Friday, January 30, 2015

Miami New Times Article About Raquel Regalado Must Have Mayor Carlos Gimenez Quaking in His Boots. By Geniusofdespair

Miami New Times Article About Raquel Regalado:

She says she loves working in media, that it feels like home. But then the second-term Miami-Dade County school board member adds she might soon give it all up.

"When you become mayor, you have to leave it behind," she says matter-of-factly. "I'll give up radio and TV. Both."

The 40-year-old recently announced she plans to run for either city or county mayor. Neither position has ever been held by a woman. And even though the elections are still one and two years away, respectively, she's the odds-on favorite for both. Her political profile is higher than ever. Last fall, Regalado, an Energizer Bunny single mom of an autistic 11-year-old daughter, put her reputation on the line to almost single-handedly bring down a controversial $393 million courthouse bond.

Carlos Gimenez has a sudden interest in the school board, maybe trying to steal Regalado's thunder. It was only a week ago he was saying Not my job.  He is NOW working with the Superintendent on a fix for tax appeals (the tax appeals hold up school funding) according to the Miami Herald's Typepad. Raquel is a School Board Member and has been championing this issue.

I don't know anyone that supports Gimenez anymore. Maybe it is his abrupt manner, maybe it is his lack of loyalty. Maybe it is his nasty demeanor to former friends.

By the way: What is his former aide, Inson Kim doing? She was the Director of Policy and Legislative Affairs. Now she is supervising policy and legislative affairs for the Office of the Mayor, she oversees matters related to the County's Intergovernmental Affairs, Charter Review, Agenda Office, Agenda Coordination, Property Appraiser, Commission Auditor, Commission on Ethics and Public Trust, and Inspector General. In other words, she is in the way of many Departments, overseeing Department heads. Wasn't Jack Osterholt enough of a meddler? Now we need two? It is a mystery to me on how the Mayor is coming up with so many really stupid ideas. I think Jack is a major problem for him besides all his lobbyist buds. For me it was Lynda Bell that killed my respect for the Mayor. He can never regain that respect from me even though Bell is gone. I warned him about her but he is so arrogant he wouldn't listen.

A few notes from India and thoughts about Florida … by gimleteye

It took nine hours to drive the hill country from Tamil Nadu on the east coast of India to the edge of Kerala on the west. The hills are the landscape of tea and rubber plantations, groves of spices -- pepper, cardamon, cinnamon and nutmeg -- once worth their weight in gold in European capitals. The opening of trade between India and the West was an epochal economic event, like the advent of the internet.

It is difficult to feel -- driving along crowded roadways and chaotic village life -- the colonial past or wealth that slipped through India, so vast that only one hundred years ago young princes and princesses played in chests loaded with sapphires, rubies and emeralds. For the poor, then, there was no concept of earning wages. Just the exchange of labor for daily meals.

Although I am at the end of my third visit to India, this is still a place that seems more remote from my experiences than any other. It is only a nation in principle. With so many unique languages, and nearly thirty strong and independent states, each ruled by their own congress, a stronger case can be made for India as a state of mind than a sovereign state. When President Obama on his visit to India said, this week, there is no fixing climate change without success here, I wondered: "how? who? where?"

This morning, however, I woke at the edge of the largest freshwater lake system in Kerala, called Vembanadu. It is shallow, not quite as shallow as Inle Lake in Myanmar, but home to fishermen and wading birds scouring lotus mats for food in the quiet dawn. It's a completely managed water system: saline in the dry season and fresh water during the monsoon months. The lake is connected by a river to the Arabian Sea and the water shifts from salt water to fresh through operation of a lock.

The temperature here is very similar to the Florida Keys. Village life, at the edge of the lake on the horizon, seems too far to make an impact here. The sounds and flocks of cormorants, herons, and egrets reminded me of dawn on Florida Bay in the early 1970's when -- miles from the nearest marina -- you would wheel the skiff around a small island and cut the engine just to feel the world come alive at daybreak. I miss those days with my father and Harry Spear, a fishing guide so in tune with the air and water he seemed inseparable from either. We were extremely fortunate to share those moments because today, when the light rises over Florida Bay, it is mostly silent.

We took a treasure -- the Everglades -- and turned it to something that holds life only in the hidden corners, unaffected by pollution or water management extremes. Unless one experienced the Everglades back then, the real value of what has been lost is for the imagination: sapphires and rubies and emeralds we let slip through our hands. Can the remnant Everglades be recovered before the baselines of fixing the Everglades becomes worn-out talking points for politicians?

Unlike India, the "who, what, where" of Everglades restoration is clear. The government agencies and farmers and land speculators and conservationists are identifiable. It's one of the reasons I am so adamant about seeing the Everglades in Florida returned so other generations can witness the ephemeral beauty of the world.

To those who say, what happens in the Everglades is God's will and besides, nature will adapt, I have three words: you are wrong. At the end of the day, when the diversity of species is crushed, what survives are species and organisms that thrive on waste caused by decay. That's the story of the Everglades.

What is obvious in the Everglades' decline can be seen across the planet, too. The survivors of climate change will look very much like today's scavenger species that survived the last great age of extinction.

What is on the climate change horizon is not a world you or I would want to live in -- a desecration of creation or a fulfillment of destruction theology -- , so why aren't we changing our behaviors and beliefs to avoid that outcome? I may have a better chance understanding India that the answer to that question.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

...And The County Commission Keeps Thinking Up Stuff To Dumb Us Down and Keep Us in The Dark. By Geniusofdespair


I don't know, was Community Image Advisory Board too hard for anyone to understand? Is it a mouthful? This ordinance will be heard by the County Commission February 3rd. Neat Streets Miami is catchy but so are some new Committee names I can think of (submit your own):

Run Amok Development (Miami-Dade Land Use & Development Committee)
Fly the Bribe or Sink the Ship (Miami-Dade Economic Development & Port Miami Committee)

This Ordinance sponsored by Barbara Jordan scares me, getting in the renaming spirit I will call it "Shades of Grey":


This will block you from watching on TV. If they start doing committees (workshops) to discuss what they are going to do in committees you will all be left in the dark. Bad, bad, idea. Committees are enough for us to stomach, why another layer? Who wants to attend workshops too? This is a way to get around the public. And only 24 hours notice -- don't these have to be published?:

Notwithstanding any provision to the contrary in the Code, to convene a workshop of the committee to discuss matters within the committee’s jurisdiction, including, but not limited to, discussion of matters referred to the committee by the commission chairperson. The commission committee may not take action on any matter considered at a committee workshop. Whenever such a workshop is called, a notice in writing signed by a majority of the committee members shall be served upon the commission chairperson, the committee chairperson, and the Clerk. Each signature by a committee member shall constitute a representation that, at the time of affixing his or her signature to the notice, the committee member has the present intention to attend the workshop. The Clerk shall forthwith serve verbal and written notice upon each member of the committee and the commission chairperson stating the date, hour and place of the workshop and the purpose for which such workshop is called, and no other business shall be discussed at that workshop. At least 24 hours must elapse between the time the Clerk receives notice in writing and the time the workshop is to be held.


Maggie Hurchalla: "Buy the Land: Send the Water South" … by gimleteye

The following OPED is by Maggie Hurchalla, Miami native and former Martin County commissioner, whose interview featured here; our first 'Achiever' of 2015. Read Maggie's OPED, next to my broadside earlier this week on Adam Putnam, Florida Secretary of Agriculture, and Big Sugar, the Great Destroyers of Florida.

Miami is as affected as any other part of the state by water policies favoring the Great Destroyers, but Miamians need to look up from their shoelaces, sandals, and Guccis and see that the water policies dramatically impacting the rest of the state also are central issues, right here.

When all the Everglades were good for, was draining
The bottom line: Big Sugar has to let go of central land holdings in order to protect the water supply affecting millions of Floridians and the dying Everglades. They will do this either as willing sellers or through eminent domain. They are strenuously resisting either.

Read my OPED on Putnam, to understand how Big Sugar is gaming the media, the system, and taxpayers, pointing in the direction of endless delay.

The Miami-Dade County Commission has been deathly silent on "sending the water south". Lots of money was made in Miami, representing Big Sugar in legal proceedings and selling farm equipment to the Everglades Agricultural Area.

The stakes are so high that continued silence by Mayor Gimenez and the county commission is no longer tolerable. The weight of the county and the Dade delegation to the legislature is considerable. It is decades beyond the time for clamoring by our elected officials in Miami, send the water south. Instead, we've had mouthpieces for the Great Destroyers like Pepe Diaz acting like experts about the need for more drainage of the Everglades. What is missing is leadership.


That's the war cry of the folks where dumping Lake Okeechobee to the east and to the west coasts is literally killing their estuaries. Comprehensive Everglades Restoration has to send the water south.

It's not hysteria. Even the Corps of Engineers agrees that without a change in water management, the St. Lucie Estuary will be irrevocably destroyed. Irrevocable is forever.

The irony is that the people who need to be shouting loudest are the residents of Miami-Dade County. They have been strangely silent.

A recent Herald editorial pointed out…

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Interesting Concept: Commissioner Xavier Suarez Wants to Cap County Salaries. By Geniusofdespair

Miami-Dade County Commissioner for District 7, Xavier L. Suarez, launches a campaign to collect signatures to reform the county’s Home Rule Amendment and Charter. This initiative will cap the salaries of Miami-Dade County employees at $162,200 per year. I wonder if he can get his fellow commissioners to place it on the ballot? I think his idea for a referendum is too hard for the entire county, unless you have the billions of a Norman Braman.

Eye On Miami's Gimleteye weighs in on Israel policy … by gimleteye

Eye On Miami has enough exposition to do in a few square miles of Miami-Dade County to last a lifetime. We don't shy from pointing out the consequences: how Miami helped congeal the Republican heart of Florida politics. We point out the ingredients that radiate from our home-grown campaign financiers; developers, rock miners, and Big Sugar interests who managed to organize economic life in Florida to serve their interests splendidly.

Democrats are weak partners or the outcome wouldn't be so successful.

One place there is equal and shared agreement between Miami Republicans and Democrats: US support of Israel.

The existential threats from radical Islam are not just to Israel but to a world order that, however much we dismiss it, revolves around values we share: religious tolerance, the foundation of humanism.

So when the Republican leadership in Congress takes the United States on a walk outside the perimeter of normative diplomatic conduct in the Mideast, Miami should take note.

The subject concerns Iran and significant differences between the Republicans and President Obama on how to deal with the threat of Iran as a nuclear superpower. In its most condensed form, the argument is whether or not our foreign policy should be to push the U.S. into de facto support for Israel destroying Iran's nuclear capability.

No one treats the choice lightly, but the Boehner-led Republican majority has taken unprecedented steps to force the US in that direction.

Normally, the visit of a world leader to the United States would be arranged by the White House. But in a breach of sense and diplomacy, House Speaker John Boehner and Ron Dermer, Israel’s ambassador to Washington, took it upon themselves to arrange and invite Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel to Congress.

There is no other way to read this than as a slap in the president's face, as his administration attempts to reach a nuclear agreement with Iran. Here's a partial editorial from the NY Times:
"… Mr. Netanyahu, facing an election on March 17, apparently believes that winning the applause of Congress by rebuking Mr. Obama will bolster his standing as a leader capable of keeping Israel safe. Mr. Boehner seems determined to use whatever means is available to undermine and attack Mr. Obama on national security policy.
Lawmakers have every right to disagree with presidents; so do foreign leaders. But this event, to be staged in March a mile from the White House, is a hostile attempt to lobby Congress to enact more sanctions against Iran, a measure that Mr. Obama has rightly threatened to veto.
In his State of the Union address, Mr. Obama laid out an approach to international engagement that includes shrinking America’s military commitments overseas and negotiating limits on Iran’s nuclear activities in return for a gradual lifting of sanctions. A move by Congress to pass legislation proposing new sanctions could blow up the talks and divide the major powers that have been united in pressuring Iran. Given an excuse to withdraw from talks, Iran could accelerate its nuclear program, curbed for a year under an interim agreement, and force the United States or Israel to use military action or a cyberattack to keep Tehran from producing nuclear weapons.
In a recent Washington Post op-ed article, the foreign ministers of Britain, France, Germany and the European Union also implored Congress to hold off on new sanctions. Similar messages have come from scores of other experts, including two former American national security advisers, Brent Scowcroft, a Republican, and Zbigniew Brzezinski, a Democrat. According to Secretary of State John Kerry, even Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service, warned Congress that new sanctions would scuttle the talks, saying it would “be like throwing a grenade into the process.” Mossad later tried to paper over any perceived differences with Mr. Netanyahu…"
House Speaker Boehner deserves rebuke for wandering off the diplomatic reservation, but in the echo chamber of Republican hatred of Obama, you can see why he did it.

No White House has faced such relentless efforts to undermine and erode, based on the GOP's disdain for an African American in the White House. Tampering with the Mideast tinderbox, though, by Boehner is its own indictment of Republican strategies that lead to trillion dollar wars poorly conceived and at great cost to America. Enough, already. Enough.

The Great Tropical Fruit Farm Tour of 2015. By Geniusofdespair

Like any good reporter, I didn't take any notes on my farm tour. So don't expect any facts. I am not Joe Friday. Just enjoy the observations. I went to an avocado (yes it is a fruit) farm with mangoes, a lychee farm and what appeared to be a mamey and other fruit farm. The amazing thing is 2 farmers were farming on about 2 acres (one had 5). These small farms are viable and the backbone of our farming district, far outweighing our row farmers (the ones with all the clout and the tomatoes). The fruits these farmers grow CANNOT grow anywhere else in the continental United States. Please correct in comments any mistakes I have printed by photo number.

1. Tropical Fruit. That is not a grapefruit. And the little fruit has some white liquid that they once made chiclet gum out of -- Sticky, don't drink it.

2. A flowering tree. forgot the name.

3. Mango blossoms.

4. This is a graft. The tree was cut and now they are making it into a different variety of Mango. The graft will grow into the branch. They will cut the branch and the graft will take over with the new variety.

5. This is an invasive species lizard. Forgot the name.
6. Hmmm. Now what are these.

7. Lychee trees on a two acre farm.

8. Mamey Fruit.

9.  Ripe Mamey. Tastes pretty good and doesn't give you the runs. I just scoop it out and eat it. I even put it in my salad. Looks pretty erotic to me.

10. Mango grove all those flowers, Mangoes.  This farmer cuts out the middle of the tree so it can get more sun. He also leaves room in between the trees so they can get sun. He said to keep them at about 12 feet to make them healthy.

Okay there you have it. My tour. The farmers were concerned for the future of farming in Miami Dade County.  People are moving in and you need lots of farms to survive. Sprawl and farming don't mix. If you want to comment on a specific photo with information, use the numbers.  I love farmers. County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava has been out here but not the Mayor. Mayor Gimenez get to these farms!!!

Let's buy one of them a new cherry picker. The old one was dying.  He used to just pull down the branches to pick them.  These farmers work hard. Make sure you read the comments for real information. I am just an observer, and a bad listener.

One farmer said if we don't preserve the UDB farming in South Miami Dade will be over. Please say it ain't so. Commissioner Zapata are you listening?

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Snow Blocking a Garage Entrance on Long Island. By Geniusofdespair

Get out the shovel. Long Island got snow with a lot of wind -- drifting. They were calling for gusts of 40mph. This Commercial Garage is near Islip where they got 24.8 inches.

For all you "Patriots." By Geniusofdespair


Best rendition ever. The Lebron James of voice.

Monday, January 26, 2015

On Climate Change, GOP cynicism overflows: here is what Democrats should do … by gimleteye

After last week's vote, it is clear for the time being 1) that the US Senate believes climate change is real, and 2) that Republicans do not believe its cause is man-made. Now we can parse the issue.

The GOP has edged off outright denial of climate change but has drawn a line in the (beach) sand regarding the who, what and why.

Republicans are sticking to their hard line for a simple reason: if man caused climate change, then man is required to take steps to avert its worst consequences. That's what the party of compassionate conservatism would do.

"Doing something" about climate change is exactly what the GOP doesn't want to do.

It doesn't want to do anything about climate change because the GOP's major funders are the fossil fuel industry, the electric utilities, and other components of the Great Destroyers. Political money and unlimited campaign contributions are driving the train we all share as human travelers straight off the cliff. It is hard to explain, but let's try.

To my Republican friends: think of the atmosphere as if it were a toilet bowl. (I can't take credit for this metaphor. A friend -- an engineer and one of the nation's top venture capitalists came up with it.)

A toilet bowl can only contain a fixed volume of fluid. It's no different with C02 in the atmosphere. Our atmosphere and oceans can only absorb a limited amount of heat trapping gases and still sustain human life. All the natural systems we depend on for survival are at risk when these gases overflow the absorbent capacity of the atmosphere.

graphic by guerrilla artist Banksy
When your Republican toilet overflows it wrecks your bathroom floor just like it does in the Democrats' house. The atmosphere, when it overflows with man-made gases destroys the capacity of the planet to sustain both Republicans and Democrats.

So, why would Republicans allow a toilet bowl to overflow after knowing it is stopped up?

Some Republicans, one imagines, would rather tear down and replace the entire bathroom than admit they could fix a clogged toilet. But here's the rub: the planet can't be remade. As the bumper decal reads: "There is no Planet B".

So what should Democrats do? Here's a suggestion.

Based on last week's votes -- and President Obama's citation in the State of the Union Address that the US military is landing squarely on the side of climate change as a major national security threat -- let Democratic Senators ask their counterparts to vote on whether the GOP has confidence in the US military.

Put a question to the Senate this way: "It is the sense of the Senate to support the US military in its conviction that climate change represents a real and present danger to the United States and that therefore the US Senate must act to avert the worst consequences of climate change."

The Republicans will vote against the US military. They will do anything, including self-destruct, before admitting we need to be doing much, much more to ward off the most inconvenient truths about climate change.

So let the Republicans vote against the US military and let their candidates explain why, in the next election cycle.

The Line For Shakes at "Robert is Here", Population Overload. By Geniusofdespair

The line was the longest I ever saw for Shakes at Robert is Here. Once you ordered there were almost 70 shakes in front of you that had to be prepared.

This is way out in Florida City. I think that South Florida is reaching a saturation point. If the mosquito's don't get some the tourists, I will never be able to have a shake again. An hour is just too long to wait.

Seriously, we are starting a housing boom again when even a fruit stand can't handle the population.  This is a symptom of a greater problem no one wants to talk about in Little Manhattan (Miami). This fruit stand is our farming district (at least an hour from the Broward County line without traffic) or it is supposed to be our Farming district. We are eating away at it. How are you going to keep viable farming with all these people?

Shake, shake, shake Senora, the song says "Jump in de line."


YOU ARE TOO LATE Dennis Moss, Gulfstream Park is building a major water theme park. They beat you to it. Now you can forgo that sensitive land you want to build your theme park on.
Water Theme Park in construction at Hallandale Beach's Casino, Gulfstream Park. The centerpiece of the park in an 11 story high Pegasus. Gulfstream park has gambling and horse racing too and a shit-load of shops. What can you offer in your District, Commissioner Moss? Build it and they WON'T come.

The $30 Million dollar Pegasus is right on US 1, not even a 1/4 mile from the Miami Dade County line.