City Deals with Pushback from Mailer

Aside from consistently losing money on lawsuits and litigation, South Miami taxpayers recently footed a hefty bill in paying for a recent mailer to promote a developer’s desire to purchase the city hall property. It is rumored that the multi paged “information” mailer had so many exaggerations and downright misinformation that it looked like a desperate attempt by special interests to by-pass the will of the people.

Many are asking, do we really need to sell city hall? After all, percentage wise, the cost to maintain and repair city hall averages to less than what most homeowners spend on their own homes on a yearly basis. And on another note, since the total cost of the mailer is more than the $5,000.00 cap the manager is allowed to spend without a resolution…. Where is the resolution?  No doubt, the usual tactic of “splitting” the total cost was employed to avoid public scrutiny by the taxpayers. These are things that make you go….hmmm.

And let’s see, we need to clarify something about the former Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro lawsuit against the city. I wrote” If only the city would have paid Martinez the remaining balance due him on his contract, the case would have been closed years ago……”.As  It turns out ,that at some point back then, the city manager offered him a “ buy-out”, BUT the Chief declined. So, there ya go, the whole truth and nothing but….

OMG. For all those that give a hoot, watch the most recent CRA meeting on Channel 77. Pay special attention to Commissioner Josh Liebman as he strives to get people to become members of the board.  Watch and listen. It’s very enlightening and engaging and lots of truths being spoken.

Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle was reelected unopposed and she has held the countywide office since 1993, when she replaced Janet Reno who was tapped to be the U.S. Attorney General in the President Bill Clinton administration and she has rarely had a contested race but critics believe all the countywide offices like Clerk, the mayor, should all have term limits like the county commissioners now have. Further critics say because the office is countywide the office tends to be soft on elected leaders in the county’s 34 municipalities. However Fernandez Rundle counters that is not the case and her office has been going after corruption all through her tenure in office but some good government types believe challenging incumbents is good for the good government process and makes an elected official more responsive and they do not take their position for granted which happens very often in South Florida and can do in a candidate, just ask recalled Mayor Carlos Alvarez when he got recalled for having a  tin ear when he gave raises to a select few of his inner staff.

A joint Board of Miami-Dade County Commissioner’s Youth Commission was a breath of fresh air as these high school leaders in committees have begun a host of projects including collecting 500 used AP/ Sat test  books, very expensive but highly helpful on the tests. Further another program was handing out of book bags with supplies and working closely with The Children’s Trust of Miami-Dade, trying “to mend the gap with our youth and the police,” said one committee chair and the members wearing Miami-Dade County logo monogramed polo shirts, went to Tallahassee and met with state leaders,” and these future community leaders  are an impressive group and in past years when  the body met, violence and bullying (with the majority happening in middle schools, said one commission member) were at the top of their list and the civility and quality dialogue gives me hope concerning the leaders of the future. And many of them are going to top notch universities. And these members also worked with the Miami-Dade Community Relations Board and had a anti bullying forum at the Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

Ethics Commission summary: The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) today approved a settlement to a complaint (C 16-13) against a Miami-Dade firefighter who has admitted to violating outside employment rules.  In addition to working as a firefighter at Miami International Airport, Angel Luna accepted a job in 2010 as a Fleet Service Clerk with Envoy Air, Inc., without seeking permission for outside employment each year or filing an annual financial disclosure form, as required by the Conflict of Interest and Code of Ethics Ordinance.  In addition to discipline from the Fire Department, Luna has agreed to pay the Ethics Commission a $500 fine and accept a Letter of Instruction.  He has since received approval to his Request for outside employment and has filed Outside Employment Statements for the past three years. In another employment-related issue, the COE opined that a part-time security guard for Miami-Dade’s Internal Services Department may continue working full-time with a County contractor, Security Alliance, LLC, as long as there is no conflict between the two positions.  The response to RQO 16-02 cautions the employee to avoid working at County facilities serviced by his outside employer and reminds him that he is prohibited from using County time or resources or sharing confidential information for Security Alliance, and may not represent the company in any matter before the County.  He must also obtain permission for outside employment and file a financial statement every year he works both jobs.

Also today, the COE dismissed a complaint filed against Miami-Dade Transit workers for not answering a series of questions about a public record (C 16-11) as Not Legally Sufficient.  There is no requirement under Florida’s Public Records Law that an official or employee create documents not in existence or furnish answers to specific questions from a citizen.

A complaint alleging illegal lobbying (C 16-14) filed against the CEO of Uber was dismissed as Not Legally Sufficient because it exceeded the three-year statute of limitations.  Christopher Davis accused Uber executive Travis Kalanick of lobbying Miami-Dade officials between July 26 and October 15, 2012, without registering to do so. Kalanick was certified as a lobbyist on October 25th of that year. COE Executive Director Joseph Centorino announced that nearly 1,000 posters promoting adherence to the County’s recently approved Honor Code have been distributed this past week among Miami-Dade departments and agencies.  The message encourages public workers and citizens to report unethical or illegal conduct in local governments to the Ethics Commission.  The posters are also being offered to all municipalities that have passed or are considering enacting their own versions of the Honor Code.   Mr. Centorino has invited representatives of all Miami-Dade cities who may serve as liaisons to the Ethics Commission to a meeting next Wednesday, May 18th at 10 a.m. to discuss that and other issues in hopes of improving communications between the COE and the entities over which it has jurisdiction. The last four items were provided by

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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

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