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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

OCTOBER 29, 2012

THE POWER OF THE PEN
FIGHTING CITY HALL AND MAKING A DIFFERENCE ONCE IN A WHILE
ÎD

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I cannot comprehend what my life would be today without the internet. Putting aside the wonder of having the vast array of knowledge that is available with a click of a mouse, for me, and for a growing number of people around the world, the internet has provided the vehicle to stand up and fight City Hall.


In one way or another I’ve been standing up and speaking out against what I perceived to be abuses by government since the 1960’s.


My first efforts started in prison, and often required secretly writing documents, having them smuggled out by a sympathetic guard, and then facing the consequences of being locked up in solitary confinement when the warden or the Commissioner of Corrections was informed of what I had written.


My most cherished possession from my prison years is a letter that my late friend Ken Jackson wrote to then Vice President Mondale, after the warden of the Federal Medical Facility in Springfield, Missouri, was informed that I had succeeded in smuggling out a series of articles about the treatment of patients.

ÎD

I plan on having, “He had a bad attitude,” on my tombstone.


Fortunately, I survived those years with my brain relatively unscrambled, and brought my activism to the film industry where I used to drive many of my colleagues into fits by sending out multi-page faxes overnight around the state about the antics of the now defunct Florida Entertainment Commission.


When I discovered email, I was elated, and when I figured out the mechanics of creating a website, which in turn led to the creation of the CrespoGram Report, I became happier than the monkey in the zoo, sitting in the tree jerking off, and grinning at the spectators.


So far this year, 28,716 unique visitors have visited this site, and most rewarding, when they visit, they spend 5-7-10 minutes actually reading the stories.


While they might describe their feelings differently, I know that Elaine de Valle of Political Cortadito , Mike Hatami of The Straw Buyer, Stephanie Kienzle of Voters Opinion, and Gimileteye and Geniusofdespair at Eye On Miami, who’s efforts also focus on public corruption in various parts’s of Miami-Dade County all share in the daily wonder of being able to reach all the people, and expose the corruption and abuse of power that they do, thanks to the internet.


More important than the ability to reach out to folks,with our stories is the impact that our stories have on the body politic.


I believe that both Eye On Miami and Political Cortadito have been invaluable to the Absentee Ballot issue, both because of their reporting, and because Eye On Miami’s reporting led on the one hand to the County Commission making changes to the Ordinance which led to the recent arrest of folks in Hialeah, and on the other because Political Cortadito’s reporting forced the Miami Herald and El Nuevo Herald to spend more time and resources than they would have to expose this story to a wider audience.


I think Stephanie Kienzie deserves some real journalistic award for uncovering, and then persisting in continuing to report on the illegal antics of former North Miami Beach Mayor Myron Rosner until he was finally arrested.


I think that Mike Hatami’s work on mortgage fraud, and especially his reporting on the South Miami Police Chief and his wife’s activities, including trying to railroad what appear to be 3 innocent women on a manufactured theft case at the Airways Auto Tag Agency, is also the kind of reporting that merits a real journalistic award.


Collectively, I believe that the 6 of us have made a difference, and have demonstrated that contrary to what the politicians would like you to believe, you can fight City Hall, and you CAN win.


Of course, none of our efforts mean that the corrupt and duplicitous politicians that we write about are either willing to change their behavior, or even do anything other than try to find new ways to screw the taxpayers, so that this is a fight that has its share of set-backs along with the victories.


For the City of Miami this means that Mayor Tomas Regalado who came into office corrupt and stupid, will leave the same way, and that Commissioner “Ethics” Sarnoff, who came into office a liar and corrupt, has used his time in office to become a bigger liar, and even more corrupt.


Fighting City Hall seldom results in anything like a clear-cut knockout, and we in Miami-Dade County face the additional obstacle that State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle, is arguably more corrupt and willing to provide cover to many of these same politicians.


Miami-Dade County has always been corrupt, and the State Attorney’s office has always operated in ways to provide cover and protection to those politicians on the Family and Friends Plan.


The problem today is that that Plan has grown exponentially to a degree that when the announcement is made of the arrest of a public official, a closer look reveals that the official in question, although corrupt, is little more than a sacrificial lamb used to placate the cries against the massive corruption that is so evident in many of the decisions made by elected officials and public administrators all over the County.


The Aztec would periodically sacrifice a virgin to placate the Gods, and The Queen Of Swag periodically sacrifices a demonstrably stupid and corrupt official to placate the complainers.  The crimes are always so flagrantly obvious, that their arrest makes the claim of taking advantage of low hanging fruit seem superfluous.


Unfortunately, the number of corrupt politicians far exceeds the willingness of Fernandez-Rundle, or for that matter the US Attorney for the Southern District of Florida to really devote the time and resources needed to clean out this pig sty.


And of course, with the corrupt politicians come the angle shooters and schemers whose money affords them the access and influence to let them do their dirty deeds, or manipulate the system, often with the guidance of lawyers and lobbyists who operate as little more than middle-men and women in the swapping of legal and illegal money for access, and  legislation.


Many of the same lawyers and lobbyists are visible, or lurking in the shadows, when it comes to the underhanded schemes to evade paying taxes, refusing to pay rent on City properties, or generally screwing the citizens of the City of Miami out of land, tax money or trying to get around the terms of the contracts they originally entered into with the City, which has been the basis for many of my stories.


That’s the way that the City of Miami operates.


All of this means, that contrary to the assumptions of some of the folks who ask me, things are not going to get better anytime soon.


Every success in stopping a dirty deed doesn’t necessarily lead to those folks deciding to quit doing wrong, but rather only often serves as the impetus to try and find a way around the problem by getting their favorite City Commissioner to either bully City Officials to ignore the violations, or to come up with another Ordinance, Resolution or contract that makes the problem go away.


Take for instance, my stories last week about the illegal use of the Allan Morris Brickell Park by Stephen Perricone, for outdoor seating for his restaurant.


Here’s the way that the Park looked on the Saturday evening before I posted my story.

Here’s what the Park looked like this last Saturday evening.

It’s empty because all of those tables and chairs in the first photo were there illegally.


It turns out that in addition to this portion of the Park, the contract that Perricone signed with the City obligated him to take care of the portion of the Park across the street, which is now the piece of the Park that Mallory Kauderer wants the City to give him for the dinky little wedge that I also wrote about last week in the Flatiron Park story.

This week I found out that supposedly the folks at Baru Urbano are the ones who have been taking care of that portion of the Park and not Perricone.


If the decision is made to swap this portion of the Park, that will reduce and make more valuable, the part that Perricone’s gotten accustomed to treating as his own property over the years.


Anybody want to bet a dollar to a donut that there’s already a move under way, led by Commissioner “Ethics,” to figure out a way to allow Perricone to start using this Public Park as his outdoor patio again?


Stay tuned, because I’m sure that this story is far from over.


So far, the good thing is that thanks to the internet, this story reached enough people to make a difference. The bad thing is that Miami’s not a city with enough civic spirited citizens to step up and use the information in stories like this to put pressure on City officials to quit allowing this kind of activity to go on unchallenged for years, like what’s happened in this case.


For now, the best everyone can be thankful for is that without the internet, this story and many others written by my colleagues and me would never have been known, because had you had to depend on the Miami Herald or the other “mainstream” news media to inform you, you’d be limited to reading and watching the crap they stick in between the advertising.


Support your local political bloggers!


Tell your friends they need to start getting more of their news from folks who care about Miami and are willing to stand up and fight City Hall, and start using the Miami Herald for what it’s really good for: Lining their pet’s litter box!


It’s Miami, Bitches!

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