YEAR END WRAP UP
SUPPORT THE REPORT
Another year has come and gone, and it has been an eventful year.
As promised last year, I tried this year to spend more time and focus on stories providing more detailed information on just how, and sometimes why the politicians and public official in Miami behave badly.
My 5 month investigation into how Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle abused her position by creating a system to extort money through forced "donations" to the Denise Moon Fund was a story that revealed a lot of behind-the-scenes machinations that contributed to a growing recognition by some in the community that she is indeed the most corrupt public official in Miami, and not withstanding the refusal of the Governor to appoint a Special Prosecutor, the evidence of her misbehavior is now on the record, and I hope in the coming year to provide more information.
My expose of how Raquel Regalado committed Homestead Exemption Fraud served once again to reveal that in the challenging times we live in, bloggers like me are stepping up to the plate to do the job that the traditional news media used to do, but now, for various reasons chooses not to do.
The Regalado story was shopped around by supporters of the Gimenez campaign for months, and not one news media outlet chose to look at the allegations.
I did, and the result was that regardless of the source of where the tip came from, Regalado had indeed committed Homestead Exemption Fraud. After her vociferous and baseless denials and claims that she did not commit fraud, she paid the outstanding exemption and fines totaling $3981,78.
I'm also proud of the in-depth profile that I did of Tomas Regalado, because for too long the Miami Herald has been whitewashing his performance as Mayor, and for many people, my story, including his involvement with various drug dealers and organized crime figures provided an appreciation for why I've come to refer to the activities of his administration as an ongoing criminal enterprise.
My series on the Rickenbacker Marina RFP revealed just how a deal crafted to provide a favored bidder an inside track almost succeeded, and to no one's surprise, that deal is making a second appearance next year, because when there's a BILLION DOLLARS at stake, you can bet that no expense is being spared to make sure that the pigs who are lined up at the trough get another opportunity to get a piece of that action.
I angered many on the left in the community when I did my stories that revealed that the efforts to put a Referendum on the Ballot to limit the campaign contributions of lobbyists, companies and individuals who did business with the county, while continuing to allow those kinds of contributions to continue to come from labor unions and groups from the left was wrong and undemocratic.
The problem, as I revealed was this was not a homegrown effort, but one organized and orchestrated by a Washington D.C. group that not only financed this effort, but also wrote the draft legislation.
I'll never have a problem when folks in the community decide to stand up for change as long as it's fair and equitable, but I'll always oppose outsiders coming into our community to impose changes based on their view of what we need. We're capable of making those choices on our own.
The most disappointing stories I wrote this year were about Commissioner Ken "Selfie Boy" Russell. I and many others had high expectations that he would actually develop into a responsible and serious leader on the Commission.
Instead, he's revealed himself to be a lightweight all to willing to turn over the heavy lifting of his job responsibilities to a collection of young and inexperienced "doe-eyed millennials," led by a Chief of Staff whose arrogant and ignorant behavior has managed to drive a wedge between Russell and some of his fellow commissioners and the city's senior staff.
Russell, like all politicians made many promises on his way to getting elected, and among the ones that he's failed to honor were the ones to the folks in the West Grove. Once again, those folks have been led down the Primrose Path by someone who puts more value in showing up for smoochie public relation photo ops than for rolling up his sleeves and actually doing something of consequence.
This year I wrote 150 stories, and none was more important than the series on the destruction of homicide evidence and the 11 missing revolvers from the Property Room of the Miami Police Department. I am gratified that my stories played a role in the decision of the FDLE to decide to step in and conduct an independent investigation into these allegations
I' m most proud of this series because the information for these stories was given to me only because of the trust that I've developed with sources who've come to realize that when they have evidence of serious wrong doing that they want the public to know about, they realize that I provide their best, and perhaps only chance of letting the community know what's going on.
It's a trust and responsibility that I take seriously and try to live up to.
And it's not just me. There are other bloggers in the community who have stepped up to take on issues and stories that the "real news media" have ignored or refused to cover. Their stories were ones that people in the community deserved to know about.
We live in difficult times, and unfortunately the evidence is now overwhelming that what passes for the traditional news media is no longer up to the task of serving the public interest.
I would be the first to admit that I'm on occasion biased, opinionated and capable of making mistakes, but overall, I know that as this year ends, that as bad as behavior that I wrote about was, things would have probably been even worse had I not written about them.
If you agree, then I would appreciate your support to help finance next year's stories.