How Miami Beach Officials Get Away With Torture

Umberto Boccioni, The Street Enters The House
 
OPEN LETTER
Michael Grieco, Commissioner
THE CITY OF MIAMI BEACH
Miami Beach, Florida

Plea for Formal Remediation of Unreasonable Noise and Maladministration

Dear Commission Grieco:

I have posted this letter on the Web for your easy reference. You have said that my letters are too long for your cell phone, so I am hoping that you have access to a desktop or laptop computer. I am also hoping that your colleagues have the equipment and power of continuous concentration to consider this document and act upon it. If I do receive a response, I shall provide voluminous factual information to support my thesis upon request

This is my petition for legislative and administrative action to mitigate unreasonable noise, vibrations, exhaust fumes, and other pollution in construction projects in the City of Miami Beach by requiring contractors to include statements of probable pollution impact and their remediation program in their bidding documents, and by requiring owners and developers to provide temporary housing to residents whose lives are unreasonably impacted by construction pollution in all events, and especially when the city waives the charter provision of a civil right against such disturbances.

The need for such legislation was made evident to your neighbors during the horizontal drilling of a 2/3 mile long redundant sewer line. The noise, vibrations, and fumes around the entry and exit holes can only be described as torturous, of the nature that terrorists and other criminals are subjected to by the police power in other parts of the world in order to drive them out of their buildings or to confess to their crimes.

The only expression of concern was that the customers of Joe’s Restaurant, frequented by the affluent and vested interests, not be disturbed.

The charter protection was waived by the city because the drilling contractor had contracted to be present on the North Dakota pipeline. A responsible city official for that reason declared that the project was “time sensitive,” but implied that the city was in imminent danger of being inundated by sewage, which if expressly stated would have been a bald-faced lie. There was no emergency. In fact, an engineering report stated that there was a very small chance of a break in the existing sewer main, and that there was no imminent danger of it failing. The drilling team left town a year ago and the redundant project is just now winding up.
Many complaints and pleas were submitted by victims to the mayor, commissioners, and administrative officials. Responsibility for the outrageous disturbance on weekends and evenings was shamefully shirked by administrative officials, with the exception of Eric Carpenter. The mayor was too important to receive the victims at city hall; the commissioners, who were notified time and again of the issue, were unresponsive.
The rule of thumb when only a small number of people are disturbed is not to provide for their general welfare but to ignore them the best one can. This usually works politically because of the local culture: with some remarkable exceptions, people not only do not love their neighbors but they do not even want to know them unless there is something in it for them. Further, traumatized people tend to be concerned with their own predicaments to the exclusion of others.
The duty to address the complaints was delegated to the general contractor and his public relations employee. Shutting down the project until adequate sound protection could be obtained was out of the question due to the drilling team’s scheduling needs. The general contractor slapped together a wooden box for the gigantic engine to reduce the decibels. That project created more noise in the evenings and took all too long for a minimal result. In fine, it was too little too late, including too late to file for an injunction in circuit court, and the racket dragged on for months. The public relations sophist did what she could, which was to simply shine people on with specious rhetoric.

A meeting was held by your powerful neighborhood association. A public works official finally publicly addressed the ongoing nuisance. As an engineer he had no sympathy with the people suffering the unreasonable pollution due to a drilling process that is usually employed out in the boondocks and not in the residential neighborhoods of small cities such as ours. I have an account of that meeting if you have a personal computer and the time to consider it.

That account includes the tearful complaint of a woman who was being tortured by unreasonable vibrations and noise at 419 Michigan Avenue, near your home. She apparently thought David Mancini was the city’s official contractor, and that the 419 Michigan Avenue project was his responsibility, which he has nothing to do with.
As you know, the groundwork at that site for a small hotel, across Michigan from the healthy Vibe studio, seemed almost interminable due to water conditions. I estimated that the entire declared valuation of the hotel construction was absorbed by the groundwork, although a superintendent told me the extent of the groundwork was expected. Still, I have asked the building department to collect affidavits and documents upon completion to make sure that a correct value is declared and all permit fees are paid, which has not always been done in the past under the city’s Rob Peter to Paul to Breakeven Policy.
I hope that woman has recovered. I shall never forget her tearful plea for relief from the awful noise and vibrations. But manly engineers and city officials are deaf to such pleas from small minorities. There is always collateral damage in the fog of war against nature. The fact that there are so many complaints in our city creates a din that tends to deafen city officials unless, again, there is something in it for them if they respond to it.
There were so-called activists around town who could have raised enough hell to get some relief. Unfortunately, they either had their noses in the wrong place, or they were afraid to speak up because they had their own needs. After all, His Honor the Mayor said after the last election that people who complained about things would have to wait until the next election to be heard.

Therefore, I hope you will at least respond with your position on what you can do to make sure that city officials in instances such as this provide for the welfare for all stakeholders, not just the welfare of those represented by the power elite’s political bureau on the commission.

Sincerely,

David Arthur Walters

Landlord Negligence May Burn You Alive

FIRE PROTECTION IN SOUTH BEACH
June 23, 2015
By David Arthur Walters
PRESS INDEPENDENT

The older I become the more saddened I am by the bad news the media thrives on. The closer I get to the end of my miserable little world, life on the planet that will survive me seems to be getting worse and worse despite the faith in Progress, making of my insignificant life nothing but a vain and meaningless episode.

Many of the disasters could have been prevented. For example, the fire that killed a mother and two of her young children, and left in critical condition the son who tried to save them. The father is of course “paralyzed with grief.”

Incidentally, I am the survivor of two Manhattan hotel fires: in one, a man was burned to death down the hall from me; in the other, a man jumped from the window above my room and was impaled on fencing below.

As an actor and a writer and an overly sensitive person by nature, I tend to put myself in other people’s shoes. Having done so, I could not sleep after seeing the report of the fire fatalities.

“Damn! Why did the media have to show that to people?” I asked out loud.

“Because there is a lesson in it,” I answered myself. “Smoke detectors save lives. Like the guy said, if you do not have one you are going to die.”

I had taken the smoke detector from the ceiling of my squalid studio in the ghetto because it kept buzzing. I am told now that it needs a new battery, so I shall put one in and remount it.

I have finally gotten my typical South Beach ghetto landlord to fix what Florida Power and Light technician and an electrician said was an “extremely dangerous” defective electrical breaker outside. I had been sleeping next to my only door after placing my pants with wallet in pocket and shoes by the door just in case.

I had called my landlord several times about a strange electrical phenomenon. When I turned on the switch on the stove, sometimes it did not come on. Instead, a light across the room came on. The AC would buck on and off or not work at all, so temperatures were running an average 90 degrees inside. He said the electrical anomaly was “just a ghost.”

He does not like complaints and can be a bully when they are pressed. He happens to be a Cuban Hebrew with powerful connections in our Cuban and Jewish local and county government. His tenants were almost all illegal immigrants and Hispanic criminals at the time, some of them dealing dope, storing stolen property, subletting out their studios for human trafficking, so he had a hold on them. I got the police department neighborhood liaison officer to inspect the premises and write a report that the property attracted criminals and the locks on gates were removed, but she threw it away, saying it was not a police problem.

His hold on me was a month-to-month lease at $250 below market rate, a big difference in money to me. When I did insist on having the defective toilet in my unit fixed, I had to pay for the parts and he upped my rent $100 per month. That hurt.

I finally resorted to a clever stratagem. My income is way below the poverty level for a single man in the high-rent, so-called chic South Beach. I definitely could not afford an electrician. So I forwarded the notion that it might be an issue external to the building for which FPL was responsible.

I called the problem in to FPL and was given a ticket number I could follow up on. When I called back, a computer told me that linemen were working on the issue and should have it fixed in so many hours.

What? There were no FPL linemen near my building. I did see some in an alley on the next block, so I questioned them. No way, they said, was my issue related to the one they were working on.

Things come in droves, or people notice more incidents when they happen to be having one of that kind. FLP was also working on a problem across the way from the police station garage created by someone running into a telephone pole. A ridiculous urban rumor was circulating, that a drunken cop had almost knocked it down exiting the garage! And there were also fires nearby.

So I kept calling and calling FPL and they finally got a man in a huge truck out to check out my issue. He was great. He came inside to observe the phenomenon and stuck his probe in a few things, saying something about 240 volts, two phases running on one, stuff like that. Then he went outside, saying in these old building the issue is often with the breaker. He stuck his probe in there, and said that was the source of a very dangerous problem, and apologized that he could not do anything about it because it was not his company’s responsibility.

Well, I called the landlord with that report. He said there was no such thing as 240 volts, that it must be a ghost. I said I would do him a favor and get the fire department to come over and fix the breaker since the FPL fellow had said there was a danger of fire.

“No, no, don’t do that. I will come over and look at it.”

“Why go out of your way? Send an electrician or have the fire department have someone fix it. An expert has already diagnosed it.”

He came over, anyway, insisting at first it was a little fuse on one of the wall outlets, but he finally relented, seeing that his whole building could be in danger.

The next day, two electricians arrived, a father and son team. The father could speak no English at all yet the son was fluent and obviously educated in the U.S. They had quite a conversation in Spanish. I know little Spanish, but I know the words for “very dangerous” and “fire.”

As it turned out, FPL saved the landlord some money inasmuch as the electricians wanted to go over the inside of the whole studio to find the short. I insisted it was in the breaker outside. Sure enough, that was the problem, said the son, after sticking his probe in there.

The hardware store was closed. They did not have the right capacity breaker in the truck, so put one with half the needed capacity in, warning me not to run the stove and AC at the same time. They came back the next day with the right breaker. Walla! That danger is over.
The moral of this story: Do whatever it takes to make yourself and your loved ones as safe as possible from fires. Life is not really meaningless; it is a tragedy. Do not make it worse.

Miami Beach City Manager Sweeps Dirt Under Rug

MORALES
Typical City Boss

 

NEW CITY MANAGER SWEEPS ALLEGATONS UNDER THE RUG

July 3, 2013

Preface to future moral corruption?

By David Arthur Walters

Miami Beach—New City Manager Jimmy Morales has broken his promise to address the City of Miami Beach Commission in response to fired fire inspector David Weston’s allegations that he was fired on ethics charges trumped up by the city attorney’s office because he persistently complained that millions of dollars of permit fee monies had gone missing.

Weston’s allegations were brought to light earlier this year in a New Times article about alleged corruption in the Miami Beach Fire Department. Weston, referring to a number of arrests of city employees over the years, has alleged that several City of Miami Beach departments are racketeer-influenced, corrupt organizations.

Another so-called RICO allegation was made more recently by former Police Chief Carlos Noriega and two other former police officers along with the current police union president in a class-action suit filed earlier this year and subsequently withdrawn, against the city for an alleged scheme to defraud police officers of workers compensation benefits.

City Manager Jose Smith categorically denied that his office had anything to do with the Weston firing: “My Special Ethics Counsel Jean Olin had no knowledge of his employment with the City and did not take part in the decision to terminate his employment,” he stated in an email.

Smith apparently based his statement on an Oct. 9, 2008, letter Human Resources Director Ramiro Inguanzo sent to Weston, stating that any involvement by Olin would have been improper: “Please be advised that Ms. Olin’s role as Special Counsel to the City would preclude her from discussing matters related to your employment and/or termination from the City. Additionally, Ms. Olin has no knowledge of your employment with the City and did not take part in the decision to terminate your employment.”

However, records easily available to Smith belied his statement. Jean Olin was definitely involved in the ethics determination resulting in Weston’s termination. She was privy to an inquiry by the county ethics commission staff that had cleared Weston of ethics violations, and it appears that the City’s decision was made pursuant to her advice.

Smith and Interim City Manager Kathie Brooks reported to the City Commission on March 13 that Weston was terminated for violating the city and county ethics codes, not mentioning that the county ethics commission had cleared Weston. Smith also said that members of the Fire Department’s chain-of-command said they were unaware of the allegations of misconduct made by Weston.

Weston begged to differ with the Smith & Brooks Report. He filed an extensive rebuttal with city commissioners along with corroborating documentation including a comprehensive file showing his reports of missing monies, replies from senior officials, actual documentation of missing sums, before-and-after Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission rulings, timely annual outside employment reports, memos from the Fire Chief granting him employment waivers, signed evaluations acknowledging his collection of monies, emails mentioning the same, threats to stop holding permits for unpaid balances, and the Miami Dade audit confirming his allegations.

Weston said he had offered to resign when the investigation was ongoing since he would have no trouble finding a better job, but was fired instead, probably because involuntary termination deprives employees of certain benefits. However, his employment status did not entitle him to those benefits. He said he presently sought to have his personnel record changed to reflect a voluntary rather than involuntary termination. He declined to respond to our question as to whether he intended to sue the city and its officers for defamation per se in respect to the ethics charges which he had repudiated in his rebuttal.

Commissioner Michael Gongora forwarded the Smith & Brooks Report and the Weston Rebuttal to Jimmy Morales, who became the new city manager on April 1. On April 16, Morales responded to our belief that he would sweep the matter under the rug.

“Nothing is swept under the rug. I will get to this and report back to you and the Commission accordingly.”

Morales did not respond to our June follow ups, therefore we contacted Weston, who said his rebuttal had been summarily dismissed by the new Human Resources director, Sylvia Crespo-Tabak:

“This is in response to your letter of April 17, 2013,” she wrote, “in which you request that the City revise its records to reflect that your separation in March 2008 was due to a voluntary resignation rather than a dismissal. The City Manager and I have reviewed and discussed the documentation you submitted along with other relevant information. We did not identify anything to indicate that we should make changes to the record, as you requested, or to suggest that this matter was not closed in 2008.”

On June 25 we pointed out to Crespo-Tabak that she had not specifically addressed any of the points made by Weston. We offered that the determination of unethical conduct apparently made on advice of the city attorney’s office was subjective, arbitrary, and at variance with the findings of the county ethics commission. We asked her for the “other relevant information” mentioned in her summary dismissal. She has not responded by press time.

We confronted Morales with the proposition that he had broken his word of honor by not addressing the issues raised by Weston and reporting his finding to the commission as promised. We opined that he had, in fact, brushed the matter under the rug, getting HR to do his dirty work.

“With respect to David Weston’s employment with the City and his termination,” he replied, “I asked the new Human Resources Director to carefully review the file and let me know if she felt that the termination was merited or if there had been any impropriety in the matter. Neither she nor I have any reason to defend what occurred in the past. She conducted her review and discussed it with me. Her conclusion was that the termination was in fact appropriate under the circumstances. I understand that Mr. Weston may not agree, and that you may not be satisfied with the result. Whatever differences you have with the past administration does not mean that everything that occurred in the past was wrong. In my judgment, reversing the past action with respect to Mr. Weston was not warranted.”

Anyone may want to break a promise if keeping it would do more harm than good. Jimmy Morales is a polished politician and bureaucrat, not a business manager, and politicians are not famous for keeping their word. Our professional-city-manager or weak-mayor form of city government supposedly allows the administration to run the city like a business, free of partisan politics. We believe a good business manager should have carefully investigated Weston’s report for administrative inefficiencies and policies detrimental to the business, and, if any were found, recommend and implement necessary remedies. Simply denying that not everything the previous administration did was wrong is either a political excuse or bureaucratic bluff.

In other words, the conduct here portends business as usual. Sacrificing the previous city manager on the altar of discontent was cathartic. We feel good about that, so let us not constructively criticize the new administration until another purification rite is evoked by public clamor. Let us keep our mouths shut until dissatisfaction mounts, until a few more F.B.I. arrests are made, and then we shall clamor for change once again, and crucify the unelected boss who runs the city. The new city manager would do well to regularly advertise his positive accomplishments and keep his resume updated just in case.

Unfortunately, Jimmy Morales, recently dubbed Supermanager for the high expectations had for him, has missed several opportunities in his summary dismissal of the Weston affair, although he is not entirely to blame.

He is losing the opportunity to correct the causes of the negligence and corruption that results in millions of dollars of what Weston called “missing monies.” Law enforcement was keenly interested in Weston’s allegations, but the police could do nothing unless they caught someone in a criminal act and found a willing prosecutor. Weston was not the only one talking about so-called missing monies. Our ‘Getting Ahead of the Job Con’ and other investigations points to the possibility of many millions lost due to favoritism and gross negligence and possibly criminal corruption. It appears that city officials have discretion via the city manager as advised by the city attorney to waive, reduce, mitigate and otherwise not collect fees and fines, their intentional neglect encouraged by sovereign impunity. City Attorney Jose Smith officially determined that a proposal to account for writeoffs by amount and person responsible for them was “moronic.” The only thing he recommended was to “follow the law,” no doubt as interpreted by his office.

Of course the city manager is not the strong mayor that we need. He is just the manager not the political power. If the part-time hydra or many-headed commission does not have the unified will to empower him to make the necessary changes, he will eventually be sacrificed like the last manager for the bad blades of grass in the lawn, not having a press agent to report his good deeds.

Morales is also losing the opportunity to improve personnel policies. He is just a manager, but he could at least recommend that the city commission pass a whistleblower law that would allow a body independent of the city administration, such as the Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission, to investigate and resolve whistleblower complaints. The state whistleblower law provides that local entities can provide such as an alternative to filing complaints in the courts. City of Miami employees, for example, may file whistleblower complaints with the county ethics commission. Morales certainly understands the merits of the Miami-Dade Ethics Commission: He had a hand in its creation when he was on the County Commission, and subsequently pled no contest to an ethics charge brought against him for not providing documentation for $580,081.27 in campaign expenditures, and agreed to pay a stunning $250 fine. The State whistleblower law provides substantial incentives for blowing the whistle.

There should be a device independent of the local chain-of-command and its HR hirelings. As a woman remarked in testimony before Congress recently, making a rape complaint via the chain-of-command is like telling your father that your brother raped you. City of Miami Beach Commission Michael Gongora, now a candidate for mayor, was asked if he would advocate a whistleblower ordinance for the city. He referred the matter to his assistant, and our follow-ups were unanswered at press time. At least he said the issue of whether or not the city should have a strong mayor system should go to the electorate, but not at this time.

Morales could have competent human resource attorneys improve personnel procedures and policies. For example, Weston was an “at-will” employee, meaning that he could have been terminated without cause providing his civil rights were not violated. Instead of just firing Weston or accepting his resignation, the city practically made a federal case out of the whole affair, creating a record that damns the city, opening up the city to potential lawsuit.

We imagine this scenario in Weston’s case: someone said, “Good grief! Weston is in a boat slip business with the guy that owns and runs Permit Doctors. He doesn’t have an investment in the permit expediting company nor is he employed by it, but the fact that a fire inspector is associated with him in a completely different business still looks bad. It creates an appearance of impropriety regardless of what the ethics rules say. Besides, this fire inspector is too pushy, not minding the Fire Department’s business, nosing around the Building Department, complaining it’s not doing its job.

“Basta!> We’ve got to get rid of him.”

The man would have resigned. And he was right about a lot of things, and there was much more that Morales could have recommended and have done if he had carefully studied Weston’s rebuttal along with other information about “missing monies” instead of summarily dismissing it without discussing the issues raised. But it appears from the city manager’s response that it is going to be business as usual around here, perhaps accompanied by a game of musical chairs played by insiders from around the county.

# #

Links to Recent Historical Preservation Travesty in Miami Beach

Leaning Towers

Links To The Awful Truth About Historic Preservation in Miami Beach

READ ALL ABOUT IT!

The History of Progress of the High and Mighty in South Beach (continued)

Institutional Blindness or Systemic Corruption?

Links to the g-d awful truth about recent historic preservation in South Beach:

FARE THEE WELL ART CENTER SOUTH FLORIDA

Tri Star developer takes over, contributes $118,000 to commissioner’s PAC

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/06/fare-thee-well-art-center-south-florida.html

THE TRUTH GOES MARCHING ON

The Golden Calf is worshipped, Tri Star seizure of sacred churchyard

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/09/the-truth-about-historic-preservation.html

ENRIQUE NORTEN’S SOUTH BEACH SPITE BUILDING

“Starchitect” Enrique Norten of New York vocally sneered when he looked down his nose and told South Beach residents assembled at a town hall meeting that a “cheap hotel” could be erected on the last available beach front property.

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/09/enrique-nortens-south-beach-spite.html

321 ENRIQUE NORTEN AND THE CITY PLANNER

The Foregone Conclusion made on the Spot Zoning

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/09/321-ocean-drive-enrique-norten-city-of.html

GIGANTIC DISASTER ENLGASSED SOUTH BEACH

Commission Tobin called it a gigantic disaster rushed on the city. But never mind, the architects say the monstrosity will virtually disappear when finished.

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/09/gigantic-disaster-englassed-south-beach.html

DEMOLISHIN SOUTH BEACH HISTORY

My client was taken by surprise by the demolition order, claimed the lawyer in what seemed to be a case of “Please, please, don’t throw us into the briar patch,” i.e. demolition.

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/05/demolishing-south-beach-history-what.html

The Roots of Evil in Miami Beach Mayor Levine’s Shopping Center

ROOTS Header

Sunset Harbour Towers and Mayor Levine’s Shopping Center

THE ROOTS OF EVIL IN SUNSET HARBOUR
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

29 September 2015

When City of Miami Beach Commissioner Ed Tobin was running for the city commission in 2007, his firm prepared an option agreement whereby Scott Robins, his client, would purchase a Bay Road lot from the owner of Tremont Towing in the Sunset Harbour neighborhood, wherein Sunset Harbour Towers condominium Tobin himself owned an interest in three units and several parking spaces. Tobin, apparently violating local law, accepted campaign contributions from Scott Robins’ group of companies even though he knew that Scott Robins was seeking a re-zoning of the property and would need to come before the City Commission.

Sec. 2-489 of the Ordinances of the City of Miami Beach provides that, “No real estate developer shall give a campaign contribution directly or indirectly to a candidate, or to the campaign committee of a candidate, for the offices of mayor or commissioner.” The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust and its prosecuting advocate, almost always lenient on political shenanigans on the beach, ignored that apparent violation, and the COE dismissed several counts against Tobin and issued a letter of instruction. Another complaint brought against him would be similarly disposed of in 2013.

Fines when imposed are picayune given the power and wealth of the persons involved, yet a conviction may have political consequences due to adverse publicity, which is rare given the market needs of the only major daily newspaper and its television affiliate. Substantial politicians may go to considerable expense to hire lawyers to represent them, or simply badmouth the ethics commission as incompetent and irrelevant.

Tobin himself has publicly scoffed at the ineptitude of the ethics commission, which has been dubbed “The Unethical Commission of Public Distrust” in urban lore. That commission frequently requires that complainants themselves conduct the investigations that it is supposed to conduct with the legal tools it has; it often takes the word of officials for granted without asking for rebuttals; it is overly lenient towards certain officials; it appears to violate its own ethical standards with impunity on occasion; –and then it has the gall to offer to teach ethics to municipalities for a fee.

ROOTS urban loreScott Robins, Philip Levine, Jonah Wolfson and Jimmy Morales

Scott Robins and his partner Philip Levine would ultimately assemble properties and sell $20 million of air rights to the city, resulting in the shopping center and parking garage across the street from Sunset Harbour Towers. Commissioner Tobin, by the way, would be instrumental in the ouster of City Manager Jorge Gonzalez, who on behalf of the City Commission arranged the “partnership” or condominium agreement between the city and Robins/Levine although he objected to what he believed was an exorbitant sum, $20 million, paid for the air rights.

Forced to resign with a handsome severance package in the wake of a scandal over the arrest of an handful of code enforcement officers, Gonzalez claimed that there would always be some corruption in the lower ranks of governments, and that here the highest level of government had been corrupted as well. That would be his boss, the city commission, whose commissioners he said had been fixing code compliance cases in return for campaign contributions. So he maintained that he was ousted because he bucked the will of corrupt commissioners.

ROOTS corrupt commissioners

The mayor’s Sunset Harbour area given priority for stormwater protection

Furthermore, he claimed that the roots of evil extended into Sunset Harbour, where today we see the roads being raised around the mayor’s shopping center to protect the area from stormwater, with considerable work being done by Lanzo Construction, a donor to the scandalized PAC featuring the mayor’s alleged accomplishments. The flood control project initiated prior to his advent is the main accomplishment advertised by the PAC and the mayor, a professional propagandist, via his personal vanity mayor website.

ROOTS mayor website

Indeed, he seems to have taken his cue from Mussolini’s popular swamp recovery program, which ultimately failed, not to mention taking control of committees and suppressing dissent. At the beginning of what has been a severe drought, he claimed that the streets were bone dry after a slight rain although nearly five square blocks were ankle deep in water. A more substantial rain that occurred on this full moon resulted in the closing of the usual roads for flooding resulted in serious flooding, but the areas where the pumps were installed were dry.

ROOTS was such that

Lanzo Construction contributed funds to the “stinking” PAC

Gonzalez concluded that corruption was given full sway with a the faux reform regime led by Clinton pal Philip Levine, and characterized the mayor’s henchman, city manager Jimmy Morales, a political insider shoed into the job despite the recommendation of several outsiders by a professional recruiting firm, as “spineless.”

On June 2, 2013, before Gonzalez was shown the door, I made the following recommendation in a town forum email exchange: “We should not be deceived into thinking that changing city managers is going to change a longstanding culture, much of it informal. Whosoever takes the office will have to adjust to the status quo unless a radical is brought in and given temporary dictatorial powers except over the budget (as in Rome). The salient features of his background should be courage, honesty, and intelligence. Formal education and whether or not s/he inhaled or not should be at the end of the list. Jorge should have remained in his position for another year in order to take advantage of the impetus for reform i.e. a real crackdown, and save some face to boot. Obviously, certain reformers did not want that crackdown, and have interests rooted in the very corruption they pretend to root out. All the current commissioners should be replaced as soon as possible with a slate of clean candidates. Perhaps Jorge should considering running for mayor on a strong-mayor charter-reform plank.”

Commissioner Tobin responded: “Can i buy some pot from you” (sic)

So Jimmy Morales, a sophisticated Harvard Law grad, former city attorney for the scandalized City of Doral and a good old Miami Beach home boy, was wheeled in as city manager, crying when he was appointed. He is well known locally as a nice guy with an open door as long as he is gone along with, and as a vindictive bureaucratic thug behind closed doors when resisted, but not nearly as vindictive as the de facto strong mayor he depends on—weak city managers come and go with strong mayors. He is praised by some as a moral man while others warn that his last name should not be confused with morality and that morality should not be confused with the Good of ethics. Ironically, the city might be better off if he were the political mayor and Philip Levine managed the city business under the city’s weak mayor, strong city manager, fascistic charter.

Tobin was allied with the faux reform majority purchased and led by Philip Levine as mayor. Commissioner Jonah Wolfson, within whom Tobin has often been at acrimonious odds, and who has been scandalized by contributions from towing companies based in Sunset Harbour to his wife’s judicial campaign while he supported a radical increase in towing fees, was also instrumental in the capture of the city commission by the so-called reformers. His wife, incidentally, was an assistant state attorney, and has lectured on ethics for the county ethics commission, whose director was her former colleague at the state attorney’s office. The ethics commission did not respond to repeated requests as to whether it had looked into the contributions as possible violations of local campaign finance reform law.

ROOTS reform law

Commissioner Tobin graduated from police academy

The City Commission recently waived its own ethics requirements and allowed Mr. Tobin, who had been a state prosecutor in Broward County, to apply for a job with the police department while sitting on the commission. He was apparently becoming disgruntled with the mayoral faction, wherefore the mayor and commission highly recommended him as the ideal police officer candidate. He reportedly failed the police department’s ethics test, and, citing personal considerations, decided not to become a police officer.

Now Mayor Levine and Commissioner Wolfson have been taken to task by Mr. Tobin and Commissioner Deede Weithorn for soliciting political contributions from city vendors and developers—Mayor Levine, who had waxed eloquent on Tobin’s desire to be a police officer, now refers to Tobin’s failure to pass the ethics test, implying that he is an unethical man. Their excuse is that (unlike Scott Robins’ previous contributions to Tobin) the donations were intended for a political action committee chaired by Commissioner Wolfson, and that the funds received were not specifically earmarked for Levine’s re-election even though most of the advertising expenditures lauded Levine’s alleged accomplishments. If extortion or bribery were at play, the malefactors could be subject to criminal prosecution, and F.B.I. agents have been seen making the rounds again.

ROOTS rounds again

Michael Putney raised hell about the stinking PAC

The stench over the stinking PAC ordure has provoked the lazy county ethics commission to open an investigation. Absent proof of a quid pro quo, the contributions probably did not violate the ethics code because the code does not mention political action committees, although the motivation for the donations just may be unethical in a higher sense, Wolfson says he will shut down the PAC and make proportionate refunds of any remaining money. That may provoke possibly disgruntled donors to tell all given a promise of immunity.

All the above leaves the question as to why the same commission, when examining the previous complaint against a commissioner, namely Ed Tobin, did not find probable cause when there was not political action committee at play, although the ethics commission advocate’s discussion of the case practically mirrored the city’s campaign finance reform prohibition. We may have one big ball of wax in this county regardless of political subdivisions.

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Read the specifics about the failure of the county ethics commission to respond to questions as to why it apparently ignored the contributions of Scott Robins to Ed Tobin as Sunset Harbour was being put together for him and his friend Philip Levine, the future mayor of Miami Beach.

Black Eye of Ethics Commission

Hey, Cops, What you going to do about us?

Hey Cops PIC

Mark Causey (L), South District Station, Raymond Martinez (R)

HEY COPS, WHAT YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT US?

An Illegal Immigrant asked the black South Beach Cops

By David Arthur Walters

PROLOGUE

In May 2015, City of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine used his faux reform regime’s propaganda organ, the Miami Herald and its affiliate television station, to insinuate and imply that former Police Chief Raymond Martinez condoned racism, misogyny, and anti-illegal-immigrant prejudice in the Miami Beach Police Department, expressed in the form of ‘locker room’ emails and texts, and to credit Daniel Oates, the imported police chief, celebrated for his handling of the Colorado Movie Theatre Shootings, for cleaning up the department. Miami Herald reporter David Ovalle deserves credit for at least asking why Chief Oates did not fire a black police officer in plain clothes for beating up a white Good Samaritan who came to the assistance of an white inebriated woman whose purse the cop was rifling through in the lobby of a building, and for then punching and kicking her in the head after she was handcuffed behind her back. I have updated my editorial, ‘The Miami Herald Plays Racist Card for Mayor Philip Levine,’ to include the allegation that the battered woman had addressed the officer with a racist slur, with no such allegation being made against the Good Samaritan, a courageous but wimpy businessman who was no match for the brute. That would not be surprising if true, as can be seen from my firsthand account (below) of what was going on in my predominantly Hispanic Miami Beach hood just five years ago. Cops, regardless of their color, are despised by Hispanic immigrants in that erstwhile crackhood. Thanks to Raymond Martinez and his fine officers, the very neighborhood that police officers used to apologize for was cleaned up after he became chief. Captain Mark Causey, who survived the political reform of the department and is now a major, led the crackdown on criminals there and in the adjacent Entertainment District of South Beach. The policing tactic included the utilization of crime suppression units, a strategy now criticized as racist because it was used in predominantly black neighborhoods in the City of Miami. It appears to me that mainstream media loves trouble and hates cops, and plays politics and fans racism to sell the bad “news” about human nature, which is nothing new.

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November 2010

Miami Beach, Florida

“What you going to do about us, niggers, arrest us?” the more belligerent of the two Honduran illegals asked the two black cops who responded to my call about drunken and disorderly conduct and child abuse at a little apartment complex of three small buildings on Euclid Avenue in “chic” South Beach, which is on the southern reach of Miami Beach.

I had called the police, in the wee hours of Monday morning just two weeks before Christmas, because of the screaming and loud music downstairs. When I came outside and looked down, I saw Juan, one of the tenants, unconscious on his back on the sidewalk in front of the downstairs apartment. A terrified little boy was running around in the dark, screaming. Another tenant, leaning against the wall of the building next door, looked up at me with arms crossed and a menacing grimace. The gentuza look, I noted.

Each of the three buildings in my complex has four studio apartments; rent: $800 month or more. The studios are sizeable. This particular apartment below me, occupied by Honduran immigrants, had been previously occupied by a Puerto Rican couple, two babies, a dog, and sometimes a mother-in-law; they had finally managed to get a two bedroom apartment on North Beach with Section 8 assistance.

As Homeland Security’s I.C.E. knows very well, South Beach is densely packed with illegal immigrants who generally serve the expensive hotels and restaurants that illegally hire them and pay them low wages. “The Italians” are said to run the trafficking operation. The paperless workers live two or more to a small room. Many of them occupy their off hours drinking beer, and smoking pot and crack when they have the cash. If they do not have the cash, they may deal drugs to get it. Do not be surprised if a couple of them rape and knife a woman or two in the alley, or if one of them knifes a wife in front of his friend, who does nothing to prevent it. That has happened recently, and far more frequently in their crime ridden countries of origin. Of course anyone who points out this phenomena will be called a racist.

I was tired and wanted to go back to sleep. It was after two in the morning. I had to be on the way to work by six. The acoustics of the premises are such that the usually loud conversations between the buildings carry to every apartment nearby. The bass thumping of Latino and Hip Hop music disrupts the peace, vibrating an entire building from within. To make matters worse, some residents love to slam their metal doors, which creates a very loud boom, as if their apartments were big drums.

I had become sick and tired of being awakened so often in the middle of the night by noisy neighbors and their visitors, and by vagrants, drug users, and strangers from the clubs who use the premises as a toilet and as a place to fornicate. The generally absent landlord refused to fix the locks on the gates. He rents to anyone who has some money, preferably cash, no questions asked.

Yes, one can always move, and maybe buy some peace and quiet elsewhere, say, for $1,000 a month, if you are lucky. But then you may move and wind up having the same or worse experience elsewhere, so sometimes you figure it is best to take a stand. When I signed the lease, I thought the place was a move up for me, from previous prostitute-ridden, crack-head and drug-dealer infested quarters owned by prominent developer Russell Galbut and operated by his relative David Muhlrad, directly across from the Delano Hotel on Collins Avenue [now the upscale Gale Regent Hotel]. The landlord assured me that the premises were a quiet place to live. Little did I know that the apartment complex had been a public nuisance for over a decade.

Now it so happened that Juan, who spoke no English at all, had managed to get to his feet from the sidewalk below my apartment after he had passed out. The cops had arrived. He was swaying back and forth outside the apartment door, leering at them in a drunken stupor. The two-year old boy in the two immigrants’ care was inside the downstairs apartment now, still screaming bloody murder.

“Where’s the mother of the baby?” one cop asked.

“What? You going to arrest us, nigger?”

“Hey, listen up. I asked you, where is the mother of the baby?”

“You gonna arrest us nigger? What you going to do? Fuck you, nigger. You going to arrest us, huh?” the belligerent man rambled on, and then began to walk away.

“Come back here!” one cop ordered. He sat the man down on the sidewalk and cuffed him, where the man continued to insult him.

“Shut the fuck up!” the cop commanded. “Where is the mother of the baby?”

The other officer had gone into the apartment through the open door, where the little boy was crying hysterically. I could hear every word. He spoke in Spanish with Juan, who identified himself as the father of the boy.

“The mother is working at a laundry over on Alton Road,” the officer soon informed his partner outside. “I’ll get someone to go over there,” he said, and communicated the address to the dispatcher. Some time passed, and he said, “A car went over there. There is no laundry.”

One cop came upstairs and knocked on my door. “Well,” I said to myself, “now I am identified. But so what, people should come forward instead of hiding like cowards.”

The officer asked me what I knew. I complimented him on his restraint, and told him what I had observed. And I told him I had seen the landlord rent the apartment to Juan, give him mailbox keys, and that I had told Juan in terrible Spanish that I did not care what my neighbors did as long as they did not disturb the peace, and if they did that I would call the police.

The officer informed me that there were drugs and beer in the downstairs apartment, and no food at all for the baby. The poor child was plainly terrified. The mother could not be found. The brass had been called, and the two men would probably be arrested. They appeared to be illegal immigrants, and might be deported, but that was up to the judge. It was not long before the brass showed up; the two men and child were taken away.

It was after 4 am by then, and I laid down hoping to get an hour’s sleep before getting ready for work. I heard some shouting ten minutes later. A half dozen men and women from the illegal immigrant apartment hotel next door had showed up downstairs. They were evidently family and friends of the arrestees. I told them the two had been arrested, and asked them to please quiet down.

Two residents of the front building, Guillermo and his consort, Uhma, came out. Uhma, an immigrant from Pakistan, had gotten stoned on crack and wine one recent night, and announced that every man had a penis, but she only cared about the ones who had “bump” i.e. crack, and she laid out how she sold drugs for Guillermo at the hotel where she worked.

“Look!” said Guillermo, pointing me out to the relatives. “He called the police, got them arrested!”

“He is evil!” screeched Uhma, pointing at me.

“And what are you?” I thought, “but a coke whore!” I felt like saying but did not, as I do my best to refrain from insulting women with vile language.

“You called the cops! The cop came to see you! I saw the whole thing,” Guillermo declared.

“If you care about them so much, why did you hide in your apartment and look out the window at it instead of coming to their aid?”

He did not respond, but he got the relatives in his car and drove them to the police station.

I did have some remorse about the arrests. After all, it was nearly Christmas, and it appeared that I had broken up a family.

“Don’t feel bad,” my neighbor, Danny, said. “You probably saved that child’s life. He was born in this country and is a citizen, so he will be put in a home somewhere and be better off in the United States.

I found a subpoena from the State Attorney’s office tacked on my door. I showed up for the pre-trial interview, where I related what happened. The interviewer informed me that several felony charges had been made. Juan, the father, had violated an injunction to stay away from the mother and child. Apparently the mother was working and giving money to him to watch the kid, which he spent on beer and drugs. Other charges were felony drug possession, and felony child abuse. Juan’s cohort was on felony bond for burglarizing apartments, she said.

“They both might be deported, but that is up to the judge,” she said, looking over the papers in front of her. “They’re both in jail now. No, wait a minute, only Juan is in jail, the other guy, the one who was out on felony bond, he got another bond and is out of jail now. It looks like this one fellow, the father, was hanging out with the wrong company, and got himself into trouble.”

“That was my impression too,” I said. “His friend was very hostile, looked like trouble when I first laid eyes on him.

Child Services called me on my cell phone a few days later, wanting to know where the mother and child were.

“They are back in the apartment, and the boy seems just fine now, happy now that he is away from the out-of-control drunks. He is very endearing. Sometimes I worry about him because he plays in the yard where the landlord allows a lot of dog waste to pile up, and the other day I had to keep him from putting his fingers into the air conditioning fans outside.”

“But where is the child right now? We went by the apartment and they were not there.”

“She leaves the child with Uhma in the front building when she goes to work. Uhma was a crack whore but she got off drugs and booze because she is pregnant by somebody, and she treats the boy well. Uhma’s friend Guillermo speaks Spanish so he is trying to help the mother get the kid’s father out of jail.”

Child Services personnel came around several times after that, until the landlord ordered the mother out – apparently the men had taken all her money so she could not pay rent. The landlord, a tolerant Cuban Hebrew immigrant, made one of his rare appearances a few days later.

“You called the police. You should not discriminate against illegals,” he told me.

“What? Hey, I called the police not because they were immigrants but because they were disturbing the peace and a child was terrified in the middle of the night. Now they are charged with several felonies.”

“Don’t tell me that. That is just what someone says, what you say. I don’t believe it.”

“That is what the State Attorney says. Really, you should check these people out before you rent to them. You must have lost plenty of rent when the drug dealers in two of the back apartments were arrested. You should get background and credit checks before renting to guys like Juan.”

“I didn’t rent the apartment to him.”

“Oh? I saw you negotiating with him and then giving him the keys.”

“Let me tell you something. I came to this country with nothing, and rental signs said ‘No Spics’ back then.”

“You were Cuban. You got special treatment.”

“Look, if it were not for these people, oranges would cost $2 each.”

“If oranges were selling for $2 each, I would be picking and selling them. I don’t give a damn what illegals do as long as they do not disturb the peace and wake me up in the middle of the night.”

After the landlord departed, my neighbor Mike appeared.

“I was sleeping, but I woke up and heard you talking to the landlord. You should have told him that if he loves illegals so much then he should come and live with them.”

“Really. But you know most illegals are respectful, and for obvious reasons. I don’t know what is up with these Hondurans. Maybe it’s a gang. Right after this guy moved in with the woman, there were dozens of them hanging out at all hours around the apartment, drinking and smoking marijuana.”

“I see them when I come home late,” Mike said.

“It’s scary when all this is going on right outside your door. The property is a damn nuisance. I think it should be seized. All the landlord cares about is money, the cash he gets off them. I saw rolls of it handed over when the Bloods gang was living in back.”

“He will lose all his tenants.”

“What gets me is how these idiots can be so disrespectful to the police. I hear Honduras is very violent and cops are despised there, so I guess it’s the culture.”

The very next week, after the two Hondurans were arrested, a Cuban woman who lives in the back building told me she had overheard The landlord telling the mother to vacate the apartment, and when she asked for the deposit, he told her she could not have it, and said that if she complained about it, he would call Immigration and have her deported. The last I heard, the mother had been deported. I don’t know what happened to the child.

Other Hondurans have taken over the apartment. That is another story, involving a great deal of traffic, gay hustlers, orgies, visiting families “from Texas,” a rotating extended family from Michigan Avenue and so on. For the life of me, I do not understand how so many people stay up all night partying and make a living too. Maybe they are receiving public assistance or dealing drugs, maybe both.

The new crowd of Hondurans in the apartment are somewhat quieter despite lots of traffic all night long, except when one portly woman stays over with several men. Her English includes many foul words to be heard a half block away when the windows are open. Rather than calling the cops, I asked her to please keep the noise down last week.

“Fucking Americanos! Fucking Americanos!” she shouted over and over. The men laughed, and turned up the stereo.

RELATED

UPDATED: MIAMI HERALD PLAYS RACE CARD FOR MAYOR LEVINE

http://miamimirror.blogspot.com/2015/05/miami-herald-photo-fair-use-doctrine.html

South Beach School Kids Thank and Honor Soldiers

Wounded Kids Greeting

South Pointe Elementary School Thank and Honor All Soldiers

 Wounded Cycles Sitting

ELEMENTARY SCHOOL CHILDREN THANK AND HONOR SOLDIERS

January 8, 2015

I was given cause to reflect on several wars when I passed by South Pointe Elementary School the day before my birthday this year and encountered schoolchildren greeting wounded soldiers kicking off a four-day Soldier’s Ride sponsored by the Wounded Warriors Project.

Wounded Fence

My memories of war are nowhere near as painful as the physical and psychological wounds suffered by our brave and courageous war veterans. Yet I am a product of World War II. My father and mother met at a theatre when her baby daughter reached over to pull on the brass buttons of his uniform. Her husband had been killed on a dam project.

Although I have never been on a battlefield, I often imagined I was there when I was on the elementary school playground playing at war during the Korean “police action.”

My best friend’s dad, home from Korea, hung himself in the garage where we played, and his mother followed suit a few weeks later on. I did not understand.

Combat became my favorite television program. I ran away from home to Chicago for good at age thirteen, and someone gave me a copy of The Ugly American to read. By the time President Johnson declared the “police action” in Vietnam, I was well disposed to violence. Enter Dr. Leary.

A few years hence, I was a pacifist being tear-gassed in front of the Chicago armory, where communists were handing out pamphlets.

I attended demonstrations in Washington, went to the White House, and recommended that President Nixon read Moby Dick.

I was dead set against both Bush wars on Iraq, certain that they would backfire on the United States. I marched against the first Bush war in New York City as patriotic Americans rained bottles on our heads from the buildings above, and demonstrated against the second Bush war in Honolulu as observers yelled obscenities at us. By the way, Vietnam veterans were among the demonstrators.

I studied war for hours on end at the university, and I found no cause for war in books other than it is human nature to wage war to make peace, some say for the moral improvement of the race. Other animals wage war as well, and not for food, mates, or territory.

Now I am wary of pre-emptive wars. Yet a war waged to save millions from being murdered for nothing if they can be saved is a just war in my opinion. I would sacrifice my own life in a defensive war. Sometimes I wish I had been killed in war, such has been my history, which seems in retrospect to have been quite a mistake at every juncture.

I would never wish myself wounded, to survive only to be forgotten by my own country, to come home and be shortchanged by the nation I served. I am not one to hold the soldier responsible for the politicians’ mistakes, to spit on him when he returns. No, I like the children at South Pointe Elementary School thank and honor the men and women for serving our country, for if no one answered when called to duty because someone thought the cause might be wrong, there would be no country worth fighting for.

Wounded Erect Bikes

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 https://www.scribd.com/collections/2633415/Waging-War-to-Make-Peace