what the County’s policy was for “outside employment” and how many county employees had outside employment. Zapata asked. Staff said some 1,000 employees file the required outside income forms to the Miami-Dade Elections Department. However, Zapata said he was concerned about the “distraction” of an outside job and if you own a business and they needed outside income and his concern was tax payers are not getting their money worth since the County pays “fair wages and salaries,” he considered and working for the county “was a privilege,” he said. However, Joe Centorino the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade County Ethics and Public Trust Commission noted the commission does review some conflict of interest cases, but only after first the employee gets approval from his department director but the former state prosecutor said “there is a disconnect,” and it is “unknown” how many employees might have outside employment but just don’t notify the administration.

Centorino said there is “no countywide standard,” for how outside employment is treated and he believes there should be a “uniform standard. “Zapata gave one example saying he had a “meeting with a Chinese Delegation,” and he was “given two cards.” One was for a local real estate company and the other was the “card of a county employee,” and the lawmaker did not know what the man’s relationship was with the delegation.


Centorino

Zapata

>>> GMCVB press release: RECORD ACCOMMODATIONS AND FOOD SERVICE JOBS IN GREATER MIAMI AND THE BEACHES REPORTED FOR JULY 2015 MARKING 5 YEARS AND 7 MONTHS OF CONSECUTIVE JOB INCREASES

Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service jobs increased 5.0% in July 2015 compared to the same period in 2014. This marks 5 years and 7 months of consecutive increased employment in Greater Miami’s Accommodations and Food Service Industry.

Record Greater Miami Accommodations and Food Service Jobs
July 2015 July 2014 % Change
119,600 113,900 +5.0%

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

>>> “Code of silence,” has “45 students killed,” since Carvalho took over in Sept. 2008, parents must teach students, “respect, responsibility, and restraint,” he tells NBC 6 Nesperal

With “45 kids” killed since Alberto Carvalho became the superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools since Sept 2008. The educator said one of the problems is the community has a “code of silence,” and it is “killing our kids,” he told Jackie Nespral on NBC 6 on Sunday morning. Carvalho said while his teachers are ready for the challenge of a new school year, his 400 schools are ready to go, buses will have “GPS,” and all the “schools will have Wi-Fi connectivity,” he told Nespral and the district is adding “500 new magnet programs, and more “choice programs,” Carvalho said including “robotic coding,” a hot new field for students.  The chemistry teacher said parents have a major role in raising students and teaching them “respect, responsibility, and restraint,” the veteran educator intoned on the news program. http://www.nbcmiami.com/

The superintendent said when it came to state student testing that was implemented “far too fast,” and included “stop and go failures.” He was skeptical because it was not an “ideal” process and “trusting the results,” was dubious he considered. (And back in 2000 I did my first television interview with Nesperal, Rev. Curry, and Victor Diaz.) And I appreciated that early opportunity to calmly discuss community tensions after Elian Gonzalez was extracted by the federal government and Miami erupted in anger and protests.

>>> On Monday the traffic nightmare begins with school opening and 350,000 student’s return to schools

It is beginning, the Miami-Dade County Public Schools open Monday and the roads are expected to be jammed after a few month lull when it comes to local traffic. And teachers got some good news after Superintendent Alberto Carvalho concluded a new $52 million contract with the 20,000 some members of the Teachers Union of Miami-Dade County and the deal includes a three percent raise and steady health insurance costs in the District that is self-insured. And Carvalho’ s deal continues to seal for Many in the community that he is a “rock star,” in stature when it comes to public education and when the District’s property tax base started to tank back in 2008. The man born in Portugal and a Chemistry teacher made cuts immediately, trying to enhance the money going to education in the tough times, and included teachers making sacrifices as well and with the pick-up of the economy he is sharing some of the wealth with the front lines after many lean years http://www.local10.com/news/miamidade-teachers-union-reaches-agreement-with-school-district/34848382

And maintenance of the Districts almost 400 schools is a Monmouth task and while Miami-Dade countywide voters passed a $2.2 billion bond in 2012 for upgrades in IT and in classroom technology along with refurbishment or building new schools. The District’s debt load is no small issue, but was mitigated by strategically refinancing the extensive paper, and dealing with the issue was not for the “faint,” of heart said a past CFO and is something that Carvalho has to deal with on a consistent basis given the humid climate of South Florida that back in 2000 had the District needing $500 million in roofing repairs and mold in schools was rampant and health issues were rebounding back then and took years to correct, but  gives one a reference to how large the nation’s fourth public schools district is. Further, the school Board holds its first public budget meeting July 29th at the board’s auditorium and the Final Public Hearing will be Sept. 9th and both meetings do not start until after 5:00 p.m. which is state law.

CITY OF MIAMI

>>> Miami to get Royal visit King Felipe, VI & Queen Letizia of Spain stopping by in Sept., says Mayor Regalado

The King and Queen of Spain King Felipe VI and Queen Letizia are coming to Miami in September said Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado Friday in an exclusive interview with the Watchdog Report and the royalty will then go to St. Augustine on Sept. 17 and 18 for the 450th Celebration of the discovery of America. But Regalado said no date for the Royal visit has been set yet.   http://www.news4jax.com/news/queen-letizia-king-felipe-vi-of-spain-coming-to-st-augustine/34192830 The Watchdog Report was with Regalado in the Chambers of Miami City Hall when we discussed this as he welcomed a delegation from Angola that included the Counsel General of the Country and a representative of the Angola Investment Agency as well as the Counsel General of Spain in preparation of the royalties visit and given the community’s demographics having the King of Spain drop in will be a real treat for Miami residents, many who trace their roots back to the nation.

What about a UM stadium for Hurricane football?

And Regalado says he is expecting to meet with new University of Miami President Julio Frank, M.D., Ph.D., later this week. He said to discuss the university’s interest in using a potential new MLS soccer stadium planned next to Miami Marlins Stadium for the Miami Hurricanes football team that now plays at Sunlight stadium and is undergoing renovations and the university has a long term deal with the NFL team’s owner.

Regalado

Candidate Russell gets key endorsement in Ferre and Winton

Miami District 2 candidate Ken Russell got a boost last week when the neophyte candidate received the endorsements of former Miami Mayor Maurice Ferre and former Miami Commissioner Johnny Winton and his endorsements also include Sen. Gwen Margolis, D-Miami, former state Rep. Daryl Jones, D-Miami and a former Speaker of Florida House are also backing the first time candidate.

Russell cut his political chops fighting the City of Miami’s plan to try to clean up a contaminated park across the street from where he lives. (and a press release he sent out after the event might have given the impression that Frank Balzabre, an aide to Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez was supporting Russell), who both said that was not the was not the case. And Balzabre was just a private citizen supporting a friend and why he introduced Ferre and Winton who Balzabre had worked for when Winton was a Miami commissioner.

Teresa has campaign bash at LoKal, well attended

And District 2 challenger Teresa Sarnoff held a “burger and beer,” fundraising bash Tuesday at LoKal restaurant at the beginning of Commodore Plaza. And her husband Marc bicycled to get to the popular burger restaurant, and had Ron Nelson (Sarnoff’s chief of staff) welcoming supporters out front that is a favorite haunt for her husband, the Miami Commissioner, and some of her campaign signs are popping up in the Grove. However, the support she has gotten from Groveites is different from when her husband first ran (First for the Coconut Grove Village Council he chaired and in 2006 in his first commission election) and the Central Grove activist had an army of Grovites knocking on doors trying to convince undecided voters how great he would be as a commissioner. But that past precision campaign passion and discipline is not being generated with her own race but with months to go to the Nov. 3 election she is keeping her $483,000 campaign war chest dry and she has not run any significant television ads to date except for a mailer and print piece to voters residents.

Grace Solaris (has $149,000 in her campaign war chest) is another District 2 candidate who is also keeping her profile high with community events with campaign volunteers and she lost a legal challenge at the Third District Court of Appeal regarding the RFP for the redevelopment of the popular Scotty’s Landing local restaurant on the water next to the Grove Marina that is said to be appealed perhaps to the Florida Supreme Court in the future. And for more go to: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article31674284.html

And another District 2 candidate, Mike Simpson (Who has $740.07 for his campaign) dropped by City Hall last week to see the Miami City Clerk Todd Hannon and I mentioned. He ought to go to certain city committee meetings like the Miami Finance Committee but he replied he did not have the time. Since he worked “seven days a week,” but the neophyte candidate as well as the other candidates need to start doing some homework.

If they are to have any idea of the issues they might have to deal with as a commissioner and this is not like running for your class president. And the job is based on trust, and is a sacred bond with voters, that candidates need to realize. And the position is more nuanced than just saying you are for fighting crime, bolstering the economy and limiting development which are all popular buzz words for the pack of candidates and to review their campaign reports go to >>> http://www.ci.miami.fl.us/City_Clerk/Pages/Elections/CampaignReports15.asp

And while the candidates are stressing the need for a high voter turnout, they will find achieving that is an elusive commodity, except with absentee ballots where ballot brokers in the community play a key role and whoever wins that early voting operation will end up winning the race that only requires 50 percent plus one vote to win the Miami District 2 race now held by termed out commissioner Marc Sarnoff.

Hannon

What about City of Miami volunteer boards?

The Miami Waterfront Advisory Board had an animated meeting July 14th and these type of boards made up of citizens keep a watch on what the City of Miami administration is up to and is a sounding board for many controversial issues involving the Miami waterfront and the Miami River where a River Walk is trying to be completed but has run into some roadblocks said Brett Bibeau the executive director of the Miami River Commission at the meeting.

The River spokesman noted in his opinion during the construction “boom,” there was a “disconnect,” with the city’s “building department,” and other departments, he considered and one way you make the existing River Walk more assessable to the public was to enforce the “code” that requires “signage.” Indicating the walk was “public,” and that “this was a public river walk,” he said as one suggestion to making the trail more inviting. And one board member Wendy Kamilar said, “I know government moves slowly,” and while there have been hurdles. She thought some action was in order and Alyn Pruett made some good observations on the subject. And for Miami residents to watch these shows go to www.miamigov.com And I write about these people because they participate to making Miami better by being on these boards and overseeing the City’s finances. And these citizen board’s across the board  act as an early warning system if things were going on the rocks, something not unheard of when it comes to Miami.

Will water taxis be coming to Miami?

And a Sunshine meeting is being held Thursday Sept. 17th at 2:30 p.m. for commissioners to discuss the “establishment of waterborne transportation at City of Miami owned Miami River Walk Sites, says the public notice on the door of City hall and it is being held in the Cow room in the back of the commission chambers. And the idea of water taxis has been kicked around for many years but never got permanently established. Though there was a Gondola service at one time in use on the bay but this should be a larger enterprise and anyone interested in the issue should attend this public meeting.

What about the Scotty’s Landings development plans?

Coconut Grove residents are up in arms with the eventual closing of the laidback waterfront restaurant Scotty’s Landing and how they feel they had no voice in the planned new development. Proponents note there was a city wide vote approving the redevelopment on the limited waterfront, but since it  is a citywide vote, The ballot language was assured to pass with a little public relations effort and was seen back in 1992. When the Grove tried to succeed from Miami but the effort went down in flames back then, because a campaign of fear and major economic loss to the City’s property  tax base with dire predictions was the wedge voters were told and they should vote no,  and it failed with some 80 percent of the citywide vote back then. And the same tactic was used by Miami leaders in 1999 to get voters to approve a yet to be built hotel and luxury mega Yacht on Watson Island that overwhelmingly passed based on the promised major injection of funding it was supposed to bring to Miami but has yet to materialize over a decade later. http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article31674284.html and for more on Scotty’s go to http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/coconut-grove/article31674284.html

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

>>> Tiff between Commissioner Wolfson & WPLG reporter Putney detonates in Miami Herald and internet, over legal PAC with $1.5 million in it from vendors

A tiff between WPLG Senior Political Reporter Michael Putney, who is also a Miami Herald editorial page columnist, and Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson blew up in The Miami Herald last week after Wolfson took out a few days in a row a full back page ads (with one not on the back page) in the paper of Record ( at no small cost) blasting the reporter and Wolfson even brought in his partner Glenna MIlberg on the weekly television show “This Week in South Florida,” a flagship show on political affairs in South Florida. After Putney had been critical of a PAC Relentless For Progress (RFP and paid for the ads) created by Wolfson that accepted money from city vendors that Wolfson says is legal (And the City’s attorney said so).  But Putney did not believe it passed the smell test and the debate has dragged on about the PAC on the Beach.

Wolfson believes the criticism is motivated because he wanted to not give Mt. Sinai Medical Center some $15 million for a new emergency room and city emergency management command post that Wolfson voted against. And he believes it is corporate welfare.

And the commissioner an attorney whose wife Andrea is a County Judge believes Putney should have disclosed that Milberg’s husband Michael works for the teaching hospital’s Foundation and she of course he suggests is going to be critical of the PAC. Wolfson also refused to take any money from Sinai for the PAC, he writes and for many taking on the local media like this is a rare occurrence last seen when Cuban Exile Leader Jorge Mas Canosa paid for big ads on Miami-Dade County buses for years denouncing The Miami Herald, and publisher David Lawrence, Jr., as essentially the devil within the Cuban Community and circulation at the paper did drop off some.

But it kept the community in an adversarial position when it came to the Miami Herald and Miami Beach Mayor Phillip Levine has gotten dragged into the dispute even though he notes. It is Wolfson’s PAC and he is self-financing his own reelection campaign for mayor running up to the November election, but the controversy may ultimately be settled by the County’s Ethics and Public Trust Commission that is investigating and reviewing the public dust-up and Putney in the Herald article on the controversy, said Thank God, for the ‘First amendment,’ the veteran journalist is quoted and the veteran newsman has covered South Florida since the early 1980s. And Putney at the end of his show Sunday. Said he asked Wolfson to appear on the show, but the host said the commissioner demanded a “apology,” first on the air, which Putney refused but it is a rare occurrence for someone to take on the press since most don’t have the fiscal resources Wolfson has and to see the show go to http://www.local10.com/news/TWISF/18416996 And for more on the controversy go to: http://www.miaminewtimes.com/news/michael-putney-glenna-milberg-targeted-in-full-page-herald-ad-by-beach-commissioner-7834141

And below is the list of candidates running for the open seats on the commission.

Group 4:

Kristen Rosen Gonzalez

Isaiah Mosley

Elizabeth “Betsy” Perez

G. Scott Diffenderfer

Michael DiFilippi

Group 5:

Mark Weithorn (Whose wife is on the commission)

Jose Rickey Arriola ( Who chaired the Arsht Center board and his father José is vice Chair of the Public Health Trust that oversees Jackson Hospital)

Josef Jorzak

Group 6:

Jeff Cynamon

Mark Samuelian

John Elizabeth Aleman

FRANKLIN COUNTY

>>> Governor Scott taps Pinki Jackel as the Supervisor of Elections of Franklin County.

Press release: Jackel, 57, of Saint George Island, has been involved with public service for several years, including serving as a County Commissioner of Franklin County since 2008 as well as Chairman of the Tourist Development Council since 2012. Jackel received her bachelor’s degree from Florida State University.  She is appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Ida Cooper Elliot, for a term beginning August 21, 2015, and ending January 3, 2017.

HARDY COUNTY

>>> Gov. Scott names Chet Huddleston as the Supervisor of Elections of Hardee County.

Press release: Huddleston, 32, of Wauchula, has been involved with Hardee County public service organizations including the Hardee County Economic Development Council and the local Kiwanis Club.  Huddleston previously worked with the United States Department of Agriculture. He is appointed to fill a vacancy created by the resignation of Jeffrey Ussery, for a term beginning August 21, 2015, and ending January 3, 2017.

MONROE COUNTY

>>> Press release: Gov. Scott taps Spottswood to the Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

Press release: Spottswood, 58, of Key West, is the chief executive officer of Spottswood Companies Inc. He currently serves as a member of the Third District Court of Appeals Judicial Nominating Commission and the Governor’s Commission on Healthcare and Hospital Funding. Spottswood received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Florida and his law degree from the University Of Miami School Of Law. He succeeds Richard Corbett and is appointed for a term beginning September 2, 2015, and ending January 6, 2018.

Governor Rick Scott said, “I am proud to appoint Robert today and I am confident he will be a valuable member of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.  As a sixth generation Floridian from the Keys, I know Robert cares deeply about our beautiful state and preserving Florida as the fishing capital of the world.  I would also like to thank Dick Corbett for his leadership over the last 12 years on the board and his dedication to protecting Florida’s incredible natural resources. “The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Florida Senate.

COMMUNITY EVENTS

Varekai: Cirque Du Soleil

BB&T Center

Lazy Fair

MTC’s Sandbox Theatre, Miami Shores

IFE-ILE Afro-Cuban Dance Festival

Miami-Dade County Auditorium

Peter Pan at Wick Theater

Tuesday, 11 Aug 2015

GableStage I’ll Eat You Last Opening

Wednesday, 5 Aug 2015

Mad Cat Theater Presents RAM at MTC

Friday, 31 Jul 2015

View all photos

Video Gallery

Arsht’s Lookingglass Alice

Monday, 13 Jul 2015

The Consul at Florida Grand Opera

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

View all videos

LETTERS

>>> Press release: Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Carlos Gimenez Hold Homes For All Pets Summit, Identify Solutions to Animal Well-Being Challenges Miami, FL- Today, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Carlos Gimenez hosted the Homes for All Pets Summit at PortMiami to discuss challenges and find creative ways to continue working towards the County’s no-kill goal and to find homes for all our pets. 200 participants, including animal rescue and protection groups, community leaders, concerned citizens and elected officials, discussed the following topics: the progress we have made on animal welfare, the health and safety of animals in Miami-Dade and strategies to increase public awareness on this issue. Dr. Julie Levy, Director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida was the keynote speaker…

“500 animals are abandoned at the Animal Services Department every week. Much progress has been made; we have a terrific plan and we have made additional investments in programs and partnerships. But we cannot fully implement our plan without more volunteers, more partners, more funds for our programming We are here today to work together to find solutions,” Commissioner Levine Cava said during her opening remarks…. Mayor Gimenez spoke about the many inroads made at the Animal Services Department and thanked the Department for their help in organizing the summit: “I thank Commissioner Levine Cava and Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz for their hard work in putting this important event for Miami-Dade together.”

The ideas discussed at the summit will be consolidated and sent to the event attendees. Commissioner Levine Cava spoke of the many ways that residents could get involved and stay engaged in constructive solutions. “It gives me much hope that so many concerned residents are interested and engaged in finding solutions. I urge all community members to contact their Commissioner and find ways that they can get involved through volunteering. The Animal Services Department offers several volunteering programs at www.miamidade.gov/animals<http://www.miamidade.gov/animals>. I also encourage all residents to attend the County budget hearings on September 3rd and 17th at 5:01 p.m. at the Stephen P. Clark Center so that they can express their budgetary priorities to the Commission and the Administration,” explained the Commissioner. Broadcasts from the summit are available on Periscope through @dlcava and highlights can be seen on Twitter (@dlcava), Facebook (/CommissionerCava) and Instagram (@dlcava).Sponsors: PortMiami, City of Miami Beach, Village of Pinecrest, City of Coral Gables, City of Doral, City of South Miami, City of Sunny Isles Beach, City of Hialeah, North Bay Village, City of Homestead, City of Miami Springs, Village of Virginia Gardens, City of Miami, City of North Miami, Town of Cutler Bay, Town of Bay Harbor Islands, City of Opa-Locka, Village of Palmetto Bay and Village of El Portal. Special thanks to Fare to Remember Creative Catering for providing an animal friendly, no meat meal.[cid:image003.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] Commissioner Levine Cava greets attendees at the Homes for All Pets Summit [cid:image005.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]Mayor Gimenez spoke of the advances in the Animal Service Department and his rescue dog, Beemer  cid:image007.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]

Dr. Julie Levy of the University of Florida presented on best practices and possible solutions [cid:image009.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] Participants discussed two major topics: animal safety and increasing public awareness     cid:image016.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] an idea bank gave attendees the opportunity to brainstorm and make last minute recommendations.

>>> The Watchdog Report is going to hit 16 years of weekly publishing and while I have taken a licking over the years including some medical issues I have kept at thanks to my supporters who I thank so very much over the many years.

The Watchdog Report is Celebrating 16 years of weekly publishing since May 5th 2000 and when I started back then I never thought I would be doing this so

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

Editorials

>>> Trump embodying electorate discontent, why no party affiliation fastest growing voter party demographic

The Donald Trump show is an expression of voters discontent over the past 16 years, where elected leaders say one thing but then do another and I have written in the past what a corrosive affect this has had on the electorate and their confidence in their politicians, and all their promises made but not kept and with the social media revolution Trump has become the microphone (as one news pundit said Sunday) for Americans trying to get special interests and money out of political campaigns and makes candidates become crack addicts when it comes to fundraising efforts regardless of the political party. And this disgust is being reflected in nationwide polls and people in government now are viewed like used cars and voters are considering buying a new one and for the moment it is called Trump.

But leaders should not discount this level of discontent because it is reflected in what is the fastest growing group of registered voters, No Party Affiliation. A demographic that has only grown since 2004, and politicians who do not value the sacred bond of trust with voters are in trouble for people are finally demanding something different in their elected leaders at all levels and they ignore this truth and honesty anger at their political peril.

>>> Drones and lasers not benign when it comes to impacting the flying public, lawmakers must beef up laws, to end this scourge before a tragic crash

The American flying public should not have to worry about a plane in flight hitting a drone or the pilot being blinded with a laser while flying the plane but incidents of this nature are happening and are on the increase and drones have even caused feuds, with neighbors and there needs to be more stringent guidelines on how these devices are used for it would be a tragedy if a plane had to crash before lawmakers took action for these new devices are not benign and can cause great harm and while people note it is people using them wrong and should not be regulated, but the pervasiveness of the reports is of concern and could cause a lack of confidence to the flying public that deserve better when it comes to their safety while flying in the nation’s crowded skies.

>>> Elected leaders do the public a favor and get to the point at public budget hearings rather than drone on, for audience as much fun as a root canal

With public budget meetings being held will these be a vocal marathons where elected leaders just drone on and repeat themselves and for the public listening to this dialogue, it is quite painful and voters would really appreciate if they got to the point for repetition by the public or the leaders gets old fast and lawmakers should spare the public some of their monologue that is as popular as a root canal.

LETTERS

>>> Press release: Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Carlos Gimenez Hold Homes For All Pets Summit, Identify Solutions to Animal Well-Being Challenges Miami, FL- Today, Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava and Mayor Carlos Gimenez hosted the Homes for All Pets Summit at PortMiami to discuss challenges and find creative ways to continue working towards the County’s no-kill goal and to find homes for all our pets. 200 participants, including animal rescue and protection groups, community leaders, concerned citizens and elected officials, discussed the following topics: the progress we have made on animal welfare, the health and safety of animals in Miami-Dade and strategies to increase public awareness on this issue. Dr. Julie Levy, Director of Maddie’s Shelter Medicine Program at the University of Florida was the keynote speaker…

“500 animals are abandoned at the Animal Services Department every week. Much progress has been made; we have a terrific plan and we have made additional investments in programs and partnerships. But we cannot fully implement our plan without more volunteers, more partners, more funds for our programming We are here today to work together to find solutions,” Commissioner Levine Cava said during her opening remarks…. Mayor Gimenez spoke about the many inroads made at the Animal Services Department and thanked the Department for their help in organizing the summit: “I thank Commissioner Levine Cava and Animal Services Director Alex Muñoz for their hard work in putting this important event for Miami-Dade together.”

The ideas discussed at the summit will be consolidated and sent to the event attendees. Commissioner Levine Cava spoke of the many ways that residents could get involved and stay engaged in constructive solutions. “It gives me much hope that so many concerned residents are interested and engaged in finding solutions. I urge all community members to contact their Commissioner and find ways that they can get involved through volunteering. The Animal Services Department offers several volunteering programs at www.miamidade.gov/animals<http://www.miamidade.gov/animals>. I also encourage all residents to attend the County budget hearings on September 3rd and 17th at 5:01 p.m. at the Stephen P. Clark Center so that they can express their budgetary priorities to the Commission and the Administration,” explained the Commissioner. Broadcasts from the summit are available on Periscope through @dlcava and highlights can be seen on Twitter (@dlcava), Facebook (/CommissionerCava) and Instagram (@dlcava).Sponsors: PortMiami, City of Miami Beach, Village of Pinecrest, City of Coral Gables, City of Doral, City of South Miami, City of Sunny Isles Beach, City of Hialeah, North Bay Village, City of Homestead, City of Miami Springs, Village of Virginia Gardens, City of Miami, City of North Miami, Town of Cutler Bay, Town of Bay Harbor Islands, City of Opa-Locka, Village of Palmetto Bay and Village of El Portal. Special thanks to Fare to Remember Creative Catering for providing an animal friendly, no meat meal.[cid:image003.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] Commissioner Levine Cava greets attendees at the Homes for All Pets Summit [cid:image005.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]Mayor Gimenez spoke of the advances in the Animal Service Department and his rescue dog, Beemer  cid:image007.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]

Dr. Julie Levy of the University of Florida presented on best practices and possible solutions [cid:image009.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510]

Participants discussed two major topics: animal safety and increasing public awareness [cid:image016.jpg@01D0C790.02E51510] an idea bank gave attendees the opportunity to brainstorm and make last minute recommendations.

>>> The Watchdog Report  hit 16 years of weekly publishing since May 5, 2000,  and while I have taken a licking over the years including some medical issues I have kept at thanks to my supporters who I thank so very much over the many years. And the community’s public institutions are better when it comes to them knowing what the other is doing and why I have tried to be an information electrolyte for these giant institution’s leaders and things and here is a national story done on why I started to watch government back in 2000  http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/2003-01-20/news/0301190045_1_ricker-miami-watchdog and to all the people along the way that have helped me I thank you from the bottom of  my heart.

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

>>> LIFETIME FOUNDING MEMBERS & INITIAL SPONSORS IN 2000

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

HUGH CULVERHOUSE, Jr

FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT www.fpl.com .

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

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ALFRED NOVAK

LINDA E. RICKER (Deceased)

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

THE HONORABLE STANLEY G. TATE

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BADIA SPICES www.badiaspices.com

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

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

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

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

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THE MIAMI FOUNDATION www.miamifoundation.org

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

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI www.miami.edu

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

CAMILLUS HOUSE, INC. www.camillushouse.org

CITY OF MIAMI www.miamigov.com.

CITY OF CORAL GABLES www.coralgables.com

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH www.miamibeachfl.gov

CHAPMAN PARTNERSHIP FOR HOMELESS www.chapmanpartnership.org

FLORIDA INTERNATIONAL UNIVERSITY www.fiu.edu

THE STATE OF FLORIDA www.myflorida.gov

GREATER MIAMI CHAMBER OF COMMERCE www.miamichamber.com

GREATER MIAMI CONVENTION & VISITORS BUREAU www.miamiandbeaches.com

HEALTH FOUNDATION OF SOUTH FLORIDA www.hfsf.org

MIAMI-DADE COUNTY COMMISSION www.miamidade.gov

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

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

MIAMI-DADE COLLEGE www.mdc.edu

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

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

MIAMI-DADE PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD www.dadeschools.net

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

MIAMI DOWNTOWN DEVELOPMENT AUTHORITY www.miamidda.com

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

THE BEACON COUNCIL www.beaconcouncil.com

THE CHILDREN’S TRUST www.thechildrenstrust.org

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

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

THE MIAMI FOUNDATION www.miamifoundation.org

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

UNIVERSITY OF MIAMI www.miami.edu

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