Musical Chairs continue at City Hall


By Michael Miller….
South Miami’s city payroll just got a bit thinner with the recent “resignation” of the city attorney, terminations of three staffers and the departure of Sandy Youkilis, consultant for the planning department for what has seemed like a zillion years.

And, least I forget, there was also the recent resignation of Planning Director Thomas Vageline and, not too long ago, the departure of Fritz Armand from Public Works.

But let’s look first at the worst-kept secret of the year: City Attorney Laurence Feingold’s so-called “resignation” after being squeezed out by Vice Mayor Valerie Newman.

Our Vice Mayor wanted him out (let me guess) for legal opinions she simply didn’t like, for his attempts to settle lawsuits, and for his most recent opinion about a new building proposed by First National Bank of South Miami.

Ok, folks! here is the contest of the week. There is no prize , but just alot of fun. As most e v e r y o n e knows, there used to be a lady in New York who was very wealthy and owned a hotel and lots of real estate and was known as “The Queen of Mean” (a.k.a. Leona Hemsley) Ok, so far? Well here’s the question. Is there someone in South Miami government that should or could have that esteemed title? If you’ve got what it takes just go to communitynewspapers. com and look for the section on South Miami and comment away. In the meanwhile, stay tuned to South Miami politics as it’s gonna get more interesting.

Back to the serious stuff, Atty. Feingold said Commissioners had no legal reason to vote against the bank’s project and, should that occur, each naysaying Commissioner could be held personally responsible for legal bills, rather than the city itself.

Then, let’s see. Oh, yes. Our vice mayor once ranted that the city attorney “was not a sixth commissioner,” making it pretty clear she didn’t like working with someone with both brains and an opinion she didn’t like.

Finally, there was the vice mayor’s sophomoric email sent a few weeks ago, carrying on about every little thing bothering her and protesting about stuff not getting done at city hall. (Meanwhile, she didn’t bother to show up at the State of the City Address, but did anyone care?).

After careful reviewing her email rants, it sure looked as if a good many were directed at her ‘beloved’ city manager, Hector Mirabile, as well as her dais buddies. I say ‘beloved’ because she once told folks how happy she was with the new city manager.

And, golly, haven’t we also heard this before? Reminds me about former Manager Roger Carlton about whom the Vice Mayor said in essence: ‘Why look for anyone else, we have the Cadillac of managers right here.’ And before we knew it, Roger was gone. (Now he’s doing just fine as a City Manager in the north end of the county).

But back to that blessed email, having overheard that lots of city hall folks were most anxious to read it, and retell others about its contents, about as often as TV sound bites of Charlie Sheen. Charlie, (Lord help him), took off for Haiti but the vice mayor won’t likely go anywhere, unless a Norman Braman-type gets a recall going).

Not that I’m advocating such… could be fun, tho’.

A few weeks ago, got a call from someone who went to City Hall to apply for an occupational license but was told that whoever handles them was out of town and to come back next week. The ensuing conversation as related by our business friend:

‘Okay. But isn’t there anyone else that can help?’

‘No,’ replies the city staffer. ‘He’s the only one.’

‘Well, can you give me an application?’ (Folks, believe it or not, here’s the answer):

‘No, I can’t. All the ones I had are gone and I can’t get any more, so you’ll just have to come back.’

Now there’s something worth emailing complaints about!

Just a month or two ago, Sharon McCain, was told not to bring her beverage into the city chambers, but did so anyway, the city manager warned her that if she spilled the drink, she’d have to pay any cost to clean a carpet stain. Know what happened? That’s right: she spilled her drink, generating a bill for around $30. Just wondering whatever happened to that!

Speaking of decorum, couldn’t help but see Yvonne Beckman sipping a drink inside the city chambers at a recent commission meeting. And (silly me), isn’t there a sign at the Chamber entrance, asking folks not to do so? And golly, doesn’t Ms. Beckman serve a volunteer board that render opinions about legality of people’s zoning requests?

So, c’mon now, Mr. Manager, what about the same rules for everyone? Or better yet, how about if we put together one of those FLASH MOBS, each of its fun-loving folk sipping a double-latte, just for fun. Anyone out there up to it?

And BTW, sources tell me that someone at city hall wanted to ban the South Miami News from being delivered there. Now, come on, folks. Is this censorship at its best? Come again? If you don’t want your secrets exposed over there, just stop Channel 77, where the South Miami watches Government in Action and Democracy at Work – every day! And by the way, the vice mayor might be very surprised to learn about whom on her ‘team’ privately defected. And no, I’m not going to tell.

Heard that Manager Mirabile and Police Chief Orlando Martinez were visiting Sunset Drive stores last week, asking questions about city services, including police and parking… which is a commendable start for community outreach while doing the job they’re both paid to do. We applaud such efforts.

Got any tips? Contact me at 305-669- 7355, ext. 249, or send emails to

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  1. Mr Miller's comparison to the Queen of mean is journalism at it's best…………..What is eerie is the comparison of Newman to Leona Helmsey's foto……………….these 2 mean spirted ladies actually look like twin sisters. …………I heard that her ugly divorce with Mr Newman lasted 11 years which has to be a record

  2. mr. Miller keeps shining the light on the fat little cockroach and watch her scramble for the dark corners. The inmate has taken over the asylum. just when you think so. Miami could not get any more embarrassing along comes the Vile Natasha, oops Valerie Newman. Michael Pizzi come save us!!!


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