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WHEN COMMISSION CHAIRMAN KEON HARDEMON TELLS THE PUBLIC AT CITY HALL TO QUIT CLAPPING AND SAYS, "IF YOU GIVE THEM AN INCH, THEY'LL TAKE A MILE," HE SHOULD KNOW, BECAUSE  HE'S BECOME A MASTER AT TAKING THE RESIDENTS FOR A RIDE, AND THOSE RIDES GO ON FOR MILES AND MILES

NUMBER 37 - MAY 25, 2018

Remember the guy in the middle of this photo?   His name is Larry Spring, if you've forgotten.  He's the guy I wrote about just days ago who needed a little help from the Miami City Commission to get a cushy seat on a public board.


He's the same guy who as I wrote was at the center of the effort to bribe former Miami Police Chief Miguel Exposito, and also the guy who played a huge part - as the city's Chief Financial Officer - in the charges of fraud and the subsequent lawsuit filed by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), against the city.  A lawsuit that the city spent millions to defend against, and still ended up losing.


Well, as expected, with a little help from Commission Chairman Keon Hardemon, he got the 4/5 vote he needed to get a seat on the Off-Street Parking Authority Board.


That in itself was a predictably nasty piece of business, but the way it happened also provided an example of a far more disturbing process that Chairman Hardemon has been engaging in for a while now that skirts the Sunshine Law - it might even trample it - and illustrates just how little respect all of the City Commissioners, and the City Attorney, have for the residents of the City of Miami.


While a lot of crazy stuff happened at this last Commission meeting - it seems that these meetings are getting crazier by the month - this particular issue is one that goes to whether or not the Miami City Commission is really holding public meetings, or whether, despite any denials or claims that they might make, they are conspiring behind closed doors and out of the Sunshine.


This is what's going on.


First, since Hardemon has been Chairman, and at his instigation, the entire process of allowing the public to speak at meetings was changed.


Before he became Chairman, citizens were allowed to speak on individual items at the time that they were brought up for discussion, and after the Commissioners had had an opportunity to discuss the issues.  In this way citizens had at least some opportunity to engage in what is known as "informed speech."


They had heard and knew what the Commissioners were up to, and they could then form and make comments based on that information, even being able, with the knowledge provided from the Commissioners comments to make suggestions and/or objections based on facts and knowledge in their possession.


That all changed under Hardemon.  


The public was informed that they would have to make whatever comments they had on any of the agenda items - other that on the First and Second Reading of Ordinances - in 2 minutes, at the beginning of the Commission meeting, sometimes before they even knew of last minute changes to items on the agenda, or as Commissioner Reyes has chosen to operate, on pocket items that were introduced during a meeting with no prior notice, or paperwork.


After the public comments ended, Hardemon has on numerous occasions taken to asking his fellow Commissioners to agree that in addition to passing the items on the Consent Agenda - the Consent Agenda is supposedly reserved for housekeeping or non-controversial items, but on occasion it is used to slip through some sleazy or nasty piece of business that none of the Commissioners want to talk about in public - like for example the time in 2015 when the Commission decided that they didn't want to talk about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the company Bayshore Landing LLC owed the city on their lease of Monty's Restaurant and Marina, and gave them a really wet, sloppy kiss in an item that was buried in the Consent Agenda of the October 22, 2015 Commission meeting. You can read all about that HERE.  


What Hardemon has taken to doing is to ask for large chunks of the Commission agenda, portions NOT part of the Consent Agenda, to be considered and treated like a part of the Consent Agenda, and for them to vote to pass ALL of these items without introduction or discussion in ONE SINGLE VOICE VOTE.


Here's the brief video snippet of how he did that at the last Commission meeting.

THE MANAGER CLAIMS THAT ARMED COPS ARE "PROVIDING AN EXTRA LEVEL OF SECURITY. " THAT RAISES A QUESTION OF WHY THERE'S ONLY A NEED FOR AN EXTRA LEVEL OF SECURITY JUST FOR COMMISSION MEETINGS

THE LATEST ON THE THREATS AGAINST THE MAYOR AND COMMISSIONER KEN RUSSELL

Public Hearing Items are supposed to be items that are heard individually, where the item is clearly and publicly introduced and read in public, and where public discussion is allowed.  


To claim that those requirements were met on the basis of allowing Public Discussion at the beginning of the meeting is just bullshit.


Furthermore, and this is where the issue of the Sunshine law comes in.  A large number of these items are items that deal with tens, hundreds and even millions of dollars often being awarded on the basis of a bid waiver.  How can anyone actually expect that sizable amounts of money be awarded in this way, with no public discussion?


It's at best, this is an issue of bad public policy, and given that this is the City of Miami, where "every deal is a bad deal," and where chicanery is considered just another word for screwing the taxpayers without their knowledge, this practice of passing whole sections of the agenda without the items being introduced, discussed or voted on individually is an invitation for not only abuse, but for screwing the pooch while looking out for friends, lobbyists and campaign contributors.


And, it raises the serious question of why Commissioners would go along with this unless they had previously discussed and agreed to some of these items, because  there is no way that if you look at the agendas of meetings where this stunt has been pulled off you can't seriously consider that these guys would willingly go along with agreeing to vote to approve some of these items without ANY discussion.


Which brings us to Larry Spring.


Right after getting his fellow Commissioners to go along with voting to pass the Consent Agenda items (4), the Public Hearing items (6), and the RE Resolution Items(8), Hardemon, in the same breath, announced that he "forgot" all about Larry.


Here is the video clip of that little stunt.  It starts as the Commissioners vote to approve all of the items, and then watch how Hardemon bum rushes the item along.

Nasty is, as nasty does, and this was nasty.  


First, it was nasty in the way it was done, and secondly it was nasty for the Commissioners to allow Larry Spring back on any public board after what he did when he was last a city employee.


If anyone has ever doubted that the claims that I and others who pay attention to the antics at City Hall have made about not trusting these clowns, then this should provide more evidence that we are right, and these guys are not to be trusted, at any time, or for any reason.  


They will lie, cheat, and steal pennies off the eyes of dead people if they think they have half a chance to get away with it!

This is the official statement from the Miami Police Department.

This is what I've been able to find out from sources.


The subject has sent dozens, if not hundreds of text messages and made threats on Twitter to Commissioner Russell and the Mayor. The subject has been identified and an arrest warrant has been issued. The guy has gone to ground, and there is an active effort to find him.


The basis for all of these threats supposedly has something to do with an individual who was involved in Russell's Congressional campaign.


That's all I got for now.

Here you have City Manager, Emilio "Colonel Klink" Gonzalez, Chief of Police,  "I can't quit smiling because some's always taking my photo" Colina, and two members of the Miami Police Department with unidentifiable weapons that may be semi-automatic, or fully automatic, but which will kill you just the same inside a building, even if you're in another room.


The photo was posted on Colonel Klink's Twitter page after I posted a photo and raised the question of why were there armed cops at City Hall.  The Colonel stated that it was to provide an "extra level of security."


First, I have to state that sources at City Hall confirmed that the presence of these armed police officers did start sometime in March, but, as I also pointed out when I originally challenged that claim, their presence has not always been visable.


Two Commission meetings ago, when I went to City Hall, none of them were visible, and I've talked with others who frequent City Hall more than I do nowadays, and they too had not seen these armed cops before I posted the photo yesterday.


Secondly, and far more importantly, is why?  


Why does Colonel Klink - since he's the one who supposedly ordered these cops to do this - think that there needs to be Miami Police armed with semi-automatic, or fully automatic weapons present at City Commission meetings.


And why only at Commission meetings?  If there is a threat, then what about the city employees who show up for work every day being provided the same level of protection?  And what about all the folks at the MRC Building?  Aren't they important enough to be provided the same level of protection?


There's a constant tug-a-war between legitimate security needs, and the batshit crazy needs of some men - and it's always about men who have got this thing about little dicks and big guns - and their need to demonstrate power and dominance with guns.


There are always cops with pistols at City Hall during Commission meetings, and there are almost always members of the police command staff, including the Chief of Police himself - as evidenced in the above photo - who are also at City Hall on Commission days, and they are all armed.


So why the need for 4 cops with semi-automatic, or fully automatic weapons?  


As one of my Twitter followers wrote me last night, ""What's next, a tank?"


Security is not a laughing matter, and I myself have had to take precautions over the years because of my willingness to say what's on my mind, but there's a big difference between legitimate security concerns that address possible threats, and the random, and occasional use of police officers with semi or fully automatic weapons, especially since no other cities or municipalities in Miami-Dade County believe that they are under any kind of potential threat that warrant this kind of fire power being deployed at Miami City Hall!


I'm seriously thinking that maybe I need to create and design a Crespogram Award called, The Order of Hot Lips, Who Says It's Okay To have A Little Dick.


Your suggestions on who should receive this award will be appreciated.

I'LL BE BACK NEXT WEEK WITH STORIES ABOUT HISTORIC PRESERVATION, SELF-ENTITLED RICH WHITE PEOPLE AND COMMISSIONER SELFIE BOY AND HIS BESTEST PAL, COMMISSIONER JOE CAROLLO.  TILL THEN, STAY DRY