Watchdog Report February 2015


Argus Report: Miami’s Public meeting marathon gives residents 101 course on civics and shows role of volunteers on the many Miami oversight boards, also keeps city’s staff’s feet to the fire in many ways

Florida: Gov. Scott still trying to tamp down firing of FDLE Dir. Bailey, sends out another press release on the matter

Miami-Dade County: Liberty City residents are holding their breath when it comes to $74 new public housing project to replace demolished Liberty City project, Scott Carver projects fiasco makes residents wary of government promises when it comes to new public housing

Miami–Dade County Public Schools: Board Member Regalado gets a nice send off from Miami New Times in extensive story and life narrative, possible county mayoral candidate?

Public Health Trust: Goodwill industries $15 million linen contract, “win, win, win,” says Jackson CEO Migoya, Arriola calls contract a “a gold medal in our history”

City of Miami: Miami residents get a twofer with both Commissioner Sarnoff & Suarez on County MPO transit board but will they attend since meetings conflict with commission meetings?

City of Miami Beach: New pumps for street flooding drainage causing problems with the environment, and promote a greenish algae plum

Village of Coconut Grove: Regatta Park will be able to accommodate some 8,000 smaller sail boats, “no soccer,” field is planned, “local soil removal,” must be done before “need for contractor for park,” says city staff

City of Coral Gables: Community dialogue at luncheon featuring Gables Manager Cathy Swanson- Rivenbark

City of West Miami: County Commission honor’s Mgr. Aguilar for her many years in service to the small municipality and guiding the city through a fiscal crisis years ago, Former Mayor Sosa gives her a shout out for job well done after fiscal crisis in late 1999

Broward County: Gov.  Scott names Stephen Zaccor to the Broward County Court.

Community Events: The Miami-Dade County Community Relations Board invites you to a community forum on enhancing Trust between Residents and Police — Gloria Steinem at UM — Miami Dolphin Cycling Challenge V Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to — Margulies Warehouse opens in Oct. Lotus House benefits, public students enter free

Editorials: Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission proposes “Honor Code” for County employees but would it make a difference, or open up people to blackmail?

Letters: >>>> Children’s abuse advocate Lauren Book publishes first children’s book – Reader Corrects Sarnoff story: Hi, Dan, and I hope all goes well for you in the New Year. Firstly, thanks for your continuing work with the Watchdog Report. – – Reader wishes me a speedy recovery from stroke

Sponsors – Publisher’s mission statement & Subscription information is at the bottom of this issue

>>> Just because you do not take an interest in politics does not mean politics will not take an interest in you. –Pericles (430 B.C.)

>>> If you wish to be deleted, just e-mail me with that message.

>>> The Watchdog Report publisher would like to thank the John S. and James L. Knight for funding by the Knight Foundation with technical support from the Knight Center to maintain my webpage. The Watchdog Report webpage is free, has no pops-up and is just the news in a mainstream reporting manner.

>>>> The Watchdog Report publisher needs help and I hope you will consider supporting me allowing me to stay out in the field so that I can keep at this and report back how your billions of public dollars in government are being spent on a weekly basis. And how to do that is at the end of the WDR. Thank You.

ARGUS REPORT – Heard, Seen on the Street

>> Miami’s Public meeting marathon gives residents 101 course on civics and shows role of volunteers on the many Miami oversight boards, also keeps city’s staff’s feet to the fire in many ways

The City of Miami televised for the first time in a long time ran a whole series of oversight boards last week on the city’s TV station including the Miami Education Advisory Board, the Historic Environment and Preservation board and the Miami Parks Advisory meeting and the Watchdog Repot writes about these obscure boards for the people serving on them are very diligent and their observations in a host of areas make Miami a better city and I suggest that this meeting festival be repeated for it allows residents to begin to see how their city runs and how public input is critical, where for example at the Parks meeting there was a discussion about using artificial turf that is partially made up of ground up tires and the material is not being used at many “private schools,” because of concerns said One parks board member, and Miami staff say yes there was a debate but the artificial turf material is also sealed in such a way that any negatives are mitigated and is useful in places of high pedestrian traffic use in a park. Another highlight was at the Miami education Advisory Board meeting where there was a major discussion on a study on summer jobs done in Chicago and how it reduced intercity youth violence in the city and was considered a resounding success. The study done by the University of Chicago and University of Pa.  Showed a marked decrease in violence and the summer jobs program was cost effective coming in at roughly “$3,000.” Said one advisory board member and is similar to some findings done by The Children’s Trust, said Trust CEO Charles Auslander. And to read the study go to

>>> The Watchdog Report  would like to welcome Isabel Grace to the world and on her birth Jan. 26 in a hospital in Mexico City to my nephew and his wife and she arrived weighing 7 pounds and 14 oz.’s and she is a real cutie and my best to all of them and the beginning of starting a new family.

>>> CBS 4 Reporter Brian Andrews is saying sayonara to the CBS gig, seeking new frontiers

Intrepid reporter Brian Andrews is saying sayonara to his gig with CBS 4 and in an email he details what he plans for the future. And he has been a solid political reporter with a past history of Miami-Dade and the Watchdog Report wishes him luck in this new venture. Here is what Andrews sent out on the matter, “Today’s my last day at CBS in Miami! Thank you for your kindness over the last 2 decades I’ve worked in Miami TV news.  On Monday, I’m starting a media strategycrisis communications, and training firm based in Miami. Visit me online at please help me share this great news with as many people as possible! I’ll be advising business, non-profits, and government on best media practices. My firm will also be teaming up with some of the most respected names in our area to offer continuing education and specialized training seminars for both PIO’s and private sector PR types. Plus, I’ll be using a fantastic network of resources from South Florida to South America to help create memorable videos and digital content for my clients.” Brian


>>> Long time face of Joe’s Stone Crab Rose McDaniel passes at 85, her warm smile will be missed by many, stickler for dress rules

Rose McDaniel, 85 a welcoming fixture at the iconic Joe’s Stone Crab passed recently and she was a personality at the popular South Beach restaurant known to many customers for her hug and welcome kiss on the check and she will be missed and for more go to


>>>> Gov. Scott still trying to tamp down firing of FDLE Dir. Bailey, sends out another press release on the matter

Gov. Rick Scott is about to release his state budget for the coming year and he has $1 billion in extra revenues that he wants to make into tax cuts on the internet and cable bills but local lawmakers are hesitant to support any cuts in revenue that may come to the state’s 67 counties and municipalities that could see their funding drop if these taxes are cut to what Scott wants some $673 million. Scott is still being buffeted by the row over the firing of FDLE Dir.  Jerry Bailey and the controversial story still has media legs and continues to dog Cabinet Members and Agricultural Commission Adam Putnam is still unhappy with the whole affair that may come back to bite him if he runs for governor in 2016 and he is considered a GOP star after he was elected to the Congress at age 25 and left the body without scandal after a decade and ran for statewide office back in 2010.

>>> And here is another press release from Gov. Scott on the firing: In case you missed it, please see detailed information below on accusations from Gerald Bailey. Click here to view the full FAQ.

Please attribute the FAQ to the Governor’s Press Office.

Q: What about the allegation from Bailey that the Governor’s office stopped FDLE from briefing the cabinet on their plan to increase pay for crime lab employees?

  • In October, the Governor’s Office of Policy and Budget recommended that FDLE not include any pay increases in their Legislative Budget Requests because pay increases for all state agencies were to be considered as a whole at a later date. However, the final decision was left to the Agency. The Governor’s full budget proposal will be released this week.

>>> WPBT puts spotlight on CRAs, and role in ending urban blight

WPBT Channel 2 did a major show on Community Redevelopment Agencies (CRAs) and the show onIssues is hosted by Helen Ferre and to see the show go to Miami-Dade County has 11 CRAs from North Miami to Homestead and there has been a major debate for their continued existence and when some should sunset, and to put the entities property tax base back into the general fund. Since CRAs are supposed to fight urban slum and blight but because elected officials make up the CRA board’s critics charge these organizations are just a fund that elected leaders can dip into for pet projects and not to help the local communities fight urban blight and the County Commission is essentially a pass through in reviewing of how these funds are used and in the past local officials have asked the state legislature to tighten up some of the regulations governing these entities that are supposed to reinvest property tax dollars and the program raises some very good points. Since many times the money is used to cover bond debt for major projects.

>>> Will FDLE’s continued controversy over FDLE Dir. Bailey’s resigning or firing dog Gov. Scott in the months ahead? Tries to dispel it with a press release but will Ag. Commissioner Putnam buy into it?

With The Shake-Up at FDLE, the new Gov. Rick Scott administration is getting off to a shaky start when it comes to transparency and good governance and conflicting charges are flying about what exactly went down with the termination of the long serving Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) Director Gerald Bailey and whether he was fired or resigned as the governor said. But the controversy continues in the media and is becoming a major distraction for Scott, “who is quoted saying Bailey did a great job [and is being petty,” and a further news story in the Herald shows the debate will not be going away. Since the law enforcement agency has a rich history of being apolitical and not getting involved in political matters.

And while Gov. Rick Scott is still being hammered over the firing, of Florida department of Law Enforcement Director Gerald Bailey. Some of the Cabinet members are calling for an independent investigator be used to investigate the matter. That caught Florida Cabinet members, Attorney General Pam Bondi, CFO Jeff Atwater taken unaware when asked by the press about the firing. Further, Adam Putnam a former congressman for a decade prior to taking state wide office in 2010 is considered to have a bright political future and potentially a gubernatorial candidate in the next cycle in 2020 and he is starting to take the lead in the matter and Putnam knows how serious the ramifications could be of the possible political intrusion with the FDLE that has a long storied history of being a nonpartisan state law enforcement arm but the controversy whether Bailey was fired by Scott and his contradictory statement by the governor that Bailey quite, which the special agent denies since Bailey was set to retire in just a few months which also puzzles critics. And for Putnam the political stakes are the highest and he needs to be the point of the spear in getting this matter cleared up for the longer it festers and lingers it will be corrosive not only to Scott but how the Florid Cabinet is viewed as a whole  and that dark cloud may well infect Putman’s future political career if not resolved for he is in a position to do something about getting to the root of the story and while below is a press release from the governor’s office on the controversy trying to end the debate and it remains to be seen if this explanation will tamp down the controversy, especially since Putnam is a longtime Floridian and he has the reputation of being a straight shooter.


What do we know about Putnam’s finances?

Putnam through Dec. 2013 had a $7.8 million net worth and to read his full disclosure form go to

On the well-being of our children. Visit The Children’s Movement website to read their stories and share your own. >>> I find it unacceptable, as all of us should, that at least a half-million children in Florida – all citizens — have no health insurance. How could this be in our beloved country that seeks to be a beacon to the world? Health insurance for all children is one of the five major planks of The Children’s Movement. With the support of Florida Covering Kids and Families, The Children’s Movement is working with dozens of local partners to help build a meaningful signing-up initiative in more than a dozen Florida communities. Already we have: Completed 18 KidCare trainings around the state. Signed up, trained and deployed more than a hundred volunteers. Begun to build a growing collaboration between local school districts and KidCare outreach coalitions. It’s a good start, but only the start. If you’d like to become a volunteer, just click here. Another way to help is to make a contribution – of any size – to help support this work. It is easy. Just click here. A real movement isn’t possible without your helping in some meaningful way. Dave Lawrence, Jr., Chair the Children’s Movement. >>> Update: Two encouraging meetings… The first, a visit from the Governor to the Rainbow Intergenerational Child Care center in Little Havana where he discussed his early learning priorities. That includes his support for “Help Me Grow,” a statewide parent resource system where parents would be able — via phone and online — to get and she thought answers to questions about their child’s development and connected with the proper resources. The second, a meeting with future House Speaker, Rep. Jose Oliva from Hialeah. He’s a father of three, a real reader of history and student of policy, and committed to better understanding early learning. Dave Lawrence, Chair The Children’s Movement.

Three of the basics of building a real movement for all children:

• Nothing is more important than a caring and knowledgeable parent. (Know that 71 percent of American mothers with children between birth and age 5 work outside the home, meaning high-quality, brain-stimulating child care is a major necessity.)
• 85 percent of brain growth occurs by age 3.
• Early learning is a continuum between before birth and age 8. (“Families are the ultimate pre-pre-school,” wrote Clare Huntington in The New York Times last September, adding, “I don’t want to rain on the pre-K parade, but we can’t pretend that school preparation begins at age 4. Four is better than 5, but zero is better than 4.”)

All that brings to me to a Miami-Dade Public Schools initiative focused on the transition from child care to kindergarten. This week I spent time at the superb YMCA in Allapattah, a bit north of downtown Miami. I spoke with Drs. Maggie Abrahante and Marisel Elias-Miranda, two key people responsible for early childhood programs that the superintendent has made a priority in this nationally honored school system. They’ve put together an excellent handbook for parents of children headed for kindergarten, and also:

• Five retired school administrators with a special interest in early childhood already have met with 400 child care center directors to give them a sense of what school is all about and the expectations for children.
• Principals are meeting with center directors.
• Parents are offered superb neighborhood workshops, one of which I attended.

Wouldn’t that be smart to do in every school system?

Dave Lawrence
The Children’s Movement of Florida

>>>>And if you would like to see you’re County or state elected leaders financial

Disclosures forms on file go to website (


>>> Liberty City residents are holding their breath when it comes to a proposed $74 new public housing project to replace a soon to be demolished Liberty City project, Scott Carver projects fiasco makes residents wary of government promises when it comes to new public housing

The announcement that the Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez Administration is going to demolish the Liberty City project, (and spend $74 million to replace the housing) using HUD funding after the County fiasco of the James E. Scott project  in 2000 years ago when the units were torn down and residents were scattered all over Miami-Dade and multiple times with great  fanfare former Commissioner Dorrin Rolle would repeatedly try to quell residents grumbling and lack of new housing and there was a sign up list and a controversial county list of past residents but the Scott project lay fallow for years and frustrated residents essentially gave up on returning to the neighborhood and any decent new housing. And for more go to


And here is the mayor’s press release on the matter: – Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson, and community partners, will announce plans for the revitalization of four years. This project will work closely with Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez’s Employ Miami-Dade initiative assist in providing employment training for residents before the development projects break ground in the beginning of 2016.

“The diversity of Miami-Dade should be represented in the workforce that builds the new Liberty Square and new projects in Liberty City,” said Mayor Gimenez. “With a mixed income and mixed use community, diversity will also be reflected Liberty Square and Liberty City on Monday, February 2, 2015, at 10 a.m. The revitalization of Liberty Square is a $74 million commitment to transform the public housing project and create jobs in the neighborhood. The revitalization is expected to create approximately 2,290 jobs and more than $285 million in economic output within the next in those that will reside there.” This is the largest project that the Department of Public Housing and Community Development has ever taken on. The Liberty Square is currently compromised of 709 units and has approximately 2,000 residents.

WHO: Mayor Carlos A. Gimenez

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey M. Edmonson

Miami-Dade Department of Public Housing and Community Development

WHAT: Announcing the Liberty City Rising Project

WHEN: Monday, February 2, 2015, at 10 a.m.

WHERE: 6304 NW 14 Avenue

Miami, FL 33147

Record December 2014
Revenue Per Available Room (RevPAR)
Market Rate % Change vs. 2013
1. New York $251.60 -0.4%
2. Oahu Island $201.05 +10.3%
3. Miami $180.45 +9.4%
4. San Francisco $149.29 +29.1%
5. Anaheim $95.84 +13.4%
Average Daily Room Rate (ADR)
Market Rate % Change vs. 2013
1. New York $298.72 -1.7%
2. Oahu Island $246.70 +7.4%
3. Miami $230.89 +9.1%
4. San Francisco $194.94 +21.5%
5. Boston $142.50 +4.9%
Average Daily Occupancy
Market % Occupancy % Change vs. 2013
1. New York 84.2% +1.3%
2. Oahu Island 81.5% +2.6%
3. Miami 78.2% +0.4%
4. San Francisco 76.6% +6.2%
5. Orlando 74.4% +4.9%

>>> The Miami-Dade Water and Sewer Department is preparing for the big Flush at Super Bowl halftime and the stats are amazing


Press release: On Super Bowl Sunday, living rooms, family rooms and man caves everywhere will be humming with activity as football fans tune in for the big game. In preparation the Miami-Dade County Water and Sewer Department (WASD) is gearing up for a spike in bathroom trips that could impact household water pressure on game day.

A little known stat about football’s biggest day: water pressure can drop by as much as 18-22 pounds per square inch right at the two-minute warning of the first half and continue throughout halftime, as well as right after the game. As a result, WASD will be monitoring the system’s demand and may add another pump to the system at each plant to compensate for the decrease in pressure. So local football fans can sit back and enjoy the game – and the commercials – knowing that WASD has them covered.


>>> Board Member Regalado gets a nice send off from Miami New Times in extensive story and life narrative, possible county mayoral candidate

School Board Member Raquel Regalado got a nice send off when it comes to her political career in a long profile in The Miami New Times  the reporter fills in a few details of what motivates and drives the woman that is a school board member, single mother and patent attorney and she has been shaking up the political establishment, when she campaigned against funding a new civil court house with some $350 million in bonds and went down in flames last November. However she may be eyeing a race for Miami Mayor now held by her father Miami Mayor Tomas Regalado or possible a countywide race to challenge incumbent Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez now up for reelection in 20016 and pundits say she is well positioned for the municipal position but suggest the county post for now could be too big of a stretch. Since it is a strong mayor form of government and she has no executive experience though she has been hammering Gimenez on a number of issues that he says are political and Gimenez now also has to deal with County Commissioner Xavier Suarez who is starting a petition for voters to vote on, to limit the salaries of county employees to around #162,0000.>>> However Suarez has baggage and any campaign will emphasize the past nickname “Mayor Loco” and his strange behavior when he was Mayor of Miami back in 1997 and he was sent into the political wilderness by voters losing a Miami mayoral race in 2001 and again in 2004 when Gimenez beat him in a race for the commission seat Suarez won in 2011 when Gimenez resigned and ran for the mayoral position. Further, Regalado has made some mistakes in past campaigns and she paid a campaign fine of $5,000 and while a journalist on radio and television. She says if she runs she will give up those gigs.

Here is Suarez’s press release on salary cap the matter

>>> Press release: Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 7, Xavier L. Suarez, launches a campaign to collect signatures to reform the county’s Home Rule Amendment and Charter. This initiative will cap the salaries of Miami-Dade County employees at $162,200 per year. >>>> And Suarez a perennial mayoral candidate is talking up a mayoral run but he continues to historically lose but he has been eyeing the top position. Since he he ran for the Commission District 7 seat. But the man appears to want to be in charge rather than one of 13 commissioners and it remains to be seen if the chatty mercurial candidate catches fire with county voters especially after his son Francis Suarez had to end his bid to be Miami mayor last year after a series of missteps and the younger Suarez is up for reelection this November and how he does at the polls could influence his father’s mayoral campaign that is expected to be an expensive high stakes race. But Gimenez is under siege and his prickly personality has to change for it is not wearing well with voters.


>>> Goodwill industries linen contract, “win, win, win,” says Jackson CEO Migoya, Arriola calls contract a “a gold medal in our history”

The awarding of Goodwill Industries a $15 million three year laundry contract for the linen service at Jackson Memorial Hospital was discussed at the PHT monthly televised board meeting Monday and Vice Chair Joe Arriola noted the “partnership” was one of the greatest the Trust has ever done and “helping   [Goodwill] create this new business in these tough economic times was an additional benefit and the organization’s proposal was a “much lower price” and it was a “win, win, win,” said CEO Carlos Migoya. The watchdog Report, last month caught up with Goodwill CEO David Landsberg and asked him about the contract and the former Miami Herald Publisher said the health Trust in the negotiation’s was very tough and the contract was a real opportunity for Goodwill that employs people with “challenges,” And Goodwill is a $100 million local Miami enterprise. And Arriola said the awarding of the contract “is a gold medal in our history,” he considered. And Migoya said “goodwill built a state of the art 50,000 square-foot facility and business and since the organization employs “challenged people,” this is a “new business model,” and “Jackson Health System saves money by giving this business to Goodwill said Arriola and we have a win, win, win,” said Arriola and the deal was also good for the community as a whole he considered.


>>> Press release: Please hold Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 to reconvene the Public Health Trust (PHT) Nominating Council at 11:00 AM at Jackson Memorial Hospital, located at 1611 N.W. 12th Avenue, 1st Floor, in the West Wing Board Room (see directions below).  The agenda will follow the week prior to the PHT Nominating Council meeting.


>>> Miami residents get a twofer with both Commissioner Sarnoff & Suarez on County MPO transit board but will they attend since meetings conflict with commission meetings?

Miami Commissioner Marc Sarnoff has been chosen by Gov. Rick Scott to be his appointment to the Miami-Dade Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) he said recently at a commission meeting and Miami will be one of the few municipalities in the county to have two members on the large regional transportation organization and  Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez is the current MPO member representing Miami’s transit issues and Sarnoff years ago was on this board but he had trouble attending since the Thursday afternoon MPO meetings conflicted with Commission meetings held the same day and given that conflict it remains to be seen if the termed out Sarnoff attends these meetings on a regular basis as the MPO attendance requirements require.

Village of Coconut Grove

>>> Regatta Park will be able to accommodate some 8,000 smaller sail boats, “no soccer,” field is planned, “local soil removal,” must be done before “need for contractor for park,” says city staff

City staff told members of the Miami Waterfront Advisory Board that at the new Regatta Park while there is a great space it will “not be a soccer field,” the woman said and a previous rendering showed such a field but that was done only to establish the scale of the area that is incorporating a major sailing capability that is expected to handle some 800 boats and Ron Nelson said larger Keel boats for regattas come in and then leave but most of the times people store and leave their boats at some of the yacht club’s or perhaps Shake A Leg said Commissioner Marc Sarnoff’s chief of staff, Nelson. Nelson noted “The new dock Master facility,” on the waterfront changed things,” from the original master plan for the old Coconut Grove Convention Center site torn down months ago and Nelson noted the “Great Lawn” would be available to people with “smaller craft like lasers” and not large Keel boats,” where many times the racing team comes in and races and then leaves, Nelson asserted to the board members. And when it comes to a children playing area there are “liabilities,” that need to be considered. It was also noted that some of the bigger Regattas like the Orange Bowl Regatta bring some “5, 000,” boats and that was the concern on how to accommodate these boaters “since when they are in town all the hotels are packed,” said one board member at the recent meeting. Staff noted the plan is it to be “A Park and Regatta Park,” and that you “can’t have too much traffic inside the green area,” said Miami staff. And when it comes to the contaminates on the site this “local soil removal,” (when approved by DERM) will have to be done before we need the contractor for the park,” said staff. Nelson also noted that at Armbrister Park it is being used so much that they had to use “Polyturf,” because of volume of activities there,” said Nelson.

Further, a woman on the board pressed staff about if any new “boat ramps” were being considered on a plan near the Rusty Pelican Restaurant and people noted ramps come with a slew of environmental challenges and these must be resolved before any action was taken she said.

And the Miami Waterfront Advisory Board has three openings  and appointments to the board can be made by Commissioners Frank Carollo, Mayor Tomas Regalado, and Commissioner Keon Hardeman and all you have to do is be a city of Miami resident and you don’t have to live in the commissioner’s district. And Ron Nelson told the board that “it is very difficult to get people to apply,” to Miami boards and he carped to the many Grove activists that this is the time “to step up and walk the walk,” Nelson said to the Waterfront Board recently on the parks progress.


>>> New pumps for drainage causing problems with the environment, and promote a greenish algae plum

Elected leaders have learned a valuable lesson when it comes to Climate Change and Mother nature and that is she has a will of her own and will show it as was the case after the initial installations’ of pumps to prevent flooding on the City’s streets and worked during the past King Tides a few months ago where streets did not flood as was usual and the movement of this water is causing a green tint to Biscayne Bay from chemicals in the water and causes an algae plum but this environmental reaction has to be studied and a possible solution should be sought of rectify the purity of the Oceans water quality and should be paramount in a city that is a tourist mecca because of its great beaches and clear ocean water.


>>> Community dialogue at luncheon featuring Gables Manager Cathy Swanson- Rivenbark

We are pleased to welcome Cathy Swanson-Rivenbark, the new City Manager of the City of Coral Gables, as guest speaker at our luncheon this Monday, February 2nd.  We meet at JohnMartin’s Restaurant at noon (253 Miracle Mile – 2nd floor)

Ms. Swanson-Rivenbark became the City Manager in December 2014.  The Manager supervises a staff of 801 full-time and 112 part-time employees overseeing a budget of $160 million dollars.  Most recently Cathy was the City Manager for the City of Hollywood.  During her tenure she designed a City-wide work program to implement Commission-driven priorities while also enhancing organizational culture, accountability and team problem-solving.  Cathy developed new sustainable employee benefits, enhanced training programs and successfully negotiated five labor contracts.  She facilitated a state-of-the-art safety initiative involving the Police Department, ISO Class 1 Rated Fire Department and active involvement from Public Works, Information Technology Code Enforcement, Public Affairs and Human Resources.  Under her leadership Hollywood was able to remove a “negative outlook” on their bond ratings, building up the City’s reserves and reintroducing capital investment.

Ms. Swanson-Rivenbark is no stranger to the City Beautiful.  She was the City of Coral Gables Development Director supervising economic development activities including business retention, multi-national recruitment, retail development and public/private joint ventures, such as the Village of Merrick Park, the remodeled Coral Gables Country Club and the Palace at Coral Gables.


>>> County Commission honors Mgr. Aguilar for her many years in device to the small municipality and guiding the city through a fiscal crisis years ago

Miami-Dade County Commissioner Rebeca Sosa gave a proclamation to Yolanda Aguilar, the city’s long time Manager and Sosa noted the women guided the city through tough financial times back in 1999 when the state established a financial oversight board to bring the small municipality back to fiscal health and Sosa is a former Mayor of the small city that also produced U.S. Sen Marco Rubio, R-FL who started his career as a councilman before being elected to the Florida House  and later the U.S. Senate and Sosa still lives in her original house in the municipality and her roots run deep there.


>>> Press release: Gov.  Scott names Stephen Zaccor to the Broward County Court.

Zaccor, 43, of Weston, has served as an Assistant State Attorney in the 17th Circuit since 1998. He received his bachelor’s degree from Florida Atlantic University and his law degree from Nova Southeastern University. Zaccor fills a vacancy created by the resignation of Judge Gary R. Cowart.

Governor Rick Scott said, “Steve’s years of experience as a prosecutor has demonstrated his dedication to honorably serving Broward families. I welcome him to this new office on the Broward County Court bench and know Steve will continue to serve with honor.”


>>>>  The Black Archives History & Research Foundation of South Florida is calling visual artists in Dade, Broward and Palm Beach Counties to submit artwork to interpret A Man Among the Peoples, that will coincide with an exhibition on the life, art and legacy of late Overtown artist, Purvis Young. Selected artwork will be displayed in the lobby of The Historic Lyric Theater as part of “Soul Basel Overtown: A celebration of Art, Music and Culture in Colored Town”.

This an art festival taking place from December 3 – 7, 2014 in Miami’s Historic Overtown District. We encourage imaginative expression in the interpretation of the theme. This project is designed to highlight the work of South Florida artists among others that will be displayed during Art Basel weekend. In addition to the public, museum professionals and art critics are invited to attend the festival. Entries will be accepted via email. Deadline to apply is Monday, November 17, 2014.To enter or for more information, please contact Adia McKenzie at or 786-708-4

CLIMATE ACROSS THE CURRICULUMProfessional Development for K-12 Administrators and Teachersin ALL DisciplinesCaroline Lewis, CLEO’s Executive Director, will lead this interactive workshop that includes a Q/A session with a panel of climate scientists & other experts in the field.
Climate Leadership TrainingScience | Solutions | Communication
Join Us January 24, 2015
Designed for teachers, administrators, and all citizens interested in knowing:* Basic science of climate change* Promising efforts & solutions* How to simplify all of this; AND* When, where, & how to include this in your classes and schoolsTraining includes panel discussion with climate experts, including:

  • Dr. Ben Kirtman, UM & IPCC
  • John Morales, NBC6 & ClimaData Corp.
  • Dr. Maribeth Gidley, UM & NOAA (invited)


** 7 Master Plan Points will be awarded to eligible trainees. **


The CLEO Institute
  • Offers formal and informal trainings, events, and forums to bridge the divide between science and society on this urgent issue.
  • Drives the issue across boundaries, from classrooms and town halls to the halls of Congress. Climate change is a challenge that requires commitment, creativity and ingenuity – from all of us.
  • Provides our leaders the needed support of a well-informed public. Tackling climate change means addressing it at every level and in all communities.
The CLEO Institute is a non-profit organizationThat provides Climate Leadership Engagement Opportunities
to bridge the divide between science and society
on this urgent issue.Learn more: visit www.cleoinstitute.orgor contact us: / 305.284.0908Our office is located at Pinecrest Gardens11000 Red Road, Pinecrest, Florida 33156
Registration for MDCPS Teachers

All others: EmailMarissa@CLEOInstitute.orgto register

Registration isREQUIRED.

Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, January 24
8:30 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
University of MiamiCox Science Center, Room 1261301 Memorial DriveCoral Gables, FL 33146
“Climate Across the Curriculum”
Climate Leadership TrainingView More Info
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>>>> Children’s abuse advocate Lauren Book publishes first children’s bookIt is with great pride that I am letting you know of some great news about Lauren and her latest work! Lauren has once again become a published author. Lauren’s first children’s picture book, titled,Lauren’s Kingdom will be released March 9, 2015. Lauren will launch the book at the flagship 59th Street Bloomingdale’s store in New York City on March 7th, but I would like to invite you to pre-order a copy or more today for $16.99 at one of the following links:– Books-A-Million:– Amazon (be sure to use Amazon Smile to benefit Lauren’s Kids!):– Barnes & Noble:’s Kingdom is the story of a young girl named Lauren who lived with her loving family in a small stone house by the sea. Her radiant smile and sweet disposition warmed the hearts of everyone she met, and she loved to play pretend…but things changed the day a new babysitter came into little Lauren’s life. With the help of her best friend Rodney, Lauren finds the courage to use her voice and face her fears. Set in the fanciful backdrop of a young girl’s imagination, Lauren’s Kingdom carries a message for children everywhere: If you’re choking back tears and your heart’s filled with fears…you know very well, it’s OK to tell. And there’s a message to parents and other adults, too: Listen.Presales of the book are critical in the early days of its release. Help us propel this new children’s work that is so important to best seller lists across the country. Please take two minutes right away to order your copy and urge others to do the same.

Proceeds from Lauren’s Kingdom book sales go toward The Lauren’s Kids Foundation — a registered 501(c) (3) organization — and its mission to prevent child sexual abuse through education and awareness and help survivors heal with guidance and support. For more information,

Thank you for your support,

Ron Book

>>> About the Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc.:

The Black Archives History and Research Foundation of South Florida, Inc is a non-profit organization founded in 1977 by Dorothy Jenkins Fields, Ph.D. With a mission to not only preserve the documentary and photographic history of black South Florida, but also to enrich the present and protect the future through the revitalization Miami’s former black business and entertainment district, Overtown. The Black Archives and its programming are supported by the Southeast Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency, Miami-Dade County, The Knight Foundation, Coca-Cola, Macy’s, The Design Group Miami & Drummer Boy Sound. For more information on The Black Archives of South Florida visit

>>> The Margulies Warehouse will be reopen at the end of October and all adult admission charges $10.00 will go to Lotus House Women’s and Children’s Shelter in Overtown and students are free. For more go to and the Lotus House Gala will be Oct. 25th for more information go to

good in the long run for the city is too large now to have unqualified neophyte running the city and voters should be asked to codify that certain jobs have qualifications, other than the person might be tight with the mayor like Arriola, Who Mayor Manny Diaz never even mentions in his book on the city and shows there was some friction.


>>> Miami-Dade County Ethics Commission proposes “Honor Code” for County employees but would it make a difference, or open up people to blackmail?

The Miami-Dade Ethics and Public Trust Commission’s idea of having a County “honor Code” has merit but the question also is will anyone follow it except for a few select people and since all county employees have gone through Ethics training would such an honor code be respected since even now if someone does not report wrong doing they are complacent and contaminated themselves and would an honor Code just come back and open more employees up for intimidation or blackmail if they had not reported a violation and the Honor Code while a good idea is a double edged sword that might work in a County where many municipal attorney’s work for just three votes on the dais, versus what is good for taxpayers something the Watchdog Report was told years ago but by a municipal attorney and that comment appears to be a pretty fair representation of many people’s attitudes and can be seen by how people resist the Public Records Laws.  And here is what the County’s Ethics Commission is proposing on the matter.”Mr. [Joe] Centorino also presented the implementing order to establish an Honor Code for Miami-Dade County employees and politicians.  The proposed Honor Code, which was approved by the Ethics Commission last year, requires county staff and elected officials  – among other things — to protect the public interest above any personal or institutional interest and loyalty and report gross ethical misconduct within the government.  The Honor Code and Implementing Order will be submitted to the Board of County Commissioners for approval,” states the Ethics commission press release on the matter and its Director’s comments on the legislation.


>>> Hi, Dan, and I hope all goes well for you in the New Year. Firstly, thanks for your continuing work with the Watchdog Report.

I’m writing to clarify a small point in your recent article of 1/9 re Marc Sarnoff and the Home Depot campaign. (I’m a director of the Grove First group that organized that campaign and I am the person that developed the Grove First strategy.)

Our strategic objective was to stop the construction hard not of a large-scale big box store and retain a grocery/food market in the neighborhood.  Our approach was to constrain the tenant (Home Depot) to operate within the then-existing zoning laws without variance. Ultimately Home Depot agreed to all conditions.

Since then, and generally speaking, Home Depot has operated within the agreed constraints.  The impact of the operation on the nearby community has been minimal and some would argue beneficial.  Milam’s food market was able to remain, renovate and expand.

The members of Grove First would therefore consider the “Home Depot” campaign a success and we are grateful for the support of the many people–Marc Sarnoff central among them—that made it possible.  (Len Scinto, a Grove First director, is copied.)

Mel Meinhardt

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>>>> Chairman of the Dolphin Cycling Challenge V Sponsor, ride, run, walk, donate or volunteer to fight the Plague of our generation: February 7-8, 2015




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>>> Readers who would like to read the complete University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill Southeast United States Media Report go to view the complete report or download


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