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.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Miami-Dade County Mayoral Campaign. By Geniusofdespair


Fabiola Santiago takes aim at Mayor Gimenez:

The mayor is lavishly funded, thanks to his powerful and deep-pocketed friends in construction, real estate and development, and county vendors and lobbyists. He has collected an unprecedented $4.3 million in cash donations — and he and his campaign committee have spent, according to the last filing of expenditures, almost $3.1 million to avoid a runoff race with Regalado and annihilate the other six candidates running against him.

Gimenez has plenty to worry about in Northwest Miami-Dade, where the voters he’s targeting live in bedrooms communities that will be negatively impacted by the megamall project he helped broker and fast-tracked for commission approval without seeking any input from residents.

The mayor touts the countless jobs the monstrous American Dream Miami complex will generate. But the only thing residents in cities like Hialeah Gardens and Miami Lakes and enclaves like Palm Springs North and Lakes on the Green see the project generating is constantly insufferable traffic in what are already congested zones.
And:
But under this mayor’s watch, that is poised to change dramatically, with the construction next door of what’s being billed as the largest mall in America, larger than Minnesota’s Mall of America, which holds the title. And as if it weren’t enough to erect 194.5-acres of retail, restaurant and entertainment space and 2,000 hotel rooms, another mammoth construction project is under way directly south of it, a mixed use business park by the Graham Companies with retail, office, and residences.

And:
No doubt Gimenez is an accomplished elected official, but the slogans that truly fit are: “Putting developers first” and “Always there for them.”
Vote for Raquel Regalado for Mayor of Miami Dade County.

South Florida Water Management Public Relations In A Word: Pathetic ... by gimleteye

The stone-cold, deaf media relations department of the South Florida Water Management is at it again: this time it is using taxpayer dollars to poke at public information act requests under Florida's Sunshine Law.

Here is the latest, from yesterday, suggesting that anyone's email address is at risk from the disclosure of the District's email list to a pro-Everglades lawyer. Not only that, District staff released the name of the requester -- presumably to their entire list. What is the purpose, except pettiness, spite, and insult.

I can't think of a worse use of taxpayer money than encouraging District staff to act like peeved propagandists in Russia. But there you have it. The Rick Scott Way.

Public records are public records.
Like its recent "Just The Facts" missives, the latest jab from the SFWMD against environmentalists comes from the top. From Gov. Rick Scott through his personal attorney who is now director of the district, Pete Antonacci.

There is another term for this pathetic display: the con game of a bully.

When top Republican officials from Florida -- Rick Scott, Ag. Secretary Adam Putnam, and so many others -- were ferried by private jet to the King Ranch in Texas before the 2014 election cycle (the King Ranch is not only one of the District's regulated entities, its Florida chief is on the board of the District!), Florida's GOP bigwigs objected to disclosing what they discussed over concerns for their privacy. Adam Putnam slammed a door in a reporter's face.

Now they are concerned about your privacy? Not a chance anyone associated with the SFWMD mean what they say or say what they mean. It is all BS.

Voters: Remember, in November.

TO:
Interested Parties
FROM:
Media Relations, South Florida Water Management District
DATE:
8/22/16
SUBJECT:
YOUR PRIVACY

YOUR PRIVACY

The South Florida Water Management District has received a public records request from a party associated with the email address - lisa@evergladeslaw.org - seeking more than 5,000 email addresses contained in SFWMD's electronic mailing list. This agency is legally obligated under Chapter 119 of Florida State Statutes to fulfill this demand and provide these email addresses.

As you may know, such email lists and addresses are commercial commodities that are often bought and sold. The law prohibits SFWMD from asking about the intended use for the information. Any concern you may have about a potential invasion of privacy is understandable.

SFWMD maintains email lists with the intention of keeping the public informed about the agency's work. These email lists represents a wide range of interested parties, including individuals who requested SFWMD information, elected officials, environmental groups, businesses, scientific communities and the media.

You may receive unwanted solicitations or correspondence as a result of this public records request.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Guest Blog: Vote For Clean Water In November by Michael Connor, Bullsugar.org

EOM Note: the following guest blog is by Michael Connor, of Bullsugar.org   The two political enemies of clean water in Florida -- specifically opposing the public acquisition of Big Sugar lands south of Lake Okeechobee in order to eventually stop the destruction of fresh water resources in Florida -- are Marco Rubio and the state representative from Lee County, Matt Caldwell. Both have legitimate challengers in November who have signed to support the science-based Now or Neverglades Declaration: Congressman Patrick Murphy and in Lee County, John Scott.
Clean water activists played a major role in Marco Rubio's harsh defeat in the March GOP presidential primary in Florida. Rubio barely carried 15% of the GOP primary vote. It is critical to remove Rubio -- whose main support is from the sugar industry -- from the US Senate. 
Caldwell's role is less known because it is less publicly visible in the mainstream press. Every session of the legislature there are one or two compliant politicians who are pushed forward by Big Sugar to carry its agenda: shift the costs of pollution onto the backs of taxpayers to the maximum extent possible. That is Caldwell's role for an industry that would not survive so profitably in Florida but for corporate subsidies in the federal Farm Bill, called by GOP tax activist Grover Norquist: "Cronyism in its undiluted, inexcusable majesty." Florida is depending on Lee County voters to replace Caldwell with John Scott, a first-time candidate for public office whose credentials include being a Sierra Club leader.
On his webpage, Scott writes "The Caloosahatchee River and our coastal ocean waters are being ruined. Jobs, real estate values, fishing and our tourism industry are all at risk because of terrible environmental policies spearheaded by Matt Caldwell and signed into law by Governor Rick Scott. Florida's water and environment should not be partisan issues. I will fight with every ounce of my being to protect the water and natural beauty that makes Florida "paradise". The people of District 79, and all of Florida, deserve better. We all want fairness in our society. Our government should be powered by the people and add value to our lives without over-reaching. I respectfully ask for your vote so I can represent YOU in Tallahassee and NOT special interests who focus on their own agenda while destroying our way of life. Thank you for your support."
Michael Connor writes on Facebook:

We at Bullsugar.org, and our close allies, Everglades Trust, Everglades Foundation, Bonefish Tarpon Trust, Sierra Club, Captains For Clean Water, and others have been circulating the Now or NeverGlades Declaration far and wide since mid July. 
We have had great success, thus far getting signatures from over 27,000 citizens, over 100 legislators and challengers to political office, and 200 corporations, all of whom have a vested interest in healthy, safe Florida waterways, a stop to toxic Lake O discharges, and a restored Everglades and Florida Bay.
The Army Corps is even on board to immediately plan for water storage and conveyance in the Everglades Agricultural Area as a vital part of CERP and an overall water storage strategy. There are scattered "holdouts" among Florida lawmakers, with Gov. Scott, Sen. Marco Rubio, and Rep. Matt Caldwell leading that pack. 
Legislators such as Sen. Joe Negron and Congressman Patrick Murphy have signed the Declaration, yet Gov. appointed SFWMD officials such as Kevin Powers, pictured here at this week's Dancing in the Streets in Stuart, who represents Martin County on the SFWMD governing board, are refusing to come on board as non-federal partners with the Corps to make EAA storage and water conveyance a reality. 
It is a major frustration for citizens who are repeatedly subject to toxic waterways, health threats, diminished property values and quality of life, and lost income. 
At the Bullsugar.org booth, we had over 550 people enthusiastically sign the Declaration, and many report that they are sharing it with others. Did have one outright refusal however, from Kevin Powers -- on the governing board of the South Florida Water Management District appointed by Gov. Rick Scott. Quite disappointing to all of us. His response when asked to consider signing by our volunteer was "absolutely not!" 
But we do want to give everyone the opportunity to either show support or not. And that is exactly what we will continue to do.
Speaking of accountability, please visit www. Bullsugar.org/vote to see which legislators and office challengers did and did not sign the Declaration. Or, failed to respond.

Monday, August 22, 2016

IMPORTANT Primary Voter Guide For Floridians ... by gimleteye


For primary voters, here is an excellent top-notch guide to county and state elections. Click here to see which candidates have embraced the Now or Neverglades Declaration, approved by Bullsugar.org

"Selections are based on analysis of campaign contributions, votes, and stated positions related to stopping discharges and restoring flow of Lake O water south, including whether or not candidates signed the “Now or Neverglades Declaration”.


I endorse Bullsugar's work and strongly urge you to link and share this information with friends, family and the public.

My Past Life. By Geniusofdespair

I was a Scrimshander.


This is an Ivory disc a little over an inch and a half round. I etched into it by hand and then filled the scratches with india ink. It is called a scrimshaw. I haven't seen this one for over 25 years. Ran across it moving. I was never a writer. I actually worked in art and actually made a living for awhile with the scrimshaw and designing T Shirts.

Fox News Is Not Good For America ... by gimleteye

Over the weekend, I had dinner with a friend in the real estate business. He is a staunch Republican, but not overtly political in his private life or our friendship. I respect his business acumen and intelligence but his beliefs about global warming are -- well -- unhinged from reality. More accurately: they mesh neatly with the narrative of one cable TV channel, Fox News.

I am socially liberal, fiscally conservative, and bemoan the loss of the Republican Party to an elite who expertly mastered media and propaganda to energize voters and taxpayers to vote against their best interests. In other words, the agenda of Fox News.

The longer Fox has leaned against fact and science, the more dependent the cable channel has become on fictions like conspiracy theories. That is not good for America.

It doesn't matter when I email my friend scientific data, peer-reviewed assessments of rapid ice-melt and evidence of off-the-chart temperature rise. His answers are straight from the denialist camp at Fox.

Fox -- owned by the Rupert Murdoch family -- is an empire of fiction that found its candidate in Donald J. Trump. The founder of Fox News Roger Ailes, fired for sexual harassment, is linked to the Trump campaign. Sean Hannity, as the New York Times documents today, is also part of the campaign.

The rest of the industrialized world is not buying what Fox is selling with a single exception: Russia. Whether or not intentionally, Fox News has turned into the same agent of a strong-man oligarchy as Russian television.

That is not good for America, as more and more American voters understand.


Sean Hannity Turns Adviser in the Service of Donald Trump
Jim Rutenberg
MEDIATOR AUG. 21, 2016
New York Times

During major inflection points in Donald J. Trump’s campaign, the advisers, family members and friends who make up his kitchen cabinet burn up their email accounts and phone lines gaming out how to get his candidacy on track (and what counsel he might go along with).

But one person in the mix brings more than just his political advice. He also happens to control an hour of prime time on the Fox News Channel.

That person is Sean Hannity.

Mr. Hannity uses his show on the nation’s most-watched cable news network to blare Mr. Trump’s message relentlessly — giving Mr. Trump the kind of promotional television exposure even a billionaire can’t afford for long.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Mayor Gimenez will lose big with this latest story. By Geniusofdespair


Mayor Gimenez's finance chairman, chauffeur, and best bud is getting really, really rich -- millions and millions and Mayor Gimenez said in effect: "Wasn't me!"

Doug Hanks repoted Ralph Garcia-Toledo, Mayor Friend, Finance Director and Chauffeur, could make about $18 Million from a county contract with Water and Sewer.  This is exactly why I voted for Raquel Regalado. Do you think the engineering company hired this guy for his expertise? The Mayor recommended the company Toledo is consulting for, for a contract. The Mayor shrugs it off: Wasn't me. “What he does, he does,” Gimenez said of Garcia-Toledo in June. “I let the process run its course.”

Reminds me of this Shaggy Song, watch the damn video (it is X rated but just a bit):


Zika is Deadly to Adults. By Geniusofddespair

Mayor Phillip Levine doesn't like controversy in Miami Beach. He didn't like it when scientists reported that the rising waters on land in Miami Beach, that is being pumped into the Bay, was deemed polluted. He trashed the Scientists. Now he is refusing to accept that Zika has been found in his city. Wait, I think his denial has switched to "stuck with it" now that 5 cases have been found. Actually, I don't blame him, Zika has everyone pretty scared.

Zika doesn't just cause microcephaly in babies it is also linked to Guillain-Barre syndrome in adults. It also can be deadly: A Utah man died from Zika at the end of June. Yesterday a man under 50 years old in Puerto Rico died from paralysis that developed from a Zika infection.

According to a report from the World Health Organization released in February on Guillan-Barre Syndrome (rare disorder in which your body's immune system attacks your nerves):

In July 2015, Brazil reported the detection of patients with neurological syndromes who had recent history of Zika virus infection in the state of Bahia. There were 76 patients with neurological syndromes identified, of which 42 (55%) were confirmed as GBS. Among the confirmed GBS, 26 (62%) had a history of symptoms consistent with Zika virus infection. In addition, 7 patients presenting with neurologic syndromes were confirmed to be positive for Zika virus infection in November 2015. In 2015, a total of 1 708 cases of GBS were registered nationwide, representing a 19% average increase from the previous year (1 439 cases of GBS), though not all states reported an increase in incidence.

In February 2016, the Colombia International Health Regulations (IHR) National Focal Point (NFP) reported an increase in cases of GBS. Colombia reports an average of 242 cases of GBS per year. However, in the five weeks to 30 January 2016, there were 86 cases of GBS already reported. Of the total cases registered, 49 (57%) were male and 37 (43%) were female. Mean age of the 58 cases for which age data were available was 43 years.