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NUMBER 4 - FEBRUARY 20, 2018
HEY EMILIO, THIS IS NOT KANSAS, AND YOU'RE NOT WORKING IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY ANYMORE, YOU'RE NOW IN MIAMI, BITCHES
There seems to be a full court press going on by the Mayor, who is clearly becoming a media whore, and by the City Manager, who also doesn't seem to do much without someone with a camera being around to take his picture taking to the streets as part of some PR campaign intended to convince the citizens of Miami that there's a new sheriff in town, and then to make sure that plenty of photographs of them styling and profiling ending up on social media.
An example of this activity occurred last week when Emilio Gonzalez, the new City Manager and Jorge Colina, the new Chief of Police, took a stroll along Calle Ocho posing for pictures like tourists..
It's evident that the City Manager has developed a special bond with the Chief after Colina so dazzled him with his vision of life in Miami, that the Manager chose not to interview any other candidate for the job of Chief of Police, but given all the shit that's going on in Little Havana and Calle Ocho, taking a leisurely stroll, shooting the shit with street vendors and telling who knows what kind of fairy tales to children, is the kind of phony, stage crafted photo-op that gives photo-ops a bad name. You've also got to wonder who was paid with taxpayer dollars to follow these two to take photos?
As I said, Little Havana does have problems, and they do include street crimes, but strolling down the street with the Chief of Police isn't going to solve those problem, and in fact, above and beyond the problems with street crimes are the problems that exist with massive code violations, zoning violations, businesses allegedly operating with illegal liquor licenses, lack of Certificates of Occupancy and lack of Business Tax Receipts.
In short, Calle Ocho, is more like the real Havana and a lot of other 3rd World Banana Republics than many folks would like to admit.
If the City Manager was really serious in dealing with these problems, he'd gather the Director of his Building Department, the Directors of his Planning and Zoning Departments and the Director of his Finance Department and walk the entire length of SW 8th Street with instructions for these directors tell him where every single complaint about a code violation, zoning violation, illegal liquor license, lack of CO's, failure to pay Impact Fees and of lack of Business Tax Receipt licenses has been lodged, and how long it was going to take to either correct these problems, or shut these places down.
And just to illustrate that I'm not talking out of my ass, here is a photo that I took on November 13, 2017.
This is a shipping container converted into a Cuban Sandwich Shop that sits on the north side of SW 8th Street just east of 17th Avenue. It was shut down days after it opened in early November, and continues to be shut down because of zoning and code violations that defy solution, starting with the notion that you can take a tricked out shipping container, drop it wherever you want and open up for business.
And this is just the very tip of an iceberg of what's been going on in Little Havana for a while now, especially during the last years of the Regalado administration, when people who were connected and represented by the clique of land use lawyers who treat the Miami City Commission as sock puppets were led to believe that if you greased the right palms you could get away with just about anything.
As one example, I've been told that several years ago a major property and business owner in Little Havana paid for the City of Miami's Building Department Christmas Party. That's like a hyena tossing a party for the foxes guarding the chickens in the hen house.
In fact, there's a real question about how the questionable and/or illegal activities involving building, zoning and code enforcement continue to go on as they have, and that in turn raises a question of why should anyone believe that the City Manager and the Chief if Police taking a stroll down Calle Ocho and posing for pictures should seen as anything other than a bullshit hustle of the citizens of Miami?
WHEN I READ THAT CIRCUIT JUDGE RODNEY SMITH HAD BEEN NOMINATED TO BECOME A FEDERAL JUDGE, IT DAWNED ON ME THAT I HAD WRITTEN ABOUT THE JUDGE AND HIS CAMPAIGN ANTICS IN 2016
In 2016, I spent months putting together a multi-part series on the way that Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle had created a system, using the 2 pre-trial diversion programs who have contracts with her office, to extort over $5 million dollars in donations from the defendants who enter those programs to fund the Denise Moon Memorial Fund.
It was a nasty piece of business, and what she had done was 100% illegal, but because this is Miami, the response I got was, 'So what else is new?'
The last two segments in the series dealt with Joaquin Urquiola, a CPA who had over the years been the account for the political committees of politicians like Marco Rubio, Carlos Gimenez, Marc Sarnoff and Judge Rodney Smith. To get an understanding of how money gets funneled into political committees that get turned into slush funds, you can go HERE, but only after you read my story about Judge Smith.
Urquiola is one of those backroom players who few people outside the political arena know anything about, but who, if you manage to find a loose piece of string and pull, will lead you to the underbelly of political chicanery and deal making that will, at some point, make you say, 'What the fuck!'
In this case, Urquiola led me to Rodney Smith. The question now is whether this is a guy that you'd want as a federal judge. You can read my story HERE.