FOREWARNED IS FOREARMED
IF YOU CURRENTLY LIVE IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY AND HAVE ANY ABILITY TO MOVE SOMEWHERE ELSE, THEN DON'T HESTITATE IN DOING SO, BECAUSE BETWEEN THE OPEN CORRUPTION IN THE POLITICIAL SYSTEM, THE DEMONSTRATED LACK OF CONCERN FOR THE HEALTH OF THE ENVIORNMENT - BISCAYNE BAY DIDN'T JUST DECIDE A COUPLE WEEKS AGO TO GO WITHOUT OXYGEN - AND THE INCREASING ODDS THAT WHEN THE NEXT BIG STORM HITS MIAMI IT'S GOING TO TEAR THE CITY A NEW ASSHOLE LEAVING THE MORONS FRANCIS SUARZ, JOE CAROLLO AND ALEX DIAZ DE LA PORTILLA MAKING THE DECISIONS ON THE "RECOVERY" SHOULD BE ENOUGH TO CONVINCE YOU THAT THERE ARE ANY NUMBER OF OTHER PLACES IN THIS COUNTRY THAT ARE BETTER MANAGED, PROMISE A BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE AND WILL GIVE YOUR CHILDREN A BETTER OPPORTUNITY TO GROW INTO ADULTS WITHOUT THE RISK OF BEING DAMAGED BY THE INSTITUTIONAL CORRUPTION, INCOME INEQUALITY AND ZENOPHOBIC RACISM THAT LAYS OVER SOUTH FLORIDA LIKE A POISONED BLANKET
Copyrighted: 2011,2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020
NUMBER 178 - AUGUST 22, 2020
THE SELECTIVE WAY THAT THE MIAMI HERALD GOES ABOUT MAKING SURE THAT THOSE ON THE FAMILY AND FRIENDS PLAN NEVER GET THEIR DIRTY LAUNDRY EXPOSED TO THE PUBLIC LIKE THE DONATION THAT SHOWED UP IN THE PAC SUPPORTING KATHERINE FERNANDEZ-RUNDLE'S REELECTION THE WEEK BEFORE THE PRIMARY
If, as some of you believe that I've doubled down recently on my criticism of the Miami Herald, you're absolutely right.
My focus has always been on the topics of municipal governance, public corruption and misuse of public money, and on those topics the level and quality of coverage by the Herald has been getting worse every year.
I admit that I cover the politics of political campaigns with less enthusiasm than others do, and I do tend to sidestep or ignore the daily political fist fights between candidates.
Instead, my focus tends to be on the money collected and spent by candidates by both their regular campaign accounts and by the ECO's and PAC's created to support their candidacy.
In this regard, I not only find the Miami's Herald's coverage woefully slanted, but worse it's reflective of what so many now recognize as the Family and Friend's Plan that has become woven into the fabric of both politics and governance in South Florida.
THE "BIZARRE" STORY OF ROGER SANTANA
In the hot house of South Florida politics very few people have ever heard of Roger Santana, which is because he's a guy who ran for and lost - came in 3rd - a seat on the Bay Harbor Village Council.
Of all the stories of funny money, political hanky-panky and devious actions intended to screw the pooch that have occurred so far this year among well known, and seriously funded political campaigns the Herald decided to go with revelations about the low level mopery committed by Santana in failing to report how he spent $3,250 of money that he had loaned his campaign - in fact the story claims that Sanatana's campaign was financed solely by himself - was worthy of a full blown, detailed story with expert commentary by local elections expert, attorney JC Planas, on how he was "at a loss" to explain Santana's failure to provide an explanation for why he had not revealed that he had not provided a detailed accounting of the payments he made to a local political operative, "mailers and consulting work." (You can read the complete story .)
NUMBER 179 - AUGUST 24, 2020
This story allowed the Herald to claim that they were reporting on political hanky-panky while making sure that they did not embarrass or step on anyone's toes that was currently under the protection of the Family and Friend's Plan.
THERE'S A CORNACOPIA OF STORIES WHEREVER YOU TURN
After reading Leibowitz's story I chided him on Twitter for making this story into a "federal case," when in fact it was a case of low level mopery in the third degree, and then went on to provide a list of other, more worthy stories that involved real South Florida political players and real money.
The first involved former Miami City Commissioner, and now lobbyist and attorney for the City Commission in the lease for the Mel Reese Golf Course Marc Sarnoff, and his and my pal, Commissioner Joe "Comemierda" Carollo, who Sarnoff donated $40,000 to Carollo's ECO from his PAC, Truth Is The Daughter Of Time, and which mysteriously never showed up in Carollo's ECO's financial reports.
$40,000 IS REAL MONEY, and given both the proclivity of Sarnoff to engage in "Pay For Play" - who at the time had several major lobbying clients in need of favorable votes by the commission - and Carollo's history of shaking down folks needing a favorable vote by the commission, it was not an unreasonable assumption to believe that the $40,000 represented a bribe in the form of a campaign donation.
Putting aside speculation as to intent, the fact is that $40,000 was reported in BLACK and WHITE to have been donated to Carollo's ECO from Sarnoff's PAC, and was never accounted for by Carollo's ECO. .
Then there was the revelation that days before the primary election, when Renier Diaz de la Portilla did not know whether he would win, lose, or end up in a runoff - which is in fact what happened - he made two transfers of $25,000 and $50,000 to his brother Alez's PAC.
The transfers are not in and of themselves illegal, but given both Alex's well documented history of looting his campaign and PAC accounts to cover his living expenses, and the stories that have been making the rounds of Renier sitting with Alex in his office and other locations when he engages in meetings with individuals looking for his assistance and vote on an issue important to them, there is a legitimate question as to why Renier would transfer $75,000 THAT HE NOW NEEDS FOR HIS RUNOFF CAMPAIGN to his brother's PAC.
And then of course there are the questions about who is behind some of the donations like the 2 donations totaling $80,000 that Renier's PAC received from a Delaware company being fronted by Miami attorney William Riley.
Who would be so eager to see Renier Diaz de la Portilla on the County Commission that they would pony up $80,000? Or for that matter, why would the donations of so many on the list below be tied to companies inside the City of Miami that currently have business before the commission on one issue or another?
The antics involving the Diaz de la Portilla brothers will continue, and while they certainly deserve a lot more coverage than they've gotten to date concerning the who, how and why's of the money that Renier has collected, and Alex has spent, a more interesting story about campaign money involves the PAC created to support the candidacy of Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle's reelection.
KFR AND THE PAC THAT SUPPORTS HER
Fernandez-Rundle received a dubious, and high controversial, "With reservations" endorsement by the Herald the weekend before the primary election which set off a firestorm among some in the community over the obvious thumb on the scale that this endorsement, coupled with a lack of in-depth coverage - you can see just how much coverage the Herald has given Fernandez-Rundle - that for the most part focused narrowly on just two complaints about her management of the state attorney's office: A failure to prosecute cops who have killed civilians over the last 27 years regardless of the circumstances or evidence, and the failure to prosecute anyone for the murder of Darren Rainey in the shower at the South-Dade Correctional Facility.
There are so many other issues that the Herald has ignored or sidestepped over the years, from the failure of Fernandez-Rundle to prosecute public corruption which , to Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo who has violated the City Charter's Section 4 (d) on bypassing the City Manager to order city employees to do his bidding so many times that it might as well be removed from the Charter, or to the antics of any of a handful of other high profile Cuban politicians who she's protected over the years like a mother duck herding her little collection of baby ducks across a busy highway.
There's also her willingness to accept what have to be considered as legal bribes from lawyers, law firms, sundry lobbyists and high rollers in the community, , and that's before the revelations on the hundreds of thousands of dollars her charity received from a handful of rich criminal defendants resulting in their cases being dismissed or downgraded to misdemeanors.
The Herald has always demonstrated a convient amnesia when it comes to chronicling the past history of local politicians at election time, and Fernandez-Rundle has certainly been a beneficiary of that amnesia, because along with the issues above the Herald got amnesia when they failed to include , or the $110,000 in donations from Puerto Rico - many of them from fictitious individuals and addresses - , that were alleged to have been funneled to her from her boyfriend.
For a public official whose supposed to be above the fray, and conduct her personal and professional life with an eye on avoiding even the appearance of corruption, Fernandez-Rundle and the people who she entrusts her reputation seem to like to skate on the edges.
For instance, .
At the time of my story, the PAC had collected $133,500. Since then, the PAC collected another $117,500.
Buried in the list of the latest donations was one for $3000 that was logged in as deposited on August 13th, that should cause folks in the news media to say, "What The Fuck!"
Right under a nice $10,000 from MASTEC - aka Jorge & Jose Mas of Melreese Golf Club/David Beckham fame - is one from Armor Correctional Health Services.
Who are they you ask? .
You would think that one of those crackerjack, smart new reporters that the Herald has hired to juice it's so-called reporting would have been checking on the money going into these local PAC's, and that if a story about some guy who nobody knows about failed to properly account for the $3000 plus that he loaned himself and spent on his failed campaign, that maybe, just maybe, somebody at the Herald might have thought that $3000 from a major private prison medical provider with a laundry list of allegations of abuse of prisoners UNDER THEIR CARE might be of interest to readers, seeing as Katherine Fernandez-Rundle has a soft spot for prisoners being murdered by prison guards.
It's Miami. Bitches!
It's always amazing to read this kind of racist tripe from a guy whine about why anyone else would be ungrateful for having, "benefited from the largess of this Country," when the way they've managed to become a millionaire was by bribing politicians and peddling influence.
It's Miami. Bitches!
LOBBYIST ERIC ZECHILLA THOUGHT HE'D HAVE SOME FUN YESTERDAY ON TWITTER, "OWNING THE WOKETOPIAN LIBS." UNFORTUNATELY THAT FUN WAS BASED ON HIS RACIST BELIEF THAT NBA COACH DOC RIVERS HAD, "SO BENEFITED FROM THE LARGESS OF THIS COUNTRY MORE THAN MOST FOLKS IN TEN LIFETIMES," THAT HE SHOULD SHUT UP ON RACE RELATIONS. ZICHELLA QUIT HAVING FUN WHEN I SHOWED UP AND ACCUSED HIM OF BRIBING POLITICIANS
We are definitely living in strage times.
Take lobbyist Eric Zichella. He's a guy, who along with his partner Les Pantin represent a long list of clients at both the City of Miami and Miami-Dade County.
NUMBER 180 - AUGUST 27, 2020
Zichella has also for the last several years served as the Interim Chairman of the city's Finance Committee, a position he holds because of his appointment to that committee by Commissioner Joe Carollo.
You would think that being both a high-priced lobbyist, and also the Interim Chairman of a powerful committee overseeing the City of Miami's finances that he'd has some sense about making essentially racist comments on Twitter.
Yesterday, in response to a Twitter post from Stephen Hunter Johnson, an attorney with Lydecker Diaz, about the comments that NBA Coach Doc Rivers made about the police shooting in Wisconsin, Zichella weighed in by posting the comments below.
Hunter Johnson's response was:
Of course, not only do I not have any guilt about how I conducted myself in prison but he did not even remotely "establish" anything revealing that I was part of any white supremacist prison gang, although I've written in the past about my years as the President of one of the first Jaycee prison chapters in the country, and my involvement as both the Chairman of the Inmate Council in one prison I spent 4 years in, and well as being one of the leaders of the 1972 state-wide prison strike in Ohio - all incidents that were documented by newspapers in Ohio at the time - and I have posted on this site copies of stories I wrote about prison conditions, including this story about a Black guy on the verge of death at the Springfield medical Facility back in 1980.
In Zichella's diseased mind, I guess he would think this would qualify me for membership in some white supremist prison gang.
And then I showed up.
I don't mean to brag, but there are thousands of folks who have come to appreciate and look forward to my engaging in good, free-fo-all Twitter fight at 240 characters a punch.
Zichella and I exchanged about an hour or two of punches over the implications of his revealingly racist opinions about what is going on in our country as the result of the continued shooting and killing of unarmed Black men, and as it became apparent that more folks were joining in to take shots at him, Zichella, in the tried and true method of trying to shoot the messenger instead of dealing with the message, shifted from the issue of racism and started implying that I must have deep dark secrets of how I was able to survive the 20 years I spent in various prisons around this country, first insinuating, before finally coming right out and stating that I only did so by being a member of a racist, white prison gang.
I guess the big thing that really pissed Zichella off was when I accused him of legally, "bribing public officials."
It was after another hour or so of back and forth that I told Zichella I was moving off of Twitter to my blog to deal with this issue in depth.
I'LL GO OUT ON A LIMB AND SAY THAT IF THIS ISN'T BRIBERY, THEN DONALD DUCK IS A KANGROO
On September 30, 2019, Miami City Commissioner Joe Carollo's ECO, Miami First, received a $10,000 from Zichella's lobbying firm, P3 Management NA LLC.
What's interesting about the timing of this "donation" is that TEN DAYS after Zichella made this "donation" to Carollo, Carollo returned the favor by reappointing him to the City's Finance Committee, where he presides as the Interim Chairman.
How sweet was this? Did Zichella bribe Carollo to reappoint him to the Finance Committee. He'll say no, but NO ONE goes around giving an elected official who has the ability to appoint them to a public board $10,000 just out of the goodness of their heart, especially when the elected official returns the favor 10 days later.
Even more basic is why would a lobbyist who represents clients before the Miami City Commission even be allowed to sit on a committee as powerful as the City's Finance Committee?
In addition to the $10,000 that he gave Carollo, Zichella seems to have covered his bets not only on the commission, but also on the possibility that current Miami City Commissioner, and county commission candidate Keon Hardemon would be sympathetic to his clients by giving him $9000 in October of 2019.
And just to make sure that he took care of the new Big Dog on the City Commission, Zichella has given Alex Diaz de la Portilla a total of $25,000 in donations.
All of this is from a guy who had the gall to write:
EVEN IN THE BANANA REPUBLIC EVERY VOTE COUNTS - EVEN A FELON'S
On the morning following the November elections of 2108, I went to the county board of elections and registered to vote. It was, as the headline in the photo above stated, the first time that I had registered to vote in 34 years, and it was made possible because of the passage of Amendment 4 giving felons the right to vote.
My first opportunity to do so came the following April when I voted in the election for the mayor and council people in the Village of Miami Shores where I live.
That morning I, like all the other residents were allowed to cast 3 votes, for the seats that were up for grabs among the 7 candidates. I voted for Crystal Wager, who became the mayor, Julio Martinez, who I knew wouldn't get elected but who's willingness to stand up and say things that many other residents wouldn't, and for Steven Loffredo.
I did not vote for political operative Christian Ulvert, who I had by then written about unfavorably. ()
The final vote for the third open seat turned out to be a tie. Christian Ulvert and Steven Loffredo each got 893 votes.
Had I not been allowed to vote, and had I not voted for Loffredo instead of Ulvert, Christian Ulvert would have won that election by ONE VOTE!
Loffredo went on to win the runoff election.
Never believe that your vote can't make a difference!
It's Miami, Bitches!
NUMBER 181 - SEPTEMBER 14, 2020
HOW TO PISS AWAY $100,000, AND LOOK STUPID IN THE PROCESS
NUMBER 182 - SEPTEMBER18, 2020
Yesterday, Circuit Court Judge Alan Fine, "struck down the (recall) petitions as illegal in violation of clear Florida law."
This should not be considered a surprise, because from the very beginning this recall effort was destined to fail.
To refresh everyone's mind, the idea for a recall petition came into the fevered brain of local democratic political operative Juan Cuba after he and Joe Carollo exchanged words at a city commission meeting, and Carollo with his usual flair for vitriol, called Cuba a bunch of names which caused Cuba to go off in a snit and declare that he was going to initiate a recall.
The only problem was that Cuba didn't live in Carollo's district.
That was the first problem.
The second problem was that the recall petition was a mishmash of issues including the various code violation fights that Carollo had been waging with Bill Fuller, the owner of the Little Havana Bar Ball and Chain and other bullshit that should have never seen the light of day.
The third problem was that Cuba didn't have any money to finance this recall effort, and when you add the fact that he didn't live in the district, it should have dawned on former City Manager and multimillionaire Joe Arriola, who for his own reasons decided to jump into the fight and annouce that he would put up the money to finance the recall effort - he supposedly spent $100,000 to pay for the initial petition signature being collected - that maybe instead of jumping headlong into the fight the way he did, he should have considered starting from scratch by having a petition written and reviewed by his attorneys that made more sense, along with making sure that the people behind the scene did everything by the book.
And so, the petition gathers were hired, they went out and collected the signatures, and instead of making absolutely sure that they covered their asses by submitting the petitions within the written and stipulated timeline, they got cute, and instead of submitting the petitions by 5 PM on the 30th day, as the law required, they emailed them in over the weekend.
It was a case of stupid is as stupid does.
Even then, when the petitions were challenged, Arriola and his lawyers could have made a decision that instead of trying to fight a long, protracted legal battle, they could have just jettisoned the petitions, formed a new committee, written a new recall petition, and just done it all over again the right way.
That was too easy for everyone involved, because by then everybody involved was determined to show everyone else how big their balls were, and so after at least a half dozen court hearings, and countless wasted hours involved in bullshit, the press release below spells out the result.
Once again, the citizens of Miami got fucked, and Joe Arriola pissed away $100,000 that coulda, shoulda been spent on something more productive.
It's Miami, Bitches!