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NUMBER 9 - JANUARY 14, 2019
THE CODE ENFORCEMENT BOARD WENT OFF THE RAILS WHEN THEIR LATEST AGENDA INCLUDED ITEMS CALLING FOR THE ANNUAL ELECTION OF THE CHAIRMAN AND VICE CHAIRMAN. BECAUSE THE CHARTER DOESN'T SPECIFICALLY STATE THAT THERE SHALL BE AN ANNUAL ELECTION, THE CHAIRMAN AND MEMBERS BELIEVE THAT NOT ONLY IS THE BOARD IMMUNE FROM DEMOCRACY, BUT THAT AS THE CHAIRMAN CLAIMED, "I AM THE CHAIRMAN UNTIL SOMEONE TELLS ME I'M NOT ANYMORE," WHICH BEGS THE QUESTION, THAT IF NOT THROUGH AN ELECTION, THEN HOW, OTHER THAN BY BY COUP IS HE TO BE TOLD HE'S NO LONGER THE CHAIRMAN?
I tried never to pay much attention to the goings on at the Code Enforcement Board, in no small part because I suspected that it might be populated by people who shouldn't necessarily be allowed to make decisions on other people and/or their property, and so I only found myself paying attention after acting Chairman Frank Pichel a few months ago showed up behind the Ball and Chain bar with Commissioner "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo, on one of his nightime adventures.
That incident caused me to watch a couple more meetings, including the video of the meeting where Carollo showed up to rant and rail about code enforcement practices, all of which confirmed my belief that this board was indeed populated by some people who needed to find something else to do with their free time.
Watching the meeting videos convinced me that the board included people who had been appointed too many times, allowing them over the years to acquire an unreasonable sense of self-entitlement which in turn made them tone deaf to process, and creating a situation where they believed that their longevity gave them card blanc to behave and say stupid shit.
On occasion, these kinds of citizens boards become shit shows, and the Miami Code Enforcement Board I believe, rises to that occasion too easily and too frequently, because what should have been a rational and sane discussion about whether the language in the agenda was necessarily the right, or proper way to raise the question of an annual election of a chairman and vice chairman it instead resulted in a crazy, paranoid rant by Frank Pichel about secretive efforts to "manipulate and control" the board, resulting in a call for, and a unanimous vote to issue a subpoena - a subpoena! - to get to the bottom of what in Pichel, and the others minds represented nothing less than a nefarious plot intended to usurp the power of the board by forcing them to hold an election for the Chairman and Vice Chairman.
Here is a copy of that subpoena:
In the 10 years that I've been writing this blog, this was the very first time I ever heard of a subpoena being requested, much less issued, and in this case it was all about trying to find out who inserted this language in an agenda:
"A MOTION OF THE CITY OF MIAMI CODE ENFOCEMENT BOARD
APPROVING THE ELECTION OF _______________ TO SERVE AS
THE CHAIRMAN DURING THE 2019 CALENDAR YEAR.
To me, this represents not only a gross abuse of subpoena power, but is absolutely 100% batshit crazy, and in turn raises a very troubling question about the Code Enforcement Board attorney, who besides not trying to convince these people how stupid this request was, managed to demonstrate her own lack of rational thinking by making this claim:
"I have reviewed the code, and it does not require for this board to
hold elections. It just requires that a chair be elected. It does not
require a vide chair, because we have one, and there are times
when the chair has to get up or something to that sort..."
So, how in the fuck do you elect a chairman without holding an election, and once having elected the chairman how, or why does he/she continues to be chairman for years on end without periodic elections?
Now mind you, the board could have just ignored the 2 items on agenda - after all agenda items are not written in stone - or they could have discussed the issue in a sane and rationale manner and given their reasons for why they didn't think that an election needed to be held and moved on to the next item, or they could have even gone ahead and elected a new Chairman and Vice Chairman, and since the Charter doesn't include any language setting term limits, it could have been a very simple process to nominate and reelect the current Chairman and Vice Chairman and be done with it, but no, none of those options was acceptable.
Instead, Frank Pichel chose to engage in a rant alleging that this was all part of a scheme to usurp their power, and after he was done, the board put on their tinfoil hats, slurped up some conspiracy juice and by unanimous vote, voted to have a subpoena issued requiring that whoever from the Hearing Boards prepared the agenda come in for a verbal drubbing and another shit show at the next meeting, because it obviously never occurred to these people that, first they are appointed members of a public board, and secondly, it's both normal and a common practice for public boards - including the City Commission's own annual vote on the chairman of the various agencies that it manages - to vote at the beginning of the year on their leadership.
Now, I'm sure that their defense will be that they need to maintain their independence because of their quasi-judicial status, and that they should be left to their own to decide whether or not they should elect their leadership, but this is Miami, and even if it wasn't, Code Enforcement Departments, and Code Enforcement Boards all over the country are notorious for playing politics and making decisions that are often both petty and vindictive, and one way to limit that behavior is to have annual elections on the leadership of public boards so that they don't become cliques controlled by a handful of longtimers.
In addition, one only need to consider what "Water Pistol Joe" Carollo has been up to for the last year, remembering that 2 code enforcement officers have been a party to his machinations against Bill Fuller and his partners in Little Havana, to understand was can happen when code enforcement is used to wage a political vendetta.
Also, none of these board members will want to own up to their own backroom political machinations that involved encouraging Carollo to make the motion to do away with the Special Masters, because some of these people saw them as a threat to their fiefdom, and Carollo was all too happy to accomodate them.
If I had a magic wand, I'd remove the entire board, and start from scratch, because clearly some of these people have been on this board for toom too many years, and in support of that contention I would argue that the video below represents a level of irrationality that if it is intended to pass for professional behavior by this board, supports the claim that the city and the residents are, and have been in deep shit for a while now as a result of the antics of some of these people!
But that's just wishful thinking on my part.
What isn't wishful thinking is what Colonel Klink is going to do about this? This subpoena is directed at one of his employees, and for a really stupid shit reason.
Will he step in to protect his employee by telling the Code Enforcement Board to take their subpoena and shove it, or will he throw his employee under the bus to let them be harassed by Pichel and the others who think that they can do and say anything they want without repercussions?
What Klink does will tell you a lot about what the future holds for the city under this administration.
HERE IS THE PORTION OF THE CODE ENFORCEMENT VIDEO THAT EXPOSES WHAT A SHIT SHOW LOOKS LIKE
ATTORNEY DAVID WINKER WRITES THE CITY ATTORNEY, RAISING CRITICAL QUESTIONS ABOUT THE FAILURE OF THE BECKHAM GROUP TO BE TRUTHFUL ABOUT WHO THE REAL OWNERS OF THEIR GROUP ARE, AND THE FAILURE OF THE CITY TO PROTECT THE INTERESTS OF THE RESIDENTS BY FOLLOWING AND UPHOLDING ITS OWN LAWS