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

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Miami Beach Mayor Levine and His Press Organ


The Levinite Propaganda Machine



Insults to Intelligence

18 October 2014

By David Arthur Walters

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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Friday, October 17, 2014

New South Beach CVS Pharmacy Store Insults Loyal Customers

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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Laws Are Made To Be Broken in Miami Beach

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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Jorge Gonzales South Pointe Pier Opened

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Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Las Olas South Beach Scofflaws Redux - There They Go Again

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Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Paul's Suicide Essay Maybe His Best

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Happy Hour at Hiro's South Beach


October 7, 2014

By David Arthur Walters

Hiro’s Sushi Express at 1518 Washington Avenue is famous among locals for its inexpensive variety of sushi plates and its Happy Hour, held seven days a week, from 4 to 7 P.M.  Sake, wine, and beer prices are cut for Happy Hour, but beer, particularly Corona and Heineken, is the main attraction for my beer hall comrades who habituate the sidewalk café in front to guzzle the hours away.

I myself prefer the Japanese brands, brewed in Canada. If I am hungry, I like to have five vegetable rolls for $4, or eight California rolls together with six Tekka pieces for $5.79. I sit where I can look out the windows at the habitués downing their beers, and I often catch myself gawking hypnotically at the gyrating figure in the advertisement of the all nude Club Madonna across the avenue.

Orders are placed at the counter, and you pick up your own drinks there. Customers can sit wherever, perhaps to wonder why the servers, often young Russian ladies, stay around so long and work so hard for pathetic tips—a service charge is not added to the price as is done at more expensive places.

Locals predominate, but the clientele is international due to word-of-mouth advertising and tourists walking in at random, so one may strike up conversations with all sorts of people including the local Puerto Ricans and Cubans who show up to get happy, followed by street people longing for a share of the brew. For example, I met a relative of a Cuban dictator who retired here. The relative, a gentleman, indeed, and obviously highly respected among his peers for one reason or the other, including buying them beers, attracted a few street people who showed him various items perhaps retrieved from alleys or stolen. He was uninterested in the junk, but he himself had a Samurai ceremonial sword he said he had purchased for $10.

A damper was recently put to the beer guzzling. The Happy Hour beer price was raised from $2 to $2.50 recently, including tax. That translates into another $3 per six-pack, which is the average consumption for the hangers on. I currently have around $7.50 per day to spend after rent, so the calamity for the guzzlers caused me to immediately cut my own visits to once every two weeks. But do not worry about me as I have several friends in the restaurant business whom I commiserate with. It is a tough business in South Beach to be in, so let me tell you that I am glad I do not have their bottom line: the old adage, “Never own your own restaurant,” is sage advice here. Believe me, the turnover is tragic.

By the way, $2.50 a pop is a still a good Happy Hour deal. A man tires of drinking Pabst Blue Ribbon at home, recently hiked by greedy distributors to $1. Yes, he likes to get out once in awhile, and Happy Hour is his only chance. He can go down the street to a Mexican place and drink Miller Genuine Draft all day long at $2.50 plus tax, or $2.73 each, and have a Corona there for $3.82 with tax. Sometimes you will see half-off Happy Hour prices at the more expensive places, but a service charge of say 18% is charged on the regular price. So, if the domestic beer is $4.00, you will pay $2.86 each with tax. However, you can sleep better knowing the waiter got $0.72 before income taxes if his boss follows the clarifications recently made by the Internal Revenue Service, counting service charges as taxable tips.

Whatever you do, have a happy Happy Hour!

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Monday, October 06, 2014

Follow Up South Beach Sex Shop Violation

October 6, 2014
George Castell, Administrator
City of Miami Beach
Follow Up: 1019 5th Street Sex Shop Violation

Thank you for XC14007878 (below). You officer was also diligent in citing other violations. But the citations mean absolutely nothing to the responsible parties because no penalties are imposed. The administration's current policy, that the objective is compliance and not punishment, is foolish. All a scofflaw has to do is comply over and over when cited, and continue making a joke of the code. Attached you will find an image taken this morning of the same realtor's signs on both sides of the building, which is being handsomely restored to service.

My understanding of the temporary real estate signage code is that if the sign has no permit decal it is not permitted, period, and it is ridiculously easy to get a decal for $25 with no questions asked except name and address (the clerk refused to let me see the blank form).  So-called construction signs do not have to bear the permit decals, and are approved by Planning, and that system is so opaque that it took me on one occasion 5 weeks to discover if a construction array of signs was permitted. Planning puts the blame on Code for not enforcing the Code.

The pathetic system in itself causes confusion, but it appears that city officials could care less about revising the Code or even bothering to respond to constructive suggestions for revision. The Building Official does not feel he should be responsible for unpermitted temporary real estate signs given his resources, yet it would be helpful for inspectors to familiarize themselves with construction signage code and make sure that the signs on the sites comply with codes. All construction site signage permits should be posted on Permit Manager to facilitate the process.

A realtor told me that he was cited for an unpermitted sign and had to appear before the Special Master, and that he shall never forget the experience. However, he was apparently especially or randomly selected for punishment. If other violators were subjected to the same punishment, no doubt there would be a great deal more compliance as the word got around that the city is serious about code enforcement. Imagine that.

If in fact the realtor's signs on 1019 5th Street are not permitted, that would be a good place to start giving realtors a good reason to obey the code other than their personal conscience, which a few of them have. Imagine that.


David Arthur Walters
Mayor Philip Levine
City Manager Jimmy Morales
City Attorney Raul Aguila




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