Growling back at the watchdog

City Manager Roger Carlton shot right back at the Watchdog Report ( www.watchdogreport.net ), which did a little piece on the goings on over at city Hall. The manager’s response, which was in the April 4 edition, was pretty decent and direct, but my guess is that the initial WD report stung the manager a bit. I bet his well written, to the point, “let’s set the record straight, you got it all wrong,” is just one of many explanations that this current city manager will be writing during his tenure.

So, I hear that city commissioner Brian Beasley is trying to future out how to fulfill his campaign promise from two years ago when he told prospective voters that he was going to give computers to all the kiddies that live in South Miami. Well, that’s the unsubstantiated rumor that is floating around town, and also that he’s hoping that as a good will gesture Mark Richman, who operates the city parking garage, will give the city $50,000 that Brian will then be able to use for getting all the kiddies the computers.

Yes, that’s what I hear is floating around inside the head of Brian “The Brain” Beasley. And I bet that he’s even hoping that the present mayor (Phil Stoddard) will be so fed up with being mayor in two years that he won’t run again and then Brian “The Brain” will go for the mayor’s slot.

That reminds me of the mantra I heard recently, “I am the king, I am the king, I am the king of nothing.”

Speaking of nothing: When this commission gets done blaming the last commission and the last manager for everything that ails the city, just what will they do then and whom will they blame for all the new stuff that goes sour? Any bets that at first they won’t blame themselves? But after a while, they will, and you can count on it, they will blame each other and then they will blame the new city manager. Yup, that’s the program… blame the manager…just like they are doing now and just like the last manager got blamed, and the one before that and, of course, the one before that. So, Mr. Manager, you might want to keep copious notes about everything that this commission asks you to do in public — and, of course, in private — cuz before you know it you’re going to need it, when they unceremoniously terminate you, just like the commissions of yesteryear did with most of the previous managers.

Ooops! Usually my sources bowl a strike, but occasionally one of them will throw a gutter ball. Unfortunately the info I passed along last time about the King Pins Challenge II was in the latter category.

Event Producer John Edward Smith tells me that contrary to what I heard, Mayor Stoddard did not bowl on former mayor Horace Feliu’s team. He bowled on Commissioner Carlos Gimenez’s lane, which was sponsored by the Commissioner himself. And FPL was not a lane sponsor for former Mayor Feliu’s lane. As with Commissioner Gimenez, the mayor committed to underwrite the lane himself. FPL paid for two positions on the lane and additionally provided the minimum guarantee of pin pledges for both players. Sorry about that! Saw one of the commissioners over at Lee Park the other day, couldn’t quite figure out what they were carrying with them, but even with the help of my binoculars I couldn’t figure out if they were $20 bills or something that looked like them.

And speaking of binoculars, I hear that one city employee was asked to secretly take pictures of one of the city parking garage employees. Yes, that’s the story around town. And if you are wondering whether or not the photos were taken, I was told that the proposed photographer said, “No way!” By the way, does anyone know why and who wanted those pictures taken?

Was over at Deli-Lane the other day, ran into former mayor Horace Feliu and it looked like he was chatting with Rene Guim. Not sure though, because this guy is way thinner and has way bigger arms that when he ran for the commission awhile back. Also, saw legal eagle Gary Rackear at Big Cheese with an ol buddy of his. And nearby was Palmetto Bay mayor Gene Flinn, who by the way is running for the seat presently occupied by Katy Sorenson, who will be retiring after serving for some 16 years. Hospitals on the move…

Larkin Hospital, which is on SW 62 Avenue, just purchased a 30,000 square foot building at 5996 SW 70 Street for a reported $3.6 million. The building, which was built in 1992, is just a hop, skip and jump from the hospital, and was most recently the home for folks in the building industry.

And I see that Kendall Regional Hospital, at the Florida Turnpike and SW 40 Street, was finally able to purchase the gas station that was literally right in front of the hospital. The gas station is no more and I hear that a helicopter pad is going to replace it. What? you ask! Yup, that’s the story. I also hear that the hospital is moving towards becoming a Level 2 Trauma Center and the helicopter will get the injured there a whole lot faster than by ambulance…

And of course, we’ve got South Miami Hospital, which seems like it is forever improving the buildings and service that it provides to us, and more good stuff is on the way. SMH will start constructing a new Emergency Room sometime next year which will be built on to the west side of the existing emergency room.

And if you’re looking for something to do, just take a look at the roof of South Miami Hospital’s east wing. There is the large black fence all around the roof. I can’t help but wonder what’s happening on the other side of the black-out material. Some have told me that there is a garden up there. Others claim that it’s the new home of the basketball court or even a miniature soccer field. But, I got to tell ye, I think the fence just blocks our view of all the air conditioner equipment and the like, and I’m happy that they’ve done it.

Mr. Bob Welch, AKA Bicycle Bob, was seen at a rally for Marco Rubio, the Republican candidate for US Senate. And actually I’ll bet a whole lot of people saw Bob at the nationally televised event as Rudy Giuliani endorsed Rubio. Golly. And I thought that Bob was a die-hard Democrat. Couldn’t believe my ears the other day, when two civic activists told me that a very big top dog over at city hall got hired without a background check even being done. Hmmm… Didn’t someone get canned the other day, cuz their resume wasn’t exactly correct?

A few weeks ago, Police Chief Bobbie Richardson was the guest speaker at the annual meeting of Lee Park residents. The Chief spoke about things that the police department was doing to make the area safer and assured the group that the drug dealers and smokers will be hearing from the police real soon.

President of United Teachers addresses CBBA

Karen Aronowitz, President of United Teachers of Dade, was the guest speaker at the monthly meeting of the Cutler Bay Business Association (CBBA) on Thursday April 8.

Held in the Palm Room at the Palmetto Bay Village Center, her topic was, “Education is Good for Business,” but with many teachers and even students in the streets last week protesting the Florida Legislature’s Senate Bill 6 and corresponding House Bill 7189, concerns over the future of public education in South Florida were at the core of the discussion.

United Teachers of Dade is the union representing 39,000 teachers and education support professionals in Miami-Dade County Public Schools. Aronowitz, a former language arts teacher at Miami Southridge Senior High, was elected president of the organization in 2004 and was re-elected for a three year term last month. She is an advocate for high quality public education and the rights of students and their teachers to work in healthy and safe schools, and is an ardent supporter of “authentic education,” which includes physical education, arts, music and technical education for all children.

“I was so happy to be at the Cutler Bay Business Association,” Aronowitz told the community after the meeting.

“Everyone needs to call Governor Charlie Crist and ask that he veto Senate Bill 6 because it’s not only damaging for the students and teachers of Miami- Dade, but it’s also damaging to the local business community. The governor has two weeks to veto or not veto the bill, and the more people that call and say ‘veto this bad bill,’ the more effective it will be. You don’t keep taking money away from a system and then say that the people who work within that system are the sole responsible agents for the outcome. They’re not provided the resources or salaries that are necessary to do the job.”

With degrees from the University of Florida and Florida International University, Aronowitz additionally serves on the board of The Children’s Trust and United Way of Miami, and is a member of the Miami Chapter of the NAACP, the American Federation of Teachers K-12 Program & Policy Council, the AFT Urban Schools Initiative, and numerous other organizations.

For more information about the CBBA, visit their website: www.CBBA.biz or call Cyndi Rogg at 305-609-1096. For more information about the Palmetto Bay Village Center, contact JoAnn Parns at 786-249- 0946 or by email at info@palmettobayvillagecenter. com.

Was over at Big Cheese the other day and saw Palmetto Bay Mayor Gene Flinn, who by the way is running for the seat presently occupied by Katy Sorenson, who will be retiring after serving for some 16 years. And nearby was legal eagle Gary Rackear at another table with an ol buddy of his.

‘Best Time’ for Ballpark? Even if you’ve been against it, you have to realize that this is “the best time” to build the Marlins’ baseball park in Little Havana. So said County Manager George Burgess to Kendall Federation of Homeowners Association members in answer to impromptu questions about county spending.

The Manager decries those who claim “tax” money is wasted, summarizing the four major non-ad valorum tax sources for the county’s share, including $50 million budgeted to renovate the old Orange Bowl — which “is certainly being renovated now!”

Concludes Burgess: “Actually, this has turned out to be the best time to build a new stadium. Bids are so competitive during the current down-economic construction time that some are coming in below cost estimates.”

All well and good, George. Now whadda’ya gonna do about that lousy Marlin bullpen?

F ree ‘Backyard Astronomy’ at 8 p.m., Friday, April 18, when Southern Cross Astros conduct a program for novice nighttime sky watchers in CP-145 of FIU’s Physics Building. Types of telescopes, screening out lighting, easy-to-see sky objects on the menu, and more. Park in the main campus garage at SW 109th Avenue and SW 8th Street, opposite the Physics Building. For details, call 305-666-1375 or visit www.scas.org .

Gary Alan Ruse and Richard Yager contributed to this column.

‘Best Time’ for Ballpark

Even if you’ve been against it, you have to realize that this is “the best time” to build the Marlins’ baseball park in Little Havana. So said County Manager George Burgess to Kendall Federation of Homeowners Association members in answer to impromptu questions about county spending The Manager decries those who claim “tax” money is wasted, summarizing the four major non-ad valorum tax sources for the county’s share, including $50 million budgeted to renovate the old Orange Bowl — which “is certainly being renovated now!”

While the multiple sources comprising the $350 million-plus additional funding largely constitute pledges from future income sources, Burgess views them as revenues not coming from ad valorem property tax rolls (although a case could be made for saving those same dollars for more significant needs).

Concludes Burgess: “Actually, this has turned out to be the best time to build a new stadium. Bids are so competitive during the current down-economic construction time that some are coming in below cost estimates.” The Manager says more than 80 percent of the construction is also under contract to local firms, creating a job market during the equally- depressive employment downturn: “You wouldn’t have seen that three years ago,” he reasoned. “And you probably won’t see that in this market three years from now!”

All well and good, George. Now whadda’ya gonna do about that lousy Marlin bullpen?

Zoning agenda will see West Kendall’s Council meet Thursday, April 15, 6:30 p.m.at Kendall Civic Pavilion in the Village Town Center, 8625 SW 124th Avenue to hear Costco’s application to install two additional gas pumps and canopy coverage at London Square (previously deferred due to lack of quorum); also, erection of 100-foot transmitting tower at 9901 SW 142nd Avenue by T-Mobile South.

East Kendall CC meets Tuesday, April 20, 6:30 p.m. at the Kendall Civic Pavilion, to hear FirstBank’s application at 9830 SW 87 Street for parking exceptions and a fivefoot rear property masonry wall. Also on tap: a T-Mobile South 100-foot tower erection at 9901 SW 142nd Avenue; a Sunday alcoholic beverage sales permit at the SW 117th Avenue BJ’s, just north of SW 72nd Street.

Riviera Day School that’s planned on Galloway Drive may still undergo formal protest by area neighbors through an administrative appeal. Continental Park homeowners must come up with $1,272.31, the cost of filing that legal notice. Those contemplating the action say a 2009 zoning decision would permit grandfathered property rights for new school construction that might adversely effect nearby homeowners.

Free ‘Backyard Astronomy’ at 8 p.m., Friday, April 18, when Southern Cross Astros conduct a program for novice nighttime sky watchers in CP-145 of FIU’s Physics Building. Types of telescopes, screening out lighting, easy-to-see sky objects on the menu, and more. Park in the main campus garage at SW 109th Avenue and SW 8th Street, opposite the Physics Building. For details, call 305-666-1375 or visit www.scas.org . Gourmet Department: If you haven’t been by DiPapa’s Restaurant recently (Kendall Drive, just west of the Shula overpass), you’re missing one of the best spaghetti and meatball combinations sampled in years, thanks to a delectable sauce and perfectly-cooked pasta. Five stars for making an ordinary dish extra-special, says our dining critic.

Richard Yager contributed to this column.

Thought for the day:
Diamonds are nothing more than chunks of coal that stuck to their jobs.
— Malcolm Forbes

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669- 7355, ext. 249, or send emails to < michael@communitynewspapers.com >


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About the Author

Michael Miller
Michael co-owns Community Newspapers with his brother Grant and serves as Executive Editor of the group of newspapers. He enjoys writing about local politics and area businesses. Michael can be reached at michael@communitynewspapers.com

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