Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Mid-Term or Not: November You Have To Vote … by gimleteye

The New York Times OPED board just weighed in on the upcoming November elections. The stakes are so very high in this election cycle. In India, the world's largest democracy, voting is a civic responsibility, and on election day commerce is halted by government order. Nearly everyone who is qualified, votes. Why not here?

A Bigger Midterm Election Turnout

Staying home on Election Day carries a heavy cost.

In Ferguson, Mo., where only 12 percent of voters showed up in the last city election, the cost of nonparticipation was a City Council wholly unrepresentative of the town’s population. On the national level, Democrats and independents — most of whom did not vote in the 2010 midterm Congressional elections — were swamped by Republicans who voted in much larger proportions. The result was a Republican House dominated by the hard right, which over four years became the largest impediment to economic growth and equality. The same thing has happened in many statewide elections.

It’s now seven weeks from the midterms. Will voters realize that decisions made on Nov. 4 will reverberate in laws not passed, roads not built and jobs not created?

The biggest prize at stake in November is the Senate, where Democrats are in serious danger of losing control to a Republican Party determined to roll back much of the social progress of the last six years, and to block as many of President Obama’s judicial appointments as possible. There is little chance that Democrats will win back the House this year, in part because of Republican redistricting, but many statehouses and governorships that control districting and voting regulations are also in the balance.

In Tallahassee, political hack John Thrasher threatens to walk out on opponents to his campaign to be next president of FSU … by gimleteye

John Thrasher has gotten his way for a long time as a power broker in the Tallahassee nether world. It looks like his campaign -- supported by special interests who always backed Thrasher -- has run into a buzz saw of FSU opposition. From way down here in Mia-muh, one has to appreciate the irony.

A lot of angry FSU constituents don't want a back room deal maker as head of a research institution. One FSU supporter wrote of yesterday's confrontation between Thrasher and a public audience, "The creature got petulant when students snickered at his inane non-answers to questions."

Petulant. How do you think Floridians felt when Thrasher outright lied on Florida Hometown Democracy -- a state-wide ballot referendum that attempted to hold developers accountable for the costs to quality of life -- or Everglades restoration, when Trasher led the charge to eliminate decades of water quality law. Thrasher now "regrets" some awful things were said to him by members of the public in Tallahassee, but petulance is not descriptive of what Floridians ought to feel for John Thrasher's career in the state legislature or as a Jeb Bush loyalist.

Why would the FSU Board of Trustees endorse a new president who had already demonstrated his response to criticism is petulance?

This from the Tallahassee Democrat:

"Influential state Sen. John Thrasher, one of four finalists to be Florida State's next president, was met with testy crowds during a forum with faculty today.

A group of graduate assistants heckled Thrasher from the front row of a meeting with faculty at the Turnbull Center.

"Thrasher interview with FSU faculty turning combative. VERY COMBATIVE," tweeted Tampa Bay Times reporter Tia Mitchell. "He just threatened to walk out."

Thrasher was asked about his positions on climate change and evolution. Regarding evolution, Thrasher told faculty he has a "great faith" that guides him, according to Mitchell.

Thrasher is the first of the finalists to go before staff, faculty and students in separate forums today, followed by a reception. All events take place at the Turnbull Center.

Thrasher told the crowd his priorities during his first 100 days as president would be the university's capital campaign, faculty salaries, graduate assistant issues and a listening tour."

Eye On Miami thinks Florida has listened long enough to John Thrasher and the special interests he represents. Check our earlier posts for details.

Locked out of my Miami Herald Account but still something to say. By Geniusofdespair

Why do I have to keep logging in? I forgot my password so I am locked out of the Herald for now.  Damn newspaper, you suck when you lock your PAPER subscribers out.

There are two letters to the editor of note. One is great, written by Former City of Miami Beach County Commissioner Nancy Liebman. The other sucks, written by David Lawrence who I personally have little respect for.  He wanted us to give more money to PAMM the art museum that the rich people were going to endow. Good luck on that David Lawrence, Jr.. You should pay more attention to what is going on at the Children's Trust which is slowly turning into a boondoggle.  It needs leadership and maybe an AUDIT. Yes an audit. It has public funds.  Get out of the business of endorsing stupid projects for us and getting us to spend money and get back to the Trust where you are squandering enough of our money.

Nancy Liebman:

Don’t create nightmare traffic a road to nowhere

Re the Sept. 6 article, Dolphin Expressway extension gets mixed reaction: In 2004 when the Miami-Dade Commission had an agenda filled with proposed developments to extend the Urban Development Boundary, a group called Hold the Line was organized and stopped the commission. I am proud to have been a leader as president of the Urban Environment League along with the Tropical Audubon Society, the Sierra Club, and hundreds of residents from the many communities that comprise Miami-Dade County. The Commission wisely stopped this attack on the natural environment of the western limits of the county.

Forgot my password, more than one way to skin a cat (oops all the cat lovers, it is just a saying, remember I have smokey the virtual cat as a pet)

Monday, September 15, 2014

September 18th Meeting: Should Wayne Rosen be Stopped Because Homestead Yokels Have Been Used and Abused By Him? By Outofsight

 The next community meeting is for Keys Landing and is to be held at the Miami Management Office on September 18th located at 1541 S.E. 12th Avenue, Suite #37, Homestead - Will the Council member come to the meeting and newly elected Daniella Levine Cava? Wayne inexplicably has a pliant, willing City Council (shame on them). The Fairways residents (69 homeowners) are attempting to organize and pressure the city council. Can't have a neighborhood called the FAIRWAYS without a golf course can you?
He might be goofy looking but Wayne Rosen sure spreads his millions around to Lynda Bell (at least 30 or 40 thousand wasted)  and now the Rick Scott fundraiser coming up. Do not succumb to this guy Daniella, watch him like a hawk. I first wrote about him in 2006.
Not wasting any time over sentimentality's, Wayne Rosen is going to go it alone, without the support of his Commissioner Lynda Bell -- He was her biggest donor. He has his developer’s eye on the Keys Gate Golf and Country Club, an underutilized asset for the residents of Keys Gate and the surrounding community. The golf course is privately owned, but the tennis, racket ball courts and surrounding community common area belong to the residents of Keys Gate. 
Keys Gate Community Association

It is no mistake that Rosen is hovering in the wings looking for assistance from the Keys Gate master association. The developer of Keys Gate, Michael Latterner has NEVER turned over the individual Keys Gate communities to self-rule; he indirectly maintains control of the master association through his minions. Michael dropped his name off the incorporation papers for the Keys Gate Association for some unknown reason last year, probably due to his illness.

Rosen does not need to purchase that developed golf course for houses when his buddy, Michael Latterner and his Keys Gate Realty Broker daughter, Paige Latterner, know exactly the location of every undeveloped acre of residential land within the Keys Gate development boundaries.

Houses Surrounding Golf Course - Views be Damned!
With all the overgrown vacant land, they don’t need to screw the community to build more houses on the Course. From the Keys Gate Association description of the project given, there are offers of a gym, pool, super restaurant and better renovated golf course.

Additionally, there are rumors of 900 to 1900 homes (depending on DRI manipultation) which would overwhelm numerous community roads that already are gridlocked for blocks on school days. Of course, none of this is committed to on paper, so residents are getting information second handed from the individual community association “delegates” which regularly get pissed on by the master association.

Wayne Rosen is seeking to purchase the golf course and club house from an Indiana Corporation which has no managers or principals listed in Indiana or in the Florida Corporation filings in spite of being told to file the paperwork correctly. It is notable that Michael Latterner owns the undeveloped “hole in the doughnut” lands which lie inside and around the existing greens. Rosen could develop those lands into golf course homes while making the course a South Florida gem.

One has to assume that Rosen is seeking to control the Keys Gate property while being business partners with Latterner in various active corporations: DOUG, LLC.; KROME G I, LLC; COUP, LLC; RAINTREE DEVELOPMENT OF BROWARD, LLC; REVERTER HOLDINGS, LLC; OCTAGONAL HOLDINGS GROUP, INC. and MD HOLDINGS LXIX, LLC. -- Rosen and Latterner were also manager/partners in eight defunct corporations.

Land surrounding golf course here is owned by Latterner.

Setting aside the fact that Rosen and Michael Latterner are not listed directors in the KEYS GATE COMMUNITY ASSOCIATION, INC., we have to keep in mind that realtor Kim Green (who works for Paige Latterner and whose corporation address is her place of work), Patrick Gleber and Clifford Lincoln most likely have the ultimate control of the two community owned parcels which are congruent to the club house. The other people who attend KGCA meetings are individual community association representatives who are advisory in nature; they take suggestions to the Keys Gate master association, but do not really control much of what happens.

Gleber has been sent out to coax the community association delegates to go along with the plan to sell to Rosen. He brings questions to private meetings like “how much would you pay monthly for an updated facility” along with the hints of more houses if Rosen does not purchase the property in October. Gelber also offers the insinuation that the residents could lose control of having input on the project if Rosen doesn’t purchase the land. (Like the residents have any control?)

Big Sugar sweetens the Democratic pot: why can't they just say "no"? … by gimleteye

Our Republican friends feel sore from the raft of bad publicity from the secretive dealings between U.S. Sugar and King Ranch hunting trips disclosed recently by the Tampa Bay Times. But fear not. Big Sugar is an equal opportunity corrupter, and Eye On Miami will not shy from saying so.

We complained about the Dems, when Cory Booker flew down from New Jersey for a fundraiser at Alfie Fanjul's. We called out African American leaders who go on bended knee to Big Sugar.
Tonite's fund raiser is for the chair of the Democratic National Committee Debbie Wasserman-Schultz. We can't be agnostic on this, either.

The Democrats haven't been flown to the King Ranch hunting lodge, the way senior Republicans have by U.S. Sugar. But we would like to see the list of current and past Democratic leaders who have accepted entertainment at the Fanjul's Dominican Republic resorts. Democrats in Congress won't refuse sugar money. Here's one reason they should give up the habit.

The Fanjuls own key parcels of land -- thousands of acres -- south of Lake Okeechobee that will need to be taken by eminent domain because these billionaires refuse to contribute to the essential need for Everglades restoration: contiguous wetlands restored to provide connectivity to the Everglades.

Eminent domain requires political will, and campaign contributions like those raised tonite dissolve political will like sugar in cafecito. Money buys silence. And silence is consent.

It's not complicated. Don't let them tell you it is.

Buying silence: the influence of corporate values on cultural institutions … by gimleteye

One of my recent, favorite websites to find news is Vice, the upstart making waves across the cultural landscape. Recently, Vice focused on a topic that has been on our radar for years but escaped the mainstream press: should independent cultural institutions accept tainted sources of money. The best example is New York City, where the Koch billionaires have seeded goodwill across the cultural landscape.

We have our own similar phenomena. In Miami, Big Sugar money has been flowing to institutions as varied as United Way, the University of Miami, and Performing Arsht Center. The visibility and effect of these donations is to suppress criticism of core business values. In the case of Big Sugar, those are reflected by the fact that tens of billions in taxpayer money is required for Everglades restoration -- workarounds of Big Sugar.

Vice focuses on New York City, where the good works of Koch money obscure the horrendous politics their money buys across the nation.


By Mary Emily O'Hara Sep 12 2014

The Natural History Museum's mobile tour. The new project's opening is Saturday at the Queens Museum.

What is the point of a science museum? If you’ve visited the American Museum of Natural History in Manhattan recently, you might think it was designed to collect dust: moldy, ancient dioramas of cavemen stare out of lit-up boxes that don’t appear to have been entered by museum staff since the 1970s.

But ask Brooklyn arts collective Not An Alternative, who are launching a new project on Saturday with a kickoff event at the Queens Museum, and they’ll tell you a science museum should be on the front lines of addressing issues that affect the natural world, like climate change. And, they say, what it most definitely should not be doing is taking huge donations from oil companies that are behind the climate change denial movement.

‘The Natural History Museum' became the newest member of the American Alliance of Museums this week. It’s a multi-year project that retools the traditional model of taxidermied beasts and ancient anthropological history to present an evolving view of scientific challenges that doesn’t whitewash politics. The Queens Museum launch, a month-long series of events and lectures timed to coincide with the September 21 People’s Climate March, focuses on climate change and critical views of museum ethics.

[Speaking of ethics, here’s a disclaimer: Not An Alternative runs a co-working office in Brooklyn called No Space, and I rent a desk there.]

Ethics undoubtedly come into question when you consider that oil magnate David Koch of atmosphere-clogging Koch Industries sits on the boards of both the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH) and the Smithsonian. Koch’s arts philanthropy extends beyond just science museums; this month the Metropolitan Museum of Art unveiled the new David H. Koch plaza while activists projected anti-Koch ‘light graffiti’ onto the museum. Koch's name is also emblazoned on the city's premier ballet venue.

Daniella Levine Thank You Video. By Geniusofdespair

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Outstanding Tampa Bay Times OPED: thank God for the independent, free press … by gimleteye

Editorial: Big Sugar aims for big payoff
Friday, September 12, 2014 4:24pm

Big Sugar's big plans are coming into sharper focus. U.S. Sugar and its allies are not just interested in influencing an upcoming water policy debate in Tallahassee. They are quietly pursuing big development plans on land the state has an option to buy to protect the Everglades. No wonder U.S. Sugar has been organizing secret hunting trips to Texas for Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam and top legislators. And no wonder the politicians are reluctant to talk about hunting with sugar interests intent on increasing the value of land that taxpayers could wind up buying at inflated prices.

It's an insider's game that Republican leaders enabled and Big Sugar exploits, and it's an outrageous betrayal to Floridians.

As the Tampa Bay Times' Craig Pittman reported, changes pushed through during Scott's first year in office to decentralize land-use planning for major projects have worked just the way critics warned. U.S. Sugar and an adjoining property owner, Hilliard Brothers of Florida, appear on the verge of winning approval to develop 67 square miles of sugar land southwest of Lake Okeechobee in Hendry County — population 39,000. Just how gargantuan is this so-called "sector plan"? It calls for 18,000 homes and 25 million square feet of commercial space and industry in one of the state's least-populated areas.

Under previous governors, such ambitions would have required significant state review as "developments of regional impact" on infrastructure such as water supply, roads, schools and the environment. But under Scott, the state's growth management agency was abolished and its mission largely handed off to local governments. That lessens the likelihood anyone will consider how to comprehensively plan and pay for the infrastructure such massive developments require.

In economically depressed Hendry County, the U.S. Sugar/Hilliard proposal received scant review and little opposition before unanimous approval by county commissioners. Now it only needs the support of the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity, the economic development agency Scott created. Not much suspense there. The department has not rejected a single sector plan.

Should U.S. Sugar and its partner win, they won't necessarily need to turn a shovel of dirt to see their fortunes grow: Just winning development rights on the property will significantly increase the land value. And that will greatly increase the cost to taxpayers if the state exercises options to buy U.S. Sugar land. The state paid for the 10-year option in 2010 in anticipation it might want to restore the historic water flow of the Everglades to ease contamination that occurs from heavily polluted Lake Okeechobee.

The pieces are falling into place now. It's clearer why a year before U.S. Sugar and Hillibrand began their formal development planning, U.S. Sugar bought a hunting lease on the famous King Ranch in Texas from Joe Marlin Hilliard Sr. and began inviting Florida's top politicians. As Pittman colleague Michael Van Sickler revealed, U.S. Sugar has donated more than $95,000 to the Republican Party of Florida since 2011 for at least 20 unspecified weekend trips. The dates of those trips line up within days of more than a dozen politicians registering for Texas hunting licenses. The trips are on top of $2.2 million U.S. Sugar and its officers have donated to Republicans in the 2014 election cycle. Democrats have received $132,000. King Ranch guests — from Scott to Putnam to outgoing House Speaker Will Weatherford and incoming Speaker Steve Crisafulli — have refused to discuss who they visited with at King Ranch or what was discussed. A U.S. Sugar spokeswoman told Pittman that the Hendry County sector plan was not on the agenda. Not that anyone without a vested interest can confirm that. Politicians and special interests long ago figured out how to exploit campaign finance laws and deny any direct connection between big checks, fancy hunting trips and public policy. After all, that would smack of corruption. But it's still possible, with enough information culled from public records, to connect the dots.

Editorial: Big Sugar aims for big payoff 09/12/14 [Last modified: Friday, September 12, 2014 6:42pm]

GOP optimistic Democrats will not vote in November … by gimleteye

Saturday, September 13, 2014

An event I want to avoid. By Geniusofdespair

Please note WAYNE ROSEN'S, name. He is asking for public money always on his projects. That has to stop. He is getting into charter schools as Homestead complains they have too many schools. I don'want Wayne Rosen giving subsidies he receives to bad candidates. He was Lynda Bell's biggest supporter. Scott doesn't need a dime. Let him finance his own election again.

Anyway, who wants to picket? We could have signs saying:

75 is the Charm Pleading the 5th
How Was Kings Ranch Deer Killer?
Got any signs you want to suggest.

Who is really behind making John Thrasher, a political hack, president of FSU and what does it really mean to the state of Florida? … by gimleteye

It is critical for a university president to have the academic credentials and respect of faculty who are highly accomplished in their fields of research and teaching.

FSU is heading down the wrong road with the possible selection among four finalists under consideration of John Thrasher, a Jeb Bush loyalist while in the state legislature and former head of the board of FSU trustees -- who this blog noted blatantly lied to the people of Florida in opposing Florida Hometown Democracy, a constitutional amendment proposing to hold sprawl development accountable to voters, and who also spear-headed the extraordinarily costly Bush foray into Everglades "restoration", trampling on federal law and bipartisan consensus of Congress.

Although the faculty of FSU has lodged an official protest with the board of trustees against the Thrasher candidacy, it is on the narrow grounds of academic qualifications and not political controversy. It is nevertheless important for the public to understand how Thrasher's record as a state legislative leader matches up with the extremist agenda that, broadly speaking, would subvert academic freedom into narrow political agendas.

This isn't idle speculation or paranoia. Yesterday, The Daily Beast republished how the Koch Foundation insinuated its economic ideology into FSU, "We'll Give You Millions -- if You Teach Our Libertarian Ideology".

As an undergraduate at Yale University in the early 1970s, I experienced first-hand a respected academic institution pushing ideology over academic inquiry. My senior thesis advisor in the Asian Studies department, an adjunct professor with a paid stipend from South Korea, stepped in my way to highlight the weak historical underpinnings for the domino theory of the spread of communism, the ideology that animated the nation's tragic Vietnam War.

I will always carry that lesson: how a treasured academic institution can incubate a well-intention but poorly grounded ideological agenda that harms the state and nation. It shouldn't have happened at Yale and shouldn't happen at FSU.

POLITICS 09.12.14
Koch Foundation to College: We’ll Give You Millions—if You Teach Our Libertarian Ideology
It seemed like a generous gift to a university that needed it. Then came the demands for ideological purity—and hand-picked staff.

(This story was published by The Center for Public Integrity, a nonprofit, nonpartisan investigative news organization in Washington, D.C.)
By Dave Levinthal

In 2007, when the Charles Koch Foundation considered giving millions of dollars to Florida State University’s economics department, the offer came with strings attached.

First, the curriculum it funded must align with the libertarian, deregulatory economic philosophy of Charles Koch, the billionaire industrialist and Republican political bankroller.

Second, the Charles Koch Foundation would at least partially control which faculty members Florida State University hired.