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NUMBER 78 - AUGUST 10, 2018

In July of 2017, when Commissioner "Sellout" Russell first introduced the idea of creating a Historic District in the West Grove, he cited the 20 or so shotgun wooden houses built by the early Black pioneers of the City of MiamI as the reason why he wanted to see a Historic District created.

By the time that his proposal became an amendment to the city's Historic Preservation Ordinance in October of 2017, the number of the shotgun wooden houses had increased to 51, and the idea of creating a Historic District had been abandoned and a decision was made by the city's Planning Department that Russell supported, to create a new category within the Historic Preservation Ordinance that would be called "Multiple Property Designation."

There were several ways that the number of shotgun houses went from 20 to 51.  One of those was to label each side of a duplex as a separate residence for purposes of counting the number of affected residences, and the other was to include several houses that had, before the historic preservation process had begun,  were scheduled to be legally demolished.

One of those houses belongs to an 84 year old woman named Jackie Rose, and the house sits at 3514 Frow Avenue. Rose and her daughter attended all of the community workshops held by the city's Planning Department, and at the June 11th meeting, she spoke about how the city had treated her, and how they had illegally incorporated her house as one of the 51 shotgun houses on the list to be protected through the Multiple Property Designation process, that in the process stopped the demolition permit issued by the city months before the whole issue of creating an historic district had ever been discussed.

Dear Tamara,

Thank you very much for your timely response to my inquiry.

Note that the Appeal period for the removal of 3514 Frow Avenue just ended at 5 PM today. Up until this time, the removal of the property from the List could have been appealed. Now, Ms. Jackie Rose can finally move forward.

 To allow me to  better understand the basis of the Zoning Administrator’s  decision--you are asking Ms. Rose to initiate the Demolition Permit process all over again when it was City of Miami  staff that  failed to take proper care in the research of 3514 Frow Avenue, negligence on the part of the Historic Preservation staff in failing to adequately research 3514 Frow Avenue before putting it on the List, and because it was negligently placed on the List, it caused the denial by the Zoning Administrator.

 At the July 16, 2018 Historic and Environmental Preservation Board meeting for the “Final Designation” of the experiment by the Historic Preservation staff in the “thematic”  ”Wood Frame Vernacular Residences of Coconut Grove Village West Multiple Property Designation,’” Warren Adams, City of Miami Preservation Officer, at the beginning of the Board meeting admitted that the Historic Preservation staff had not undertaken adequate background research when they included 3514 Frow Avenue on the initial List of potential properties for designation. Additional research by staff showed that the property was not eligible to be on the List, and staff at their own recommendation, asked the Historic and Environmental Preservation Board to remove it from the List—and it was removed.

 So, if I am to understand the logic of your e-mail—you are stating that Ms. Jackie Rose, an 86-year old law abiding taxpaying resident of the City of Miami, must apply for a new Waiver Application for the Demolition of 3514 Frow Avenue because the previous application was denied by the Zoning Administrator due to the fact that “the property was slated for historic designation.” Since we now know that it was the negligence of City staff that placed 3514 Frow Avenue on the List—the admitted failure to take proper care in the serious task of placing a property on the Historic Designation List—you are still holding Ms.  Jackie Rose at fault, and requiring her to apply for a new demolition Waiver because the appeal period on the Denial of the Initial Waiver has lapsed?

In the words of Mr. Joseph Welch at the June 9, 1954 exchange with Senator Joe McCarthy during the McCarthy Hearings in Washington, DC re Communists, comments made because of Senator McCarthy’s unwarranted behavior, he stated, “You’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?”

 What you are proposing may be in accord with your bureaucratic procedure, but it is certainly no way to treat your boss, a City of Miami taxpayer. Have you left no sense of decency?

 Please reconsider your decision in light of the clear explanation of the facts. The decision to place 3514 Frow Avenue on the designation List was based upon the admitted negligence of Historic Preservation staff. It is simply not right for government to treat one of its elderly citizens in such a manner.

My best regards,


Frank Schnidman, J.D.; LL.M.     

Bar Admissions: Florida, California, New York, District of Columbia                 Former Distinguished Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

Former John M. DeGrove Eminent Scholar Chair, Florida Atlantic University                     

P.O. Box 11339                                                   

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33339                           


Cell: 954-599-8715

Jackie Rose joined other owners of shotgun houses who felt that their rights were being abused and hired attorney Frank Schnidman, a nationally recognized expert on urban and regional planning, who until last year had been the Chairman of Florida Atlantic University's Urban Planning Department.

One of the first things Schnidman was able to accomplish was to have her house removed from the list of the 51 houses that the city's Planning Department wanted to include in their Multiple Property Designation.

That should have been enough to restart the permit that Rose had been issued to have the demolition of the house take place.

Unfortunately, this is Miami we're talking about and when the elected politicians aren't conspiring with their deep pocket contributors by screwing the residents, the bureaucrats are trying to match them by just fucking over the residents who piss them off.

And that's what's happened with Jackie Rose.  

First, they screwed her over by illegally putting her house of the list of the 51 shotgun wooden houses they wanted to preserve, and when she got a lawyer who  succeeded in getting that decision overturned, then the folks at the Zoning Department decided that they'd screw her for having the temerity to challenge their illegal behavior by notifying her that even though the demolition process had been illegally halted as a result of their behavior, if she wanted to the demolish the house, she would have to start all over again, and pay all the fees and go through all the bullshit, because thanks to  their malfeasance, her demolition permit had expired.

Oh, and just to rub salt into the wound, when she first tried to get the permit reinstated, they told her that they had lost the file on her house.

As I often say, you can't make this shit up, especially since I've previously written about the antics of Devin Cejas, the Director of the Zoning Department, whose behavior, both before, and during his time as a City of Miami employee has been questioned.

These people lied, cooked the process to illegally include her property on a list of houses that they all but demanded needed to be preserved, and when she succeeded in getting that decision overturned, they retaliated by telling her that she needed to start all over and spend another $2500.00 to get a new permit.  

Here is the letter that Jackie Rose's attorney wrote to Tamara Frost, the Zoning Manager, when he learned of this decision.

This on it's own would be bad enough, but it gets worse.

As a result of all the stress created by this bullshit, Jackie Rose, was forced to go to a cardiologist, and he informed her that any continued stress over all of this could kill her.

So, to step back from all of this she decided that as unsavory as the extortion attempt was by the Zoning Department that she refile and repay the costs of obtaining a demolition permit, she would do so, and turn everything over to her daughter to handle.

That prompted Schnidman to senda new letter to Tamara Frost.

Dear Tamara; 

I write to let you know that Jackie Rose is going forward to start the Demolition Permit process all over again, and will pay all fees and costs under protest, with the recognition that when the process is finished she reserves the right to seek refund or reimbursement of all fees and costs incurred in repeating an application process that was sidelined through the admitted negligence of City officials.

Please understand that she is doing this after consultation with her family and her cardiologist. She just cannot take the stress anymore and it has taken a significant toll on her mental and physical health and well-being. She must stop now and allow her daughter Rhonda to take over the responsibility for moving forward with their jointly owned property. From this point forward, Rhonda will be handling all interactions with the City.

Sadly, Jackie Rose, who has spent decades as a significant contributor to this community, and has truly enjoyed building her career and business in Miami, and after decades of simply enjoying life in Miami, now in the twilight of her life feels that City staff (who have no real ties or commitment to the City of Miami) and selected historic preservation advocates who have never even visited her property, have treated her as a criminal, and have said many negative things about her at public meetings. When she in good faith offered the Dade Heritage Trust the structure on her property for if they would remove it and preserve it, there was no interest, only smirks. In fact, the Dade Heritage Trust actually got up in public to say that they had submitted a document with legal analysis to the City Commission that supports the ability of Miami government to do this historic preservation without having to worry about the impact on property owners (but they did not mention the document that they submitted to the City Commission that stated that for best practices and fairness to property owners, Hearing Board members must visit a site before voting on its historic designation—something the HEP Board members did not do).

In a quiet moment, may I suggest that you think about the real-world impact you have on people’s lives, and think about the responsibility of a government official to serve the public, not treat them as adversaries. The question you should all be asking yourselves: “Would I treat my own mother this way?”


Frank Schnidman, J.D.; LL.M.     

Bar Admissions: Florida, California, New York, District of Columbia                 Former Distinguished Professor of Urban and Regional Planning

Former John M. DeGrove Eminent Scholar Chair, Florida Atlantic University                     

P.O. Box 11339                                                   

Fort Lauderdale, FL 33339                           


Cell: 954-599-8715


Letter to Mayor, City Manager, Commissioners, City Attorney, City Clerk by al_crespo on Scribd

Good Morning Ms White and Ms Tuttle:

I am afraid we have a problem in communication.

At last Monday's Special Meeting of the Miami City Commission, Commissioner Carollo questioned the Tallahassee attorney representing the Miamians For An Independent & Accountable Mayor's Initiative, and during that questioning she stated that the committee had chosen to collect the petition signatures using Miami-Dade County Charter, Section 12-23. (I have attached the relevant portion of that section for your perusal.)

In a review of the letter sent to you by the City Clerk he cited Florida Statute,Section 166.031, and Miami City Code 2-112.  

No where was there a mention of either Miami-Dade County Charter, Section 12-23, or Miami City Charter, Section 6 - The Referendum, which provides the city's language on how referendum can be put on the ballot, including the provision that if this section of the Charter is followed the number of petition signatures has to be "15 percent of the total number of of voters registered at the last general municipal election..."

The committee chose not to follow the provisions of the City Charter, which the attorney claimed did not exist, and instead stated that they followed Section 12-23 of the County Charter.

The very first sentence of Section 12-23 states: "No person may circulate a petition or solicit signatures unless he or she is a REGISTERED ELECTOR in Miami-Dade County. (My emphasis added)

In a June 11th email from Vanessa Ramirez, of your office to Miami City Clerk Todd Hannon, she itemized the  5 reasons for which a petition would be disqualified. NO WHERE IN THE 5 REASONS THAT SHE STATED WAS THERE A MENTION OF A PETITION BEING DISQUALIFIED BECAUSE THE PETITION GATHER WAS NOT A REGISTERED ELECTOR IN MIAMI-DADE COUNTY.

I find this particular email quite disturbing because it appears that no one in your office was aware of, or instructed to follow the provisions in Section 12-23 of the County Charter.

Commissioner Carollo then went on to state that he had reviewed one batch of signatures and found that 43% of the petition gathers were not registered electors in Miami-Dade County.

Later on in the meeting, the Commissioner raised the question as to whether your office had certified that these petitions had in fact been gathered by individuals that were Registered Electors in Miami-Dade County, and he was told that no one in the city had requested that your office do so, and that to everyone associated with the committee, and the City Clerk and the City Attorney believed that the only certification that had been done had been on the petition signers.

The Commissioner then directed the City Attorney to contact your office to have your staff go through the petitions and certify that the petitions had been gathered by legally authorized petition gathers. This was especially important because I have been informed by independent sources that in some locations it looked like high school kids were collecting signatures, and on July 20th, members of a local soccer club were seen in neighborhoods close to Melreese Golf Course attempting to collect signatures.

What you have sent me today does not appear to be the certification of petition gathers that Commissioner Carollo directed the City Attorney to ask you to do.

My questions to you now are:

1. Since last Monday has Miami City Attorney Victoria Mendez contacted your office asking you to certify that the petition gathers qualified under Section 12-23 of the Miami-Dade County Charter?

2. Has that been done?

3. What happens to the signatures collected by petition gathers who do not qualify under Section 12-23?

4.  Are those petitions signatures disqualified?

5.  If so, and if the total number of disqualified signatures drops the total number of signature below the required 19,335, does that invalidate the entire petition drive?

These are all important and critical questions that need some clarification and answers, because last week's meeting was continued until August 14ht, and that is only days away.

I hate to sound jaded, I can readily see how this could all go to hell in a hand basket if the City Attorney never followed through on the directive she received from Commissioner Carol lo to have your office certify the petition gathers.

Also, there is an addition question concerning a difference in wording between the English and Spanish versions of the petitions.  In the English version it says that the Mayor will have the authority to select the City Attorney, and in the Spanish version it says that he will have the authority to select the City Prosecutor.  Is this an issue that you and you office can weight in on, or will this be an issue that needs to be litigated in court?

I look forward to your response as expeditiously as possible, because in addition to copying the elected and appointed officials in the city, I will also be posting this story on my newsletter this morning.

Thank you,

al crespo



I first started questioning Francis Suarez's moral character back in November of 2012.

As the years passed, my questions about his moral character only increased as evidenced by his ill-advised and incompetently managed first campaign for Mayor in 2013, and by his behavior in the years that led to his second run for Mayor, and now his effort to become a Strong Mayor.

His association and willingness to play patty-cake with Commissioner Marc Sarnoff and with lobbyist Steve Marin over those years, activities that I've repeatedly referenced through the email that Carlos Gimenez Jr. wrote that revealed how lobbying and business was conducted by the members of the Miami City Commission during those years, especially by Sarnoff and Suarez, was the kind of information, that had it been discovered in many other American cities would have led to a major investigation by both a State Attorney and the local newspaper.

To this day, I am the only "news" outlet that has ever mentioned this email, and to appreciate how things have not changed one iota, a few months ago, when Francis Suarez went to Boston to attend the National Conference of Mayor's, he not only took the Chief of Police along to be one of his bodyguards, but he also took Steve Marin.


Unlike the Chief of Police, Marin stayed in the shadows, but he was there and was spotted by other attendees.  That revelation raised a question that I've not yet been able to get an answer to, which is on how many other trips has Steve Marin tagged along with Francis Suarez since he's become the Mayor of Miami, and what kind of relationship do Marin and Suarez have that would allow him to tag along?

On Monday, before the Special Meeting over the effort to put the Strong Mayor item on the November ballot, I arrived early to City Hall, and was challenged by Suarez's bodyguard/chauffeur, who disputed the story I had published that morning about his parking the Mayor's SUV on a sidewalk in Coral Gables, while he and Suarez went across the street to a restaurant.

He was right, and as I've written in my retraction, it became clear to me after I questioned my source that I had been gamed.

The funny thing is that although the Mayor's bodyguard had no problem confronting me to my face - which I respected - when I sat down in the Commission Chambers,  Francis Suarez came in, and instead of walking to where he could stand in front of me and say whatever he wanted to say, he stood behind me, and proceeded to tell several people that were also behind me that, "Yeah, he did it to try and get a rise out of me, but that's not going to happen."

He then left the chambers.

When a guy who wants to become the strong mayor of an American city lacks the personal courage to stand in front of someone who has written something that he rightly had a reason to dispute, but instead does it to the person's back, I call that being a coward.

In Part II of this series, which I hope to publish by Monday, I will provide even more details of the corruption of Francis Suarez, who not only continues to collected hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars in $10,000, $20,000, $25,000 and even $30,000 amounts, but more importantly how the quid pro quo's are beginning to surface as those deep pocket donors are beginning to receive a return on those "investments."

For now, I want to deal with the issue of Francis Suarez's effort to become the Strong Mayor of Miami.


At Monday's Special Commission meeting, three issues ended up causing the Commissioners to continue the meeting until August 14th.

Those issues were:

1. The convoluted and duplicitous way in which the salary of the Strong Mayor would be calculated.

2. A question as to whether the people who collected the petition signatures were required to be "registered voters in Miami-dade County, and if they weren't, was that enough to invalidate the petition signatures collected by those individuals?


3. Whether the difference in the translation between the English and Spanish version of the petitions - a difference that had the English version say that the Mayor would have the authority to appoint the City Attorney, and the Spanish version said that the Mayor would have the authority to appoint the City Prosecutor - was enough to invalidate the petition?


The salary question is again, an illustration of how much of a weasel Francis Suarez is.  Instead of making the issue of his salary a straightforward  proposition, like saying: "The Mayor of Miami will receive a salary of $150,000, plus benefits," the language in the petition had the Mayor's salary pegged at 75% of the salary of the County Mayor.

As Joey Flechas revealed in an article after Monday's meeting, the actual salary and benefits of the Mayor of Miami-Dade County is "about $326,000."  The current Mayor, Carlos Gimenez requests "a waiver to receive about half of that, and lets the other half go back to the county."

Based on that $326,000 amount, Francis Suarez, could, based on the convoluted language in his petitions receive a "minimum salary" of $244,500.

Obviously Suarez didn't want to put that amount in the petition language, so in his usual fashion of being cute, he and his advisors came up with the percentage salary as a way to hide that number from the public.


Two days after the Special Meeting I wrote to Christina White, the Director of the Miami-Dade Board of Elections:

On Thursday evening, I received a response that included a copy of all of the  letters from the Board of Elections to the City of the signatures that had  been certified, and several other documents, but no copy of any certification of the petition gathers, or the question about the translation.

(NOTE: I must point out that I mistakenly identified the City Attorney as the person who Commissioner Carollo had directed to request the Board of elections to conduct this new certification process, when in fact, it had been the City Clerk.)

In any event, given the shortness of time till next Tuesday's continuation of the Special Meeting, and a concern that all of this might turn out to be a City of Miami rope-a-dope, I immediately wrote to Ms. White and her assistant Ms.Tuttle a detailed letter explaining my concerns, and enlarging on the legal issues surrounding the question of the legality of the petition collectors and the translation question.

Since I wrote the email in the evening, I wrote it to be read this morning. Here is that email:

To provide more clarity, below are portions of Section 12-23 of the Miami-Dade County Charter, Section 6 of the Miami City Charter, and a copy of the June 11th email by Vanessa Ramirez.

06.11.18 Petition to Amend City of Miami Charter by al_crespo on Scribd

Vanessa Ramirez email detailing the 5 reasons a petition would not be certified, but excluding any mention of the failure of the petition gather;s lack of voter registration in Miami-dade County.

These are serious issues, and even though I'm not an attorney, I don't believe you need to be an attorney to understand that if the Board of Elections finds that any of the petition collectors were not registered voters of Miami-Dade County, then all of the petitions that they collected will have to be rejected, and if that number of rejected petitions lowers the number of certified petitions below the required 19,335 signatures required to put the Strong Mayor question on the ballot, then the game is over.

If that happens, then Francis Suarez managed to piss away close to $500,000 by hiring an out-of-state company to collect his petitions, and it will serve as a resounding affirmation that he's too stupid to be a weak mayor, much less a strong mayor.

Shortly after sending this email, Schnidman received a response from Devin Cejas, the Director of the Zoning Department.

Frank Schnidman replied.

It should not be forgotten that this is the same Planning and Zoning Department who has repeatedly been accused of not only bending over backwards to do favors for big developers that included, ignoring the laws, bending the laws, and when none of those would work, they were even caught coaching the Flagstone folks with how to craft the language in a warrant so as to evade the warrant being considered a major change to the specifications of their resort and parking garage.

To now claim that after fucking over an 84 year old woman, becaused of their ignorant behavior, they are incapable of bending the law to allow her to demolish the little wooden house without having to repay $2500, is absolute bullshit, and shows you what a bunch of dirtbag scum are on the payroll at the City of Miami!

Doug Muir continues his slow, methodical process of laying the foundation for his Writ Of Mandamus against the City of Miami Commission for their actions in approving ballot language to amend the City Charter illegally in order to give the Beckham Group a reach around.

Here is a copy of a letter he sent a couple days ago to all the officials in the city.