Will big mouths ever stand up?

The outspoken Big Mouths who so often make the lives of our elected officials a living hell around City Hall have earned themselves a grade of D-minus. Or maybe an outright F for failing to put their “money where their mouth is,” if I remember the old adage correctly.

Michael-Miller-photo1There are about 10 people who continually gripe about our governing officials, thereupon making themselves look foolish when none could put Humpty- Dumpty together, as they failed to muster any opposition to Commissioner Bob (the Centrist) Welsh and Commissioner Josh (Running Man) Liebman. What an embarrassment!

Why couldn’t one of the habitual naysayers crawl out of their complaint corner and take a stab at running for office or con a friend into announcing a candidacy. Instead, it’s nada, nothing, zippo — no one came forth against either of the incumbent duo. My goodness! Josh and Bob should have plenty of political capital to spend over the next four years, which should mean a lot of fun for them if not for their constituents.

The mayoral race is a bit different. Mayor Phil Stoddard wants to keep his seat, but activist Claudia Hauri wants to stop Phil from serving another term. And from what I’ve been told, she is currently out-campaigning Mayor Phil. That being so, my hat is off to her for standing up to be counted among those willing to help guide our City of Pleasant Living. BTW: Claudia, 73, was one of my professors during the early 1970’s. Dang it! How fast those years go by!

Of course, there’s also my good friend and former mayor, Horace Feliu, who says he has sat on the bench long enough and now wants to return to his former leadership role. Frankly, I don’t know why he’s doing it. Me thinx he truly believes there’s a lack of understanding between our current mayor and what South Miami citizens believe is thoughtful and proper stewardship of city affairs.

Over here at the newspaper office, we’re pretty happy that several people want the mayor’s seat. It’s a healthy political situation to have citizens willing to run for office, win or lose. For that reason alone, we congratulate both Claudia and Horace for having the strength of their convictions to put their names up in behalf of our quaint little city. Golly, it was even difficult not to criticize any of the three for something — but we promised to be good ‘til after the election. Then, maybe we’ll go back to knocking around Commissioners Wally Harris and Gab (how did I ever get elected) Edmond (plus the new mayor).

Wandered over to CasaCuba on SW 73 St. and began chatting it up with some folks at the front door. Then I heard one of our local cops lean over and say: “Welcome Home!” Truly, that was one of those “Wow” moments when you are instantly reminded how much so many of us missed the special magic of a favored ‘haunt,” even as we stand around sipping a Cuban coffee and gobbling down a few pastelitos. While there, bumped elbows with Alex Almazan (attorney ‘extraordinaire’), SoMi Magazine Publisher John Edward Smith, South Miami Police Officer Echeverria, Dr. Jorge Blanco, Javier Hernandez-Lichtl (top guy at West Kendall Baptist Hospital), wannabe-your-mayoragain Horace Feliu and look-alike Steve Alexander. Also there: real estate guru Levi Meyer, wining and dining some clients. Really nice to be back home at the ‘Casa’ and if you go there for breakfast, ask for Morella. She’ll take good care of you, just as she did yours truly.

First it was the oriental Fruit Fly quarantine, now 10 inches of rain in 10 days wipes out 70 percent of vegetable crop in South Dade, Mayor Gimenez, Rep. Curbello, Ag. Commissioners PutnamMonday will tour the drenched areas in South Dade, seeking federal relief, with Sen. Nelson on board If the Oriental Fruit quarantine was not enough to push farmers to the brink, the recent 10 days of rain resulted in 10 inches of rain and the deluge has destroyed some 70 percent of the vegetable harvest in South Dade, say county agricultural people and the submerged land included Zoo Miami closing and causing a major economic hit to the attraction given the usual holiday crowds and even had the zoo’s front man and always upbeat Ron Magill grousing at the high water level that covered areas and moats were no longer able to contain there charge since lions could swim across the past impediment.

And given the potential impact to the $800 million industry, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is taking a delegation of officials on a tour that includes Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam and U.S. Rep. Carlos Curbello, (RMiami/ Key West); the congressman is trying to get some legislation passed along to help the beleaguered farmers who have lost so much between the Fruit Fly and now this new hit, resulting in the rise of the cost of vegetables.

Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez is raising some serious coin ($861,246) in the latest reporting period for his 2016 re-election mayoral race, he is facing Raquel Regalado, who also raised serious coin ($234,390) and sent out a Christmas greeting card featuring her children, as it is a soft-sell-piece and similar to when she sent voters an apple in a box when she ran for the school board seat and now the patent attorney wants to go for the big government gorilla. The county that has a strong mayor form of government some 11 unions and around 25,000 employees is a colossus of county government and has 13 members on the commission. Gimenez needs to be careful with how much he is raising because the tactic of shock and awe when it comes to fundraising could come back to haunt him since Regalado is likely to suggest the incumbent mayor is bought and paid for versus her more humble fundraising and there is a mood in the country that money “cannot buy you love, “with the electorate and was recently seen in the defeat of Teresa Sarnoff. These last several items were provided by www.watchdogreport.net.

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

2 Comments on "Will big mouths ever stand up?"

  1. Comments from our readers:

    “Michael Millers rating of a D-Minus or F grade for our civic activists is a prime example of the lack of information shown by not only this editor, but many in the community as well. Activism takes caring, commitment, time, energy, and a literal “thick skin” to endure the harsh treatment they receive for all their efforts. Countless hours are spent in researching agenda items, preparing public remarks, and keeping informed on what is occurring in the community. There are many commission meeting when only one or two activists is still sitting there in an empty room as a commission meeting drones on after three hours. Mr. Miller disparages and minimizes this civic duty because only one of a group chose to file for candidacy against the incumbent mayor. He also used terms such as “big mouths” and “continual gripesters” “habitual naysayers” who should crawl out of their complaint corner.
    These so called “big mouths” are this city’s front line of defense against administrative wrongdoing and should be recognized and applauded for their valiant efforts. The City administration appears to focus on giving awards and recognition to South Miami Police Officers, but ignore, and with the assistance of Community Newspapers, insult our civic activists. Shame on you, my rating for you is a double F for Failure, not Fairness in reporting.”

    – Marie D. Valenti
    South Miami Resident

  2. Comments from our readers:

    “Mr. Miller,
    I agree 110% with the letter sent to you by Marie Valenti on Tuesday, December 22, 2015.
    ​You are completely out of order, when you bash and disrespect us, the activists of South Miami, with your name calling, and your judgement calls. You have even libeled me by publishing a letter purportedly written by Pastor Rodney James of Mt. Olive Baptist Church, in which Pastor James accused me of racism.
    You have absolutely no idea what is going on in our lives, that might prevent some from running for office.
    How do you know that a person does not have a terminal illness which may prevent that person from making a four year commitment?
    Some of us are taking care of very elderly relatives and/or friends who are terminally ill, and can’t commit the time it takes to campaign, and run for office.
    Some of us baby boomers have become grand parents and have “30 something” sons and daughters having their first baby, and need the grandparents help with baby sitting, due to the fact that the mother and father must both work to keep a roof over their heads.
    There are all kinds of situations which we have to deal with, which are none of your, or the public’s business.
    I have more than one dear friend who is still working full time (past retirement age), helping with baby sitting of infants, and also taking care of the needs of their mothers, who are now in their nineties! We are the sandwich generation, and some of us also give as much time and energy as we humanly can to our patriotic duty as loyal Americans, to citizen involvement and oversight. As mature, intelligent, and knowledgeable citizens, we are aware that without our continued presence and involvement, our government becomes a corrupt, de facto oligarchy, and that is what we are up against. We understand that every generation must become involved and vigilent. Without this element of citizen oversight, corruption runs rampant with no constraints. (Look at the train wreck in Opalocka.)
    Our first Amendment rights must be practiced to be kept alive, and the ideals that our country was founded on must be protected by us activists. Bear in mind that we have also spent years serving on Committees and Boards to ensure that there is diversity of opinion, and that all residents are represented, including those who don’t have a voice, due to the constraints of their personal limitations, and life circumstances.
    You call us naysayers, big mouths, and continual gripesters ​,​ to denigrate our work and possibly attempt to demoralize us. Your paper ​is an ​archetypal example of yellow journalism. I, and my peers, consider the source, and ​understand that you have a personal agenda that is served by your disrespect of us​ and your support of those who would hijack our city and turn it into a dystopian nightmare that we, the stakeholders, did not sign up for. It is our patriotic duty ​, and our right,​ to sp ​eak out, write our letters and inform our fellow citizens of what we have learned by keeping our ​city government under a microscope.
    You, Mr. Miller, use your “Community Ne ​wspaper”​ to promote whoever serves ​ ​ your personal agenda. ​ Your flippant and feckless ​comments are not in the best interests of the people of this city.

    I have even been bashed by Mayor Cindy Lerner of Pinecrest for a letter I wrote
    that criticized the politics of our Mayor, Philip Stoddard,who you think ” has done so much good” although he continues to sponsor ordinances to up zone strategic areas of our city, wants to sell off the City Hall property without a referendum, signed us up to a 30 yr. franchise agreement with FPL, wants to load this city up with increased density (although he publicly states in mass media that we must all get out due to sea level rise), wants to have one of his octopus tentacles in the management of Ludlam Trail, (which our city does not need to own or manage), wants to give FPL a 10 year contract for street lights, when he, the “great environmentalist” knows that solar powered lights should be installed, and on and on. Mayor Stoddard and his cohorts have even degraded the definition of green space to include the Underline, which is an
    asphalt paved path which lies beneath the massive infrastructure of the Metro Rail. Those who use the Underline are assaulted by the toxic fumes of U.S.1, the noise pollution of U.S.1, and the horribly loud roar of the Metro Rail overhead. Good for those who wish to use the Underline, but don’t call it green space on my dime.
    My friends will be happy to add to this list, and I invite them to do so. I dare you to publish my letter and theirs.

    I do not make ad hominen attacks, Mr. Miller, as you and others do, and I consider this bashing by you, Mayor Lerner, and all others, to be unwarranted and unjustified. Mayor Lerner called my letter a “virulent attack” on her pal. I consider your sophomoric and clownish criticism, and Mayor Lerner’s unjust criticism to be the real virulent attack on myself and others who practice freedom of speech without making personal attacks.

    Why don’t you have some words, Mr. Miller, for all those citizens who live in a bubble, caring only for their own personal comfort, with absolutely no regard or concern for malfeasance, hypocrisy, hidden agendas, lack of disclosure, and other atrocities that exist right under their noses? Many of these people have embraced the newly named disease of “affluenza”, and don’t even bother to vote. Those individuals are part of the problem, as are you, Mr. Miller.

    Happy Holidays to all who have contributed greatly to citizen participation, service to those in need, and have maintained their integrity under great duress and attack! May the New Year bring us a new Mayor, so that the tide will be turned, and we can return to some semblance of normalcy, and protection of our quality of life, before we all have to evacuate due to sea level rise, which is happening at the rate of one inch per year!
    Does it really make sense to load up a sinking ship with increased density? That agenda only serves to fatten the bank accounts of individuals with no moral compass, who do not care that they are creating a catastrophic situation that will result in great suffering and misery.”

    – Antoinette B. Fischer
    South Miami Resident

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