Mainstream Media Bakes Farewell Cake For Ethically Challenged Mayor

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Philip Levine (l) Jimmy Morales (r)

MIAMI HERALD BAKES A FAREWELL CAKE FOR MAYOR PHILIP LEVINE

The report of a decline in bribery is fake news

By David Arthur Walters

AS THE PRESS SPINS

March 31, 2017

“MIAMI BEACH Bribery attempts drop, but they still happen,” declaimed the headline at the top of the front page yesterday.

That was followed by the subheading: “A survey reveals that 22 percent of Miami Beach public employees say they’ve been offered a bribe at some point in their career.” The employees were not asked if they accepted bribes. Pray tell.

That percentage does not jibe with a subsequent statement about the December 2016 survey that of “218 employees in departments most likely to be targets of bribery… 100 reported having been offered a bribe as some time in their career.”

Well, 100 divided by 218 is 45.9 percent, not 22 percent, but never mind that because the timing of “sometime” makes meaningful comparison impossible, and so does the rest of an incomplete hodgepodge of statistics from several years of surveys instead of a straightforward table of side-by-side statistics for all categories.

The employees were not asked if they accepted bribes, and the report does not say whether employees who said they received offers were asked to identify the persons who offered the bribes so an attempt could be made to corroborate their statements or law enforcement alerted to keep an eye on them.

Of course there is a difference between a free lunch and a cash donation, and lunch will probably be declined.

What is clear is that the report takes the cake, that it is a liberal propaganda piece bidding Mayor Philip Levine—a wealthy media mogul who was himself disgraced for soliciting campaign contributions from developers of city properties—farewell forever because his political career has been washed up with the defeat of his great friend Hillary Clinton.

The “Get It Done” mayor’s vainglorious demeanor and censorious conduct alienated honest reporters to begin with. What followed turned many of his followers against him, although he certainly is not to blame for everything that has gone wrong.

Haste makes waste: “King” Levine’s “prime minister,” city manager Jimmy Morales, is partly to blame for bad planning and thuggish rush to completions resulting in massive public disturbances, costly overruns and stalled projects.

Exposure of public corruption is improbable because the parties to it are unlikely to confess to it unless someone rats them out or law enforcement gets something else on them and offers them a deal.

The administration has made that more difficult, for example, with its software upgrades, making it inconvenient for delators to confidentially access online building permit and inspection records, requiring them to identify themselves and obtain permission from the owners. And that is not all to show that the often advertised “increased transparency” is a canard in respect to some crucial records.

The administration has also replaced municipal magistrates or “special masters” who hear code violation cases with virtual stooges who provide no meaningful review for the discriminatory policymakers who are their masters.

The city has in the past refused to adopt a county whistleblower ordinance to encourage informers to come forward.

The county ethics commission, a retirement farm for prosecutors, is a joke on Miami Beach taxpayers despite its randomly correct findings. Just prior to the last wave of arrests, its director, Joe Centorino aka “Sleeping Joe” declared at a meeting with bloggers that Miami Beach had cleaned itself up, and when a reporter noted that, bullied him by email. The Miami Herald has ignored numerous reports of inadequacy of that commission as well as allegations of Miami Beach corruption, not to mention the commission’s egregious violation of public disclosure law when its commissioners were filmed whispering behind folders at a meeting.

The result of the ethics commission’s recent “investigation” into allegations made by one Antonio Halabi damned the commission to infamy for its lack of due process: the commission forwarded his allegations, including evidence that the city manager had raised himself above the law, to city officials. The accused naturally responded in the negative; the commission took their word for it and dismissed the case without offering Mr. Halabi an opportunity for rebuttal.

That is not all that demonstrates the incompetence and selective enforcement of the ethics commission and the bullying attitude of its director when his investigations are criticized.

Now here we have another condignly unbalanced report from the Miami Herald, representing the so-called fourth branch of government that is in actually part of the real fourth branch, the bureaucracy, posing as news in a way that suits the very definition of “fake news,” false inferences from survey facts that do not really indicate facts at all.

The city is congratulated for taking an expensive ethics course run by the county ethics commission, a notion that was scoffed at by the likes of Commissioner Ed Tobin, because even a moron knows what corruption is. Or maybe not, because when wrong is done long enough, wrong seems right.

Mayor Levine and the majority of commissioners he sponsored waived the city’s ethics requirements so that Commissioner Tobin could apply for the police job while sitting on the commission. Levine lauded Tobin, and said he would like to similarly waive the ethics code for himself. But when the commissioner crossed him, he accused him of being unethical, leaving us to wonder why the commissioner failed to pass the ethics test given under the purview of the mayor’s new police chief, forcing him to get at police officer job on the mainland with the City of Miami,

Mr. Levine may be one of the most ethically challenged mayors to sit on the dais since the notorious Mayor Alex Daoud. Just for example, millions were paid by the city for the air rights above the Sunset Harbour shopping center owned beneficially by him and his great friend and partner Scott Robins, and then, while mayor, he attempted to push through zoning to his advantage; the ludicrous premise handed down by the state ethics commission was that the advantage to him would not be immediate. This time, however, the county ethics commission did not put its nose where there is no sunshine.

The city also is applauded for the allegedly improved morale of its employees, who “felt” they have better whistleblower protection. The mayor naturally “thinks” there has been “a tremendous change in culture” under his tenure.

Please “think” and “feel” again, because thinking in itself is not knowing, neither are self-congratulatory feelings.

Critical thinking is indeed useful, so think again about what deposed Mayor Matti Bower said after Mr. Levine was crowned a strong mayor over his court of faux reformers as his prime minister bragged about the number of people fired, leaving key people around in honey pots such as the problematic Building and Code Enforcement departments for years, yet now saying key staffers were replaced.

City workers, averred Madame Bower, a grandmotherly politician who was friendly with scores of employees, reported they said they had been cowed by the new regime. That is, fear and intimidation was the rule.

We all know the corporate drill: you had better have a good attitude and be positive about us or you had better find another job.

Here is something else to “think” about: The “indicative” statistics quoted by the Miami Herald are meaningless in terms of “indicating” facts.  South Florida is by virtue of its Third World influences perhaps the most corrupt region in the United States. Federal law enforcement is charged with curbing corruption of the local, county and state police power in all departments, but with a deliberately limited staff. Economists have even declared that a certain degree of corruption is good for business. Republicans led by President Trump may desire to cut the FBI staff in half. Miami Beach is a drop in the bucket. Arrests there come in intermittent waves as a handful of investigators work priorities from place to place. When Miami Beach is hit, corruption may decline for awhile, and lessons are learned as to how to avoid detection.

Now the Miami Herald also reports that the $3.5 million recently plundered from city coffers, an event that led to the departure of finance department staff, “remains unsolved and under investigation.”

The mayor’s wealth sidekick on the dais, Commission Rick Arriola, told the Huffington Post that the matter is under investigation, that the city will get back every penny. and that “audits are the responsibility of the city’s outside auditors and the city’s CFO.”

What a ridiculous statement that is, for the problem is that the finance department and auditors did not bother for ages to reconcile cash balance on books to cash in bank, a routine bookkeeping procedure.

Mr. Arriola would surely fire his controller and bookkeepers for failing to detect the imbalance in a month if not in a day given the modern software relations between banks and their clients.  Since he is so sure of recovery, he should personally guarantee it, as the amount is rather miniscule for him given his good fortune.

By the way, the attack pieces of the Huffington Post were so imbalanced that I was tempted to rebut them and give the mayor some little credit for the hundreds of millions allocated for the war against global warming. At least we are not wading around in knee-deep water in South Beach.

Yet it is high time that a major media outlet took the mayor and his ilk to task  despite more threats of SLAPP libel suits. It is safer to do so now that his great friend Hillary Clinton has gone down in flames.

But the Miami Herald must “feel” sorry for the mayor, and “think” that it has a duty to boost from time to time the official sources needed bolster its sales. Therefore we have this astonishing farewell cake baked for Mayor Philip Levine

XYX

LINK TO MIAMI HERALD PROPAGANDA COVERAGE

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH SHUTS DOWN ONLINE BUILDING PERMIT SEARCH FOR GENERAL PUBLIC AND HINDERS ACCESS TO RECORDS BY REQUIRING PUBLIC RECORD REQUESTS AND FEES AS A RESULT OF EMBARASSING DISCOVERIES BY PUBLIC INFORMERS

CAN I VIEW PERMIT HISTORY ONLINE?Permits issued for any property in the City of  Miami Beach from 1990 to 04/26/2016 are available through Velocity Hall Online Permitting.

Click here to access permits before 04/26/2016 Velocity Hall Online Permitting

Permits and other processes transitioned to the City’s new software can be obtained via the Citizen Access Portal at https://eservices.miamibeachfl.gov/EnerGovProd/CitizenAccess/Site/Public/Main

Note:  If you are not either the owner, contractor, engineer, architect  or owner representative, you will not be able to register at the Citizen Access Portal and therefore; may submit a public records request to the Building Department’s Records Management Section.  Click here to download the Records Request Form

NEW CITY MANAGER SWEEPS ALLEGATIONS UNDER RUG

OFFICIAL BULLSHIT PREVAILS – THE FAKE REFORM

THE MAYOR’S SUNSET HARBOUR HONEY POT

FAUX REFORM OF MIAMI BEACH GOVERNMENT

THE SHAMEFUL COUNTY ETHICS COMMISSION

ALLEGED CITY SANCTION OF CORRUPTION RING

CITY MANAGER RETALIATES AGANIST LAW ABIDING BUSINESS

THE CRESPO ATTACK ON SHAMEFUL EHICS COMMISSION

MIAMI BEACH CORRUPTION AS USUAL

ETHICS COMMISSION UNRESPONSIVE TO SUNSET HARBOUR INQUIRY

THE ROOTS OF EVIL IN SUNSET HARBOUR

WHISPERING GOVERNMENT ATTORNEYS

ED TOBIN AND HIS POLICE DREAM JOB

MIAMI BEACH SLEAZE AND THE UNRESPONSIBE ETHICS COMMISSION

Miami Beach Selected Best of All Possible Cities

 

 

 

 

THE BEST OF ALL POSSIBLE CITIES
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

“There are an infinite number of possible cities, of which this one happens to be necessary and therefore the best because it has been intelligently chosen. It is the optimum city,” pronounced my interlocutor, who had engaged me in conversation at Terranova’s Big Reveal Block Party. He was a blue-eyed blonde decked out in orange shoes, green pants and an orange shirt.
“Pray tell, by whom was it chosen?”
“It was chosen by The Hundred Jews.”
“Who are They?”
“They are the secret masters of the material world,” he declared in a conspiratorial tone, giving me cause to believe he was yet another South Beach nutcase. Madame Blavatsky would spin in her grave.
“Is Terranova’s Stephen Bittel one of them?”
“I cannot say.”
 Terranova
“He seems to believe that the world is an orange,” I said, having decided to go along with his nonsense while Beatrice was getting another round of mojitos.
“Orange is the optimistic color. Orange encourages us to aspire to be the best, to take risks, to compete with one another to make this the best of all possible cities in the best of all possible worlds.”
“I thought you said this was already the best of all the possibilities.”
“It is, indeed, the best if all cities that presently exist, and of all possible cities at this time, but the world does not stand still for our city, therefore The Hundred Jews had to save it from the Great Flood at the last election. Jews now control the commission, and Cubans run the city as usual.”
“What? Does the best of all possible cities proceed on a racist agenda?”
“It is not racist at all. In fact, it is racial harmony at its optimum material composition. More potassium was needed on the commission.”
“Potassium?”
“Yes, Cuban-American physiology has not completely rebounded from the potassium shortage suffered when sugar cane was favored over bananas in Cuba. Former Mayor Herrera Bower, for example, was quite lightheaded, fatigued, and spasmodic at times, as was former Commissioner Michael Gongora. They are presently eating a high orange diet and have subscribed to the Orange Theory. They are expected to recover in about three years.”
“I see. That makes sense, but why have Cubans run the city if they are that way?”
“They do not all suffer from Hypokalaemia. They more than anyone understand the necessity of dictatorship. Therefore they cherish our strong city manager charter. Besides, considerable negligence and erratic behavior in government does people a lot of good. And other Latinos with a banana-rich heritage offset the deficiencies.”
“Well, that makes sense too. Still, if the City of Miami Beach is the best of all possible cities, why does it seem to be more like a ghetto every day, with the rich getting richer, and the poor getting poorer? Just look at the misery on the streets and in the parks.”
“Are you so miserable?”
“No,” I averred, “not as miserable as the increasing number of vagrants squatting in doorways and parks. I still am miserable in my own way. That I know not what I want, is the cause of my complaint: if I had any known want, I should have a certain wish; that wish would excite endeavour. When I see people pursuing one thing or another, I fancy that I should be happy if I had something to pursue. But, possessing all that I can want, although that is poverty to most people, I find one day and one hour exactly like another, except that the latter is still more tedious than the former.”
“You are among the very few who have openly complained of misery in our happy city. Your complaints have no real cause. You should know from the misery that you see that you should highly value your present state because you are better off, and to be better off than others is the meaning of life to be pursued in the best of all possible cities.”
“The very sight of these miseries should give you something to desire,” he continued, “and that is why the police chief pulled off the sidewalk foot patrols, so that people can see how well off they really are in this best of all possible cities. Vagrants are even placed at the entrance to the city to encourage us all to maintain the status of our city as the best of all possible cities.”
“Yes,” I said, simulating increasing enthusiasm, “I should love to see poverty, the pregnant women sleeping soundly the park, and the joy that homeless people find in getting drunk.”
“The more of that the better,” said he, “to prove by way of contrast that this is the best of all possible cities. Great good cannot be had without great evil.”
“You know, ads should be placed in the papers and homeless people bussed in to further illustrate the wonders of the City of Miami Beach. I remember a commissioner said that is what tourists come here to see, what makes the city so colorful.”
“You’ve got the picture. You have something to be happy about!”
“By golly, I thank my lucky stars! I have shelter, my own bed, a pot to pee in, all for only 80% of my income. My best local friend dumped me because she said I am a loser, but she should have realized that I am a successful loser at least!”
“Thank the new city manager, the new mayor, the city commissioners, not your lucky stars, and thank the organization of selfishness that creates the conditions that make the best of all possible cities possible.”
“I shall do just that. And thank you for restoring my confidence in the leadership and my eagerness to follow the Big Plan. Perhaps Terranova will offer me a public relations job. Now excuse me, I must find my friend now.”
“Glad I could be of help,” he said as I hurried away.
# #

 

City of Miami Beach Accused of Fraud

CMB Accused Fraud IMG

 

MIAMI BEACH HOTEL APARTMENT OWNER ACCUSES CITY ATTORNEYS OF DISHONESTY AND FRAUD ON THE COURT

June 20, 2015

By David Arthur Walters

PRESS INDEPENDENT

Rod Eisenberg, owner of the historic 80-year old Sadigo Court Apartment Hotel in South Beach, accused City of Miami Beach attorneys in a June 4, 2015 filing in federal court of dishonesty; to wit, of making blatant and gross misrepresentations and brazenly false arguments supported by convenient cutting and pasting together of statutes as part of a massive scheme to deceive, mislead and defraud the courts where he had lodged complaints to defend his property and his civil rights after city officials conspired to throw his guests onto the street, close his apartment hotel, and subject him to false arrest because he refused to voluntarily install fire sprinklers that were not really required for his historic structure.

His previous filings asserted that he was persecuted by the city in retaliation for 1) his exposure of corrupt practices in the early 1990s, and 2) for his complaints about non-enforcement of code provisions in respect to blight in his neighborhood, and 3) for failing to bribe code enforcement officers.

Eisenberg discovered that the city’s bid selection process was corrupt in 1993 after bidding to rent space at the old city hall building for a Welcome Center. That motivated him to take city officials to task on other matters.

He learned the winning bidder was receiving free rent in the Old City Hall during the bid challenge. He also discovered a City commissioner and his son had received what amounted to an illegal brokerage commission on a $10 million real estate transaction. He subsequently embarrassed city officials by disclosing his findings to the media.

As a result of those disclosures and his lawsuit against the city, a scandal ensued that ultimately led to the city manager resigning, and the city attorney being forced out. Some of the current city attorneys including City Attorney Raul Aguila were involved in that case. I have examined Raul Aguila representation of the city in other matters, and found him to be quite fair in comparison to his predecessor, Jose Smith, who seemed to believe that the city was not the community but the ruling regime, and indeed acted like he was the city itself, although he was right more times than he was wrong—he was nicknamed “The Magic Eight Ball.” So Aguila’s stance in the Eisenberg Affair astonished me.

Furthermore, the discovery process Eisenberg brought against the city back then revealed apparent hanky panky between city officials and an officer of IRAMCO, the broker involved in City of Miami Beach Redevelopment Agency’s purchase of land for the development of the city’s first convention hotel, now Loews Hotel at 1601 Collins Avenue.

Between 2004 and 2009, Plaintiffs and others in the neighborhood voiced many complaints about the health and safety risks and Code compliance violations of an abandoned hotel in the neighborhood. The City investigated some of those complaints but did not resolve the problems with the building.

In December 2011, fifteen police offers, ten code enforcement officers, including Jose Alberto, and five fire officials forcibly shut down the Sadigo for a second time for allegedly violating city fire codes for refusing to install fire sprinklers in the three-story structure. Yet Les Beilinson, a renowned architect and historic preservationist, called the Sadigo “one of the safest buildings I have ever been in” during a 2010 Task Force hearing.

The shut down occurred while the Sadigo was hosting the ‘Pool Art Fair’ during the Art Basel Miami Beach art show, forcing guests to vacate the premises within the hour. Jose Alberto, later convicted and imprisoned for corruption elsewhere, allegedly offered to solve Eisenberg’s problems by using his people, insinuating a bribe would be due from Eisenberg. I estimate from information of past incidents the handling fees might have amounted to $500 for six people, or $3,000. When Eisenberg refused by stating he already had legal counsel working on the matter, Alberto allegedly stated that Eisenberg would not get far using legal means. Eisenberg was then arrested. In April 2012, Alberto and other code compliance officers and fire department inspectors were arrested for bribes they accepted in June 2011.

Since those arrests, the Sadigo has not received any further code compliance notices or violations, according to a recent brief filed in the federal case; however, a $400,000 lien was filed against the property for a fine accruing at $500 a day. Eisenberg has laid out an estimated $450,000 in attorney fees and is being sued for another $200,000 in fees he refuses to pay his attorneys for losing the case. The loss in revenue from the extended closure of the hotel along with damage to his reputation may amount to another $1,000,000. Now that the federal judge had summarily dismissed the case, ensuring that his complaints will never be heard by a jury, the city has filed what appears to be a patently frivolous motion for sanctions for an amazing $800,000 in legal fees and costs for taking him to hell and back, refusing at all times to compromise with his attorneys.

Eisenberg is no slouch when it comes to the practice of law. He trained as an attorney. He did not apply for a license, apparently because he eventually believed the profession is essentially unethical. The allegations he has brought pro se in response to the city’s motion for around $800,000 sanctions indicts not only the city attorneys but his own attorneys as well. He claimed that they colluded wittingly or unwittingly to keep the case going in order to use him as an ATM machine.

“Although there is no guarantee of success in civil litigation, a plaintiff must be certain his attorneys are not succumbing to the City’s arguments because they would rather treat their client like an ATM, rather than vigorously advocate their client’s positions. Opposing counsel points out that plaintiff had so many lawyers and he still lost every time. And although this may be true, the reason is every lawyer, except one or two, had the propensity to do things harmful to the client, while remarkably always beneficial to the City.”

In retrospect, it is astonishing that the city attorneys, blessed by the city commission, would lay out $800,000 in taxpayer money to persecute this businessman instead of negotiating a compromise. And now they expect to bring the owner of this safe little three-story hotel to ruin by forcing him to pay for their destructive maneuvers. Why, their motion to sanction fees and costs is itself frivolous, supported by a spurious argument that his suit against the city was frivolous because he lost it as a consequence of their malevolent machinations.

We like to believe that the law is as solid as a rock, that there is a very high probability that similar cases will be similarly decided. The truth of the matter is that the positive law is what judges decide from day to day, and that law is always subject to change with the excuse that it should evolve, glacially or not, with the so-called progress of civilization. Forsooth, litigation is a gamble because no one knows for sure what some judge may decide given her prejudices and institutional blindness. Controversy keeps the clock ticking for fees accruing at a rapacious $500 per hour or even more for well connected lawyers.

Judges talk about principles of law and the high ethical standards of the legal profession. In sum, the principle of lawyers is profit in a zero sum game. A law-schooled lawyer in our competitive economy is likely to become a sophist who will do his level best to make even the worst case sound like the best. Overall, the size of the war chest and not the elements of law and highfalutin ethical standards win the battles in the never ending war of all against all. Ironically, the opportunities for litigation and the hordes of attorneys available to resolve differences for a fee is said to be what makes America great.

At least Federal Judge Cecilia M. Altonaga almost brought the billing to an end with her summary rulings, exhibiting the usual prejudice in favor of governmental authority, that it should enjoy the sovereign immunity of a queen or king unless virtually impossible exceptions could be proved. There is a saying that one cannot fight city hall and win, and for good reason.

Eisenberg’s suit for recognition of his civil rights was based on the 1871 Ku Klux Klan Act. Few cases were brought, only a handful were won, and the sections of the act cited by Eisenberg’s lawyers laid dormant for many years until they became a handy instrument for harvesting civil rights controversies for fees.

The Radical Republicans back then figured that federal judges would decide independently of local prejudiced judges and juries. That might hold true if the federal judges were riding a broad circuit. Once resident in the place where cases are decided, judges inured with the local prejudices and institutional blindness of their colleagues. Face it, the judge is more likely to sit with her public attorney kin in the lunchrooms. At least she is prone to sympathizing with them because they are constantly under attack for their decisions. And Judge Altonaga is a human being first of all; she is no stranger to South Florida. Its dominating Cuban?American community wanted to see her sitting on the United States Supreme Court. She was reportedly on President George W. Bush’s short list for the nomination.

Eisenberg’s motion against the sanctions claims that his attorneys decided it would be best of focus on the weakest aspect of his case, that the city was retaliation against him for speaking freely.

That would be sexier, they thought, than emphasizing his strongest point that the city was discriminating against him, not affording him with the equal protection of the laws. Many apartment buildings with short term rentals were not harassed for not having fire sprinklers. Some owners had voluntarily installed sprinklers. He was being picked on.

His brief against the assessment of the city’s fees claims that his attorneys figured juries would be too stupid to understand the equal protection issue, even though, Eisenberg would argue, the issue is rather simple. But I shall provide my own analysis of relevant legal requirements instead of his KISS argument:

Chapter 509-215 of Florida’s firesafety law states that public lodging establishments of three or more stories that have interior corridors without direct access to external means of egress must install sprinklers. The three-story Sadigo does not have interior corridors; the second and third floor apartments have stairs descending to ground level. There are also stairs to the rooftop

And Chapter 509 requires that buildings up to 75-feet high that do have direct adequate external means from guest areas for escape from fire and smoke must have sprinklers if erected prior to 1983.

These provisions apply only to those public lodging establishments in a building wherein more than 50 percent of the units in the building are advertised or held out to the public as available for transient occupancy.

And there is a special exception for historic buildings. The statute refers to national fire prevention standards adopted as law by Florida that mentions systems equivalent to automatic sprinklers. Eisenberg argues that his three-story building has an adequate fire and smoke protection system, which he upgraded at a cost of $40,000 at the city’s request, and is absolutely exempted from the equivalency standard because the intention of the law for historic structures is to prevent disturbing, altering, or destroying their integrity by forcing the installation of fire sprinklers OR alternative systems equivalent to automatic fire sprinkler systems.

Eisenberg claimed that the city attorneys deliberately deceived or lied to the judge about this feature of the law, and that several experts as well as his attorneys were also deceived into becoming “shills” for the city and fire sprinkler companies. His notion that he had become an ATM machine for attorneys on both sides is supported by a June 1, 2015, Notice of Resolution discovered on the docket whereby the city attorneys had resolved their claim for fees against his attorneys, and therefore they were pursuing Eisenberg for the $800,000, despite the evidence that Eisenberg had bowed to his attorneys’ wishes that he trust them as his lawyers to present the correct theory of the case and arguments to the court. How can the court hold him alone responsible for fees to defend against frivolous and groundless arguments, if that is what they were, and not his attorneys, when he relied on their advice in the pleadings? In fact, the rule appertaining to sanctions allows the judge to hold the attorneys signing the pleadings responsible.

Right or wrong, everyone was aboard the same ship, naturally unwilling to cross the source of a great deal of bread and butter. Eisenberg, who has been called a sore loser by the press and a crybaby by city attorneys for fighting for his constitutional rights, was denied equal protection of the laws as a so-called class-of-one. In reality there are hundreds of people in that Category of One who are afraid for good reason to confront the city’s legal mafioso who are no doubt gloating over Eisenberg’s defeat.

The 80-year old Sadigo had been partially occupied by transient guests as was the custom for decades on the beach. Eisenberg had a state license for transient use and was paying resort taxes to the city. The trouble began when he pulled a permit to dedicate some space for preparation and storage of cold food for his Art Basel visitors. City inspectors then defined that space as a “restaurant” although no food was to be sold there to the general public, and reclassified it as a “new” structure. Eisenberg declined to have their guys fix the problem or impliedly pay a bribe after code enforcement insisted that the transient apartment building was a brand new hotel that would have to comply with the fire code of a new hotel instead of an existing hotel. “Transient” occupancy, which allows for two transient uses in the district, is the overriding word: The change from transient apartment to transient hotel, Eisenberg argues, was merely a change in paperwork nomenclature, both uses being allowed within the general occupancy zoning of the neighborhood. Wherefore the Sadigo could not be classified as a new building since the occupancy was essentially the same, i.e. transient.

City officials, especially the clan of city attorneys, apparently had a vendetta going against him as if he were an enemy of the state. Right or wrong, everyone but he was aboard the same ship, naturally unwilling to defy the source of a great deal of bread and butter. Wherefore he was denied equal protection of the laws as a so-called class-of-one inasmuch as only his historic building was selected out of many for specious enforcement. His attorneys, apparently believing equal protection abridgement would be hard to sell to a jury, did not have detectives go out and get comparables to show that similar buildings were allowed without sprinklers, and that he was being picked on because he did not bend over for them. He has apparently now retrieved a list of comparables on his own.

Before I was aware of the Eisenberg Affair, I myself had pointed out that a friend of Eisenberg’s, Scott Robins, an influential developer who has partnered with Mayor Philip Levine in several projects, had operated a transient hotel, the Espanola Suites on Espanola Way, above two restaurants with hot kitchens for several years, and according to the city has not paid resort taxes, after the city denied him a certificate of use. An inspection report available from his recent effort to obtain a certificate for hotel use indicates that the sprinkler system installed during a previous renovation, which may not have been permitted by the city is inadequate for the hotel use. It was only after pressing the issue with Hernan Cardeno, Director of the Code Compliance Department, that Espanola Way Suites was cited and then referred to the Special Master. No explanation was forthcoming from Cardeno was to why the hotel guests were not evicted and the owner arrested as was the case in the Eisenberg Affair. The problem with reporting violations to expose the negligence and corruption of the government is not only retaliation by the officials, but retaliation from the businesses that one would rather not offend.
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In any case, Judge Altonaga tossed out Eisenberg’s equal protection argument, in her first round of dismissals in the Summary Judgment Game, for lack of the comparatives that Eisenberg’s attorneys did not collect and press.

And then she tossed the supposedly sexier free speech cause, ruling that it was moot because a principle of current common law, or how judges interpret statutes lately, is that the city itself cannot be held liable for civil rights violations unless it makes the discriminatory policies. It was subject to county review, she said.

Well, then, the problem there is that the county is subject to the state, and the state is immune pursuant to the current misinterpretation of the Eleventh Amendment to the United States Constitution. So nobody is liable.

Judge Altonaga’s institutional blindness to the fact that the city tailor made the policy to put Eisenberg out of business is profound, as can be seen by anyone who thoroughly examines the behavior of the officials concerned and fully understands the confusing hodgepodge of state statutes.

As for the policymaker concept, that is the result of the interpretive vacillations of the also fallible justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. At first it was believed the Congress back in 1871 did not intend municipalities to be “persons” subject to suit to recover damages for civil rights violations. Minds were changed about that, and may and should be changed again, so that such entities are liable for damages for their employees’ behavior, as is the case with businesses. History is again and again conveniently abused to justify current desires.

Eisenberg cited several mistakes made by his lawyers. I note that they did not sue the officers themselves along with the city, which they might have done knowing they might be confronted by sovereign immunity, which is based on the notion that “the King can do no wrong.”

But the King can do wrong, and be beheaded as a consequence. If Eisenberg is right, some heads should roll at city hall. He must have something planned. He is not talking, having learned his lesson the hard way about speaking freely.

# #

Facsimile of Document Retrieved From Public Records
Response to City’s Motion for Approximately $800,000
in City’s Legal Fees and Costs
?

FILED by___________ D.C.
JUN 04 2015
STEVEN M. LARIMORE
CLERK U. S. DIST. CT.
S. D. of FLA. – MIAMI

IN THE UNITED STATES COURT
SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
ROD EISENBERG, and EISENBERG
DEVELOPMENT CORP., a Florida
Corporation, d/b/a SADIGO COURT
APARTMENT HOTEL, Plaintiffs,

vs.

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH,
Defendant,
CASE NO.: 1:13-CV-23620-CMA

PLAINTIFF ROD EISENBERG’S RESPONSE TO DEFENDANT CITY OF MIAMI BEACH’S MOTION FOR ENTITLEMENT TO FEES, COSTS, AND SANCTIONS

“I will employ, for purposes of maintaining the causes confided in me such means only as are consistent with truth and honor, and will never seek to mislead tile judge or jury by any artifice of false statement of fact or law.. ”
Supreme Court of Florida, Oath to the Florida Bar, 2011

The Plaintiff, Rod Eisenberg, Pro se, adopts co-counsel’s Response pleading, with its memorandum of law, and files this its own Response to Defendant City of Miami Beach’s Motion for Entitlement to Fees, Costs, and Sanctions, and in support states the following:

INTRODUCTION

As shown below, it is clear and convincing that the City’s attorneys, past and present, have broken the solemn oath above and in turn denied that justice was done. Since the very beginning in 2007, when the first fire violation was posted at plaintiff s property, the City has stubbornly refused to fairly apply the laws and facts in the case of the historic Sadigo Court. Instead, they were only concerned with the end result: forcing a costly fire sprinkler system into a “contributing” historic building, which is exempt from sprinklers as a matter of law. Furthermore, the City also demanded Plaintiff go through the rigorous demands of obtaining a “new” hotel license if it wanted to sell short term rentals. And with the public coffers at their disposal, the City has spent an obscene amount of money to enforce their will.

Plaintiffs reason for going to the recent law firm, SmolkerBartlett(Smolker), are grounded in an equal protection claim that other apartment licensees are being allowed to sell short-term rentals, some with sprinklers, some without; while the Sadigo Court was being forced to obtain a new hotel license and be treated as a “new” hotel for licensing, building and fire code purposes. Correspondences between plaintiff and Smolker prior to them agreeing to represent client centered around the equal protection claim, not the free-speech claims that later engulfed the case. (see Exhibit 1) They later told client the equal protection case would be dull and boring to a jury. Instead, the free-speech angle would be interesting for a jury. They also said juries were not very intelligent as a whole to understand the complex zoning and land-use issues.

The issues in this case are very simple and upfront. The City had to embark on a scheme of smoke and mirrors in order to achieve a win at any and all cost. Their well-executed plan consisted of misrepresenting to the Court the necessity of a hotel license, when the current apartment license is good enough in a RM-2 zoning district. The City then unreasonably demanded that the “contributing” historic building be brought up to the same codes applicable for new hotel construction, which mandated fire sprinklers, as well as widening historic exterior stairwells. They argued their hands are tied because the process they deceptively labeled a “change of occupancy”, demanded it.

This City has a disturbing view of what our government is suppose to stand for. Instead of being a government of the people, by the people and for the people, this government is against its people, or at least the ones that have the moral resolve to challenge its absurd edicts, which in this case involved transient rental s and fire safety. Incredulously, this government will ask a property owner to disregard the rule of law, and only be concerned about the amount of money it will cost to fight their unwarranted demands. And since they have the public coffers, with no accountability, the City will guarantee one will spend much more money fighting them, then adhering to their unnecessary and unlawful demands.

If the facts and law do show that a sprinkler system is not actually mandated, then the City’s underhanded practices to force a historic property owner to install the unnecessary fire system would be tantamount to extortion. This Court even stated during a status hearing midway through the case that if the City got it all wrong on the sprinklers, “..that is just going to facto r into damages if your{Mr. Kairalla} assessment is incorrect.” (see Transcript of Court Hearing-7/2 l/1 4, p. 12). Due to misrepresentations by opposing counsel, this court never had the opportunity to analysis the codes, laws and facts in the case to see if indeed a sprinkler system was ever legally required for the “contributing” historic Sadigo Court.

That being said, the strong parts of plaintiff’s case, negating any talk of the action being frivolous, unreasonable or without foundation are as follows:

1) Plaintiff had given to prior counsel a list of other “comparators”, other apartment licensees selling short-term transient rentals, with or without the so-called requisite fire sprinklers, and not having to undergo a “change of occupancy” to hotel. Plaintiff/client should not be penalized for the failure of counsel to submit a list of comparators.

2) The Sadigo Court did not have to undergo a “change of occupancy” from apartment to hotel, thus triggering FFPC Ch. 28 for “new” hotels , because, if anything, the change would only be a “change of use”. That triggers FFPC Ch. 29 for “existing” hotels , which has significantly different requirements than its Ch. 28 counterpart, such as exempting existing buildings under 75 ft. from the sprinkler requirement. ( theSadigo Court is only 38 feet.)

3) City’s “Exhibit 1 &ll”, obtained through discovery in this case, both show unequivocally that opposing counsel misrepresented when he wrote to this Court there was a sprinkler mandate for all transient facilities, “without exception”. (see Exhibit 2) Opposing counsel’s shameful fear-mongering regarding possibility of guests burning in a future fire should not trump Court’s integrity that mandates it to respect the fire codes and statutes already in place that specifically exempt a building exactly like the historic Sadigo Court.

4) Notwithstanding City’s representations, Florida Statutes 509.215, the authoritative law concerning public lodging establishments and fire sprinklers, with its paragraph #4 exception for “contributing historic structures” from sprinklers, does apply to Sadigo Court. It clearly states the Historic Task Force “shall” accept the SadigoCourt’ s exception from sprinklers. Also contrary to City’s argument, the statute applies to both transient and non-transient public lodging establishments, (see F.S. 509.013(4)(a); F.S. 509.242(1) in Exhibit 11). As this Court recalls, City had been arguing that “FS 509.215 does not apply because the Sadigo was not licensed as a transient public lodging establishment prior to 1994”.

5) The validity of the numerous “Cease & Desist Orders” issued by local fire marshal prior to 2013 are null and void since the local fire marshal does not have authority to issue those orders under FS 633.161. Therefore, all those shutdowns in 2011 were invalid and City should be responsible for those damages.

ARGUMENT

I. There are Many Comparators

Plaintiffs’ case was not frivolous because Plaintiff knew there were many other apartment buildings selling short-term rentals and they were not being harassed like the Sadigo Court by calling it “an illegal hotel”. Plaintiff had even given to prior counsel that list of other “comparators”, other apartment licensees selling short-term transient rentals, with or without the so-called requisite fire sprinklers, and not having to undergo a “change of use” or a “change of occupancy” to hotel. (1)
(1)Besides the apartment licensees listed in Exhibit 2, there are many comparators selling short term rentals without sprinklers, such as the Tradewinds Apt./Hotel(2365 PineTree Dr.) European Guest House(721 Michigan Ave.) and Sobe Bed & Breakfast (1018 Jefferson Ave.) and some with sprinklers, such as the Espanola Suites (443 Espanola Dr.), Metropole Hotel(6 35 Collins Ave.), Sunbrite Apartments(1330 Penn. Ave..) BesaroSuites(255 W. 24 St.) and the Lincoln Arms (1800 James Ave.), which happens to be located in the same RM-2 district as Sadigo Court. There are also some newly renovated hotels such as the Clifton Hotel (1343 Collins Ave), Villa Italia Hotel (354 Washington Ave) selling short-term transient rentals without sprinklers. And of course, we have not even mentioned the numerous units in condos that sell short-term rentals, many that do not have sprinklers.
In other words, the Sadigo never needed a “new” certificate of occupancy for a hotel because its original apartment license is good enough in a RM-2 zoning district to sell short-term rentals. Plaintiff’s counsel in this case, Smolker Bartlett, promised to amend complaint and submit comparators at the appropriate time, however, they never did and it is still a mystery today why they did not. Plaintiff/client should not be penalized for the failure of counsel to submit a list of comparators.

For years, plaintiff had been trying to have his numerous counsels simply submit a list of other apartment licensees that sell short term rentals, but done ever did. Furthermore, no attorney ever objected to the City’s repeatedly misrepresenting the need for a hotel license when they stated to a state court judge:
“Apartment use does not allow transient utilization of the premises.” City Atty. Boksner, p. 20; “Transient would require…..to change their certificate of use as a hotel.” City Atty. Montoya, p. 45; “If he wants to operate as a transient apartment under state law, he also has to operate as a hotel under City law.” City Atty. Held, p. 47 [Transcript of Court Proceedings dated 6/30/11, Eisenberg v. City of Miami Beach, Case No. 11-20234 CA 22. {(App’x II Ex. 9) ECF No. 53-9}]
On June 27, 2011, City gave code compliance violation CE # 11010866- “Correct BTR is for apartments. Owner is utilizing the property as a hotel with transient short-term rentals.”. Clearly in this case and in every other related case, the City does not want to acknowledge the existence of local apartment licensees(BTR #900) that legally operate transient short-term rentals.

Inexplicably, the City has destroyed its credibility by representing that apartment licensees are not allowed to sell short term rentals.

The City also has argued that the Sadigo Court without fire sprinklers is a “imminent danger”. If that were true then why would the late renowned architect, Les Beilinson, a historic specialist, state at a Aug. 19th, 2010 Task Force hearing that: “the Sadigo Court is one of the safest buildings I have ever been in”. If the sprinkler requirement were true, you would not have multiple state DBPR inspectors pass the Sadigo and note in their Lodging Inspection Reports that sprinklers are not applicable. (see Exhibit 16) The City fire marshal has told the plaintiff on many occasions that “the only reason your experts agree with you is because you pay them”, This warped cynicism should not diminish the solid foundation of plaintiff’s case built on expert fire-engineer testimony, fire codes and statutes.

II. It’s a “Change of Use”, not a “Change of Occupancy”

Plaintiff thought the foundation of his case was solid because apartments have a “vested” right to sell short- term rentals in Sadigo’ s RM-2 district. However, if the tribunals think the Sadigo has to be a “hotel, ” then the process is only a “change of use”. That label has beneficial ramifications on the Sadigo Court’s sprinkler issue because “changes of use” trigger FFPC, Ch. 29, and Ch. 29 exempts existing hotel-like structures under 75 feet. The Sadigo is under 38 ft. As proof, the FFPC, Ch. 43.7.1 states: “A change in use that does not involve a change of occupancy shall comply with the requirements applicable to the new use{hotel} in accordance with the applicable existing occupancy chapter {i.e. , Ch. 29}……. ”

Opposing counsel also argues that plaintiff also lost his malpractice case against the original law firm who agreed with the fire marshal that Sadigo Court needed sprinklers. However, the judge in that case tangentially ruled that the process is a “change of use”, having repeated the phrase 7 times in his order. (see Exhibit 5-0rder dated 6/2/14) Opposing counsel cannot have it both ways: He cannot bring in the legal malpractice Order against plaintiff, and still argue it’s a “change of occupancy”. Labels do matter. In fact, it is important to realize that in the January 22, 2014 hearing before this judge, opposing counsel alluded to the change from apartment to hotel as a “change in use”, or “that new use….” ; “another type of use…. “; “change from one use….to another use…..”. Notice how opposing counsel does not mention the word “occupancy” when discussing the process because he knows, as all the experts know, that the change, if anything, is just a “change of use”.

If labels don’t matter, then why would opposing counsel surreptitiously recast the phrase “change of use” to now being a “change of occupancy” later in the case? As discussed above, the answer lies in the fact that “changes of use” exempt existing hotels under 75 feet. as per FFPC, Ch. 29. Instead of acknowledging this innocuous fact, opposing counsel has used its vast financial resources to make it appear it is a “change of occupancy” and then arguing that FFPC, Ch. 28 applies because Sadigo Court must be treated like a “newly” constructed hotel in the eyes of the fire code. This is absolutely false, as the City’s own “Exhibit I ” shows many times the process being a “change of use”. (see Exhibit 2)

Although plaintiff’s counsel originally argued there was neither a change of use, nor a change of occupancy, it is strange and unexplainable why Plaintiff s counsel would, toward the end of case, now advise their client that Sadigo now has to undergo a “Change of Occupancy” to a hotel. (see Exhibit 3- Cremer email dated 10/29/14).

This is particularly unsettling because the City’s expert, SLS Consulting, Inc., the City’s Exhibit 1, which list at least 12 examples of “change of use”, and a Miami Dade County Letter all point to the process, if necessary , being a “change of use”. (see Exhibit 4)

Despite all the evidence above that shows the process, if anything is a “change of use”, the City success fully branded the Sadigo’s process as a “change of occupancy” in all the Task Force, BORA as well as in the most recent Fire Appeals Board hearing. (3 City’s Verified Response, Miami Dade Fire Appeals Board , p.2, 8/2/14) The reason why those results should not count and the reason why petitioner/plaintiff had to withdraw his petition every time is due to the fact that the false “change of occupancy” label was accepted by these tribunals without any open discussion or input from other parties.

III. Florida Statutes 509.215(4) Should Apply to Sadigo Court

Plaintiff s actions were not frivolous nor unreasonable because there is a statute directly on point that should have cleared Sadigo Court from sprinklers, if we are to read these statutes in their plain and obvious meaning. As noted above, the original DBPR hotel inspector, as well as a subsequent inspector, passed the Sadigo Court concerning sprinklers, writing, “N/A” and/or “Yes” on the line-item for compliance. [see both DBPR, Division of Hotels, Lodging Inspection Reports dated 7/10/08 and 5/13/10 (Exhibit 16)] They freely passed Sadigo because they knew all “contributing” historic buildings like the Sadigo Court are exempt from sprinklers as a matter of law, as per 509.215(4). That has been the law of the land since 1983. So it is misleading to say no one ever agreed with Sadigo on the issue of fire sprinklers.

As City’s Exhibit 1 & 2 shows, there are other establishments that are allowed to sell short-term rentals without sprinklers because of the exceptions dictated in F.S. 509.215(1) & (2). However, the Sadigo is not allowed to use the 4th paragraph, written to exempt certain types of historic buildings. One of the reasons the City argues that point is because the Task Force never approved of its petition for exemption from sprinklers. This is a gross misrepresentation of what the role of the Task Force is.

Paragraph #4 of F.S. 509.2 15 mandates: “In attempting to discern legislative intent, we first look to the actual language used in the statute”. Joshua v. City of Gainesville, 768 So.2d 432, 435 (Fla.2000); accord BellSouth Telecomms., Inc. v. Meeks, 863 So.2d 287,289 (Fla.2003). “When the statute is clear and unambiguous, courts will not look behind the statute ‘s plain language for legislative intent or resort to rules of statutory construction to ascertain intent”. See Lee County Elec. Coop..Inc. v. Jacobs, 820 So.2d 297, 303 (Fla.2002). “In such instance, the statute’s plain and ordinary meaning must control, unless this leads to an unreasonable result or a result clearly contrary to legislative intent “. See State v. Burris, 875 So.2d 408, 410 (Fla.2004). When the statutory language is clear, “courts have no occasion to resort to rules of construction – they must read the statute as written, for to do otherwise would constitute an abrogation of legislative power .”Nicoll v. Baker, 668 So.2d 989, 990-9 1 (Fla.1996)
“Special exception to the [sprinkler] provision shall be made for contributing historic structures ……..When recommending alternative systems {to a sprinkler system}, the task force shall consider systems which would not disturb , destroy, or alter the integrity of such historic structures .”
No where does this imply that the Task Force has leeway to approve or disapprove of the exception. Instead, it makes it mandatory for the fire tribunals to accept the “exception” from sprinklers and to recommend alternative systems to a sprinkler system that meet the intent of the NFPA- something they have failed to do in 3 Task Force Hearings, a BORA hearing and/or a Fire Appeals Board hearing. Since the language is so clear and unambiguous, the case law cited [above] does not permit any fire official, nor this Court, to abuse their given right to interpret and instead create new law.

The City is rewriting the Task Force’s mandate without any legislative authority. In other words, if opposing counsel does not like what a statute says, he will just make something up, ala Brian Williams. For example, in the Fire Appeals Board case the City further embellishes its misrepresentation of the law by arguing 509.215 only applies to “transient” facilities licensed before 1994, notwithstanding the law defines a public lodging establishment, as either “transient” or “non-transient” . Opposing counsel then reasons that since Sadigo Court did not get its state transient license until 2008, then 509.215 does not apply. According to the City, the authority for this strange interpretation is a former fire marshal who is no longer employed with the City and a SFM declaratory statement that does not apply to historic buildings, which the Sadigo Court is. The declaratory statement has been overturned by the enactment of FFPC 28.3.5, which does exempt new 3 & 4 story hotels from sprinklers with exterior walkways. Thus, as a matter of law, there is no universal sprinkler mandate, rather just a massive scheme to deceive this Court into thinking there was one.

This Court has previously warned opposing counsel to stop making statements about the correct statutory interpretation s without citing any authority regarding those interpretations. (see Order dated 3/3/14, p. 10, footnote #5)

It appears opposing counsel is cutting and pasting statutes together to create a new statute that fits their needs. The Canons of the Florida Bar, 4-3.3, do not allow officers of the Court to cut and paste statute sections together and pass them off as genuine. Opposing counsel cuts the phrase “transient only” from the Uniform Fire-Safety Standards, F.S. 633.022(1)(b), which only does apply to transient public lodging establishments.

[Opposing counsel does cite In The Matter Of Sonia Machen, Case No.1 05114-09-FM for the proposition that FS 509.215(1)(2) does not apply to Sadigo Court. However, the Statement does say that: “All buildings that are not within those parameters are required to meet Ch. 633…. ” (Id, p. 13) As we now know, F.S. 633 is the FFPC, which is then only Ch. 29, not 28 and Ch. 29 exempts all existing buildings like the Sadigo under 75 feet. So even using the Machen Statement, the Sadigo satisfies it by satisfying FFPC, Ch. 29. Furthermore, on p. 1 of the Dec. Statement it states: “If any of the facts asserted by the Petitioner [fire marshal] are untrue or materially incomplete, the conclusions of the Declaratory Statement could be significantly different. ” The fact that this statement mentions the word “historic” zero times, it is clear that this statement does not apply to historic buildings. Machen failed to account for the historic status of the structure in her analysis and thus should invalidate the use of this statement.]

Opposing counsel then extrapolates the “before 1994” date from F.S. 633.022(2)(b), which allows the local authority to require more strict sprinkler requirements for those buildings built after Jan. 1, 1994, only if a special local sprinkler ordinance is passed. [The City has never passed such an ordinance, thus the Florida Fire Prevention Code is the Uniform Fire-Safety Standard for the state of Florida, as well as the City of Miami Beach. (see F.S. 633.0215(1))] Opposing counsel has then blended these phrases together in their interpretation of FS 509.215.

This cutting and pasting of statutes and representing them as whole in a federal court case has substantially interfered with this Court’s ability to adjudicate the matter fairly. This Court has trusted opposing counsel and that trust has been broken by this unauthorized creation of new law designed to win the case at any and all costs, even if that cost is in the Court’s integrity and fairness in the legal system.

The Legislature has spoken on this issue of historic buildings and fire sprinklers by enacting F.S. 509.2 15(4), with its historic exception to the FS 509.215(2) general sprinkler rule mandated for buildings built before 1983. Although the AHJ does have the last say on interpretation of these codes and statutes, the AHJ does not have authority to rewrite them. The Florida Legislature has also adopted the NFPA’ s 914, Code f or Fire Protection of Historic Structures. The City does not like to talk about this codebook because it also allows historic buildings to utilize many “methods” of compliance, such as the submission of “Equivalency Reports”, in lieu of compliance with any requirement, including even sprinklers. (see NFPA 914, Ch. 8.1) Once again, the City, opposing counsel and/or this Court does not have authority to change the plain and obvious meaning of these “unambiguous” fire codes and statutes that all in one way or another, exempt a historic building just like the Sadigo Court from sprinklers. Therefore, it is the City who does not want to comply with the fire code sections and statutes that exempt the Sadigo Court. If they do not like the outcome of certain laws, then let the fire marshal lobby the State Legislature to change the laws. But for now, the fire marshal must obey the law, not re-write it.

IV. Misrepresentation ofCity Fire Marshal ‘s Authority to Issue Cease & Desist Orders, pursuant to F.S. 633.118

Plaintiffs action s were not frivolous nor without foundation because the Florida Legislature has made it clear that local fire marshals are not agents of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. (see F.S. 633.118, formally 633.121) Given the enormous power and responsibility, the Legislature does not want local fire officials to have to ability to have persons arrested for fire code violations. This is exclusively reserved for the state fire marshal under the state statue 633.228(3), formally 633.161. For good reason, the Florida Legislature only wants State Fire Marshal personnel to be the ones initiating the action to arrest someone. It is general common knowledge that the further down one goes in state and local government, the more likely one is to find people holding technical jobs for which they are not sufficiently qualified by education or experience.

Knowing a local fire official, acting independently of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, could not have the plaintiff arrested for violating local fire dept. “Notices of Violations”, the fire marshal conspired with other local fire marshals to come up with a plan to have plaintiff arrested. (see Exhibit 6- Machen email dated 9/16/1 I-obtained in discovery from City) That conversation resulted in City Fire Marshal continually citing F.S. 633.228 (formerly 633.161) and issuing many “Cease & Desist Orders” pursuant to it, which does allow violators to be arrested. (see FS 633.124) However, the facts show, as evidenced by the email chain, all those knew the authority to “issue” would not extend to the local fire officials and there was no evidence of any coordination with the State Fire Marshal’s Office on the issuance of those Cease & Desist Orders back in 2007-2012.

Additionally, a well-known SFM Declaratory Stmt., In the Matter of Wagner, 128015- 12-FM, confirms the long-standing common knowledge that local fire officials may not issue cease and desist orders under Ch. 633, although they can enforce properly issued Cease & Desist Orders under FS 633 and MD County Sec. 14-44. Even opposing counsel admits that “In re Wagner does fi nd 633.161 inapplicable to municipal officials… “. However, opposing counsel then misrepresents that the local fire marshal has the authority given by other means, such as NFPA 1 Sec. 1.7.6.2,1.7.7,1.7.14. (see Exhibit 11)

A closer look at those sections reveal that all they do is give the AHJ authority to “order person to remove dangerous ..condition…”, (Sec. 1.7.6.2); or “Where dangerous conditions exist….AHJ shall have authority to abate such hazardous conditions…. /I (Sec. 1.7.7); or “The AHJ shall have authority to order an operation or use stopped ….when such building has hazardous conditions… /I ( see Sec. 1.7.14). These are obvious authorities that do not need explaining, however nowhere does it state the AHJ can issue Cease & Desist Orders that subsequently result in the violator being arrested. It is bad faith for opposing counsel to make those representations of a conveyance of authority when in fact they say nothing of the kind. Opposing counsel misrepresents that in addition to the above, the City also has authority to issue Cease & Desist orders as per the City Municipal Code, 50-4(i), and to have persons arrested for fire code violations.

[See Exhibit 7- Ordinance No. 2013-3813, where City unilaterally gave itself the powers the State Legislature said are specifically reserved for State Fire Marshal: the power to issue Cease& Desist Orders pursuant to F.S. 633.]

However, the City modified that municipal code section only in Oct. 2013. Therefore, all those “Cease & Desist Orders” issued prior to 2013, that led to multiple shutdowns of plaintiff s business and his eventual arrest, should be null & void ab initio, as the local fire marshal did not have authority to issue them. Thus, the plaintiffs arrest for violating those “Cease & Desist Orders” should also be null & void, ab initio. So not only did the local fire marshal know her scheme had defects, she carried them out anyways, in such reckless fashion, that opposing counsel had no choice but to deceive this court and suppress this information. Smolker did raise this argument in a Nov. ’14 motion, however it was too little too late, as this Court denied the motion as being moot after it granted City’s motion for final summary judgment.

V. Fire Marshal Does Have Leeway to Exempt Sprinklers

It is also misleading for the City to argue that its hands are tied regarding the mandate of fire sprinklers. This is because the City of Miami Beach never formally enacted any ordinance requiring more strict guidelines for sprinklers. Since Sadigo Court is not a “new” hotel structure, nor undergoing a “change of occupancy”, there is no fire code section that requires sprinklers in an existing 38’ tall hotel-like structure. If there is, then let opposing counsel produce it. Furthermore, F.S. 633.022(2)(b), the Uniform Fire Safety Standards, specifically states that the “local authority may, on a case-by-case basis, in order to meet special situations arising from ….historic….conditions…..authorize equivalent alternative standards”.

Although it is an apartment building by its occupational license, it is an existing hotel, by fire code definition FFPC, Ch. 29 which states: “the term hotel …..shall include a hotel, an inn, a club, a motel, a bed and breakfast, or any other structure meeting the definition of a hotel i. e., transient apartment”}.The Sadigo was built actually as a transient apartment house, hence the original name, Sadigo Court Apartment Hotel, and thus satisfies FFPC Ch. 29, as only existing hotels over 75 feet must be sprinklered.

Also, in FS 509.215(4) , it states the AHJ or fire official shall grant an exception to the fire sprinkler requirement for “contributing” historic structures like the Sadigo Court. In the fire code, the definition of “shall” means a mandatory requirement. (see FFPC Ch. 3.2.6) Ironically, opposing counsel is deceiving this Court into thinking a fire marshal has no leeway into exempting fire sprinklers under the laws and codes. In all actuality, under the FS 509 statute it is the AHJ and tribunal s like the Task Force that have no leeway in denying the exception from sprinklers for a “contributing” historic structure like the Sadigo Court.

VI. Blatant Misrepresentation of Local Ordinance

Plaintiffs actions regarding Count V were not frivolous because the apartment licensees have a “vested right” in an RM-2 zoning district to sell short-term rentals. Additionally, plaintiff cited the new “Vacation Rental Law”, FS 509.032(7)(b), as added proof that it could sell short-term rentals without changing its license because as of the statute’s enactment date of June 2, 2011, there were no city ordinances on the books restricting short-term rentals in any RM-2 district. [Although the new short-term rental statute creates a new category of Transient establishments, “vacation rentals”, the new law generally prohibits municipalities, unless they have a law prior to June2, 2011, from restricting short-term rentals on the basis of occupancy classification, i.e., apartment, bed and breakfast, single-family, rooming house, etc….(see also White Paper: “ShortTerm Rental Housing Restrictions”, Robinson & Cole, LLP, p. 13-14 (2011- Exhibit 12)] However, the City brazenly argued that plaintiffs use of that landmark law is “irrelevant and a classic red-herring” because it already had an ordinance , # 20 I0-3685 , that restricted short-term rental s and existed prior to June 2, 2011. (see Exhibit 8) Remarkably, this in part caused the Court to dismiss plaintiffs Count V when that ordinance clearly does not even apply to Sadigo’s RM-2 zoning district! Thus, the City has repeatedly mislead Courts into believing it already had an ordinance restricting Sadigo’s short-term rentals, when in actuality it never did back then and it does not have one today.

VII. A Lot of Billings, Very Little Results

Although there is no guarantee of success in civil litigation, a plaintiff must be certain his attorneys are not succumbing to the City’s arguments because they would rather treat their client like a ATM, rather than vigorously advocate their client’s positions. Opposing counsel points out that plaintiff had so many lawyers and he still lost every time. And although this may be true, the reason is every lawyer, except one or two, had the propensity to do things harmful to the client, while remarkably always beneficial to the City.

Plaintiffs original lawyers back in 2007 advised him that being a “contributing” historic building is irrelevant when considering sprinklers and there are no statutes, fire code sections or otherwise that can help the historic Sadigo Court stave off a mandate of sprinklers from a local fire marshal, as she is the “Authority Having Jurisdiction”. That same lawyer never advised client that he could engage a fire engineer to submit a sealed and certified “Equivalency Report” that remediates the sprinkler requirement, as per NFPA 914, Code for Historic Structures and/or Florida Building Code, Existing, Ch. 1105/6. It is no coincidence that the City now claims all those Equivalency Reports are unacceptable. It is also no coincidence that opposing counsel now cites these “previous attorney, architect and engineer” as one of the groups who disagreed with their client’s assessment regarding historic buildings and fire sprinklers.

That same firm never advised their client that Sadigo Court can have a State Transient Apartment License, along with its local apartment license, and still sell short-term rentals. Instead, it advised Sadigo that if it wanted to sell short term rentals it would have to undergo a change to hotel and obtain new licenses in order to operate. The City has spent its resources these past eight years backing up the well-connected land-u se law firm, as well as their incorrect determinations regarding, land-use, fire codes and sprinklers. It is palpable that the City and plaintiff could have resolved this back in 2007 if the law firm only honestly advocated on behalf of its client that: 1) the Sadigo Court is an apartment licensee with “vested” rights that allow it to sell short-term rentals in its RM-2 zoning district and 2) it can do so without sprinklers due to the fact that Sadigo is also a “contributing” historic structure, as per FS 509.215(4).

In yet another disappointing display of legal advocacy, another law firm representing client in over two days of hearings, failed to advise the state court judge in the injunctive-relief case involving the City back in 20 II , that the Sadigo is located in a RM-2 zoning district. This is crucial when determining the right to sell short-term rentals. That same lawyer changed plaintiff’s affidavit without informing client and client mistakenly signed it where it stated “after the hearing I protested in a judge’s chamber” . Not only was this not true, but it unfairly cast client as litigious crybaby that rudely protest bad decisions. [see Exhibit 9- Truitt email to client dated 7/12/11] Fortunately, the attorney agreed to change the paragraph in question the next day and this is reflected on the docket sheet in case. However, the damage was already done. The incorrect affidavit still remains on the books and was even sent up on appeal as part of the City’s Appendix to Appellee’s Answer Brief instead of the corrected one.

[See Exhibit 10- City’s Appendix to Answer Brief, Eisenberg Dev. Corp. v. City of Miami Beach, Case No. 3D12-362, filed 4/26/12]

Also, that same lawyer, despite City attorneys making those previously mentioned false statements regarding apartments inability to sell short-term rental s, failed to lodge one objection. The City, during those same two days, lodged 15 objections. (see Transcripts on 6/30/1 1 & 7/6/11 in Eisenberg v. City of Miami Beach. Case No. 11 -20234 CA 22) Another lawyer filed a crucial memorandum of law too late before a hearing regarding a motion for relief from judgment that the judge refused to read or accept. The memo contained exculpatory evidence showing the Planning Director stating that after the landmark state short-term rental law, F.S. 509.032(7) became effective, it restricts City’s ability to prevent certain apartment licensees from selling short-term rentals.

[12 see Exhibit 11- Memorandum of Law in Support for Motion for Relief from Judgment. Eisenberg Dev. Corp. v. City of Miami Beach, Case No.I I-2 0234 CA 01(15), filed two days before 4/30/13 hearing and was not accepted by Judge Rodriguez. Smolker Bartlett attorneys advised plaintiff to voluntarily dismiss this state court motion for relief under Fl. Rules of Civ. Pro. 1.540(b), which plaintiff did.]

So as one can see, it has been a calamity of errors perpetrated by the numerous attorneys who all thought client had a great case at the onset, only to result in them doing something incompetent and benefitting the City in the end. This was plaintiffs experience dealing with lawyers on this case: they always did things that ended up hurting plaintiff s position or reputation. In good faith, plaintiff has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, in respect of the litigation process, to have able legal counsel independently evaluate and consult through the issues involving short-term rentals and fire safety. However, all that money still resulted in the City’s campaign of misrepresentation of the statutes, facts and code sections, resulting in unjustified victories at every turn.

CONCLUSION

Despite the City’s arguments that plaintiff s case is frivolous, without any foundation , the above shows the exact opposite. Plaintiffs case was strong because there actually are many comparators, that is apartment licensees selling short-term rentals . The only problem plaintiff had was getting their lawyer, Smolkeret.al., to provide them to this Court. Even if this Court believed that the Sadigo must change into a hotel, that change is only a “change of use”, not a “change of occupancy”. Thus the applicable fire code chapter is Ch. 29, not Ch. 28 and Ch. 29 exempts all existing hotels under 75 ft. So the Sadigo does comply with FFPC. It also complies with the Uniform Fire Safety Standards because under Florida law the uniform Standards are the same standards as the FFPC. (see Rule 69A-43.019- Exhibit 12)

Sadigo also complies with FS 509.215(4) because it is a “contributing” historic structure. City once again misrepresents to this Court that FS 509.215 only applies to transient public lodging establishments that were licensed prior to 1994. As shown above, FS 509.215 applies to both non-transient and transient public lodging establishments. The City also misrepresented to this Court by stating there is a universal sprinkler mandate for all transient establishments, “without exception”. This is absolutely false as shown by the numerous buildings in Exhibits 1& 2 provided by City selling short-term rentals without sprinklers.

Lastly, the City has recklessly issued those Cease & Desist Orders from 2007-2012 without having the proper authority to do so and thus they are null and void, ab initio. With its unlimited public resources, the City has maligned the case and caused the legal process to be unfair. They have created problems for plaintiff when none should have existed. Thus, as the above shows, one does not need to have an expertise in fire sprinklers to know that the Sadigo Court is exempt from sprinklers, as a matter of law. The only problem is that this City does not wish to acknowledge that law and has spent obscene amounts of money to distort the truth in the laws and fire codes. For this reason alone, they clearly are a government not for its people. They should not be permitted to allow their numerous misrepresentations to dictate the narrative of this case. Doing justice in a case and obeying the Canons of the Florida Bar are more important than achieving a win at any and all cost. Therefore, Plaintiff respectfully request this Court to deny Defendant’s motion for entitlement and grant such other relief as the court deems just and appropriate.

CERTIFICATE OF SERVICE

I HEREBY CERT1FY that on 6/4/15, I filed the foregoing with the Clerk of the Court and sent filing to all counsel and parties of record on this 4th day of JUNE, 2015.

ROD EISENBERG
334 20th St
Miami Beach, Florida 33139
Tel. No. 305-812- 7125
Fax. No. 305-672-9135
info@sadigo.com
BY: Rod Eisenberg, Pro Se

LIST OF EXHIBITS

1. Letters to Smolker Bartlett, et al dated June 18, 2013 and Aug. 3, 20 13
2. City’s “Exhibit 1”- those apartment s that changed to hotel and “Exhibit 2”-apartments that are selling short term rentals.
3. Cremer email dated 10/29/l4
4. City’s Exhibit 1; SLS Consulting, Inc. Report; Miami-Dade County Letter dated 3/12 /09
5. Order dated 6/2/14 in Eisenberg v. Bercow et al., Case NO. 11-22415 CA 0 I
6. Fire Marshal Machen email dated 9/16/11-obtained in discovery from City
7. CMB Ordinance No. 2013-3813
8. City’s Motion to Dismiss, page 17 of 19, footnote 14, dated 11/22/13 in case at bar and 9 City’s Response, p. 4, footnote #2, dated 4/29/1 3 in Eisenberg v. City of Miami Beach, Case # 11-20234 CA 15)
9. Truitt email to client dated 7/12/11
10. Excerpts from original affidavit and corrected affidavit dated 7/12/11
11. F.A. C. 61C- 1.002(4)(a) ; “Short-Term Rental Housing Restrictions”, a White Paper, Robinson & Cole, LLP, p. 13-14 (2011) Memorandum of Law in Support of Motion for Relief from Judgment. Eisenberg Dev. Corp. v. City of Miami Beach , Case No. 11 -20234 CA 01(1 5)
12. NFPA 1, Sec. 1.7.6.2, 1.7.7,1.7.14; NFPA 914, Ch. 8.1; FS 509.2 15; FS 509.013(4); FS 509.242(1) ; FS 633.161 ; FS 633.118 ; FS 633.022; FFPC, Ch. 3.2.6, Ch. 28, Ch. 29, Ch. 43.7; Uniform Fire Safety Standards, Ch. 69A-43; CMB Municipal Code, Sec. 50-4
13. Misc. CMB Fire Inspection Reports Case No. FIlI 002750; Fl 11002910; FI 11004345
14. Misc. non-hotel licensees selling short-term rentals
15. Misc. Code violations cases- CE# 11010866; CE# 12002753
16. DBPR Lodging inspection Report s dated 7/10 /08 and 5/13/1 0
17. SFM Declaratory Statement, In the Matter of Sonia Machen, Case No. 105114-09-FM; SFM Declaratory Statement, In the Matter of Wagner, Case No. 12801 5-12-FM
18. CMB Ordinance , # 2010-3685
19. Florida Bar, Rule 4-3.3- Candor Toward the Tribunal; Attorney’s Oath of Admission to the Florida Bar

COPY OF ORIGINAL MOTION AND EXHIBITS:

SOHO Bay Restaurant Reopens With Gun to Head

SOHO header

 

SOHO BAY RESTAURANT REOPENS WITH GUN TO HEAD

Management is “Not exactly thrilled by the circumstances”

27 November 2015

By David Arthur Walters

THE SOUTH BEACH HERALD

SOHO Restaurant at Bentley Bay, forced to close for nearly three months by unanticipated road construction, has finally reopened. The event was celebrated with the community in a two-hour, exceedingly generous Grand Reopening, well attended despite the fact that ingress from West Avenue was still blocked and access was otherwise tricky.

SOHO Crowded Sushi Area

The closing in August was not so grand. Max Heindl, its general manager, complained to the New Times that the road construction that completely boxed in the upscale sushi restaurant on the north end of West Avenue had not been planned overnight although it caught him by surprise. He said he could have kept the place open with no customers or shut it down to save on expenses, likening the option to having a gun put to his head.

The closure naturally resulted in a significant loss of impetus, diminishing the expectations of potential customers, to mention the loss of employees, and the current loss of least $2 million of revenue, putting quite a drag on an estimated $3.5 million capital investment not counting extraordinary startup costs.

SOHO Mermaid Chef Macabre

The gun is still to the head, figuratively speaking. Martin Marsh, SOHO’s assistant general manager, declined to discuss the numbers and other proprietary information except to say that the owners were “not exactly thrilled” by the circumstances; the gun-to-the-head metaphor was “a little excessive”; the restaurant was “working with the city” including a commissioner, in “an ongoing process to resolve issues”; and it would be “inappropriate” to complain about city officials.

He said he did not know if the landlord, prominent realtor and developer Scott Robins, a close friend and partner of developer Mayor Philip Levine, was aware of the upcoming road construction when he leased the space. He said that, to the best of his knowledge, Mr. Robins was not involved in working anything out with the city.

Government agencies are occasionally sued for interrupting businesses with construction. For example, Michael Jordon’s Steakhouse, which opened in 1998 and spearheaded the revival of Grand Center Station, has sued a state agency, the Metropolitan Transit Authority, for literally destroying its business with construction activities.

Holding cities liable for damages even for grossly negligent conduct is problematic in Florida given the sovereign immunity bestowed on agencies by the state’s highest court despite a statute supposedly waiving it. Sovereign immunity is said to have only added to the negligence and arrogance of public officials.

A sympathetic general manager for a Lincoln Road establishment, commenting anonymously to protect his business from retaliation, said that SOHO never should have tried to open when it did. It should have waited for construction to end, if it had known it was coming, and that would include the promised installation of a dock at its entrance where yachts could land.

“May God help them,” he said.

He recalled that Lincoln Road retailers and restaurants had recently approached City Manager Jimmy Morales about the scheduling of the upcoming re-landscaping of Lincoln Road. He said Mr. Morales promised there would be plenty of time before approval to work things out with the businesses. Two weeks later, the plan was approved without their input. He characterized the city manager as a liar in vulgar terms, saying businesses should never trust him.

He also said that the city would pay SOHO’s rent to Scott Robins for the period it was closed. Commissioner Michael Grieco denied that has yet occurred because it would have to be approved by the commission.

Brazilian Restaurateur Karine Queiroz opened her first restaurant in 1998, in Bahia. She had eight restaurants in Brazil when she opened in South Beach. She has nearly doubled her restaurant count since 2013.

She has not responded by deadline to several questions forwarded to her; for example, whether she believes the City of Miami Beach is easier to deal with than so-called Third World governments, and what is the secret of her success. We shall have to guess.

Location is important, but is not the all. SOHO is located at the Miami Beach end of MacArthur Causeway, which is becoming a sort of traffic center given recent developments. It is remote from other restaurants except for a successful one at the yacht harbor nearby, yet that is no problem if it can attract the sort of upscale clientele that live  the beside water in that neighborhood, in addition to people who yacht and drive in. Parking and easy pedestrian access are key.

SOHO View Macarthur
View from Dining Room

Of course employing the right wait staff, the foot soldiers, is crucial to success. They will be personable, intelligent servers committed to providing excellent service, and will want to stay around, on the average, for several years. That means they will need good tips. So the restaurant must be busy, and that means it must have, besides good service, good food hence good chefs and cooks.

SOHO RICKY SAURI

SOHO is fusion sushi, and fusion is in now. When an area is flooded with the fusion of this and that with Asian or whatever, the fusion must be something special. Ricky Sauri, executive chef, is taking care of that at SOHO. He has top-notch experience. Besides, we know that many of the best chefs in the country are Puerto Ricans.

SOHO Chef MAX

Ricky has Max Kamakura, an amazing Japanese sushi chef from Brazil, on his team. Fabian Failla, the service manager, had Max prepare a spectacular assortment of sushi for me. I asked Max if the delightful combination or all the items on the plate was on the menu. He said he would probably not duplicate the plate or some of the items in the future as he preferred to be creative once he knew the general preferences of customers.

SOHO Sushi Dish

Of course a good restaurant must have excellent management to facilitate the performance of everyone they manage instead of getting in their way and alienating them, and they must please customers and owners, and do a myriad of things including working things out constructively with city officials.

SOHO Road Block

SOHO business is still impeded by construction besides West Avenue construction blockade. At present the large parking lot beside 520 West Avenue is helpful, but it will be soon replaced by a garage, so more construction. The intersection at Fifth and Alton is lacking two crosswalks that would allow pedestrians to safely approach the front entrance from the shopping center and the South of Fifth neighborhood. Again, access by car is tricky.

Notwithstanding the current impediments, the Grand Reopening was packed with people who managed to arrive to consume what must have been $20,000 in food, not to mention staffing costs.

SOHO Sushi MermaidHealthy Photo Credit- Michael Trainer

Mr. Marsh is a smart young man with good public relations skills. When I commented that it is taking way too long to get the restaurant up and running, he said that SOHO’s objective is “not to be the restaurant of the year,” but to “grow organically.”

# #

View of from portico – Brazilian American Chamber event

SOHO portico view ICON

Tracey’s Thanksgiving Suicide

Tracey Doll

 

TRACEY’S THANKSGIVING SUICIDE

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

I certainly understand why my next door neighbor, Tracey Flagler, may she rest in peace, opted out of her conditioned life in South Beach on Thanksgiving Day of 2007. I nearly did the same thing myself one New Year’s Day, so I have no right to blame her. Besides, what person in her right mind would want to live forever in the very world of circumstances that had made her so miserable? In any event, many reasons can be found for committing suicide.

Of course lunatics are not morally guilty of self-murder by reason of insanity. In their absence of mind they lose self-respect and the so-called instinct of self-preservation, and may therefore give effect to almost unimaginable scenes of self-mutilation and self-annihilation. Even an healthy individual might be momentarily seized by a heretofore repressed, fundamental anxiety, and suddenly be driven by a sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach to her demise, throwing herself out of a window, for example, as a woman did during my lunch hour one day in Midtown Manhattan – fortunately the horizontal extent of her leap caused her to land on a taxi cab instead of the crowded sidewalk below.

Relatively sane people have many reasons to end it all. Notwithstanding the fact that thinkers have gone to great lengths to prove that suicide is irrational in itself, self-destruction may be a perfectly logical outcome of a person’s creed or rationale. Liberty is often cited as a sufficient reason to murder oneself if not countless others. People might kill themselves for some professed ideal, or to save the life of others, or perhaps to relieve caretakers of being a burden unto them. Suicidal libertarians might martyr themselves to demonstrate against and shame the authorities instead of assassinating them. Tyrants prize the lifestyles they have obtained at great cost to those who fear and envy them – indignant pride or wounded self-esteem has often provoked suicidal rebellion against one tyrant or another; although their suicide in itself gives tyrants little cause for remorse, perhaps the masses will take the cue and rise up against them. Greedy competitors in the war of all against all covet and hoard the things of this world at great cost to those who would rather make love than war – some people prefer not to set evil against evil, and kill themselves instead.

Abject poverty has always offered a civilized person a reason to embrace the ultimate poverty of death. Today’s religious individualism places the blame for poverty squarely on the I-god individual, who should prefer death to being cast on the street to be publicly shamed. Indeed, the rise of individualism in ancient Greece was accompanied by the increased discussion of suicide – discussions of the subject are believed to result in an increase suicide rate – not only due to social disorganization: if a man was his own best friend, he might rightfully put an end to a life that was not worth living as far as he was concerned.

Later on the Stoic schools condoned suicide, and even recommended it where immortality was disbelieved, for death was seen ever since the beginning of history as the cure for all ills. Unreasonable suicide was deprecated by reasonable men including Stoics, but many Stoics and Cynics who were indifferent to death as evil and life as good would not even scoff today at woman today who killed herself for breaking finger nail: the founder of Stoicism was said to have killed himself over a wrenched finger. A truly indifferent Stoic might do himself in even if he were happy; likewise an unhappy person might suffer indefinitely. Others simply saw suicide as a naked human right.

Homelessness is despised wherever money is God, and some people think God puts homeless persons on the street as a warning. Where money must be had to purchase love, not much can be said for love or for the value of money, and everybody suffers accordingly. And wherever expectations run high, disappointments are accordingly severe. In any event, there is no end to desire.

The bare necessities are never enough, and wants are multiplied with the supplies as advertised. Tracey Flagler, for example, had food, clothing, shelter and a bicycle, but that was not enough: she went to the movies, she watched television, she read magazines, and she served rich and famous people at the restaurant, observing them having a lot of fun, and she read prophets who said the purpose of life is to have fun, and Oprah agreed with them, and Tracey wanted more than what she had, and she didn’t get it, and the prophets said there was no such thing as death, and she apparently threw away everything she had along with the slim chance that everyone is supposed to have in this great nation of ours, the chance to get filthy rich.

We have lately heard that there is a hereafter where all is forgiven, that death is not final after all, that there really is no such thing as death for us, and that our souls are immortal. I happen to know that Tracey Flagler heard that rumor, along with rumors about reincarnation on self-created planets – I read about them in her diaries. I have no doubt whatsoever that it was a factor leading to her premature departure from this planet. A suicide with a reason to kill himself may as a matter of habit feel that he is virtually immortal even though he knows he will actually perish – he believes the future state, even nothingness, is something that will relieve him of his anxiety, hence in that respect nothing really exists for him.

Of course the Judeo-Christian religion scruples against self-killing, citing the sixth commandment against killing while engaging in the wholesale slaughter of foreign enemies who seemingly worship the same god. Remember, “Thou shalt do no murder” is the sixth commandment, properly translated; obedience to God might require one to kill enemies, and killing is not, legally speaking, murder. Mind you that there is no text specifically prohibiting suicide in the Judeo-Christian canon, but the religious still consider it a great evil, not only because life is said to be a gift of God for us to use but which we do not own, but also on the rational grounds that our will to live naturally causes us to fear death, to deem life good and death evil; hence life is the ultimate datum, the greatest good of all goods, wherefore we should revere it and refuse to drink the bitter tea.

According to Plutarch, a rational remedy was employed to cure a terrible affliction suffered by the maidens of Miletos. The ladies were, for some unknown cause, overcome with such a mad desire to die that they hung themselves before they could be prevented from doing so. A wise man moved that a resolution be adopted, that their bodies would be displayed in the shopping center; the malady ended upon the adoption of said resolution.

Besides, suicide costs the society a taxpayer, hence is a sort of theft from the commonweal. We note that, in 1807, twenty-eight Russians buried themselves alive to escape the census, which they believed was sinful.

Let it not be said that one should kill oneself or get oneself killed like the son of God in order to obtain some good, for thou shall not kill, and it is wrong to do an evil to get any good. We project our native instinct to live forever onto a higher personal power, which is a rational power by virtue of being personal, i.e. human: therefore we must find sufficient reasons why God commands us all to live. Suffice it to say that the evil is not in the suicidal act itself but in disobedience to God’s will. Keep in mind that God exists and that suicides will roast in hellfire forever. In fact suicide is high treason, a direct revolt against the almighty will of God. In effect suicide is blasphemous because it seems to detract from the belief that God’s will is in fact all mighty. Further, suicide is a grievous insult to humankind as such.

God does command a few worthy followers to martyr themselves in his name. Jesus was not, then, a suicide but was an obedient son – he would never have committed suicide-by-cop on his own. Yes, indeed, although we are sent here as sentinels, a few of us may be called upon by the Commander to abandon our post. Righteous suicide may be committed for the glory of God, just as humankind wages war against itself in the name of God for the improvement of the race. After all, religion is verily virtual suicide, a denial of that aspect of man’s brutal nature, which includes not only an instinctive urge to fornicate with any woman in sight but also to kill whosoever stands in his way, including his own self. Wherefore self-sacrifice for the love of God and contempt for the perishables of this world including the rotting flesh of the body bag of filth is sometimes warranted for the ascetically inclined.

Suicide is cowardly and ignoble, anti-heroic, a murderous act of sheer desperation. It is better to be killed by an evil-doer or tyrannical authority than to do evil unto oneself by self-murder if one cannot escape from its power. The noble person dies nobly, heroically confronting his undoing, while the ignoble person kills himself to escape what the noble person courageously endures. The suicide does not resist: he is afraid. He despairs and desperately takes his own life. Besides, if there is no afterlife, then this existence, no matter how miserable it might be, is better than nothing. It is better to be miserable than not to be at all.

That might very well be the ignoble and cowardly attitude, one that runs counter to the grain of human nature, which cries out for liberty or death. But most of us are neurotic enough to stick around no matter how miserable we might be, and, notwithstanding the stoical and cynical attitude of pessimistic skeptics, despite our suffering we may expect to be saved from our end right down to the bitter end, which some sweet-lemon prophets advertise as the happiest moment of our lives. The I-god prophets of the Me Era’s popular religious individualism believe individuals live forever at will, intentionally donning and doffing a series of bodies along the way – dying is simply a dramatic scene; death is a farce since there is no such thing.

A discontented person might just move to some other part of the world. But no matter where you go, although that part of the world might look somewhat different, it is the same old world, and there you are, with the same old history, and with the same old stuff to buy thanks to mass production. All of that is quite boring after awhile, and the stuff soon begins to look like so much trash, junk and garbage again.

As for another world, a netherworld or a hereafter which is presumably quite a bit different than this one because it is also inhabited by aliens from other planets who happen to wear medieval costumes as portrayed on Star Trek – why would people want to betake themselves to such a beyond with much of the same old baggage that weighed them down in this one? That would be the continuation of hell on Earth. As for me, I love myself well enough, but I would not take my historical self with me to heaven, I speculated, only to taint paradise and get the vicious cycle going again. History, after all, is to some extent a mistake. It would be best to be born again with the slate wiped clean. But if we arrive with our memories wiped clean, what’s the use of surviving? If I am not to remember my current self on that better planet, if I am to be purified of that naturalized and socialized individual that I think I am now, what do I, as I am, care about that place, other than to be confident that, before I am transported there, my conception of me will be forever laid to rest, even before my body is rendered personally irrelevant and arrives at its final resting place in a grave, or perchance is somehow scattered about – the Hindus and others would leave nary a trace of that sullied cloak behind. May my unsullied soul continue forever without me if it will, and may that continuance be no business of mine for heaven’s sake: Karmic regression or progression is not my concern if I may not remember what transpired before in order to know whether my present state as a werewolf or a demigod is better or worse than my past state.

All the reasons for and against suicide seem to add up to nothing for certain. If one does not embrace life as a premise to be upheld and revered in all circumstances, whether by commandment of a god or not, then a number of options present themselves. Given the warring history of the human race, the consensus seems to be that the quality of life is more important than life itself.

Tracey Flagler tried very hard to appreciate the quality of her life, which was no doubt better than that of untold millions of inhabitants of this planet, and the fact that she tried so hard makes it evident that it was not for her in the first place. She was young and attractive and passionate, a fun-loving girlfriend to her boyfriends; she was always able to find good jobs serving delicious food; she picked up hundreds of dollars in tips almost whenever she wanted to; she had a modest studio two blocks from a beautiful beach. But none of that was enough. She suffered terribly for the dearth of some ineluctable thing that she thought was the purpose and point of life, namely fun or joy. She never had enough fun, and thought the lack was due to a shortage of stuff. The pop prophets reinforced her faith in fun and in the notion that it can be purchased. Her notebooks reiterate endlessly the impoverished terminology of the instant success cult: I, want, fun, joy, me, feel, source, Oprah, money, stuff, famous, Madonna, eternal, rich, universe, attraction, vibrations…. And then there are the almost pathological perseverations, the fearful chanting of positive affirmations – unfortunately, we cannot make ourselves appreciate something simply by affirming the appreciation that we don’t really have over and over again.

The handwritten menus, the lists of ingredients in various dishes, that I found in Tracey’s notebooks are far more mouthwatering, and led me to believe that her life would have been richer if she had focused her intensely passionate nature on the objective details of things, on the consideration of other people, on the study of some liberal art she might have some interest in – a course in academic philosophy might disenchant her of the popular delusions.

At the bottom of Tracey’s being there was an awful want, a terrible desire, a craving so intense that only a Buddha or a withdrawing drug addict could fathom it. Of course the inchoate desire she suffered was not unique. We have it in common, but we manage to cover it up, put it on a leash, subdue it, repress it, ignore it, or just accept it and suffer it. Some suffer it more than others, and poor Tracey simply could not tolerate the suffering. She wanted to believe the hype that the purpose of life is a constant joy that can be had in hand, instead of admitting the truth, that human nature is suffering, and that without it even fleeting joy would be impossible. She had her doubts about the eternal joy business: she expressed her anger at the false prophets from time to time: “I HATE you, I HATE all of you!”

That is not to say that overt suffering is a good thing or that we should suffer needlessly. Freud was right: Neurotic people cling to their misery in self-defense no matter what paradise is promised. Sometimes we suffer only because we want to, although we don’t know it. I developed a habit of asking myself, when miserable, “Do I want to make myself miserable?” No? Then I dwell on something else, and that’s the end of that. Thoughts do influence matter, that much is self-evident, but the magic of positive thinking needs the right means.

Tracey thought a million dollars would afford her more leisure to have the kind of fun she wanted to have. Most of us without a million bucks would not mind having a million or more. If only everyone could get their hands on a million dollars, our world would presumably be a much better place to live in provided inflation could be held to less than two percent per annum. Yes, a million dollars would make room for more fun, but fun at doing what? If I had a million dollars I might quit my day job tomorrow and invest my time in saving the world with success books. Ideally they would be written, edited and published by yours truly, under my Three Stooges Publishing imprimatur. I already have the first book in mind, How to Make a Million Dollars for Somebody Else. I shall submit it for approval by Oprah Winfrey’s book club. I can see myself now, chatting with Oprah on her show, explaining how the world would be a much better place if everyone would try to make a million dollars for someone else rather than for themselves, and I shall suggest that she use some of her $2.5 billion to sponsor a brand new reality show called The Pot Latchers. I shall bring along Tracey’s One Million Dollar Bill coffee mug and some her catnip tea for people who like to see magic stuff, and I shall bring along Penelope, her teddy bear, too. Ten percent of the profits would go into the Tracey Flagler Foundation for Stray Cats.

Oh, Dear Tracey, I did not know you when you were here, but I know you well enough now, and I miss you. You were welcome here. You thought you were a weirdo; you thought that you did not fit in here because your craving was not satisfied, you felt nobody could make you whole or fill your hole. If only you had known that South Beach is for weirdoes, and that you would have fit right in here, we could have had fun suffering life together. We could have had fun riding in limos. We would have gotten on the Oprah show. We would have opened up an erotica boutique, a tattoo parlor, and a night club on Washington Avenue. Yes, we would have suffered, but we would have had a great deal of fun even thought that is not the purpose of life.

# #

South Beach Lucky Numbers Halloween Crash

CRASH HEADER

SOUTH BEACH SEVEN ELEVEN HALLOWEEN CRASH

“Both numbers are lucky.”

3 November 2015

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

A 2007 Audi in which two women were fist-fighting crashed into the 7-Eleven at 9th Street on Washington Avenue in South Beach at 5 a.m. last Friday, taking out two pillars and bursting into flames. One woman fled the scene after she and her companion were pulled from the car by Good Samaritans.

Little did the astonished witnesses at Pizza Rustica across the street know that the sidewalk café at which they were sitting was illegally situated right on the corner, jutting out in such a way to traffic crossing Washington Avenue that it especially jeopardizes the lives and limbs of pizza lovers.

A complaint about the precarious pizza corner was lodged with the city’s code enforcement department. Hernan Cardeno, Esq., the department’s director, said nothing could be done about the clear violation because the city manager had rendered it legal by permitting it.

CRASH Permitting IT

The City of Miami Beach has a strong city manager, weak mayor form of government. City managers may with impunity act as virtual dictators, placing themselves above the law ordained by the political body, the city commission. Jimmy Morales, Esq., the current city manager, however, is subject to the dictates of Mayor Philip Levine, who is a de facto strong mayor by virtue of a so-called purchased majority on the commission and a city manager subservient to his dictates.

For example, for last New Year’s Eve celebration on Espanola Way, Jimmy Morales waived the requirements for the special event permit ordinance designed to protect the public although the ordinance does not provide for such a waiver. One of the restaurant owners, whose request for a special event permit had been denied as submitted too late, had for some time insisted that code officers enforce the code equally for all restaurants on the street, including two other restaurants that had applied for permits; those two businesses were eventually favored by the waiver of all special event permit requirements. The troublemaker’s landlord, Scott Robins, who owns the buildings along one side of Espanola Way, and who is a partner and close friend of the mayor, brought a retaliatory eviction suit against the tenant as a result of his persistent insistence on equal enforcement of the laws. The city manager allowed the celebration to proceed without permits as an answer to the complainant, so he would know who is boss of the city. Such retaliatory behavior favors competitors who are friends with officials and/or are obedient to the whim and caprice of the powers that be. Yet the county ethics commission took the officials’ prevarications for granted without asking the complainant for a response, and dismissed the ethics complaint he had made.

Since Major Levine and his faux reform majority seized control over the city largely for the benefit of contributing vendors and real estate developers, South Beach seems to be returning to the Wild West days that the police department had managed to considerably dampen. Top police brass were gotten rid of and outsiders wheeled in. The public request for the hiring of a city manager from outside the area, however, was ignored, and Jimmy Morales, a political insider and home boy, was shoed in despite the recommendations of a professional recruiting firm. The newbies brought in to head the police department are naturally compliant with the wishes of the local political force, although police departments in theory work for the general public.

The police department responds efficiently and effectively to specific complaints. Proactive enforcement, however, of quality of life ordinances and traffic laws is the bugbear plaguing the city. And neighborhood relations have deteriorated. Some of the new officers are unapproachable, unfriendly, even hostile, and often unfamiliar with the local code of ordinances.

Crime does seem to be rising, at least according to anecdotal reports. Getting statistics on all types of crimes and not only the UCR Part I on major crimes has proven virtually impossible. A high-ranking officer, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that the books are being cooked by the new police chief.

“(Chief Oates) is under reporting crimes. Crime in Miami Beach is out of control, and they’re cooking the books to lie about the real numbers and actual specific crimes.”

Police chiefs and their departments everywhere will always be blamed for whatever goes wrong on the streets. Statistics can always be interpreted two ways. Yet, when a police department refuses to regularly release easily generated reports, as is even done online in some jurisdictions, or neglects to even write reports in some instances, it must have something to hide; either incompetence of misconduct.

However that may be, the community is left waiting for genuine, radical reform. In the interim, expect more arrogance on the part of undisciplined officials, more serious crimes to result from the toleration of minor crimes, more pedestrians maimed and killed.

And expect more cars crashing into storefronts, as at the 7-Eleven on Washington and 9th Street. One of these days a car or truck is bound to careen into that sidewalk café at Rustica Pizza across the street.

CRASH across the street

The owner, a respected lawyer, has set out a couple of planters as barriers. Concrete would be better. Still, that might not do considering that two pillars were knocked down across the street.

“Oh, someday the pizza people will be hit,” said a worker repairing the damage at 7-Eleven, “and the city and the manager will be sued. Seven and eleven are lucky numbers.”

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(Related Article)

CITY OF MIAMI BEACH PERMITS ACCIDENTS WAITING TO HAPPEN

The Risk to Life and Limb May Be Worth the Profit

23 October 2014

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

CRASH worth the profit

Pizza Rustica sidewalk café corner permitted at 863 Washington Avenue, Miami Beach

CRASH miami city

La Pizzeria de la Lemoni unpermitted sidewalk café corner at 4600 N.E. 2nd, Miami City

News accounts that at least ten people were injured on Saturday the 4th of October by a car crashing into La Pizzeria de Lemoni’s unpermitted sidewalk café at the corner of 46th and Northeast Second Avenue in Miami reminded me that, nearly four years prior, I had pointed out to the Code Compliance Division and the City Manager of the City of Miami Beach that part of Pizza Rustica’s 22-seat sidewalk café was dangerously perched on the corner of 9th and Washington Avenue.

“Rustica seating on corner under umbrella endangers customers,” I reported to Code Compliance in 2010, “impedes the fire department. Miami Beach ordinances mandate 5’ corner and crosswalk leeway, and maximum umbrella height of 6 inches.”

CRASH inches

Image to Code Compliance in 2010

City officials did not respond to my concern, which I posted on Miami Mirror for the benefit of accident victims and their lawyers in the event of a crash. Given my experience as a pedestrian with reckless and sometimes intoxicated drivers, I believe it was only a matter of time until Rustica customers were maimed and perhaps killed while eating their pizza.

Indeed, the traffic has become more and more troublesome since then on the beach, as I duly noted when I walked upon a man killed in broad daylight by a taxi at the intersection in front of the Five Guys Hamburger joint on Washington Avenue.

I contacted Code Compliance again after this month’s accident in Miami, only to be told that the sidewalk café was permitted, period. So their hands were tied.

You see, the city’s strong-manager, weak-mayor form of government provides the city manager, an unelected official, with virtually dictatorial powers provided that he does not alienate a majority of city commissioners, as did former city manager Jorge “Boss” Gonzalez, who was forced out after 14 years on pretexts of corruption and negligence; he insisted that he had bent to the will of commissioners, and that the corruption was rooted with them. He was replaced by Jimmy “Nice Guy” Morales, a political insider with no city management, who was shoed in to the position despite a professional recruitment firm’s recommendations. Mayor “King” Levine, a wealthy public relations mogul and real estate developer supported by the Clintons, purchased his seat and contributed to campaigns in order to obtain a “reform” majority on the commission, which he leads during the honeymoon period. Although Levine is bowed to as the “Great Leader,” City Manager Morales wields considerable dictatorial power. Commissioner Michael “Boy Friday” Grieco, a criminal defense attorney, has stated that the commission almost always follows the city manager’s recommendations “blindly.”

In fine, the theory based on the city charter is that the city manager or his designees may permit sidewalk café arrangements prohibited by the commission’s ordinances because the commission has provided that he can do so. So if he or his designee, say, the director of the public works department, does not prohibit arrangements prohibited by the code, they are permitted. Such exceptions to the rules, permitted by the rules, reminiscent of the sovereign discretion of kings to break the laws because they are divine fonts of law, are said to create corruption honey pots for sticky fingers.

Now the sidewalk café ordinance does provide that the city manager shall immediately correct life safety violations, “defined as those conditions which, in the reasonable determination and judgment of the city manager, involve serious danger and/or risk to the public health, safety or welfare,” and that “the city manager may cause the immediate removal, relocation and/or storage of all or part of a sidewalk cafe in emergency situations or for public safety considerations.”

His judgment and his reason reign supreme unless a majority of part-time, lowly-paid commissioners take exception to it.

City officials did not respond to my thesis that the city’s legislature never intended to establish laws that would endanger the safety and welfare of the public. That intention would obviously belie the very reason for its existence. Any such laws would be null and avoid under a higher constitution. Solomon said not to count on riches in war, so I said the city should not count on having sovereign immunity as per the absurd Trianon decision of the Florida Supreme Court, or on the legislature, or on insurance coverage, if people are maimed and killed due to the intentional negligence of its officials. Even if immune, or covered by insurance, is injury and loss of life worth the profits to Pizza Rustica and the sidewalk café fees to the city? And why would insurance companies underwrite such dangers?

 CRASH dangers

Public safety is the very reason the Miami Beach sidewalk café code specifies that café’s be at least five feet away from corner curb cuts, pedestrian crosswalk signals, fire hydrants, crosswalks and the like. New York City goes even farther to protect cafes from corner accidents, which are quite common: nine feet from the corner is the rule, measured from the outer edge of the sidewalk café to either the curb line or the nearest obstruction.

I was not surprised by silence of public officials, for none of them will speak to be on the record for publication. Press inquiries are referred to Nannette Rodriquez in the Communications Department, and she has little or nothing to say about such embarrassments, especially when pointed out by someone not a member of the city’s handful of approved press organs, and is internally infamous for not suiting the current regime’s need for 100% appreciation of everything it does.

However, a reliable source of information within the city has informed me that there are several situations besides the Rustica corner that are troubling reasonable officials, therefore they are meeting to discuss reasonably what may be reasonably done to prevent the permitting of prohibited arrangements in the future.

That being said, I must splurge on Rustica’s popular pizza this weekend—my current budget after rent is $7 per day. Miami Beach is home to the highly regarded Pizza Rustica franchise operation, and is owned by influential attorney Susan Tiffany, its president and legal counsel.

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Shall Be SoBe – The Future of South Beach

Leaning Towers

SHALL BE SOBE

BY

DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

Prophets in the good old days foresaw corrupt cities leveled to rubble, but now that everyday corruption has been highly organized and mostly legalized, and now that the laws of probability are understood, prophets declare the good old either-or moral issues to be irrelevant or merely relative. Instead of doom they call for the continuance of the dominant trend, albeit somewhat reformed for the sake of progress. In any case where very large numbers are at stake, it is much safer for a prophet today to bet on the probable continuance of business as usual, perchance “upgraded” into novel guises by technology, than to proclaim the imminent doom of the world as we know it.

It is in that positive vein that I prophesy the future of my own neighborhood: the Living End of the City of Miami Beach, also known as South Beach (SOBE). And I prophesize with this prayer, that the god of prophecy does not have false prophets run down by a speed demon driving a tinted-window boom-box on wheels, his brain clouded by booze and dope, and a cell phone glued to his ear.

South Beach as I foresee it shall be divested by the rest of the country and shall go on to do its own thing as usual, but under the rubric The Sanctuary of South Beach, a sovereign protectorate sporting the figure of a pelican and ONCE SAVED ALWAYS FORGIVEN on its Official Seal.

The Sanctuary of South Beach shall be a genuine sanctuary, hence a place beyond the reach of extradition and hopefully beyond the far-flung virtual grasp of self-righteous gods as well, providing that those residents and visitors who want immunity provide a complete criminal record if any to The Sanctuary of South Beach Police Department (motto: LIBERTY IS CHEAP) within ten days after their arrival and have an immunity chip implanted in their necks. And then all past misdemeanors and felonies shall be officially overlooked and unreported to external authorities by The Sanctuary of South Beach Police Department provided that a license and upgrade fee of $500 per year is paid for each immunity chip.

In addition to being immune from the prosecution of all crimes except murder, rape, battery, and grand theft (anything valued over $200,000), the bearers of immunity chips, when they become victims of crimes, shall be entitled to Priority Police Response Service; that is, a call or visit from a police officer within two hours – other victims shall be dealt with on a first-come, first-served basis, but shall in no case have to wait more than ten days for a response. On the whole, The Sanctuary of South Beach Police Department shall do its best to make itself scarce in accordance with the motto set forth at the head of the Charter of The Sanctuary of South Beach: THE BEST GOVERNMENT IS UNSEEN.

There shall be no enforcement of vestigial traffic laws protecting pedestrians. Crosswalks shall be erased and ‘Walk’ signals removed from the traffic-lighting system. Vehicular mayhem and manslaughter of pedestrians shall be no more than a misdemeanor; anyone with a valid immunity chip shall not be prosecuted. However, drivers shall be asked, as a common courtesy, to drag injured or dead victims off the roadways so the bodies shall not damage other people’s cars.

The Charter of The Sanctuary of South Beach shall not provide for elections: all government offices shall be auctioned off to the highest bidders every four years, the proceeds to be set aside in a permanent fund and invested in gold bullion as a hedge against the Apocalypse. The bilingual meetings of the High Commissioners of The Sanctuary of South Beach shall be televised late Saturday nights on its own Spanish-language channel, El Televisión de Jabón – the show, Los Padrinos del Santuario, shall be enormously popular among Cuban-American Hebrews.

As for gods and guilt, absolution from sins can be purchased just before Midnight Salsa Mass, which shall be held each night at the Universal Church of the Naked Madonna, Our Lady of Nudity, on Lincoln Road Mall. The godhead of the Universal Church of the Naked Madonna shall take the earthly form of a dual incarnation – Christ and Christina carnally entwined as the Tree of Life. The religious of all denominations shall be welcome. Refreshments, including Sparkling Red Dragon Wine and Aunt Jamaica Brownies shall be served during Midnight Mass (donation: $200).  Rose-tinted SOBE Sunglasses and SOBE Sound-Dampening Earmuffs may be purchased at the Naked Madonna Gift Store. Nude models shall pose for students at the Madonna Art Academy in the New West Wing of the church.

Also available for purchase at the Church and every other licensed institution shall be SHALLOWME, a potion based on a synthetic designer drug patented by the Sanctuary of South Beach. SHALLOWME shall be readily absorbed by the skin, sinuses, and stomach. SHALLOWME shall stimulate the appetite for food, alcohol and sex, eventually rendering the person ecstatic if not tranquil. SHALLOWME shall have a slighter effect when worn or inhaled than when imbibed. Free samples shall be available on Saturday nights when entering the Cloud Nine Club located in the basement of the Church. The only known side effect of SHALLOWME shall be sleepwalking, sleep-driving, and sleeping-sex.

For those religious folks who may be offended by the services offered by the Church of the Naked Madonna, multiple-denominational worship of Power shall be conducted at the Temple of Abominations. Power-drinking rites shall be conducted every Sabbath. A shooting gallery and opium den shall make religion easy for conservative drug users with implanted immunity chips. A large library of pornographic films and other erotica shall be available for viewing with impunity. The Temple’s prostitutes shall be renowned for their beauty and grace – all shall carry health certificates and shall have postgraduate degrees in the performing arts.

Tennis fans and players with a valid immunity chip shall receive two free quarts of SHALLBE BEER and one free joint of SHALLBE WEED at Flamingo Park’s Annual Marijuana Matches.

Dog lovers with a valid immunity chip may allow their dogs to run free and may leave dog waste without limit in parks and on sidewalks.

The world-class party hotels of The Sanctuary of South Beach shall be acclaimed the world over. The hotel gambling casinos shall be open to immunity chip implantees only. The best hotels shall be, as the old-timers used to say, “out of this world.” Prices shall start at $2,000 per night per person.

For instance, Hotel del Chupacabras shall cater to the goat-loving, blood-sucking set – cannibals and ghouls shall also be welcome – human blood including the blood of virgins shall be served depending on availability.

Another favorite hospitality facility shall be the Hotel Kasbah. Middle Eastern fare shall be served in the Kasbah’s restaurant and nightclub – Que Alegria – along with three vials of amyl nitrate or ten minutes of nitrous oxide per guest. Belly dancers shall be featured during the dinner hours every night of the week. Flexible tubes with dispensable mouthpieces that pull out of the wall shall be available in the rooms of those guests who wish to partake of flavors of the day coming from the central hookah – Lesbian Lavender, special hashish from Lebanon, shall be the flavor on Fairy Thursday, the Kasbah’s Official Gay Day.

Hotel Hip Hop and its White Trash Club & Tattoo Parlor, established in 2040 by Rapper Rick Ross, shall be the hottest hole on the beach – members of The Wiggers of America shall receive a ten-percent discount on all purchases. Hotel Hip Hop shall sponsor The Annual Bare Buns Contest for The World’s Most Beautiful Buns – the male and female divisions shall be subdivided into Vanilla, Chocolate, Caramel, and Cinnamon classes. Among other events throughout the year, a beauty contest featuring the most beautiful bikinied pregnant women in SOBE shall be held every Mother’s Day.

Call girls and gigolos who ply their trade within the pale of sanctuary limits shall be licensed by The Sanctuary of South Beach and referred to visitors by the City Manager’s office. The license fee shall be $ 2,000 per annum and shall include weekly health certification. All amounts charged for services rendered shall be paid directly to the Treasurer of the Sanctuary of South Beach, from which a management tax of forty percent of gross income shall be deducted before remittance to the service providers.

Hustlers and panhandlers have always been a big tourist attraction in South Beach. Panhandlers and homeless people of the Sanctuary of South Beach shall be members of the Homeless Actors Guild and shall be licensed by The Sanctuary of South Beach. Seven facilities operated by Homeless Hostels of South Beach shall provide a number of cots or beach mats to visitors who want to experience homeless life firsthand, either within shelters or in nightly outings including dumpster tours down SOBE’s luxurious alleys. Rates shall begin at $300 per night per person and shall include a 2 oz. vial of SHALLOWME cologne or perfume and two jumbo Seaweeder cheeseburgers per day at Homeless Burger.

As for low-cost housing, all hotels, apartment buildings, condominiums and coops shall be required to set aside ten percent of total floor space for low-cost housing, for which low-cost tenants or owners shall only have to pay a total of $1,000 per month for studio habitation – add $500 per month for each bed room.

Much more shall be prophesized for South Beach in the near future, but suffice it to conclude here that, in sum, Shall Be SOBE shall be the place to be.

The Living End

Miami Beach, June 28, 2010