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

Monday, December 22, 2014

Happy Holidays to Dear Readers


Dear Readers:

You are few in number because I do not have a professional publisher, but you are the best readers a writer could want.               

My offering this Season is a curious review of SoFi Café in South Beach.
I would rather share a bag of $100 bills with you, but I have not found one on the beach yet.

Below the SoFi link you will find links to several Christmas stories I wrote, although I am not Christian or religious.

Happy Holidays!

David Arthur Walters

 

 

SOFI CAFÉ SOUTH BEACH


Alternate Site


 

 

CHRISTMAS EVE HOMICIDE BY HOMICIDE DETECTIVE "WHITE LACE" (RIP)


MY CHRISTMAS BULLET - STORY FROM NORTH POLE ALASKA


SOUTH POINTE OR BUST – CHRISTMAS 2004


GOD IS GREAT RESPONSE TO GOD IS NOT GREAT


CHRISTMAS LETTER TO THE PRESIDENT OF IRAN


WHY MEN REVOLT - CHRISTMAS VIOLENCE 2011

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SoFi Cafe South Beach is Great Healthy Food Deal


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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Florida Bar Dismisses Case - Complainant Calls Regulators Bureaucratic Asses


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Friday, December 19, 2014

Racismo at CVS Lincoln Road Suspected







 
RACISMO AT CVS LINCOLN ROAD?

BY DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS


I was in a great mood when I entered the CVS store at 306 Lincoln Road in South Beach on 19 December 2014 at 2:00 PM to buy a soda. As I was checking out, I noticed a man who looked just like the fellow I thought was very funny in 2004 or 2005 when he said, referring to a local couple who had checked out,

"When will these gringos learn to speak Spanish? They've been here for ten years."

Since that encounter I, like many others, have experienced rude behavior when encountering staff with a complaint about products, pricing, etc. I recall being surrounded by a manager and two employees, all of whom spoke in Spanish while talking about me and my issue, a belt that had broken due to poor workmanship two days after I bought it.

“You should not buy a cheap belt,” the manager finally said in English. “If you want you can contact the general manager.”

I left the Lincoln Road neighborhood in 2007, so seldom go into that store only when around to visit friends if Walgreens on the corner does not have what I want. I soon discovered that CVS employees everywhere else in South Beach are courteous and even chatty.

It seems that on Lincoln Road many employees are unfriendly because most customers are tourists leaving soon. Also one hears “Americanos!” exclaimed there from time to time.


Racismo? Who would even dare to think it?

Well, I was actually kind of glad to see what looked like the guy I had heard make the funny remark, so after I checked out I went up to him, and said with a big smile: “Hi! When are you going to retire? I remember you from many years ago.”

“You’re crazy!” he said with a sneer, looking me up and down, then walking away from me.

“Excuse, me, I thought I recognized you.”

“You are crazy,” he said, followed by a curse in Spanish.

Oh well, I thought, I should let it pass. But why?

I approached him again.

“Sir, please call the general manager, I want to report your disrespect.”

“You have to have respect for me first.”

“Excuse me, I thought I recognized you, so was only being friendly.”

“You’re crazy.”

“Please call the general manager.”

“Get out of here or I will call the security and the police,” he said. End of conversation.

I found the manager on duty, reported to him, and promised to send him this written report
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The Great Hypocristy in Office Found Everywhere



THE GREAT HYPOCRISY OF OFFICE
BY
DAVID ARTHUR WALTERS

 

 

As it is in man, so shall it be in his offices

It is certainly enlightening on Sundays to read Martin Luther's letters. I treasure this excerpt from his 'Warning to the Dear German People':

"Furthermore, if war breaks out - which God forbid - I will not reprove those who defend themselves against the murderous and bloodthirsty papists, nor let anyone rebuke them as being seditious, but I will accept their action and let it pass as self-defense. I will direct them in this matter to the law and to the jurists. For in such an instance, when the murderers and bloodhounds wish to wage war and to murder, it is in truth no insurrection to rise against them and defend oneself. Not that I wish to incite and spur anyone on to such self-defense, or to justify it, for that is not my OFFICE..."

This 'Letter' was written in 1530, well after the Peasant insurrection of 1525, which he had condemned in no uncertain terms. But in this case he would let the lawyers wrangle while he, God's minister, would be a perfect hypocrite and not "rebuke" those who violated the very principle he had otherwise set forth, that no rebellion against authority is justified in any case. In this case, he was implicitly justifying a rebellion by the newly named "Protestants" against Emperor Charles V.  After the 1530 Diet of Augsburg was concluded, the Emperor proclaimed his 'Recess' setting forth the errors of the Protestants, giving them six months to accept the Catholic position or else. Luther supposed the "or else": he assumed the Emperor would use force; therefore Luther condoned in advance the rebellion of his Dear People, although it was not his "OFFICE" to advocate same.

The term ‘condone’ is appropriate here, in the sense of overlooking a wrong. Luther had, in his treatise on Just War, clearly stated that a war of inferiors against their superiors is wrong. That general position on Just War was amply supported by scriptural interpretation and accorded with feudal law. And he applied his general prohibition against insurrection to the particular case of rebellious peasants in his 'Against the Thieving and Murderous Peasant Hordes'. We recall that nearly 100,000 of the rebels, who had been his fervent supporters because of his anti-clerical stance, were ruthlessly slaughtered by professional soldiers in the Peasant War.

Luther stated, in his letter to Elector John of Saxony dated March 6, 1530, that "According to Scripture, it is in no way proper for anyone who would be a Christian to set himself against his government, whether it acts justly or unjustly. Rather a Christian ought to suffer oppression and injustice by his government."

Therefore, at least according to the Great Hypocrisy of Office, it appears that, despite Luther's general prohibition of a war of inferiors against superiors, Protestant rebellion against papist authorities is quite just; but a peasant rebellion against any superior authority at all is not just at all; it is only just against the papal authority.

While Thomas Muntzer, the foremost peasant leader, spoke of Equality and the Brotherhood of Man, of a Kingdom of God on Earth here and now, Luther divorced religion and politics, placing gospel in heaven and law on Earth:

"In civil policy and obedience to law... nothing must be known concerning the conscience, the gospel, grace, remissions of sins, heavenly righteousness, or Christ himself."

Thus did Luther propound the defeatist ethic which, imitating Augustine, hands over the sword of Christ to the political authorities as long as they defend the few selected by the grace of god to support them. Thereby a convenient division of labor is realized, or rather a division between labor and non-labor, works and faith.

No doubt the dualism of different standards for church and state is conducive to political tyranny over the world at large regardless of faith. The only legitimate business of the protesting faction is irrational faith, not political works. As for the peasants whom Luther advised the authorities to "stab and kill," they found out the hard way, under their Rainbow banner, that works according to the communal precepts of Jesus are in direct conflict with the political authorities. However, if only the protestant church would mind its spiritual business, leaving the sword in the hands of legitimate real princes, then it should be entitled to state protection.

That is, the state should defend the protestant church as long as it does not support illegitimate ministers, defined as those who insist that attacks on the state in defense of the true gospel would not only be just but warranted by God.

The key word used by Luther in his subtle condonation of a just rebellion against the papists was "OFFICE." Luther knew very well the distinction between the office of a preacher of the gospel and the office of a warrior and politician. The Great Reformation has rightfully been called The Great Hypocrisy because it casts a brighter light on the underlying crisis (hypocrisy) we all share, the failure to live up to our ideals so that our acts suit our words. Today, we are so inured to glaring hypocrisy that we scarcely notice it, or just ignore it as unavoidable.

For instance, during the presidential campaign, born-again Christian candidate George W. Bush said Jesus was his hero, yet he frankly said, during a discussion of the execution of a born-again condemned murderer, that the death penalty is a political affair and that Christian principles do not apply to the fulfillment of political office. Wherefore he would not give her another thirty days of life, which is all he could have done under the law of his state.

All one has to do is to take off one's protestant hat and put on the political hat to make every violation of religious principle justifiable. Before President Bush's nominees were sworn in, several of them had to assure Congress they would leave their religious and political ideology behind in ideological heaven with their abstract god in order to obey the will of the people, their concrete political god.

Hypocrisy, indeed! In view of the aim of Machiavellian politics, to achieve "peace" or "union" by any convenient means whatsoever, including outright deception and total war, every politician is bound take the Hypocritical Oath before taking high office.

But it is unfair to disparage ignoble politics and unholy religion without considering the alternative to hypocrisy. Therefore we should ask ourselves: Do we really want a theocracy ruled by a Falwell, a Robertson, a bin Laden, a Jackson or Sharpton?

Pick any by-god swearer (bigot) or moral majority red-neck or fanatic ideologist you do not like. Behold the age-old dilemma, the predicament of a Luther and a Bush when he assumes the role he had better assume when he take his respective office, even though his role must contradict his principles if he has sufficient intelligence to realize it.

No, Luther would not "reprove" insurrection, but it is not his OFFICE to justify it, a least not expressly: deceitful expressions, allusions, subliminal suggestions and so forth must be resorted to.

Yes, Luther's letters are certainly an enlightening read on Sundays. And what a predicament Luther found himself in: he wanted to reform the Church and wound up with revolution. Confronted with the problem of OFFICE, he helped provide the world with another excuse to do whatever it wanted to do, protest the old authority, a protest now called Protestantism. But under that faithful form, "God" is nowhere to be found in politics, so we might wonder if the old Catholic slur is true in part, that Protestantism is really a form of feel-good atheism.

-XYX-

David Arthur Walters

Honolulu 2000


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Thursday, December 18, 2014

Tragedy on Washington Avenue


I heard the little boy bawling a block away. I saw that his mom was beside him as I approached. She was looking into a store window, not paying him much mind. Then I noticed he was clutching himself because he had to pee. I remarked on this to his mom. She looked startled, picked him up and carried him to the nearest lamp post. It was too late. The poor boy was totally embarrassed. She picked him up and he kept bawling. I don't blame him. Life is not a bowl of cherries.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Black Week & White Fright South Beach 2014



THE PERMIT ON THIS 743 WASHINGTON AVENUE SIGN IS EXPIRED


BLACK & WHITE DISTINCTIONS IN SOUTH BEACH

Unintended Consequences of Black Week and White Fright

15 December 2015

By David Arthur Walters
MIAMI MIRROR

Hernan Cardeno, Esq., highly esteemed FBI liaison and Director of the Code Compliance Department of the City of Miami Beach, did not appreciate our article last week, ‘Black Week Scare Lingers on in Miami Beach - No Crowd Control Frightens City Officials into Civil Rights Violations,’ about how his officers shut down the party organized by No Crowd Control LLC promoter Floyd Bostic during Black Week 2014 aka Urban Week in South Beach.

The party was held at politically influential Scott Robin’s rental nightclub at 743 Washington Avenue, and the event included a pool party inside the Clinton Hotel nearby. According to Bostic, he lost the $20,000 cash paid to Robins for the hall, plus whatever his cut would have been on sales at the Clinton Hotel when Code officers shut him down to obtain what they considered to be compliance with the city’s labyrinthine ordinances.

Code Compliance administrators, when criticized for their negligence, selective enforcement, and lack of pro-activity, tend to excuse themselves as being short of staff and too busy to punish many violators, saying that compliance and not punishment is their objective.

In this case, they fined and prosecuted Bostic for $1,000 in the Special Master “court” instead of the prominent property owner, a personal friend and partner of wealthy businessman Mayor Philip Levine, for not having a special event permit for the 743 Washington Avenue party, which is required for activities that are extraordinary. Nothing happened at the Clinton Hotel, thanks to Code Compliance.

However, the event in Scott Robins’ hall was not extraordinary for the usage certified by the city for that venue: i.e. entertainment and dance with alcohol until 5AM. Bostic said he retained a caterer to handle the liquor and security. The problem was that, according to Cardeno, a “large crowd” had gathered in front of the club, so the police called his officers in to do the dirty work. If the whole crowd had gone inside the club, the occupancy limit might have been exceeded. Furthermore, No Crowd Control’s web page generally advertises its events as 18+ college kid parties, implying that liquor would be served to minors at the South Beach event.

Of course there were large crowds as usual on the streets that night despite the fact that the city and police forces from multiple jurisdictions had done everything they could previous Memorial Day weekends to discourage unruly black folks from swarming to the beach. The disrespect and violence incited by a few blacks, mostly locals from Miami-Dade, would up in a nationally televised police slaying of a black man in 2012.

Many residents cared less about whether or not the shooting was justified. It was the tipping point that led to the beach being occupied by an army of cops in subsequent years. Movements of the black swarm were restricted to a small circle. Clubs and restaurants were shut down. Whites fled the area.

Black Week 2014 was a non-event, yet Washington Avenue, the most “urban” of South Beach’s streets, was crowded. The police powers were waiting for the likes of Floyd Bostic.

Director Cardeno, revealing information that seemed to contradict our ‘Black Week Scare’ piece, noted that we had not acquired the case files.

“All the detail provided here could have been gleaned from the case file, which you did not request. You made your own supposition from the limited web portal site.”

I had indeed relied on the public face to those files, the city’s online Permit Manager records. Unfortunately, the files are two-faced. The public, superficial face is rather opaque despite repeated calls over the years to render it more transparent. The tendency is to blame the computer for the opacity. The two-facedness has concealed a great deal of hypocrisy.

Now the information Cardeno revealed from behind the online face did not disclose if officers had counted the people inside the club to see if the occupancy limit was violated, if bouncers were allowing minors to enter the club, if servers were serving minors, and so on. The general rule for nightclubs is that minors are not allowed into them unless food is served therein. Whether that rule was abided by was questioned without response when Justin Beaver admitted he was at Club SET in South Beach prior to his famous pot-headed racing arrest.

Cardeno had previously denied that the caterer had a liquor license, but now admitted it although stating it was not applicable to the club, not identifying the caterer so the information could be checked. His chief administrator had not answered a previous question put, as to why, if there were liquor law violations, no one was arrested. That compliance was obtained was reason enough for his department to close the file on that issue without referring liquor violations to regulators or prosecutors.

The point of our article is that Code Compliance dropped all charges against Bostic’s No Crowd Control but one, the failure to obtain a special event permit. Our article had noted that two subsequent events were held at the club, and Code Compliance had dismissed complaints about the events as invalid: a fundraising party for abused women with $30 admission tickets, and a promotional art party for 100% agave liquor. Needless to say, they were predominantly white events.

Cardeno drew “distinctions” between those two events and Bostic’s, characterizing Bostic as a man with at least bad if not criminal intentions, and revealing that it was “estimated” that the subsequent events had less than 260 attendees.

We hope that Cardeno, a sworn police officer, would not arrest a man for his unseen intentions before he commits a crime.

“I do not know how you characterize this promoter as a ‘victimized businessman’ in your article. This promoter took a $20k risk (or whatever amount he expended) to pull off an unpermitted, for-profit, all-out party hoping not to get caught during a weekend when our resources are stretched thin.”

Ladies and gentlemen from out of town, do your due diligence, beware of doing business in South Beach, where a sucker goes broke almost every week.

He correctly pointed out that the agreement between Bostic property owner had not been examined, which would have been wise to do prior to prosecuting Bostic. Maybe Bostic is just another slick promoter.  If so, he sure fooled me when I met him.

This may be one instance that Code Compliance should have walked away with perceived compliance instead of punishment, because I feel the police power is prejudiced, and I believe the fine may have some embarrassing consequences for the city if he appeals it to a real court with competent lawyers from out of town, and perhaps files a federal suit against the city and the officers involved for civil rights violations if the facts and circumstances so warrant.

The Special Master’s decision was based not on a failure to obtain a special event permit. Bostic asserted there was nothing special about his use of the premises, that other promoters had used the club for parties, and it was certified and advertised to be used for entertainment and dance with alcohol. Cardeno’s “straightforward” revelation of the facts thus far does not prove any use of the premises beyond its approved uses.

The code officer at the Special Master hearing stated that the property owner had not obtained the certificate for those uses until several days after Bostic was cited. Bostic objected that any fine should go against the property owner for misuse, especially since he approved it. No, said the Special Master, you must take the matter up with the landlord, and you are guilty in the eyes of the city, so when do you want to pay the fine?

That led me to suppose that, in this great city by the beach, fines go against the property unless it is owned by a politically influential public figure like Scott Robins, or unless a black man can be blamed.

Please excuse me for the black and white supposition: I cannot help it after what I have experienced in the deepest of the Deep South. I myself started catching the prejudicial disease after arriving in Miami Beach.

Of course there is discrimination against white folk who are crazy enough to buck the system, criticize city hall, and expose corruption and so on. The former city attorney characterized that sort of folk as “delusional.”

I suggested to Cardeno and other highly placed lawyers in the city, including the city manager, his assistant, and the city attorneys, that they dismiss this case against Bostic in the spirit of the holidays. They are persons of the highest integrity with incredible resumes, not to mention intelligence, and I believe that would be the right thing for them to do.

I also predicted that Cardeno would pull rabbits out of the hat, which he did. The biggest funny bunny, the one most pertinent to the narrow issue here, is a copy of a receipt, along with an argument that the club owner had not paid the renewal fee for the use permit in time so it was not in effect until it was paid four days after the event in question. Therefore, during that tardy period, any event would be a violation. Naturally any complaints about events during that time would be invalid except the one brought by the police against No Crowd Control.  Somehow, the event promoter would be liable during the lapse and not the property owner, in this case involving Scott Robins Companies.

Cardeno did not mention in his email that, according to internal sources, nearly half of the city’s sidewalk café permits, due September 30, have not been renewed yet, yet the cafes continue to operate with impunity. Scores of sidewalk café permits were at six months overdue last year.

One restaurant owner who is punctilious about paying his bills on time complained about the tardiness of his competitors on the block, and how they were setting out unpermitted chairs on the sidewalks to absorb tourist traffic before it got to his place.

He met with Jimmy Morales, Esq. and Morales’ troubleshooting assistant manager, Joe Jimenez, Esq., and Director Cardeno on March 18.

“What do you want me to do,” asked Morales, “close everybody down or solve the problem?”

The city was nice: business went on as usual, with warnings, a fine or two, a flagrant violator paid a fine but did not renew until a shut down notice was given, which should have been given to all, strictly speaking, and so on. 

One might think that a professional city manager would make sure notices are automatically sent out a month prior to renewals being due, and that violation notices are sent out if payment is ten days overdue, and that violators be subjected to fines and closures after, say, thirty days of grace. And perhaps the cycle could be changed to renew permits at the height of the season when registers are flush with cash, instead of at the depth of the off season. Also, the outrageous rates should be reduced.

Guess what happened to the whistleblower who complained about the delinquencies? He was threatened by the landlord for putting pressure on the other tenants, and sued for eviction shortly after his meeting with the high powered lawyers with the city. Guess who his landlord is?

Guess who has not had special use permit and business tax license for an apartment hotel he has operated for several years? Guess how long it has taken city officials to do anything about it?

What we have with this two-faced system in the case of No Crowd Control is hypocrisy. It may very well lead to the revelation of even more black and white distinctions. That is not to say that improvements have not been made. More will probably be made after this. And more retaliations will lead to more calls for improvement. And so on unto Doomsday.

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Black & White Distinctions, Black Week & White Fright 2014


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Saturday, December 13, 2014

Mystery Customer Report on Defective Miami Beach Code Compliance Dept Procedure


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Friday, December 12, 2014

Black Week Scare Lingers in Miami Beach




 


BLACK WEEK SCARE LINGERS ON IN MIAMI BEACH

No Crowd Control Frightens City Officials into Civil Rights Violations

18 December 2014 (Update)

By David Arthur Walters
MIAMI MIRROR

MIAMI BEACH—Event promoter Floyd Bostic liked South Beach when he visited Miami Beach during Spring Break. “What a cool, relaxed place, not too crowded,” he said, “a great place for an event.” So he looked around for a venue, and saw the big Scott Robins sign at 743 Washington Avenue.

RETAIL, CLUB, EVENTS
6,000 SQ. FT.
DAILY, WEEKLY, YEARLY
5 AM LICENSE
SCOTT ROBINS COMPANIES

“The real estate agent checked my documents. I handed over a cashier’s check for $20,000 to rent the hall for two nights. I got a catering company with a liquor license to handle the event. I was all set.”

Or so he thought. The Miami Beach Police Department, Fire Department, and Code Compliance Department showed up at the event on May 25. Fire and Police hesitated, so Code led the raid on his event on May 25.

Mayor Philip Levine, friend and partner to Scott Robins, owner of the building and manager of the club, was reportedly on the scene as well. A city source, speaking on condition of anonymity, lauded the honorable mayor for not intervening on behalf of Robins.

So what? His company had already pocketed the rent. His company would not be cited for the violation actually prosecuted, for failure to have an event permit, although, as we shall see, it should have been, if there had been a violation, and there was not. Instead, Floyd Bostic would be persecuted.

Mr. Bostic’s company’s name, No Crowd Control LLC, was an unfortunate name given the past history of Black Week aka Urban Week in South Beach. “No Crowd Control was just a name for college events back when I started out,” he explained. I had to explain to him what was up with Black Week, why the police power was paranoid.

City officials, succumbing to pressure from civil rights groups, had failed to adequately control the huge crowds of black folks descending over the Memorial Day weekends. There were shootings and massive quality of life violations. Residents were being disrespected by the small unruly faction within the crowd. The majority just wanted to relax and have some fun, not to make trouble, most of which came locally, from over the bridge.

Frankly speaking, there was a Black Scare on one side, and resentment on the other, culminating in a sort of police riot during Urban Week 2011.

The police surrounded a car driven by one Raymond Herisse (22) and fired 116 bullets into the vehicle. He did not survive. Seven bystanders were also injured. The reasons for the shooting were variously given, and evidence was withheld from the court by the city attorney’s office. On the third anniversary of the shooting, or four days before No Crowd Control’s event would be shut down, NBC reported that the investigation of the shooting was still pending.

The No Crowd Control event has four complaint tickets showing in the online violations system. 

Ticket CE14009435 against No Crowd Control for noise was deemed invalid because the officer responding to the noise complaint that initiated the investigation said the noise was not excessive.

Ticket CE14009440 against No Crowd Control for selling liquor without a license was closed out on July 17. Bostic said that was because the catering company had a countywide liquor license for events.  The company’s representative at the club insisted it had a license, said she would call her liquor lawyer, and chided the officers for raiding the event, saying they were discriminating against blacks. Hernan Cardeno, Esq., a sworn police officer and FBI liaison who is the director of the city’s Code Compliance Department, initially scoffed at the idea that a liquor license existed, but he later said there was a license although it was not countywide nor applicable, explaining that the charge was dropped because Code Compliance had obtained compliance with the cessation of sales. Neither he nor Code Compliance administrator George Castell responded to the questions why no one was arrested or referred to state regulators for alleged violation of liquor laws, especially since Director Cardeno suspected minors would be served because the event was advertised as an “18 plus jam.” After accusing the Miami Mirror of not examining the file behind the public face of the violations records, he did not disclose the name of the entity that did not have the appropriate license, or whether or not any evidence had been recorded of minors drinking or bouncers and servers not checking identifications.

Ticket CE14009450 against the property owner, Scott Robins’ company, 8th Street Washington Partners Inc, for allowing Scott Robins’ nightclub entertainment company to operate a business without a business tax license and certificate of use was “closed” without prosecution that day, May 25, because, as a matter of fact, Scott Robins’ company actually had a certificate of use and business license for an entertainment and dance hall with alcohol until 5AM since 2012. One Internet ad reads, “Studio 743 offers a built in a/v infrastructure ready to be enhanced with moving lights, video displays, and wireless sound, beneficial for any occasion. Our venue is licensed and insured, and comes with a rare 5 A.M. Entertainment License.”

A certificate or permission to use a property for a certain purpose is required before getting a business tax license, which is called a business tax receipt. The local magistrate presiding over the quasi-judicial administrative, so-called Special Master “court,” would ultimately pronounce the wrong person, Mr. Bostic’s No Crowd Control, “guilty” of not having the license had by Scott Robins’ company, sticking him with a fine of $1,000, which he may appeal to the circuit court if he has $10,000 to retain an attorney.  Director Cardeno later explained this away by pointing out that Scott Robins had failed to pay the annual renewal fee for the permitted use in time, leaving Mr. Bostic in the lurch because the permit was technically “expired,” the fee being paid a mere four days after Director Cardeno’s code officers shut down the No Crowd Control event. As a matter of fact, City Manager Jimmy Morales, Esq., and Director Cardeno have permitted scores of sidewalk cafes to operate months beyond the past due date for payment of the annual fees.

Even worse, Scott Robins’ companies have owned and controlled a transient apartment hotel, the Espanola Way Suites at 443 Espanola Way, which had its certificate of use application denied three years ago yet has operated without a business license or payment of resort taxes. According to information posted on the city web site, that may be a criminal offense, with the offender subject to arrest. Director Cardeno, who is before all a sworn police officer and FBI liaison, has not responded to questions why he has not arrested the person or persons responsible for that violation, nor has he responded to a request for the name of an FBI agent that can be contacted to look into the possibility of the cooperation of city officials in not appropriately prosecuting the violation.

By way of comparison, Rod Eisenberg, the owner of the Sadigo Court Apartment Hotel, was arrested and his guests evicted by the police, not for the absence of a license at all, but over a difference of opinion as to the right kind of license. A previous difference of opinion was over the corruption of city officials, about which he had successfully complained, leading, according to media reports, to the resignation of the city manager and forced removal of the city attorney from office. Attorneys are not talking about Mr. Eisenberg’s federal case number 13-23620 against the city, Rod Eisenberg v. City of Miami Beach, scheduled to come to trial in January 2014, in which he asserts his prosecution violated his civil rights and constituted retaliation for his whistle-blowing.

Ticket CE14009437 against No Crowd Control for failure to have a special event permit was left open with a mandatory fine of $1,000. The definition of “special” under the ordinance is rather vague, leaving too much room for discretion by city officials: “It shall be unlawful to engage in special events without a special events permit. A special event is defined as a temporary use on public or private property that would not be permitted generally or without restriction throughout a particular zoning district, but would be permitted if controlled with special review in accordance with this section.”

Mr. Bostic appealed to the city’s Special Master “court,” an administrative organ of the city with questionable independence since special masters have been challenged and terminated for not bending to the will of the administration. City Manager Jimmy Morales Esq., formerly a special master himself, recently replaced the special masters because, he said, he wanted to take the facility in a “new direction.”

Special Master Annette Cannon Esq., who heard the case on 13 December, seemed fair enough. She looked surprised when Bostic stepped up, representing himself, to say he had forked over $20,000 to use the club for two nights.

Bostic is a quiet, intelligent, unassuming man, slight of build, certainly not the aggressive sort of promoter one would expect to have twenty grand on him at any time. He told me he does not like much publicity on the Internet, a lot of pictures of events, and so on. He said he has a following all over Florida. He struck me as businessman, plain and simple. He said, matter-of-factly, that the $20,000 he had lost put “a dent in my second quarter.”

He told the special master that he had done what he always does in cities throughout Florida. Landlords normally have permits for halls, he said, so he goes in and rents them, and gets a licensed caterer to handle the event including the liquor and security. He figured this landlord had the necessary permits, so he was surprised to be cited for not having one, as that had never happened in any other city he had promoted events.

He said the landlord had previous events where the promoter was not cited. Too bad: the special master said that was not relevant to his particular case.

He said there was an event on November 30 at the property, that Code Compliance Officers had investigated it and found the complaint invalid. He looked on his cell phone, and provided complaint number XC15005514.

The public record on that ticket has this narrative: “CCA726, CCO56, and I inspected 743 Washington Ave. I spoke to the individual who was in charge at the location. The individual stated that "Black Swan" was hosting the event. We then inspected the location. During our inspection everything was QRU. Not Valid A.Yanes-751, B.Nunez-756, K.Varela-726.” QRU? Queens Rugby Union?

Internet pages show that that event, the “Black Swan Fashion Show,” was held by Fortress Women Foundation, with an entrance fee of $30, which apparently included drinks. According to the city’s online records of special event permits, the Black Swan event did not have a special event permit.

Online records also show another event, at the same location, held on December 3, namely the Herradura Barrel Art Collection Event, held to promote 100% agave tequila on an artistic pretext during Art Basel Week. Code Compliance dismissed the complaint without an explanatory narrative on the ticket, and some of the subsequent information divulged by the Code Compliance administrator is contrary to electronic records maintained by the “mystery customer.”

Code Compliance administrator George Castell said that no narratives are publicly given on XC complaints, although, as we have seen above, they may be given. When narratives are given, they are not given in full. And the stories can be changed at any time—the dates and times of the changes are supposed to be recorded automatically by the system, but no official seems to know that when the info is asked for.

In fact, what appeared to be selective enforcement against No Crowd Control was pointed out to Hernan Cardeno Esq., Director of Code Compliance, and other lawyers with the city including the city manager and two city attorneys, prior to the Special Master hearing, by a friend of the city who felt that any attorney would be able to successfully defend against the charge, and suggested that it be dropped lest the likes of Al Sharpton be sent down to defend against civil rights violations.

Director Cardeno responded with information irrelevant to the particular charge of operating without a special use permit at that location, except implying one would be required if “the large crowd” outside the club had went inside, for that would exceed the occupancy limit. He objected to characterizing Mr. Bostic as a victim of discrimination, insisting that he had come down to South Beach to violate the law, believing he could get away with it because Code Compliance officers would have their hands full with Black Week. When I mentioned the occupancy limit to Mr. Bostic after the hearing, he said there were only 200 people inside the club when the officers arrived, well within the occupancy limitation posted on the wall of the club. In that event no special event permit would be necessary. Director Cardeno would also say the event would have included a pool party inside the Clinton Hotel on the next block if he had not put a stop to the event, as if hotels could not do that. Mr. Bostic explained that he simply had a deal to share in sales at the hotel.

Special Master Cannon looked like she was ready to dismiss the charges, but then Code Compliance Officer H. Jimenez stated that the property owner pulled an entertainment hall permit shortly after No Crowd Control was cited, so the subsequent usage Bostic had cited was permissible.

Mr. Bostic objected that, if that were the case, then the landlord should be responsible for not having a permit for the usage he had paid for.

The Special Master said that Bostic was responsible for doing due diligence instead of relying on the landlord to have the necessary use permit, hence his claim would be against the landlord; therefore, he was “guilty” and would have to pay the fine. Case closed.

A check of the online records indicated that Code Compliance Officer may have misled the Special Master with a misstatement, in which case the matter should be reheard if not dismissed by the city attorney upon notice of appeal. Director Cardeno would later deny that the Special Master was misled, citing the technicality that the use permit obtained by Scott Robins’ company had not been paid in time therefore was expired until the fee was paid four days after the event.

The property owner has had permit BCU1200731 for a dance, entertainment hall with liquor sales until 5 am since May 18, 2012. The code officer would have known that at the time if he had checked the online record. That must have been why that charge was already closed out.

Incidentally, the public face of the complaint records does not state why a record is “closed.” In effect, the city’s so-called transparent system is two-faced. When the superficial face displayed online looks bad, rabbits can be pulled out of the hat from the files, including narratives invented after the fact.

So the advertising on the Scott Robins sign was not false since the policy of the city is to permit lapses in payment. The falsity is apparently in the city’s citation of Bostic’s No Crowd Control, and in shutting down the event at a cost of $20,000 and more to the operator, which the city should reimburse him for if a refund cannot be obtained from the landlord.

Why would city officials do such a thing? Since the 2011 police shooting, the city cracked down on Black Week to the point that it is almost a nonevent. But history is hard to forget. The Black Scare lingers, perhaps for too long. It may behoove Bostic to file a civil rights complaint and sue the city for damages for deprivation of equal protection of the laws and so on.

He is an unassuming fellow, making it difficult for him to assume that this is a black and white thing. One thing is for certain, he said, before he left to examine another venue on Washington Avenue: “It is not wise to have an event here during a big event week.”

Director Cardeno has been asked for an explanation to justify not apologizing to Mr. Bostic for the ordeal his department has put him through. The City of Miami Beach customer who objects to the city’s wrongs is always wrong until proven otherwise at great expense to everyone concerned. However, since he happens to have a reputation for great integrity, he may apologize and see what he can do to get the victimized businessman’s money refunded, or, at least, get him a hall free of rent for two days. That hall is vacant 95% of the time, showing that the property is not put to its highest and best use. It would be better converted to a hotel and restaurant school with a restaurant where diners could test the skills of its students.

Director Cardeno demurred, pulling rabbits from under the online hat. The city is filled with attorneys at law who behave as defense attorneys even when criticism is constructive. The awful truth in this case is that he would be a hero and his department would have a feather in its hat if the city had issued a press release about the discriminatory raid. Frankly speaking, nightclubs are despised by the residents of the area, no matter what color the revelers happened to be. Most residents have been horrified by Black Week. 

So fair is not so fair in the City of Miami Beach. The matter has been referred to Jessie Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the ACLU just in case they are interested in evening the score.

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