Saturday, May 18, 2013

New APP available to Indentify Koch Brothers and Other Unfriendly Products. by Geniusofdespair

App to use to Buycott Koch brother products.  It is called Buycott App.

"In her keynote speech at last year’s annual Netroots Nation gathering, Darcy Burner pitched a seemingly simple idea to the thousands of bloggers and web developers in the audience. The former Microsoft programmer and congressional candidate proposed a smartphone app allowing shoppers to swipe barcodes to check whether conservative billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch were behind a product on the shelves.

Burner figured the average supermarket shopper had no idea that buying Brawny paper towels, Angel Soft toilet paper or Dixie cups meant contributing cash to Koch Industries through its subsidiary Georgia-Pacific."

Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper Testimony on Waste Water Issue Before the County Commission Yesterday

Honorable members of the Board of County Commissioners –

You have before you a bond authorization request that includes a capital plan for sewer and water. The EPA and BBWK have sued the county on the sewer side for massive violations of the federal Clean Water Act (CWA).

The sewer Capital Improvement Plan (CIP) is about $1.5 billion. About half of that is for fixing pipes and pump stations and the under-bay force main from miami beach to Virginia Key. the bbwk has no problem with that and, we encourage even faster fix to these problems, which, by the way, constitute the source of most of the raw sewage overflows in the system (most of the CWA violations)

The other half of the $1.5 billion is to fix the 3 wastewater treatment plants (WWTP). 37% of the $1.5 billion alone or $555 million is for a major rebuild to the WWTP on Virginia Key. BBWK and its experts have studied the 3 WWTPS and the issues of sea level rise and storm surges.

According to our internationally-renowned experts from UM, FAU and FIU, the county’s 3 WWTP are at serious risk of damage and losing operational reliability (violating the cwa) due to the failure of the cip to protect the plants from rising sea levels and storm surge expected – and acknowledged -- in the 4-county compact that you have approved.

Now, after reviewing BBWK's expert reports, Miami Dade Water and Sewer (WASD) says that it will address sea level and storm surge, but not in the consent decree. But, these protective measures are not in the CIP and bond authorization that are before you. So, where is the money going to come from? and, how much? and when?

The WASD's hastily commissioned hazen and sawyer study showed that WASD would need an additional $80m to protect the 3 WWTPs from flooding and storm surge (sea walls and building hardening). First, that $80m is not in the CIP before you. Secondly, our experts who are peer reviewing the Hazen and Sawyer study (done for WASD in 3 weeks at the cost of $17,500), have indicated that study is very flawed and that the protections needed to the 3 WWTPs will be much more costly.

In order to make reasoned decisions, the BOCC must use “apples to apples” comparisons for multi-billion dollar capital improvements.

Apparently, the WASD has now, in response to the BBWK lawsuit, greenlighted the new western WWTP, which, at ~143 million gallons per day of capacity, will likely cost over $2b. Where is that money in the bond authorization? It is not in the sewer CIP that is before you.

If the appropriate, sound science and engineering vulnerability studies are done, it may turn out that the costs of adequately protecting the Virginia Key WWTP from sea level rise and storm surge are so great, that it makes more sense to de-commission that plant and build a bigger and safer WWTP at the western site. Plus, the state requires the county to eliminate ocean outfalls by 2025, thereby significantly lessening the locational value of virginia key for the site of a major WWTP.

BBWK doesn’t know the answer to this question, yet. The BOCC doesn’t know the answer to this, and, neither does wasd, because wasd has refused to do the sound science and engineering vulnerability assessment and alternatives analysis of the 3 wwtps that BBWK and its experts have been strongly recommending for six months.

If the EPA and the WASD sign a zero sea level rise consent decree and you, the BOCC, approve it, the losers are going to be the residents and businesses and visitors of Miami Dade County.

You will be taking the county down the road of a self-fulfilling prophecy – to a future where what mayor gimenez and director renfrow predict comes true – “coastal property abandonment.”

If you have not heard their public statements about the future of “coastal property abandonment”in Miami Dade County, please ask them to provide them to you. there are many such statements that they have made to the press, at public meetings, and even in a recent letter to Mayor Frank Caplan of the Virginia Key, etc.

BWWK is not only advocating, here, to stop the pollution of Biscayne Bay that the county’s crumbling sewer systems are causing, it is advocating for the BOCC to begin implementing a climate ready critical infrastructure for Miami Dade County – starting with the sewers – that will extend the habitability of the county long into the future – in this era of rapidly rising sea levels and increasing storm impacts, as Hurricane Sandy so savagely demonstrated.

Good Guy in State Office, Jose Javier Rodriguez. By Geniusofdespair

Here is your opportunity to meet Jose Javier Rodriguez. He will be at Shenandoah Park May 22nd. Put it on your calendar.  He was endorsed by both of us at Eye on Miami.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Is it possible to dial back the national security state? ... by gimleteye

The constant bickering between US political parties will be viewed, through the lens of history, as fundamentally abetting the rise of the permanent national security state. A deeper analysis will rest on the foundation of the international economy, and the role of technologies in eliminating national boundaries. Inevitably, the role of Mideast petroleum in creating massive inequities in Arab societies, along with the dependencies it creates in the US, will come to the fore. But it is the failure of Congress and of leadership -- especially from the radical right -- that will be most harshly assessed.

Why the radical right? Because the radical right, for decades, has been motivated by its certainty that the profits of fossil fuels -- oil, coal, and gas -- are the prerequisite of the modern economy that elevated the US to the position of the most powerful nation on earth. To be sure, Democrats have been confounded by the power of the fossil fuel lobbies, not mention the nation's utilities, and the complexities of energy policy reform.

Huffington Post reports on a Senate hearing yesterday: "WASHINGTON -- The war authorization that Congress passed after 9/11 will be needed for at least 10 to 20 more years, and can be used to put the United States military on the ground anywhere, from Syria to the Congo to Boston, military officials argued Thursday. The revelations came during a hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee and surprised even experts in America's use of force stemming from the terrorist attacks in 2001. "This is the most astounding and most astoundingly disturbing hearing that I've been to since I've been here. You guys have essentially rewritten the Constitution today," Sen. Angus King (I-Maine) told four senior U.S. military officials who testified about the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force and what it allows the White House to do."

Whether you are Republican or Democrat, you will agree that the Bush White House fathered the measures now in question. It is also not in question that a Republican led House of Representatives is calling the Benghazi attack the biggest intelligence failure in US history, skipping past the fact that Bush White House ignored intelligence leading to 9/11 and subsequently justified the rise of the national security state.

If there is any hope for Congress to dial back the national security state, it rests on leadership in Congress. That leadership cannot thrive when there is so much dissension as there is, today.

The Miami Herald Shows a Bias in North Miami Election. By Geniusofdespair

Kevin Burns was the lead vote getter.
It happened twice so now I have to address it. The Miami Herald reported the mayoral results on Wednesday, describing Tondreau FIRST, even though she finished second. In the other two races, The Herald “conformed” to customary tradition and practice: preliminary winner named first, with numbers, and runner-up reported second.

Why is Tondreau getting top billing?  It happened again in Thursday's edition. Nadege Green wrote:
"The two top vote-getters, Lucie Tondreau and Kevin Burns, will head to a runoff..."
As I reported, Kevin Burns got 2,254 votes (33.22%) and Lucie got 1,870 (27.56%). He should have been mentioned first in both articles. Because he was mentioned second his photo was also second.  The Miami Herald has got to do a better job.  I now believe the reporter has a clear preference of who she wants to win.  I don't think she has done a good job with reporting on what goes on with "helpers" in the Haitian community that go in the voting booth with voters to assist. Are these family members assisting or political operatives? Poll workers in North Miami must come forward. Penny Townsley, can you ask the poll workers if everything is kosher?

Everyone figures out a way to steal votes. We have to be one step ahead of them with fixes.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Aventura: What is in a Name? By Geniusofdespair

This is an interesting choice of a name, considering the location of this CDD. 168 CDD's have defaulted in Florida, on municipal bonds valued at 5.1 billion dollars.
This Aventura Isles Community Development District is having a public hearing 5/21 at the County Commission.
Note where the City of Aventura is.
Note where "Aventura Isles" is in relation to the City of Aventura. All locations are approximate.
Here is more information on a Community Development Distric (CDD) from Wikipedia:

Good government: can we conquer traffic ... by gimleteye

The Belle Isle blog has some great old postcard views of what the former Miami Herald property looked like, in the kindler, gentler (unless you were Jewish or African American) 1930's.

What is striking is that the views illustrate traffic access along Biscayne Boulevard and to the Venetian Causeway that has not changed in the intervening eighty years except for road widening. The same design built to serve a few thousand people in the 1930's now accommodates a multitude. Very poorly.

Interstate 95 changed, of course. It provided access to the south, sacrificing traditional African American neighborhoods to open the way to development much the same way the MDX is planning to stretch 836 to farmland and open space controlled by powerful campaign contributors.

The key point is that traffic today is fed into several billion dollars of urban landscape recently added -- from the museum to the Heat arena and Performing Arsht Center -- with 1930's era street planning.

If Miami wants to be a better city, the entire traffic circulation system needs to be revised. The port tunnel, costing over $1 billion, will solve a portion of the problem. We excel, putting the cart before the proverbial horse.

Jim DeFede: Bear Cut Bridge Fix: Not the way to go? By Geniusofdespair

Really good video. If you don't see it here is the link to this investigative report by Channel 4. Sounds like the $31 Million quick fix is not the way to go. Watch this video. Both County Commissioners Zapata and Suarez are troubled by the county fix. I predict that this will be back before the County Commission thanks to the DeFede report.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

North Miami Election, Miami Herald had it wrong. By Geniusofdespair

In the paper version of the Miami Herald it said a charter amendment was approved in North Miami, where there was a 24.34% voter turnout, that said:
"The city will require two appraisals to determine a home's true value before the property can be sold."
Not one to believe everything I read, I immediately contacted Councilman Scott Galvin and asked:
"Why 2 appraisals to sell a house. That sounds expensive almost $1,000. What is wrong with the property appraiser appraisal done for free?"
North Miami Councilman Galvin immediately emailed me back and said:
"Herald was wrong. Two appraisals to buy or sell city property."
That makes more sense. The moral of this story: DON'T BELIEVE EVERYTHING YOU READ.

The EPA and Miami-Dade County fumble on climate change ... by gimleteye

On climate change adaptation, the rubber meets the road in the most highly developed areas of Florida that are also flood prone and virtually at sea level. Consider, the following.

The EPA is the chief federal agency advancing policy agendas related to climate change. In critical ways, EPA is failing the true test of both its commitment and authority, under federal laws. Granted, Congress has proven notoriously unwilling to use federal legislation to mandate steps that could have avoided climate change's cascading effects. The rationales offered to the public; everything from outright denial to pollution from China and India.

In Florida, it has taken a series of Clean Water Act lawsuits by environmental groups to bring EPA to confront violations of law by local government on water quality. Absent federal lawsuits and despite favorable rulings by the federal judiciary, the EPA is a grudging enforcer of laws passed by Congress and approved by presidents.

As the impacts of climate change accelerate, laws governing water and air quality -- under the regulatory responsibilities of the EPA -- are inevitably colliding with rising seas. Put another way: accommodating, adapting, and mitigating the costs of climate change are running straight in the buzz saw of local politics. That level of government in the United States proves, every day, it is least capable of adjusting horizons beyond the requirements for re-election.

Yesterday, Chief Judge of the Federal Court for the Southern District of Florida, Frederico Moreno, ruled in favor of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper’s motion for unrestricted intervention in the EPA’s Clean Water Act pollution enforcement case against Miami-Dade County. The issue involves wastewater infrastructure that serves more than 2 million residents and visitors, including cruise ship passengers who pass through Miami without giving a second thought that Miami-Dade is the most populous and the state's most politically influential.

If it is true that we can't do without water -- no one disputes that -- , then it is also true that civilized society can't do without efficient, non-polluting wastewater disposal. It far from a sexy subject, but not a single benefit of industrial society would be available without a wastewater system that protects people's health and the environment.

In 1994, after a prolonged federal Clean Water Act lawsuit by Sierra Club, Friends of the Everglades and other environmentalists, Miami-Dade county entered into a consent agreement with the US EPA to clean up its act; an act that included using pipes to flush sewage into nearby ocean waters. In 2012, nearly twenty years later, environmentalists sued again when EPA's analysis showed the county wastewater infrastructure to be in a state of decrepit, alarming decline. The manifestations that finally attracted EPA's intervention included frequent sewer line breaks and treatment plants whose conditions were nothing short of disgusting.

At least a billion and a half dollars were deemed necessary, through this latest "tranche" of negotiations, to simply bring the wastewater system up to codes. But there is a further problem: climate change.

Higher sea levels, certain to afflict the world's coast lines in coming decades, put special pressure on Florida's wastewater infrastructure. Here, because of the porous underlying geology, water tables rise quickly and ebb -- depending on rainfall, flooding conditions, but also salt water intrusion. The pressure of incoming seas and over-pumping aquifers has already turned some coastal well field to salt. We can't drink salt water, and under the enormous pressures of salt water intrusion, Miami-Dade's complex wastewater handling pipes and pumps will simply collapse.

While this is not an abstract threat, it is one that elected officials -- at all levels of government -- are having great difficulty grasping. The explanation is also simple. Politics flows to campaign contributions the same way water flows downhill.

Those campaign contributions reinforce a status quo that claims one of its highest priorities to be stable, predictable regulations. This turns out to be a chief complaint by business groups and special interests that dominate Tallahassee and Congress: that EPA's federal regulatory mandates impose excessive burdens because they introduce unpredictability to mortgage cycles and depreciation schedules. Those same businesses -- especially ones that profit by serving the nation's infrastructure needs -- are paradoxically resistant, to the point of investing in the crippling of environmental rules and regulations, despite science and facts pointing to sea level rise impacts within the very time decadal frames they stubbornly attach to business cycles.

Since its inception in the early 1970s, the EPA has been under withering pressure by business groups, including the US Chamber of Commerce. In recent decades, even under Democratic control of Congress and the White House, the agency has been afflicted with a kind of bipolar disorder on its most important regulatory issues. It is hard to conclude that the federal government's response to the greatest threat to civilization -- climate change -- is anything out of the ordinary.

It's website breezily offers: "The Facts: Do you have questions about climate change? Explore the answers to some of the most commonly answered questions, here." But it easier to find a needle in a haystack than political courage at EPA. Its administrators and senior officials, including those at the US Department of Justice, would respond: it is not our role to show political courage.

And so Miami-Dade County touts its fleet of hybrid cars and various green shoots. While blue ribbon panels, engineers and experts resolutely discuss rising sea levels -- even the eventual incorporation of detailed elevation maps in land use maps is treated like a state secret -- local government officials dawdle and twiddle their thumbs. EPA, on the one hand, is the nation's top communicator of climate change and, on the regulatory hand can scarcely lift a finger. If you are a small polluter, watch out. But if you are a big polluter, you are held to a different standard.

Today, thirteen members of the Miami-Dade County Commission are racing to vote on May 21st, on what the Waterkeeper calls its "zero sea level rise consent decree" with EPA. The County has not heeded any of Biscayne Bay Waterkeeper’s nationally-recognized experts, who counsel against parts of the plan and in favor of much more rigorous sea level rise and storm impact studies to inform the BOCC’s multi-billion dollar capital decisions on its wastewater treatment plants.

EPA says it would not be doing anything to support climate readiness in the Miami-Dade consent decree. It is deploying a fig leaf of a disguise, arguing that the BBWK’s sewer case is really a NIMBY (“not in my backyard”) case brought forward by local Key Biscayne residents who want to move the county's major sewage treatment plant away from its neighbor, Virginia Key.

Recently, 16 national and local environmental groups stated otherwise in a letter to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez. The groups implored the mayor to take into account the taxpayer interest in protecting billions of dollars of investment in infrastructure from destruction by implacable rising seas.

BBWK says, "This fight is about sound science and engineering and proper planning in light of future climate change impacts on Miami-Dade County – not NIMBY. If EPA as an Agency really believes that this is a NIMBY case to get a wastewater treatment plant relocated off of Virginia Key, then its staff has fundamental problems with both reading and listening... BBWK is advocating sound science and engineering in the County’s planning process for the required sewer system fix.

The collapse of EPA in Miami-Dade County is a dismal predictor of what climate change adaptation really means. If this is the best the wealthiest nation in the world can do, imagine the prospects for change in other rapidly developing nations. The forecast: it will take many and even repetitive Superstorm Sandy's -- like the one that devastated parts of the New York and New Jersey coast -- before the objectors melt away.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

North Miami 2013 Election Results. By Geniusofdespair


Tondreau - 55%

Keys - 61%
Bien-Aime - 67%

The North Miami ELECTION RESULTS (5/14/2013):

The North Miami ELECTION RESULTS: Run-offs in all 3 seats...
Burns - 33%
Tondreau - 27%

Keys - 49%
Irvin - 26%

Bien-Aime - 44%
Despinosse - 27%

There was a 24.34% voter turnout.

Here are some pictures today from the Gwen Margolis Center in North Miami.

The guy on the right in Kevin Burns. He was the Mayor once. He is trying again.
More supporters than voters...

The North Miami Mayoral Candidate Who Claims She is Endorsed by Jesus. By Geniusofdespair

Get some scriptures with your politics...

See my post from earlier today about Candidate Ana Pierre. There is also some gossip going on in North Miami that a candidate thought she was off mike and said something about "Pussy" that another candidate is airing. Nothing like North Miami politics.

How to dial back the national security state? ... by gimleteye

The Associated Press is the nation's most important news feed. It now appears that AP private and work cell phone conversations were secretly taped by the national security state, based on suspicions of a leak to the AP of an important counter-terrorism operation.

From available reports, the effort involved data screening of news reporters' phone calls. It appears to be no different than data mining exercises applied to known or suspected terrorists.

These days there is no bright line separating legal from illegal surveillance of citizens by the state. It is all according to "deciders" who control data-gathering technologies. Not even elections are safe.

It is hard to be calm, along this line.  The mind races. While we are driven to distraction with every form of digital interaction, a gigantic national security state surrounds us.

On the one hand,  Congress can't even agree to back down the TSA from its air passenger screening criteria. On the other hand, TV shows like HBO "Veep" show us willing to laugh at excesses of power filtered through comedy. Veep's most poignant story line is the competition among senior aides to be closest to the president. This fight has been won by his pollster; a data-driven character whose worth is weighed by a comedic deficit of emotion or empathy. ... funny and not.

Of today's raging controversies, what happened to the AP news reporters and editors is the most chilling.

Environmental Groups Appeal To Mayor Carlos Gimenez and EPA Regional Chief Gwen Keyes Fleming: Don't spend $1.5 billion to be washed away by rising seas

In a May 13th letter, a coalition of environmental groups including Biscayne Water Keeper and prominent leaders urged both the County and the US EPA to consider a "reasoned, sound science approach to re-building the County's sewage system, to make the massive taxpayer investment 'climate ready' and resilient."

The experts retained by environmental organizations have reviewed the County's proposed settlement with EPA, forced by their lawsuit in federal court, and determined "it will not survive sea level rise and climate impacts such as increased storm surge and erosion." According to FAU's Dr. Leonard Berry and Professor Ricardo Alvarez, "... proper re-build will stop the widespread violations of the Clean Water Act and make the Miami-Dade County sewer system "climate ready" and resilient for the current and next generation of residents, businesses and visitors."

The antiquated and illegal waste water system will be among the first infrastructure malfunctions to jeopardize the south Florida economy, even before higher water levels impede what we take for granted as normal economic activities. That is why decisions today bear so heavily on a future within sight.

The only County Commissioner mentioned in Deisy Cabrera's Notebook: Lynda Bell. By Geniusofdespair

From Deisy Cabrera's notebook, the boletera awaiting trial for illegally collecting absentee ballots. It says:  Mario de Ovides "Campaign Bell". This was written about August 8, 2010. Deisy was using an old calendar.

Also in Deisy's notebook was a senior day care center business card for Alelise ALF, Corp. There was a voter name with the card. I suggested that the Elections Department contact the facility for supervised voting.  That is when the Elections Department goes to the facility and supervises the absentee ballot voting.

The Elections Department sent me this reply:

"We have contacted this site and at this time the residents are not able to participate because they all have Alzheimer."

Funny that this business card should be in the boletera's notebook.

On another front, the North Miami election is today. One candidate running for Mayor claims she is endorsed by Jesus. I guess anyone that would believe the Jesus claim, would not be any better equipped to vote than the Alzheimer patient in Hialeah.  Remember, the voting atrocities are not confined to Hialeah.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Blogger at Voter's Opinion hires Private Eye. By Geniusofdespair

Photo of operative holding an absentee ballot from
Blogger Stephanie Kienzle hired P.I. Joe Carillo to look into the North Miami Beach election where absentee ballot fraud is also flourishing.  Just like in Hialeah, Joe Carillo actually caught a political operative in North Miami Beach red handed, holding a ballot. Carillo took his photos to Public Corruption and they didn't really care. Kienzle says:
"Absentee ballot fraud is a monster of a problem that doesn’t seem to be taken seriously by any of the law enforcement agencies, the Attorney General’s Office, the Miami State Attorney’s Office, the Florida Legislature, the courts, and the various and sundry Elections and Ethics Commissions. The boleteros in Hialeah know this. The ballot brokers in northeast Miami-Dade County know this. They buy elections through absentee ballot fraud with impunity.

Apparently, it’s been left up to investigative reporters, bloggers and ordinary citizens to do whatever they can to protect the integrity of the vote. Without help from authorities, we are left to take up the charge against fraud and corruption. Even when we have evidence and good leads, we get doors slammed in our faces by those public servants who were elected or hired to protect us from the fraudsters.

For now, it appears we are on our own. Folks, you need to keep your eyes and ears open to any and all voter fraud. If you see or hear anything fishy, please contact me or Melissa Sanchez at"

Tampa Bay Times: "Levy nuclear plant more costly than a natural gas facility" ... by gimleteye

Read this piece in the Tampa Bay Times, digging into the comparable costs of nuclear versus natural gas. It is something that Miami-Dade ratepayers ought to consider, in the face of the FPL tsunami pushing two new nuclear reactors at Turkey Point.

Some choice excerpts:
"What building a new nuclear plant does really well, the analysis showed, is fatten a utility's bottom line. Duke Energy would pocket as much as 10 times the profit from the Levy project as it would from a natural gas facility." 
Including nuclear in an "all of the above" strategy "has become kind of a last refuge of scoundrels," Bradford said. "If we're talking about world hunger we don't talk about an all of the above strategy. We don't say, 'Lets fight world hunger with caviar.' "

The environmental costs of fracking are not included in the Times analysis.

There is a curious footnote to fracking that relates directly to Miami-Dade. In the early 2000's, federal litigation that resolved successfully in the favor of polluters and the EPA surrounding changes to the Safe Drinking Water Act set off the natural gas industry to an unanticipated boom.

The litigation involved the leakages of Miami-Dade's underground injection control wells used for municipal waste disposal. In other words, our pollution lead to the explosion of economic interests related to natural gas. That's another story you will never read in the Miami Herald.

Two Year Old On the iPhone. By Geniusofdespair

Some of you might claim to be too old to learn/use an iPhone. Apparently you are never too young.  I watched this 2 year old from West Kendall for about 20 minutes and this is what I saw.

Curious, I walked to the other side and saw some cartoons on the screen. But this toddler held up the phone as you see it and was quiet the whole time.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Barfable: How votes are stolen in Miami-Dade County. By Geniusofdespair

Read about the notebooks kept by arrested boletera reported by the Miami Herald but investigated by El Nuevo Herald's crack team of reporters.

Every time someone like this woman steals a vote, it cancels out a legitimate vote. I say that the election department should stop giving campaigns voter absentee ballot information. They have unearned the right to know by financing this cottage industry of stealing/manipulating votes. Sometimes elections are changed by absentee ballots -- Lynda Bell's close win as one example. She had David Rivera's help with her absentee votes according to two sources. Her opponent won but the lopsided absentees rocketed Bell ahead by a little over 300 votes.

Among other things in today's report:

"• She had access to more than 550 voters, the vast majority elderly Hispanics who live in Hialeah. The people whose names, address, phone numbers and dates of birth she tracked on lists titled “Deisy’s Voters” include some who have Alzheimer’s and others who are illiterate. Next to some names, Cabrera noted whether they were blind or deaf.

• She registered what appear to be payments for a total of more than $9,000 from seven judicial candidates in 2008."