The Miami Mirror

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My name is David Arthur Walters. I am an independent journalist.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Suckers Lease South Beach Retail Spaces


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Monday, October 27, 2014

City of Miami Beach Blames Computer for Computer Mismanagement

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Saturday, October 25, 2014

Miami Beach Uncollected Fees - Letter to City Manager








David Arthur Walters miamimirror@gmail.com


















Sat, Oct 25, 2014 at 10:12 AM

To: "Morales, Jimmy" <JimmyMorales@miamibeachfl.gov>
Bcc: "Fraser, Patrick" <pfraser@wsvn.com>, Patricia Mazzei <pmazzei@miamiherald.com>, Frank Casey <cfrank@miamiherald.com>, Michael Miller <Michael.miller@miaminewtimes.com>, heralded@miamiherald.com

25 October 2014

Jimmy Morales
City Manager
CITY OF MIAMI BEACH

Subject: Uncollected Sidewalk Café Concurrency Fees

Dear City Manager:

As you were previously advised, Tui Munday in the Planning Department disclosed on 25 February 2014, in response to my Public Record Request 8708, that the former proprietor of the Las Olas Café at 644 6th Street apparently failed to pay the sidewalk café concurrency fee for 12 chairs at about $350 each, for an estimated total of $4,200. There were 14 chairs inside the establishment as well, so the records should be checked on them as well.

Las Olas Café is a registered fictitious name. Dove Foods Inc, the former owner, controlled by one Vincent Diaz, sold the café in 2013 to Las Olas Café LLC. Code Compliance ordered the sidewalk café seats removed, so the new owner applied and had approved 6 seats for the sidewalk café.

Although the debt is rather old and perhaps not legally collectible, Mr. Diaz may be glad to pay it if Ms. Munday is correct because he is a longstanding outstanding citizen.

On 13 July 2011, the City Commission, at the request of Commissioner Michael Gongora, honored Vincent Diaz and the Las Olas Café for their longstanding contribution to the city. The certificate was presented by Mr. Gongora and community activist Elsa Urquiza. The Clerk writing the afteraction report mistakenly identified Vincent as “Benson.’

The Las Olas Café was well known prior to the corruption scandal in 2012 not only for its excellent refreshments and relative immunity from enforcement of the parking code, but as the right place for establishing informal relationships with police and code compliance officers.

As you know, a beloved sidewalk cafe coordinator recently took advantage of an opportunity to resign to forego a full inquiry. The discrepancies in sidewalk café operations on Espanola Way pointed out to city officials by Antonio Halabi, the owner of the Flame restaurant, apparently led to the resignation.

Mr. Halabi insisted that his business was losing thousands of dollars every month as a result of uncited code violations of competing restaurants. In return, it appears that he was retaliated against by code compliance and the special master for shielding a fan from rain for an hour by placing it under an awning in his café within the sidewalk café plan; he was cited despite an official instruction that fan placement issues were not to be cited pending further consideration by the administration. And Mr. Halabi is now the subject of a retaliatory lawsuit brought by the landlord, prominent developer Scott Robbins.

I asked the city’s dependent auditor to obtain authority to audit the sidewalk café code compliance records because I found troubling data during the course of my examination of a sample of records of code compliance activities on Espanola Way. I copied several high officials with my request. He abruptly ceased communicating with me at that point.

It is with all the above in mind that I suggest that you cause all permits over the last few years to be independently audited to make sure concurrency fees were paid.

Sincerely,

David Arthur Walters




EMAIL RECORD




City Clerk Public Records Request PRR 8708




David Arthur Walters < miamimirror@gmail.com>  Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 12:25 PM

To: "Munday, Tui" <TuiMunday@miamibeachfl.gov>

Cc: "Mooney, Thomas" <ThomasMooney@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Beauchamp, Lillian" <LillianBeauchamp@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Granado, Rafael" <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Sanchez, Carmen" <CarmenSanchez@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Santos-Alborna, Robert"< RobertSantos-Alborna@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Cardeno, Hernan"< HernanCardeno@miamibeachfl.gov>, GeorgeCastell<GeorgeCastell@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Morales, Jimmy"< JimmyMorales@miamibeachfl.gov>"Grieco, Michael"< michaelgrieco@miamibeachfl.gov>

Thank you. I wanted to be sure before releasing a report because disturbing allegations are being made not only about that address but several others.

Best Regards.
David Arthur Walters




Munday, Tui< TuiMunday@miamibeachfl.gov>        Wed, Mar 12, 2014 at 10:49 AM
To: David Arthur Walters
miamimirror@gmail.com
Cc: "Mooney, Thomas" <ThomasMooney@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Beauchamp, Lillian" <LillianBeauchamp@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Granado, Rafael" <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Sanchez, Carmen" <CarmenSanchez@miamibeachfl.gov>

Mr. Walters,

We keep records.  But I did not find a concurrency approval nor a record of payment for a sidewalk café at the address requested.

MIAMIBEACH

Tui Munday, Senior Planner
PLANNING DEPARTMENT




Munday, Tui< TuiMunday@miamibeachfl.gov>        Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 5:17 PM
To: "miamimirror@gmail.com" <miamimirror@gmail.com>

Cc: "Mooney, Thomas" <ThomasMooney@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Beauchamp, Lillian" <LillianBeauchamp@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Granado, Rafael" <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Sanchez, Carmen" <CarmenSanchez@miamibeachfl.gov>

Mr. Walters,

 Sorry this was inadvertently not forwarded to you.  My response is below.

 MIAMIBEACH
Tui Munday, Senior Planner
PLANNING DEPARTMENT




David Arthur Walters < miamimirror@gmail.com>  Tue, Mar 11, 2014 at 6:40 PM

To: "Munday, Tui" TuiMunday@miamibeachfl.gov
Cc: "Mooney, Thomas" <ThomasMooney@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Beauchamp, Lillian" <LillianBeauchamp@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Granado, Rafael" <RafaelGranado@miamibeachfl.gov>, "Sanchez, Carmen" <CarmenSanchez@miamibeachfl.gov>

May I assume then that the City of Miami Beach has no record of payment of the concurrency fee for that address,  or are you saying your department does not keep such records? David




From: Munday, Tui
Sent: Tuesday, February 25, 2014 3:54 PM
To: Beauchamp, Lillian
Cc: Sanchez, Carmen
Subject: RE: City Clerk Public Records Request(PRR)8708

 Lillian,

 I do not have any records of any concurrency payments for sidewalk café seats.

 MIAMIBEACH

TuiMunday, Senior Planner
PLANNING DEPARTMENT




From:lbeauchamp@miamibeachfl.gov [mailto:lbeauchamp@miamibeachfl.gov]
Sent: Monday, February 24, 2014 12:13 PM
To: Munday, Tui
Cc: Beauchamp, Lillian
Subject: City Clerk Public Records Request(PRR)8708

Please see this public records request can you respond directly to the requestor and advise me when completed. Thank you. Lilly

We need you to provide feedback on a Public Records Request that has been submitted to the City Clerks Office. Please call us or send an email on the request listed below.

Public Records Request Number: 8708

Information Requested: Mr. Granado: Tui Munday in Planning has not acknowledged nor responded to my informal request for information that would prove that the former owner of Las Olas Cafe at 644 6th Street paid its concurrency fee of $350 per chair for 12 seats placed on its sidewalk cafe. Those chairs were recently removed by order of Code Compliance, shortly after the cafe was purchased by an LLC, and 14 seats remain inside the cafe at present. Finance records show that the annual area fees were paid since the last quarter of 2007/2008, but I want to know if the concurrency fee was paid, which should be a simple record to discover if it exists. I will deeply appreciate your usual excellent assistance with this Chapter 119 request. Thank you, David Arthur Walters regards to the concurrency fee for a sidewalk cafe that existed at 644 6th Street registered under the fictitious name Las Olas Cafe (file attached) Ms. Castor kindly provided me with the annual record of payments for the area fees, the first such fee being a quarter paid for the 2007/2008. Please send me the city record of receipt of payment for the concurrency fee assessed at the time of permitting, along with the description of what was permitted (number of seats) and where placed on the sidewalk

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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Miami Beach Officials Permit Accidents Waiting to Happen


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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Selective Code Enforcement in Miami Beach


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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Why U.S. Senator Blount Was Impeached


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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Miami Beach Mayor Levine and His Press Organ


 


The Levinite Propaganda Machine

 

MIAMI BEACH MAYOR LEVINE AND HIS PRESS ORGAN

Insults to Intelligence


18 October 2014

By David Arthur Walters
MIAMI MIRROR

Miami Beach—Philip Levine, the wealthy public relations man and real estate developer who spent well over a million dollars out of his own pocket to buy himself a mayoral seat and a majority on the commission of the City of Miami Beach, and whose campaign brought frivolous defamation suits against journalists who dared to criticize him, appears to be depending on the stupidity of the electorate to realize his ambition to become a politician, perhaps even become equal in stature to his friends Bill and Hillary Clinton.

Levine’s next purchase may be the governor’s seat, which will probably come with the $20 fan the current contenders and mainstream media have made their main bone of contention, instead of the welfare of Floridians dumb enough to vote for either candidate instead of pressing to have a NOTA (None Of The Above) option placed on future ballots in hopes of raising the intelligence and integrity of the candidates.

Levine has recently been running a series of insulting advertisements on Facebook walls: a picture of him posing with public figures, especially Bill and Hillary Clinton, along with a motto stating that the City of Miami Beach works for its people.

Many people would disagree with some of that work as well as the lack of work in some areas, but the people are not allowed to comment on the advertisements. Or delete them: his Boy Friday commissioner does allow comments on his self-serving Facebook publicity, but deletes criticism that does not express 100% appreciation of the new regime’s deeds as advertised. Facebook, after all, is for friends; therefore, all one should do is like them.

The very idea that people should like Levine because his friends are the Clintons is an insult to the intelligence of intelligent Floridians. As a matter of fact, Levine was a political nobody until Bill Clinton arrived to throw his arm around him, his wealthy Global Initiative contributor, paving the way for Hillary’s run for the presidency. That and Levine’s wealth decided the mayoral election, proving that the majority of the small minority of the electorate that votes are indeed kind of dumb. And how dumb could they be? His accomplished opponent, former Commissioner Michael Gongora, favored by the Miami Herald is a handsome Latino and flamboyant as well.

The Miami Herald, attacked by the Levine camp, has eaten crow since then, and now the rag has become the usual virtual press organ of the authoritative news sources it needs to sell papers; for example, Philip Levine, whose majority on the usually backbiting commission has made a strong mayor of him instead of the weak mayor specified by the city’s charter, at least until the honeymoon comes to an end when the truths his camp suppresses blows up in their faces.

That is not to say that “King” Levine and his servile court, the members of which have openly expressed awe and humility in the presence of the great man, has not gotten anything done with the help of their unelected super-manager, Jimmy Morales. The tennis court fisaco, which was emblematic of the stupidity of the contracting and legislative process, was finally resolved, amazingly, in favor of the highest bidder.

On the other hand, the grand convention center plan of the previous administration was scrapped in favor of a scaled down version. I do not like changes unless they are radical, so I liked the grand, world class plan, especially after I heard kids raving in the streets that it would be the greatest center in the world.

The dirty secret: we do not really need a new convention center for at least another decade, and the dumbed down version is being advanced in the most costly manner.

Flooding is another issue the Levine court deserves ample credit for, at least temporarily, until an extreme-extreme high water event occurs. Miami Beach, especially its tourist destination jewel, South Beach, floods regularly every year at the highest tides, making that skirt of Nature a damn nuisance that should be gotten rid of, especially since the sea level is rising faster than expected. Since rising sea levels is a global issue, the whole globe is watching what the little city on the sandbar is doing.

As everyone knows, we do not have Global Warming, anymore, because scientists say the globe is cooling down thanks to the (expletive-deleted) liberal’s efforts to curb emissions and the like. But we still have Climate Change. And we still have a Democratic Party. The City of Miami Beach will be saved from the Flood by the Democrats led by the Clintons, Senator Nelson, and Philip Levine.

The previous administration did not want to sink hundreds of millions of dollars into pumps that would rid the surface of a foot of water during rainy-season high tides. Some day there will be a really heavy downpour, high winds, and surges of several feet of water. What then?

Well, former Mayor Matti Bower scoffed at the big one, the Fifty Year Storm, remarking that she would be dead by then. She misunderstood the laws of statistics not to mention mathematics. The next big hurricane could make a joke out of the $400 million King Levine is having spent on installation of big pumps. Still, why be wading knee deep in water every year, suffering untold millions in damages to luxury cars and so on, while waiting for the big one to occur, nobody knows when?

The pumps are not all in, but so far the system is a success. King Tide came and went, and some of the problematic areas were relatively dry. Scientists wondered what effect all that pumped out water would have on environments elsewhere. Levine and his press organ trumpeted a complete success.

“Streets dry during tide’s peak,” declared reporter Joey Flechas (10 October 2014). “This year streets in the lowest areas were repaired and dry,” announced Levine in his editorial advertisement in the only daily paper (17 October 2014).

In other words, we have the usual 100% success stated, and anything less than 100% appreciation will be unappreciated, censored, and costly to anyone that states the fact of the matter, that hundreds of people including myself waded or drove through several blocks of flooded streets around Alton Road and MacArthur Expressway, the mouth of the main artery to the mainland.

The problem with running a city like a business, especially with a businessman instead of a politician at the helm, is that business is not a democratic process; it is more or less a dictatorship, a fascistic or right-wing one at that. City workers including cops complain, secretly, of course, that Levine looks down his nose at them, denigrates, as if they are subservient employees at his business, where he can fire and hire them at will. Some of the cops think they will get something on him.

History teaches us that fascist organizations do not last for long, even when they pretend to democracy and socialism. Mussolini was a pretty good politician, and, like Hitler, had plenty of support from big business. He built some great canals, but he forsook his political skills, would not tolerate opposition, and lost his charisma. Look where he wound up.

Levine is learning on the job. He is an amateur. His propaganda machine does not propagate the whole truth as it should. He and his commissioned sycophants do not deserve the praise they are demanding out of their own, well deserved insecurity.

A wise politician would say, in respect to the flooding, “We have had a tremendous success in controlling the flooding this year. A great deal of the usually flooded area was not flooded during high tide. We expect the same success in the rest of the area upon completion of the public works project.”

Instead, he lied, and the Miami Herald reporter followed suit. Now “lied” is a strong word, signifying intentional wrongdoing. If they did not know about the flooded area, they should have known, because they could have drove around the whole area in ten minutes, got out of their cars, and waded through the flooded area.

As for criticism and dissent, a polished politician not only tolerates it, he embraces it wholeheartedly, and encourages it by giving credit to critics for any changes made.

Levine obviously does not want to know anything less than 100% success of his programs. Neither do his amateurish sycophants. They are willingly blind, which is the worst sort of blindness. Their city manager is making improvements, yet the forces of maladministration preponderate. They are not ready for the big time. Not yet.

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