Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Election Day For MIAMI DADE COUNTY MAYOR and others. By Geniusofdespair



Get your sorry ass out there and vote. all politics are local and the local races are non-partisan -- like the Mayor's race. Non-partisan races are decided by the end of today. The absentee and early voting numbers will be released after 7. Come back and I will post the sure winners. If a person gets a lot of absentees they most probably will go on to win. Final results are after 10 usually.

I know you THINK you have a mayor if you live in a City or Town but you actually have 2 mayors.  One is a County Mayor. You pay plenty of County Taxes so vote.

I suggest you vote for Raquel Regalado. I know you have gotten a load of negative mailers on her that just happen to also be very dismissive of her as a  woman: Calling her "Raquelita" in a negative mailer irks me to no end. Carlos Gimenez had plenty of money to throw against Raquel to see what stuck...he even threw Donald Trump at her: 'Her demeanor is like his'. That one was very funny. Anyway, I would vote for Raquel to stop the parade of lobbyists and high salaries to staff hired to do Gimenez's strong mayor job for him.

If you don't vote we will have 4 more years and worse, Gimenez will have Joe Martinez to bully us with, the two pronged horror. Joe is a shoe in for County Commissioner. EVEN the Miami Herald couldn't endorse him and they love known candidates. 8 Years of Martinez will be brutal but with Gimenez too, it will be unbearable.

The judge races are also decided today. So is solar Amendment 4, (vote yes). Most of the rest is a primary  on State races for Democrats and Republicans. In my opinion, you are foolish if you are an Independent. Change your status often is my mantra. Mix it up so you they don't know what you are.

INDEPENDENTS: YOU MUST VOTE FOR THE MAYOR TODAY. You are not locked out of the Judges and Mayoral race. If either candidate gets less than 50% of the vote there will be a runoff for Mayor. Vote for the one you got the most mailers against: Raquel Regalado.

Will see you back here later!

NOPE! Don't vote for him. Gimenez and Lynda Bell made our lives miserable for 4 years. He always picks one county commissioner to do his dirty work.

SEE RECENT POSTS...

Vote for Raquel Regalado today. By Geniusofdespair

Here are two recent Eye on Miami columns about Raquel Regalado running for Mayor TODAY:

 

Monday, July 25, 2016

Pretty Woman: Can Raquel Regalado Swipe the Mayoral Slot from Carlos Gimenez? By Geniusofdespair



Raquel Regalado is clever, beautiful and fun to be around. She has young ideas for Miami Dade County. I really like her as a Mayoral Candidate. I will vote for her over Carlos Gimenez. Carlos has an over-flowing pocketful of cash to throw around against Raquel. He is miles ahead of her in the cash department. But he is a throwback to the days when lobbyist ruled. They rule our county now.

Tell your friends to vote for Raquel. She has spirit, she has drive and she is far better than Carlos Gimenez. If you want to see her in action watch this damn video. Also she gives us all a great 2 minute history of Miami Dade County! Pass this blog link to your friends. THE VOTE IS TODAY, not November. Early voting starts soon. Spread the word on your Facebook Page.


Herald Columnist Fabiola Santiago said last week about Current Mayor Carlos Gimenez:

Yet, when it comes to potential conflicts of interest and back-door dealing, the mayor has a blind spot. He delivers done-deals like the megamall-theme park boondoggle in Northwest Miami-Dade to a spineless county commission that rubber stamps instead of properly vetting community-altering projects. His developer friends line up for tax incentives (aka corporate welfare) and get them despite promises to voters that there aren’t any, as in the SkyRise Miami giant steel hairpin.

But nothing quite captures the mayor’s peculiar sense of what’s fair game as well as the richly textured portrait of Gimenez’s relationship with his re-election finance chairman, Ralph Garcia-Toledo, a veteran county contractor, by Miami Herald county hall reporter Douglas Hanks. It’s a classic, required reading on how county government operates behind the scenes.
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Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why Raquel Regalado Should Be Miami Dade County Mayor - 2016 Election. Guest Blog By Norma Rae


You must vote August 30th or vote today - Early voting
It is time to elect a woman as Mayor of Miami-Dade County. To celebrate Women's Equality Day on August 26th, vote for Raquel Regalado. After allowing men to run the county for the past nine years, it is time for a strong woman to lead us. Since the Office of Strong Mayor was created in 2007, we have only had two Strong Mayors - two men. The first one was recalled from office, and the second one needs to be sent home. We need a woman who will 'clean up' and  especially clear out the Lobbyists getting rich at county hall. Raquel Regalado deserves our vote. Let me tell you why.

Raquel has been elected twice to the countywide governing board for our school system. The school system had to deal with the same Great Recession that brought chaos to County Hall. During the economic downturn, the leaders of the Miami-Dade Public Schools got national attention for improving our schools. Why the difference?

The Chair of the School Board recently said Regalado has been one of the most productive members they have ever had. She has great ideas and gets them implemented. She knows how to work with her colleagues and administrators to make things happen. The parents of children with special needs are extremely grateful for all she has done. Raquel was also instrumental in the upgrade of the school bus transportation services - during the recession. She is smart and capable and knows how make things work, even when circumstances are challenging.

When Raquel sees an injustice, she fights it. When Gimenez tried to give away $9 million to one of his developer friends, Raquel sued and stopped the giveaway of taxpayer dollars. When the "Friends of Gimenez" tried to get the voters to approve a shady bond program, without any specific plans for a new courthouse, Raquel campaigned against it and defeated the proposal. Raquel is an attorney who understands the idea, and the importance, of social justice. Imagine: a County Mayor who fights for the best interest of the people.


As a School Board Member, Raquel fully understands the importance of an education and the value of training, certification and licensing. She has said she will hire her team of Department Directors based on qualifications, not connections. And she will insist on actual competition for all senior positions in every department. She has said she will trust Directors to make their own personnel decisions, as long as the process is open, fair and competitive. Ending the cronyism throughout the system is reason enough to support Raquel.


Some Department Directors are literally banking on the outcome of this election. Gimenez pays the Transit Director $235,000 a year. Talk about unqualified. Instead of getting the buses running on time, the Transit Director just invested $33 million on an App so folks can purchase a bus ticket using a Smartphone. How smart is that? Seeing this Department Director standing on street corners waving signs for Gimenez is just embarrassing. Sign-waving is campaign work for college kids, not a Department Director from Miami-Dade.

Raquel also announced the $250,000-a-year Deputy Mayors will be eliminated. That saves the taxpayers over a million dollars right there. As the Strong Mayor, Raquel wants the Department Directors directly accountable to her. She has said that every year, Department Directors will be evaluated on terms agreed to in their employment contracts. People want transparent management of county government? Regalado will energize the leadership of departments to perform at their best. Executives who are simply running out the clock may find themselves in early retirement.

We are extremely grateful to see a woman who shares our public service values on the ballot. We know Miami-Dade County can be a government that the people are proud to call their own. It really is up to the voters to put an end to the corruption and unethical behavior that is destroying our county government. Let's put a woman in charge and make Miami-Dade a better place to live. She will make a great Strong Mayor. Vote for Raquel Regalado on August 30th.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Water Pollution In Florida: You May Come Home to This ... by gimleteye


Water pollution is a political event. We know this in Florida through the stage-managed destruction of laws intended to protect the public health from pollution.

Consider the effort to regulate excess fertilizer and nutrients in a state where sugar and cattle industries dominate the political landscape. Hollow laws — like those regulating nutrients and other chemicals invading Florida’s waters — are like shells where incumbents hide in plain sight.

In Florida, when politics are added to pollution, a chain reaction occurs. This reaction of politics to Florida pollution — whether in the Everglades, Lake Okeechobee, or the rivers and estuaries used as toxic dumping zones -- shifts costs straight to the backs of taxpayers, residents and visitors.

Here are two stories of people who became very ill after Florida waters touched them. These tales of suffering pass like dark clouds over the underlying trauma to Florida and the health, welfare and safety of citizens.

Visitors come to Florida for the water and the warm climate like Paula, a 59 year old mother from Sioux County, Iowa, and Mike, the 23 year old commercial fisherman from Martin Couny whose anonymity and privacy I promised in order to tell their stories. Both nearly died from contact with Florida's water.

That Florida waters are unsafe should rattle citizens, businesses and government to action. In 2008, the federal US Environmental Protection Agency — a favorite scapegoat of the conservative right — was sued by environmental groups, led by Earthjustice, to enact tough nutrient pollution standards for a state that won't.

The need was clear, as it had been for decades. In 2000, the state and federal government agreed to restore the Everglades, based on a hard and fast numeric standard for one component of water pollution: excess phosphorous. It wasn't just the Everglades. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection first sounded the alarm about the dangers of toxic algae outbreaks in a 2000 scientific report.

Nearly as soon as the ink was dry on the Everglades pact, Big Sugar launched an effort to undermine the standards. In 2003 Big Sugar flooded the state legislature with lobbyists and with the support of then Governor Jeb Bush passed a new law lowering the pollution compliance standard and pushing compliance to the indefinite future. Native Americans — the Miccosukee Tribe of Indians — and a grass-roots group, Friends of the Everglades, sued.

By 2008, it had become clear to clean water advocates that the State of Florida was using bluster and the shield of “states’ rights” to inhibit tough, numerical standards on toxics; protecting special interest insiders like Big Sugar, cattle farmers, and municipalities that externalized costs of growth to keep water rates low to benefit big developers and real estate-related industries.

Paula is from Rock Valley, Iowa, a town of 3700 people. Her husband is a farm equipment dealer. They both were born and raised within 17 miles of where they live today, surrounded by fields of corn, beans, some alfafa and oats. Hog and dairy farms dot the landscape. For the past decade, they have been repeat visitors to a resort near Fort Myers on Florida’s west coast.

Paula and her husband, married for forty years, are part of the annual winter migration that supports Florida’s tourism based economy. Today, nine months after her visit to the Fort Myers area, Paula is tethered to a portable IV line delivering super strength antibiotics to a stubborn infection. This is the first time her story has been told.

Many people come to Florida in the winter to relieve their aches and pains. In July 2015, she had been diagnosed with diabetes. Her arm and shoulder had been aching, too. After visiting Florida, Paula got even sicker.

For nearly a decade the couple visited the same resort. She had heard about the pollution pouring out of the Caloosahatchee River from Lake Okeechobee. The water on the beach when they arrived in March was so dirty that she and her husband agreed they would only swim in the hotel pool.

A recent report on nutrient pollution flowing into Lake Okeechobee disclosed that for the past twenty years, there has been no reduction in nutrients — from fertilizer and animal waste and stormwater runoff — despite state policies specifically targetting nutrient reduction. Excess nutrients in the water column provide a fertile growing zone for dangerous bacteria.

“The shorelines had a lot of black muck,” Paula said. “The people at the resort told us it was fine, even though the beach and water did not look normal to us. Still I like shell hunting. That’s my favorite thing to do. Every day we walked the beach. Lots of time we would be in a foot of water. I cut my foot on a shell.”

When Paula cut her foot, she and her husband knew what to do. They went straight back to the hotel, washed her foot, and put a band-aid on it.

In 2009, the EPA made a determination that numeric nutrient criteria are necessary in Florida. Special interest insiders threw a fit. They called it “federal overreach” and derided the Obama administration. The firestorm helped elect Gov. Rick Scott and US Senator Marco Rubio in the 2010 election cycle. Both rode the wave of Tea Party anti-government sentiment that boosted the fortunes of legislators like state representative Matt Caldwell, a Big Sugar apologist whose district is bisected by a river polluted by his funders.

Two weeks after returning to Iowa, Paula’s arm turned fiercely painful. “By Sunday night I was feeling awful and by next morning I could hardly move.” Her husband rushed her to the doctor. "I was in excruciating pain. It had migrated to my clavical bone.”

Paula thought she had slept on her shoulder wrong and impinged a nerve. Her physician couldn’t find anything wrong and recommended she see a specialist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, about a four hour drive away. It took six weeks for Paula to get the appointment.

At the Mayo Clinic, a specialist showed her the results of a MRI and told Paula, “You need surgery right away to clean out the diseased bone." A week later, the biopsy results came in: she had contracted internally a skin bacterial infection that can turn deadly. Her orthopedist would not venture how she had contracted her infection, but told her that the incubation period for the outbreak coincided with her visit to Florida.

On April 22, 2011 the Florida Department of Environmental Protection filed a petition asking the EPA to withdraw its January 2009 determination that numeric nutrient criteria are necessary in Florida. "In a cover letter to EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson, Department of Environmental Protection head Herschel Vinyard wrote that the state of Florida remains “committed to addressing excess nutrients pollution” and requests that the EPA restore the responsibility of nutrient management back to the state.” (Sept. 12, 2011, Florida Independent)

The period of Michael's infection was much shorter. In July 2016, the healthy, young commercial fisherman nearly lost his leg to a stubborn and dangerous MRSA infection contracted through a cut in his knee.

Michael fell in love with fishing when he was three years old. His grandfather would take him fishing to a lake in the Orlando area where his family lived. Later, his parents would take the family on long weekends to the beach in Martin County, on Florida’s east coast just above Palm Beach. He never wanted those trips to end. That’s how much the water drew him in. When Michael was twelve, his family moved from Orlando to Martin County, making his dream come true. He fell in love with the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon. There is nowhere else he would rather be and nothing else he would rather do than fish.

“The first time I went I was fishing in the Indian River by the old Jenssen Beach Causeway. The water was beautiful and there was more than enough fish. On any tide you could see six to eight feet visibility, and the closer you got to the inlet, the visibility improved. All I want to do is to be on the water and fish.” Michael's voice quavered. “2013 was the first year I remember the St. Lucie River went bad because of the discharges. Everything died. Every species. Thousands of snook. Live oyster beds that helped filter the water, destroyed. The water quality and sea life never returned after the Lake Okeechobee releases in 2013, but what we are seeing now is even worse. How many years will it take to come back? I don’t know.”

In July, Michael was fishing with a friend. He had a scratch on his knee. The water on the beach was clear when they arrived, but turned green with pollution out of the St. Lucie River after an hour or so. “I told the guy I was with, ‘we got to get out of here’”.

"Four to five days later I noticed some pain in my right knee and then it started swelling up real bad.” At a local hospital he was initially diagnosed with a staph infection, but the knee turned ugly red so fast that his doctors worried he had a flesh eating bacterial infection, called Vibrio Vulnificus. He was finally diagnosed with MRSA, Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus. "I was hospitalized for six days. It was terrifying. They were talking about me losing my leg if I couldn’t stop the infection.” Doctors put Michael on four different antibiotics intravenously for 24 hours a day. Six weeks later, he is still taking two.

Neither Paula nor Michael are “environmentalists”. The State of Florida, incumbent legislators, Gov. Rick Scott, Senator Marco Rubio, and industry lobbyists have no answer for them. Victims like return tourists and commercial fishermen are not the “wealthy environmentalists” used for political target practice by special interests who dominate legislatures and regulatory agencies like the South Florida Water Management District.

In fact, Big Sugar and other polluters have been as successful in marginalizing environmental agendas as Big Tobacco and Big Oil. It is only when incontrovertible evidence and catastrophe strikes that the environment rises to the top of voters’ concerns.

For polluters, matters related to government regulation are right at the top of their priority list. It is hard to argue, however, that “states versus federal rights” matter when an intravenous PICC attached to your arm is keeping you alive because government couldn’t effectively regulate the toxics that poisoned you.

Today, nine months after her Florida vacation, Paula is being treated with intravenously-delivered Ceftriaxone, sold under the trade name Rocephin. It is an antibiotic useful for the treatment of a number of bacterial infections including; pneumonia, ear infections, skin infections, urinary tract infections, gonorrhea, pelvic inflammatory disease, sepsis, bone and joint infections, intra-abdominal infections, and meningitis. It is also used preoperatively to reduce the risk of postoperative infections.

Michael had never heard of anyone else getting MRSA. He had never even heard of the infection, but he is certain where it came from and when.
The EPA has estimated that nearly 2,000 miles of the state’s waterways are affected by an excess of nutrients, which is unsurprising considering the lack of standards governing nutrient pollution. Current regulations are based on a “narrative” standard, which simply states that “in no case shall nutrient concentrations of body of water be altered so as to cause an imbalance in natural populations of flora or fauna.”

Now, a new proposed set of standards to limit the waste entering Florida waterways — dubbed numeric nutrient criteria — have become the source for one of Florida’s fiercest political battles.

Nearly every major political figure and industry group in the state has publicly criticized them. Most of the criteria’s detractors argue that they would be too costly for a state still struggling with the effects of recession.

But what is the cost of not implementing them? (Florida Independent, "The Cost of Doing Nothing: How Nutrient Pollution Harms Small Business, May 13, 2013)

I asked Michael if he had health insurance. There was a pause. Then, “No.” He guesses his medical expenses will cost more than $40,000. Then I asked, what the government could have done to protect the water he loves.

“The state isn’t doing anything,” Michael answered vehemently. “They are completely ignoring the facts right in front of their faces. They are ignoring people’s health. Our governor just refuses to mention water quality because he knows he is the source of the problem.” I asked about Big Sugar, the industry that is among Gov. Rick Scott’s and Senator Rubio’s largest campaign contributors.

“The sugar industry,” he says without hesitation, “Needs to go to hell quite frankly.” I asked if he had any advice for fishermen, boaters or visitors to Florida’s beaches. “If the water smells weird or looks weird or if anything seems a little off, avoid all contact with the water. In all honesty, until they change what they are doing now, I wouldn’t even go in the water.” That’s from someone who loves Florida’s waters more than anything in the world.

Paula loves shelling in on the beaches near Fort Myers, but she has no plans to return to Florida anytime soon. “My shoulder and clavical looked in the MRI liked moths came in and chewed it away”.

Tragically, Florida’s environmental protections are also look like they were eaten by moths.

For decades Florida’s polluters have claimed they are doing their fair share to clean up pollution. In 2009, the Florida Chamber of Commerce, Associated industries of Florida and the GOP leadership fought against clean water rules by the federal government, pounding the table that it was about time states’ rights took over from the heavy hand of federal government. They parroted the same line in the Florida legislature in 2015, just last year, when the Republican legislature — at the urging of Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam and support of Gov. Rick Scott — passed a new water quality law that further weakens already weak standards.

Michael and Paula’s illnesses raise other questions. The state should require a detailed and public database of severe infections from contact with Florida water. That such data is bad for business is underscored by the way the state of Florida Department of Health continues to sit on evidence that rare pediatric cancer clusters exist in Florida, including one in Miami-Dade and one in the area of Lake Okeechobee.

Until voters take command and insist on accountability, it is hard to see any hope for change on the horizon. Tourists and residents will continue to get sick. The costs will continue to shift from polluters to taxpayers. And Gov. Rick Scott and the Florida Chamber of Commerce will continue to insist everything needs to be kept in perspective.

Their “perspective” is not just a matter of politics: in Florida it can make you, your family and friends very, very ill. If voters can summon the will of activists for clean water, then in November politicians like US Senator Marco Rubio — whose political capital has been earned by sheltering Big Sugar — will be gone. For others, the memory of illnesses and what is happening to Florida's waterways will not be so easy to erase.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

In the cynicism arena, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott share skybox seats ... by gimleteye


Carl Hiaasen writes a sad/ funny OPED on Rick Scott and Zika: "Rick Scott's list of how to fight Zika in 14 easy steps". In it, Hiaasen again trains a spotlight on Florida's worst governor ever. But Scott has competition in the matter of being worst for Florida: Marco Rubio.

Miami-Dade Republicans -- especially Cuban American voters -- need to make Marco Rubio a one-term senator in November.

Rubio, who could only garner 15% of the statewide vote in the GOP presidential primary, relentlessly pandered to the values of the far right, but when he announced his decision to run for Senate again, after promising voters that he would not, he cited the violence in the Orlando "Pulse" Club massacre as his reason for flip-flopping.

In fact, the only unblemished accomplishment in his portfolio is Rubio's awful record on human rights. Here is a selection of the Human Rights Campaign on Marco Rubio:

Rubio’s Notable Quotes on LGBT Equality

Rubio Spoke Out Against Allowing Same-Sex Couples From Adopting, Saying Children “Shouldn’t Be Forced To Be Part Of A Social Experiment.”

According to the Tallahassee Democrat: “The Department of Children and Families is under fire from children’s advocates for allowing foster children to spend the night in a conference room in Tallahassee, but legislative leaders said Wednesday that won’t change their minds about allowing gays to adopt. ‘Some of these kids are the most disadvantaged in the state,’ said House Majority Leader Marco Rubio of West Miami. ‘They shouldn't be forced to be part of a social experiment.’” [Tallahassee Democrat, 4/6/2006] 
Rubio Said He Would Be Against His Own Immigration Bill If It Gave Same-Sex Couples Rights. According to CNN, Senator Rubio said when discussing his immigration bill, “If this bill has in it something that gives gay couples immigration rights and so forth, it kills the bill. I'm gone. I'm off it.” [CNN, Political Ticker, 6/13/2013]
Under Marco Rubio in a GOP Senate majority, those murdered Pulse clubbers who were of Hispanic descent would continue to suffer inequalities judged to be unconstitutional, yet Rubio decided to run for re-election to enforce those inequalities, grandstanding on a mass murder tragedy.

In the cynicism arena, Marco Rubio and Rick Scott share skybox seats. Florida voters deserve neither. GOP voters, help the nation: return Marco Rubio to the private sector.

Miami Herald - AUGUST 27, 2016
Rick Scott’s list of how to fight Zika in 14 easy steps

Gov. Rick Scott’s War on Zika:

1. Whenever a new Zika case is confirmed in Florida, I will immediately rush to that county and stage a “round-table” discussion. This will calm fears in the local community, and lead tourists to believe that it’s still safe to visit.

Sue the Shit out of the Miami Herald John Dubois! Palmetto Bay Vice Mayor John Dubois Featured in the Miami Herald - Not in a Good Way. By Geniusofdespair

John Dubois...standing apart from the rest of the Palmetto Bay Council as a teenager is honored 
As the blogger sued (Popular Community Blog), let me just say, I believe John DuBois is a bully, I believe he is a Vexatius Litigator. I believe that he likes to think of himself as a wine connoisseur - hanging out with the elite set -  but I believe he still  acts like the bagel boy he was in New York years ago. 
Note all the "I Believes" qualifying my beliefs....that I believe, of course all the beliefs are also in my opinion.
When a popular community blog wrote posts that criticized John Dubois, the vice mayor of Palmetto Bay, he sued.

When a village resident passed out fliers unfavorable to Dubois during the 2012 elections, he sued. When the county cited him for cutting down mangroves, he sued.

And when ethics investigators opined that Dubois committed ethical violations this year? Yep. He sued.

In the four years Dubois has been in office, he has sued at least 10 people or entities in four lawsuits. Some have called his suits legal bullying or frivolous, including a judge who ordered Dubois to pay the attorney’s fees of the person he sued.

“I like to protect my rights and when people violate them, you better believe it I’m going after them,” Dubois told the Miami Herald. “So yes, if someone violates me, I’m going to react.”

Dubois, CEO of a cloud-based security surveillance company, was elected Palmetto Bay’s vice mayor in 2012. Most, but not all, of the lawsuits pertain to something he did or was criticized for in that capacity. The city did not pay for any of the lawsuits.

The vice mayor’s pattern of filing complaints is “possibly an abuse of the court,” said Donald Jones, a First Amendment law professor at the University of Miami.

“Anyone who is a public figure is subject to fair comment about them and their capacity as a public figure,” Jones said. “You misuse the court if you use it to try to censor the opinions of others. … The question here is, are these complaints valid or not? When you sue the ethics commission, the person who serves you with a notice, or a blogger, that sounds pretty odd to me. ”

In June, the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust said that Dubois committed ethical violations when he participated in a vote in May despite the advice of county ethics officials that he not vote. Dubois says he voted after he got a green light from state ethics officials and that he never asked the county for an opinion.

A month later, Dubois filed a civil rights lawsuit against the commission, accusing executive director Joseph Centorino of “furnishing false information and omitting significant facts to members of the public,” ultimately damaging his reputation. This case is still pending.

The lawsuit is no surprise to some lawyers who have represented people targeted by Dubois.

Ben Kuehne, a Miami attorney who has represented three defendants sued by Dubois, called his dealings “quite frightening.”

“For Dubois, it’s ‘Don’t mess with me or I’ll mess with you,’ ” Kuehne said. “He makes allegations, requires the citizens to obtain a lawyer and then fight the case in court. It’s expensive and stressful, and they nonetheless have to defend themselves against what in my opinion is a legal bullying tactic.”

In 2013, Dubois filed a lawsuit against Palmetto Bay resident Gary Pastorella after he said Pastorella “ginned up slander sheets” targeting him during election season. Dubois later withdrew the case.

In that same 34-page lawsuit, Dubois sued the no-longer published blog “Pbcheckstherecord.Org” for libel, calling the then-unidentified authors “cowards” for publishing “misleading photos” and “scurrilous fabrications.” Dubois said it “damaged and defamed” him.

The case was ultimately dismissed. It was later discovered that the creator of the blog was Shelley Stanczyk, the former mayor of Palmetto Bay.

Also sued were Nancy Lee, the creator of a community watchdog blog, for slander and defamation of character, among other things, after her blog posted a photo sketch of mangrove growth in front of Dubois’ home, alluding to the citation he got for cutting down mangroves. After Lee submitted legal questions to be answered by Dubois, he dropped her and her husband — also named in the suit — from the case.

UM professor Jones said it’s not uncommon to group defendants in one lawsuit, even when the defendants all acted independently of each other, because the court in most cases considers it “efficient.”

“The question is, is he bunching them together because he wants to be efficient or is it because he’s simply upset with all of them. Is there an emotional driver here?” Jones said.

Caroline Mala Corbin, a professor of constitutional law, said it’s very difficult for a public official to win a defamation suit because “first the statement has to be false and made with actual malice, meaning the person making the claim has to have known that it was false.

“So even if the statement turned out not to be true, the false statement is still protected. The reason why the free-speech clause [of the Constitution] provides so much protection is to make sure that defamation suits don’t chill criticism of our government,” Corbin said. “If every time you criticized an official, you had to worry if it was 100 percent true, then you might decide not to criticize them at all. We need to be able to talk about them in order for our democracy to work.”

In another suit, Dubois accused Palmetto Bay resident Elizabeth “Libby” Williams of stealing campaign signs. That case was ultimately dismissed.

Dubois also sued John Ricisak, an investigator for the county Division of Environmental Resources Management, after Ricisak cited Dubois for having cut down mangroves at his home. A judge dismissed the case, calling it frivolous, and ordered Dubois to pay almost $66,000 in attorney fees.

Right around the same time, Dubois filed a civil rights lawsuit in federal court against Miami-Dade County; Lee Hefty, the county’s environmental resources director; and county deputy mayor Jack Osterholt in connection with the same incident. The county filed motions to dismiss the case, which is still pending. Dubois claims that the county has engaged in “selective enforcement, First Amendment retaliation, discrimination” and that the citation was falsely issued, although he paid the fine.

Both lawsuits were filed after the county first sued Dubois, accusing him of filling wetlands and cutting down mangroves. The county’s case is still ongoing.

“In my opinion as a lawyer, he has a record of filing lawsuits that are not righteous, not valid, not based on a valid public purpose,” Kuehne said.

Dubois: “That’s like saying someone breaks into your house and robs you. Are you telling me you won’t press charges? I’m sure you would. When my rights are violated, I act. I don’t just sit there. ”

Jones said Dubois “needs to seriously think about whether this in itself could be damaging his career. He’s in the realm of risking sanctions against him for his actions.”

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Which Judges to vote for in Miami Dade County? By Geniusofdespair

Some great analysis of judicial candidates on Discourse.net by Michael Froomkin, Law Professor at University of Miami.

His choice of judges are close to my picks:

Summary of Froomkin's County Court recommendations

Group 5: Milena Abreu (line 94)
Group 7: Ed Newman (line 97)
Group 15: Linda Luce (line 99)
Group 35: Wendell Graham (line 100)

I don't agree with his Group 5 pick and he doesn't seem so sure either. I voted for Fred Seraphin.

Froomkin's picks for 11 Circuit Court:

Group 9: Jason Edward Bloch (line 80)
Group 34: Renee Gordon (line 83)
Group 52: Carol “Jodie” Breece (line 87)
Group 66: Robert Joshua Luck (line 90)
Group 74: George “Jorge” A Sarduy (line 93)

I disagreed on 34, I voted for Mark Blumstein, but I do not have strong feelings on my pick.

If you go to the links you will get an analysis of each of his picks.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Getting Robo-Calls? Hang Up on Them. By Geniusofdespair

A stealth PAC or ECO hidden and not registered is attacking Raquel Regalado. Illegal. Hang up. Dirty Politics.

The most recent robo call against Mayoral Candidate Raquel Regalado originated from a Committee called the Committee for Integrity, Inc. out of Tampa. The address is one of those mailbox offices. The incorporator of the company doing the call is Daniel Silverman. The company was formed 5/30/2016. I cannot find any PAC, Committee or ECO records on it to see where they get their money.

They also sent a stupid mailer linking Raquel Regalado to Donald Trump. Hey, she didn't try to let him manage a public golf course on Key Biscayne, that was Mayor Gimenez! Typical for elections.

Typepad also wrote about Committee for Integrity yesterday and the phony Trump connection to Raquel:
Regalado has no known ties to Trump. She has said that, even though she's a Republican, she won't vote for him. It's Gimenez -- who also won't vote for Trump -- who has met Trump, golfed with him and tried to work out a deal for Trump to run a county-owned golf course. Gimenez's son Carlos J. Gimenez also lobbies on behalf of Trump National Doral.

"New" Tropic Magazine: Perplexed ... by gimleteye

NOTE TO READERS: I regret the attribution of New Tropic to Miami Herald ownership. Sorry for the confusion. Gimleteye

Hello,

I'm the editor at The New Tropic, following up on my comment on the blog.

Could you please correct the post in regards to linking us to the Miami Herald?

This is what it says:

"I'm not a reader of the Herald's online venture, New Tropic, unless someone sends me an article as was the case last night with "The Coconut Grove we love is getting wiped out."

We have no connection to the Miami Herald. No overlap in staff, funding, etc. Better description would be "I'm not a reader of the new local online venture, The New Tropic..."

Additionally, there are some criticisms in the piece that are based on the assumption we're connected to the Herald. I would appreciate some clarification on those.

We've covered these issues in the Grove a bit previously, in case you missed it:
https://thenewtropic.com/historic-preservation-coconut-grove/
https://thenewtropic.com/west-grove-development/

Thanks for reading,
Ariel

I'm not a reader of the Herald's online venture, New Tropic, unless someone sends me an article as was the case last night with "The Coconut Grove we love is getting wiped out."

Miami has always felt a little like the “wild west,” a place where law and good taste take a backseat to the highest bidder. But the Grove is the ancient pearl inside the fly-by-night city—a world-wonder with a rich history and lush landscape that is worth protecting and preserving for future generations.

We agree with the principled view of protecting and preserving for future generations. Yes we can! But let's be clear with respect to Coconut Grove's and the conversion of canopy to McMansion tendencies visible through Coral Gables, South Miami and Pinecrest as well: that train left the station a long, long time ago. (A-Rod's sideline construction business just destroyed a beautiful canopied couple of acres in South Miami.)

First of all: Miami isn't the wild west. For as long as I've lived here, about twenty five years, Miami has been the Hong Kong of Latin America.

I mean that in the sense of a city driven by massive and mostly anonymous foreign capital, bundled into untraceable LLC's, energizing suburban sprawl in wetlands and condo canyons.

In the 1960's Coconut Grove, by all accounts, was a pearl of a community. Cocowalk blew that up the way Bayside blew up the promise of downtown Miami.

There were plenty of objectors at the time. Afterwards, you had wealthy bankers and developers who threatened neighborhood activists with SLAP suits and who controlled the city of Miami politicians through powerful lobbyists like the black hats at Greenberg Traurig.

The Miami Herald editorial staff never set out to draw a bright line to protect Coconut Grove or anywhere else. The media offered no push-back, because push-back harms profits. Complainers, for example, like Armando Codina and Sergio Pino who famously invited themselves into the Herald newsroom to address reporters (or to dress them down).

History does count. We are happy at EOM to hand over our vomit buckets to "New" Tropic, or, you could just read our archives.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Why Raquel Regalado Should Be Miami Dade County Mayor - 2016 Election. Guest Blog By Norma Rae


You must vote August 30th or vote today - Early voting

It is time to elect a woman as Mayor of Miami-Dade County. To celebrate Women's Equality Day on August 26th, vote for Raquel Regalado. After allowing men to run the county for the past nine years, it is time for a strong woman to lead us. Since the Office of Strong Mayor was created in 2007, we have only had two Strong Mayors - two men. The first one was recalled from office, and the second one needs to be sent home. We need a woman who will 'clean up' and  especially clear out the Lobbyists getting rich at county hall. Raquel Regalado deserves our vote. Let me tell you why.

Raquel has been elected twice to the countywide governing board for our school system. The school system had to deal with the same Great Recession that brought chaos to County Hall. During the economic downturn, the leaders of the Miami-Dade Public Schools got national attention for improving our schools. Why the difference?

The Chair of the School Board recently said Regalado has been one of the most productive members they have ever had. She has great ideas and gets them implemented. She knows how to work with her colleagues and administrators to make things happen. The parents of children with special needs are extremely grateful for all she has done. Raquel was also instrumental in the upgrade of the school bus transportation services - during the recession. She is smart and capable and knows how make things work, even when circumstances are challenging.

When Raquel sees an injustice, she fights it. When Gimenez tried to give away $9 million to one of his developer friends, Raquel sued and stopped the giveaway of taxpayer dollars. When the "Friends of Gimenez" tried to get the voters to approve a shady bond program, without any specific plans for a new courthouse, Raquel campaigned against it and defeated the proposal. Raquel is an attorney who understands the idea, and the importance, of social justice. Imagine: a County Mayor who fights for the best interest of the people.


As a School Board Member, Raquel fully understands the importance of an education and the value of training, certification and licensing. She has said she will hire her team of Department Directors based on qualifications, not connections. And she will insist on actual competition for all senior positions in every department. She has said she will trust Directors to make their own personnel decisions, as long as the process is open, fair and competitive. Ending the cronyism throughout the system is reason enough to support Raquel.


Some Department Directors are literally banking on the outcome of this election. Gimenez pays the Transit Director $235,000 a year. Talk about unqualified. Instead of getting the buses running on time, the Transit Director just invested $33 million on an App so folks can purchase a bus ticket using a Smartphone. How smart is that? Seeing this Department Director standing on street corners waving signs for Gimenez is just embarrassing. Sign-waving is campaign work for college kids, not a Department Director from Miami-Dade.

Raquel also announced the $250,000-a-year Deputy Mayors will be eliminated. That saves the taxpayers over a million dollars right there. As the Strong Mayor, Raquel wants the Department Directors directly accountable to her. She has said that every year, Department Directors will be evaluated on terms agreed to in their employment contracts. People want transparent management of county government? Regalado will energize the leadership of departments to perform at their best. Executives who are simply running out the clock may find themselves in early retirement.

We are extremely grateful to see a woman who shares our public service values on the ballot. We know Miami-Dade County can be a government that the people are proud to call their own. It really is up to the voters to put an end to the corruption and unethical behavior that is destroying our county government. Let's put a woman in charge and make Miami-Dade a better place to live. She will make a great Strong Mayor. Vote for Raquel Regalado on August 30th.

Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam: Picking Winners And Losers ... by gimleteye

One conservative GOP article of faith is that government shouldn't be picking winners and losers. The best market is the one most free of the helping hand of government. Right?

Wrong. Compare the bad treatment of the Florida's film industry, which creates tens of thousands of jobs, to the drooling favor shown to Big Sugar, an industry that picks economic benefits from thin air in one of the poorest regions of the state.

According to a film industry insider, "The state approved $269 million in film tax credits in 2010. That was supposed last six years, but the money ran out almost immediately. One reason is that the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment awarded incentives on a first-come basis, with no consideration of the number of Floridians hired or the merit of the projects. Some money even went to companies that produced video games and commercials." Law makers recently tried to renew incentives.

"We have over 100M people in the film industry in the state of Florida,” Florida Sen. Nancy Detert said during a committee hearing last spring trying to restore incentive cuts. But those efforts failed, largely because the Koch brothers-backed "Americans for Prosperity" lobbied against incentives, calling them a taxpayer subsidy to Hollywood moguls. (In case you haven't noticed, Clint Eastwood is the only Hollywood mogul in the GOP camp. Remember, the empty chair.)

Gov. Rick Scott tried to use the film cuts to leverage his political slush fund, Enterprise Florida. The legislature balked. But when it comes to Big Sugar's explicit and implicit taxpayer subsidies, somehow the GOP drops its nattering hypocrisy about picking winners and losers.

The GOP hates Hollywood for a dozen reasons. It loves Big Sugar for just one: money. The GOP defends Big Sugar like a mother badger guarding its nest.

In Florida, Republican lawmakers routinely defend Big Sugar oligarchs and their privileges -- like shifting the costs of pollution to the backs of taxpayers -- while turning their backs on thousands of jobs in the film industry.

Oh, while we are on the topic: one of the ways Big Sugar helps Congress and the Florida legislature pick winners and losers: its funding of African American politicians to protect the sugar industry's prerogatives, supporting in effect the excess consumption of sugar within their own Democratic base: minorities most harmed by subsidized sugar additives in the American diet.

Grover Norquist, Republican anti-tax activist, calls the sugar subsidy, "cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty". So when you hear Republican politicians say they oppose government picking winners and losers like the film industry, know whose pocket they are picking. Yours.

Gov. Rick Scott, Agriculture Secretary Adam Putnam: Picking Winners And Losers ... by gimleteye

One conservative GOP article of faith is that government shouldn't be picking winners and losers. The best market is the one most free of the helping hand of government. Right?

Wrong. Compare the bad treatment of the Florida's film industry, which creates tens of thousands of jobs, to the drooling favor shown to Big Sugar, an industry that picks economic benefits from thin air in one of the poorest regions of the state.

According to a film industry insider, "The state approved $269 million in film tax credits in 2010. That was supposed last six years, but the money ran out almost immediately. One reason is that the Florida Office of Film and Entertainment awarded incentives on a first-come basis, with no consideration of the number of Floridians hired or the merit of the projects. Some money even went to companies that produced video games and commercials." Law makers recently tried to renew incentives.

"We have over 100M people in the film industry in the state of Florida,” Florida Sen. Nancy Detert said during a committee hearing last spring trying to restore incentive cuts. But those efforts failed, largely because the Koch brothers-backed "Americans for Prosperity" lobbied against incentives, calling them a taxpayer subsidy to Hollywood moguls. (In case you haven't noticed, Clint Eastwood is the only Hollywood mogul in the GOP camp. Remember, the empty chair.)

Gov. Rick Scott tried to use the film cuts to leverage his political slush fund, Enterprise Florida. The legislature balked. But when it comes to Big Sugar's explicit and implicit taxpayer subsidies, somehow the GOP drops its nattering hypocrisy about picking winners and losers.

The GOP hates Hollywood for a dozen reasons. It loves Big Sugar for just one: money. The GOP defends Big Sugar like a mother badger guarding its nest.

In Florida, Republican lawmakers routinely defend Big Sugar oligarchs and their privileges -- like shifting the costs of pollution to the backs of taxpayers -- while turning their backs on thousands of jobs in the film industry.

Oh, while we are on the topic: one of the ways Big Sugar helps Congress and the Florida legislature pick winners and losers: its funding of African American politicians to advance the sugar industry's protectionism, supporting in other words the excess consumption of sugar among the minority most harmed by sugar additives in the American diet.

Grover Norquist, Republican anti-tax activist, calls the sugar subsidy, "cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty". So when you hear Republican politicians say they oppose government picking winners and losers like the film industry, know whose pocket they are picking. Yours.