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NUMBER 129 - DECEMBER 14, 2018
ARETHA WHERE WERE YOU WHEN WHEN THE MAYOR NEEDED YOU - CAROLLO ACCUSED THE MAYOR OF RIGGING THE EXPENDITURE OF THE MIAMI FOREVER BOND MONEY TO REWARD HIS CAMPAIGN DONORS, AND THE MAYOR'S RESPONSE WAS TO WHINE, "PLEASE RESPECT ME."
In the latest example of the 6th grade bully in the school yard, Commissioner "Coco Loco" Carollo, invoking a combination of pique, anger and paranoia over what he claimed was an attempt to short change his district when it came to the expenditure of the first $53 million of the Miami Forever bond money, accused the Mayor and the administration of ignoring him, his Chief of Staff, and rigging the process to favor other districts and the developers who he alleged were sitting in the back of the chambers during the discussion of this item licking their chops in anticipation of all the money they would make from the projects that they would be awarded.
It was actually quite a show, and you can see it in its entirety by clicking HERE. The discussion on the bond starts about 3 minutes into the tape.
For entertainment purposes, I've chosen the end of the discussion where Carollo openly accused Suarez of having his administration cook the books to reward his campaign donors and where, in response, Suarez whines to Carollo to respect him.
As I have repeatedly stated, the fact that Joe Carollo is on the Miami City Commission today, is as much, if not more Francis Suarez's fault, then that of the 2% of the voters of District 3 who voted for him.
When he had an opportunity to call on the voters in District 3 to support his agenda by electing Alfie Leon, he chose not to, even though it was evident to everyone who'd ever lived in Miami during the previous Carollo go arounds at city hall, that it would not end well if he got back on the Commission, especially for anyone named Suarez.
Joe Carollo doesn't respect reason, and in fact over the years he's shown a lack of respect for just about everyone he's dealt with, especially those who willingly took his abuse.
Joe Carollo is your classic bully and the only way to shut him up, is either to call him out into the middle of the street and match him insult for insult, and keep hitting him in the mouth until he understands that his days of bullying are over - which unfortunately neither Francis Suarez or Ken Russell have the temperament or skills to do - or for Suarez and Colonel Klink - who was conspicuously absent when he should have been defending his staff against the allegations made by Carollo - to put together a detailed list of all the violations of the City Charter that Carollo has engaged in, as well as all the other allegations of hanky-panky that Carollo is alleged to be engaging in with some of his pals - drive over to State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle's office, and tell her to get off her ass and start acting like a prosecutor.
If she was both willing and able to charge Francis Suarez's campaign manager and cousin Steve Suarez, and the campaign's Operation's Manager Jose Pablo Baggini, with misdemeanor crimes over their silly absentee ballot hustle back during Suarez's 2013 campaign for mayor as a favor for Tomas Regalado - and make no mistake, that's what really happened when her investigators showed up and seized all their computer gear back then - then she should damn sure be able find enough dirt on Carollo to legitimately charge him with the misdemeanors needed to remove him from office.
In the meantime, whether Carollo was right that Suarez and Colonel Klink engaged in a little backroom deal making to make sure that his donors will in fact get a sizable chunk of the Miami Forever bond money to play with, or whether it was Carollo's paranoia raging out of control, the fact of the matter is that he will continue to behave like any 6th grade bully who specializes in taking away lunch money from 3rd graders and ridiculing them in the process, because if the best defense that Francis Suarez can come up with when Carollo goes after him is whine about respect, then the next 3 years are going to produce a lot of videos like the one above.
And just so no one forgets, remember that next year there are going to be three commission seat up for election. Carollo will definitely be working hard to get allies elected in District 1 and 2, which means if you think that the craziness this year is as bad as it gets, you better buckle up if Carollo manages to get a couple other maniacs in those two districts to go along with him as he continues to swing his wrecking ball wherever he sees an opportunity to create havoc.
IT SEEMS LIKE IT WAS ONLY 2 WEEKS AGO WHEN COMMISSIONER "COCO LOCO" ANNOUNCED THAT HE WAS GOING TO BRING CALLE OCHO BACK TO LIFE WITH BI-WEEKLY, FRIDAY NIGHT EVENTS. WELL, IT'S ONLY TAKEN 2 WEEKS TO DISCOVER THAT LIKE SO MANY OTHER PROMISES HE MAKES, THIS ONE WAS JUST BULLSHIT
IF YOU DIDN'T STICK AROUND UNTIL THE END OF LAST NIGHT'S COMMISSION MEETING YOU MISSED A TRULY REVEALING INCIDENT THAT REVEALED HOW DEEPLY PLANNING AND ZONING DIRECTOR FRANSCISO GARCIA IS IN THE POCKET OF DEVELOPERS AND LOBBYISTS, AND HOW UPSET A SELF-ENTITLED LOBBYIST CAN GET WHEN HE GETS SCREWED
This year I've written a couple stories about the law firm Llorente and Heckler, including my 2 stories about Alexander Heckler's refusal to provide me with a copy of the 2017, IRS 990 Tax Return for the USCM Miami Beach Host Committee that he and several other LSN Partners created to promote the 2017 National Mayor's Conference on Miami Beach.
Michael Llorente, along with his brother Marcelo, who is the named partner in the law firm is also a lobbyist with LSN Partners, with a sizable list of clients needing representation before the Miami City Commission.
The Llorentes are more than just lawyers and lobbyists. Michael was Francis Suarez's Chief of Staff during his first term as a city commissioner, and his brother Marcelo is married to Francis's first cousin Christina, who is business partners with his wife Gloria in a wedding event planning business.
In short, as a member of the Suarez Family & Friends Plan, Michael Llorente always expects special treatment at Miami City Hall, and at last night's meeting when he realized that the commissioners had wandered off the developer's reservation, he didn't have any problem in making the city's Planning and Zoning Director, Francisco Garcia, into his bitch.
When you watch the video below and listen to Garcia's arguments, you'll understand that when it comes to looking out for anyone's interests, Garcia, like I have said in the past, when he's pressured can always be depended on to look out for the interests of the developers and their lobbyists.
Here's the back story of why Llorente was upset over the commission's vote on an issue that affected his OMNI District Property Owners Association clients.
AVERAGE MEDIAN INCOME IS THE KEY TO CONTROLLING THE HOUSING MARKET FOR AFFORDABLE AND WORKFORCE HOUSING, AND HOW THOSE AVERAGES ARE CALCULATED IS THE KEY TO THE KINGDOM
The story starts with the affordable housing problems that have long plagued the City of Miami, and the three-card-monte game that politicians and developers have played in hoodwinking the public into believing that they're doing something to rectify the problem, when in fact they've been hosing the poorer residents in the city for years by setting high Average Median Income (AMI) numbers that work against providing real affordable or workforce housing.
To rectify part of that problem, Commissioner "Sellout" Russell sponsored an ordinance that would create mandatory inclusionary zoning for new housing projects within the OMNI CRA District.
Here is a copy of the press release that was issued after yesterday's passage of that ordinance.
THE RACE TO REPLACE WILLIE GORT IN DISTRICT 1 BEGINS
Because this press release was written in anticipation of the passage of the ordinance, and on the expectation that it would pass without any challenges to the language, the press release is wrong in several key areas including the claim that the ordinance would be relying on the claim that, "Workforce housing is affordable for people making up to 140% of the area median income (SMI). Affordable housing is defined in this ordinance means people earning about 80% of AMI."
In fact, the claims in the incorrect, because Commissioner Reyes, who has always voiced a commitment to making the city's agreements reflect the city's, and not the county's AMI numbers, had from the first reading of this ordinance demanded that the city not rely on the county's AMI numbers which are approximately 50% higher than what most people believe are the city's AMI numbers - and as you will hear in the first few minutes of the below video of the hearing below, he began by asking where those numbers were and why the administration had not provided him with those numbers as they has promised.
The difference in these numbers is not insignificant because when it comes to what is considered workforce housing the county's calculations allow for 140% above the AMI, while the city's calculations would be based on an 80% of AMI.
I know that this is the kind of stuff that puts people to sleep, but it's this kind of number crunching that makes a real difference for a lot of people as to how and where they can afford to live and while I don't expect many folks to sit through the entire video the first 5- 10 minutes will give you an appreciation of where Reyes stood on this issue, and the importance that these numbers have in calculating real workforce and affordable housing numbers.
In any event, towards the end of the debate, and in response to Commissioner Reyes demand that the record reflect the reduced AMI numbers of 80% for workforce housing and 60% for affordable housing, Planning and Zoning Director Francisco Garcia, repeated these numbers several times and assured the commissioners that these numbers would be the numbers that the city would rely on in implementing this ordinance.
Based on those representations, the commissioners voted unanimously to approve the passage of the ordinance.
Cut to the very end of the meeting where the video below shows what took place, as first Francisco Garcia came to the dais in an effort to get the commissioners to reconsider their vote on this issue, and then that was followed by the comments made by Michael Llorente, expressing his anger over the commissioners agreeing to the change of the AMI numbers without his being advised of those changes.
It's a pretty astounding example of hubris for a lobbyist to first get the Planning and Zoning Director to intercede on his, and his clients behalf as Garcia obviously attempted to do, and then to not only take offense when the commissioners, without his permission, exercise their rights as elected officials to make a determination of what they think is right for the citizens of Miami without his having expressed his opposition, but to openly harangue them for doing so in public.
You really can't make this shit up.
Llorente - ans he's not alone in thinking this way - obviously believes that the city exists solely for him and his clients financial benefit, and that when the interests of the city's working class, who really make up the majority of the residents of the city, are supported over his and his clients interests, he can show up, and act like an arrogant asshole!
It's Miami, Bitches!