(Originally published 6/8/11)
As promised, this blog is all about the second complaint filed with the Florida Commission on Ethics by North Miami Beach ex-mayor Myron Rosner filed against his predecessor, former Mayor Ray Marin. In this complaint, Myron claims that “business owner Lorenzo Brothers [requested] to allow for the sale of Beer and Wine outside of an approved City Ordinance,” and that Ray “unilaterally authorized” this request. As proof of such “crime,” Myron provided a fax sent from David Laurenzo of Laurenzo Brothers, Inc. to former Mayor Marin, requesting an extension of the hours to sell beer and wine “during our holiday business hours from store openings til closings…approx 8 AM or 9 AM opening til early closings of 2 PM-3 PM or 6 PM.” Mr. Laurenzo goes on to list the specific Sundays/holidays during which he would like to sell beer and wine before 1:00 p.m. According to the photocopy of said fax, it appears that someone hand wrote, “OK RM” at the bottom.
As further proof of Mayor Marin’s “crime,” Myron provided to the Commission a copy of the City’s Ordinance No. 2001-12, which deals with extending Sunday hours of the sale of alcoholic beverages by package stores from 2:00 a.m. to 4:00 a.m., and adult entertainment establishments from 4:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m.
The plot thickens, eh?
First of all, I don’t know about you, but when I think of a package store, I think of a place that only sells beverages of the alcoholic persuasion. Something that’s called, say, Cap’n Jack’s House of Booze. In my humble opinion, Laurenzo’s market is a GROCERY STORE, not a package store. (However, Article II, Section 12-2.1 of the City Code defines “package store” as, “any place where alcoholic beverages are sold regardless of alcoholic content where the beverages are sold in sealed containers for consumption off the premises.“ According to this definition, no matter how ridiculous, apparently Laurenzo’s would be categorized as a “package store.”)
Furthermore, I’ve shopped there many times, and I certainly don’t remember seeing half nekkid women dancing, exotically or otherwise, on the dining tables. So, Laurenzo’s hardly qualifies as an “Adult Entertainment Establishment.” Despite the fact that there are those of us who consider Laurenzo’s fresh baked Italian pastries to be obscenely delicious (and borderline orgasmic), it’s still a family establishment.
Also, Laurenzo Brothers, Inc. was not asking to sell alcoholic beverages between the hours of 2:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. because they’re not even open for business during those hours. The Ordinance that Myron is using as “evidence” in his complaint has nothing to do with Laurenzo’s! Yeah, Myron’s that stupid.
David Laurenzo acknowledged that he did send this fax to the former Mayor. He also provided me with copies of every single fax that he sent since 2002 with the exact same request to Jeff Mishcon, the mayor before Ray Marin, as well as to Myron himself. Jeff Mishcon signed all the faxes sent to him, and wrote some personal note on each one. Apparently, this type of request was commonplace in those days. While Mr. Mishcon probably should have brought this before the council for a vote, for some reason he simply approved the request on his own. During Ray Marin’s term as Mayor, when he received these requests from David Laurenzo, he did what his predecessor did – he simply granted the request. The question is, why did Myron file a complaint against Ray and not Jeff? Well, that’s political – Jeff Mishcon supported Myron and Ray obviously didn’t. Also, for whatever reason, Myron hates Ray. I honestly don’t know why, but if I looked like Myron, with or without the head squirrel, I’d probably hate someone who looks like Ray, too. I’m just saying.
Interestingly, the fax that Mr. Laurenzo sent to Myron on February 3, 2010 was not acknowledged by Myron. The next fax sent by Mr. Laurenzo on February 10, 2010 was to Public Services Director Shari Kamali, stating “per our telephone conversation, here are the “Holidays” Laurenzo’s would like to be able to sell beer and wine before 1 p.m. on Sunday of the said “Holiday” week.” He then went on to list each specific holiday.
I’m told that Ms. Kamali then informed Mr. Laurenzo that the city council passed an Ordinance amending the hours during which beer and wine may be sold on Sunday, and that Mr. Laurenzo need not worry about this request in the future. I searched through the City Code and Ordinance Book, and the only Ordinance I could find that even remotely references this issue is City Ordinance 2010-5, which states, “AN ORDINANCE OF THE MAYOR AND CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA, CLARIFYING THE HOURS OF SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES FOR PACKAGE STORES ON SATURDAYS; CLARIFYING THE HOURS OF SALE OF ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES FOR VENDORS OPERATING STORES PRIMARILY FOR THE SALE OF PRODUCTS OTHER THAN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES, ADDING WINE TO THE LIST OF ALCHOLIC BEVERAGES THAT MAY BE SOLD BY VENDORS OPERATING STORES PRIMARILY FOR THE SALE OF PRODUCTS OTHER THAN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGES; PROVIDING FOR THE REPEAL OF ALL ORDINANCES OR PARTS OF ORDINANCES IN CONFLICT HEREWITH; PROVIDING FOR THE CODIFICATION OF THIS ORDINANCE; PROVIDING FOR AN EFFECTIVE DATE.”
Seeing as how I don’t know what the actual ordinance says, and I can’t seem to find a copy on the city’s website, I have no way of knowing or reporting how this ordinance goes about “clarifying the hours of sale of alcoholic beverages.” Since it does specify that this ordinance is for “vendors operating stores primarily for the sale of products other than alcoholic beverages,” I’ll go out on a limb and guess it means grocery stores, such as Laurenzo’s. I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with “street furniture.”
Okay, so this is the deal with Myron’s second complaint against former Mayor Ray Marin:
1. Using Myron’s own “Everyone Else Does It” defense, it would appear that Ray Marin was simply doing what his predecessor, Jeffrey Mishcon, did year after year and approved extended Sunday business hours for Laurenzo’s during holiday weekends. Apparently, this was done as a courtesy to a long standing North Miami Beach business establishment. Should this request have gone before the council for a vote? Probably. Was Jeff Mishcon overstepping his bounds as mayor by “unilaterally approving” such a request? Probably. Was Ray Marin wrong to do the exact same thing? Probably. Do any of you care at this point? Especially now that there’s an Ordinance dealing with this exact same issue? Whatever.
2. By reporting this “vicious crime” to the Florida Commission on Ethics, what is Myron hoping to accomplish? For one thing, the Ethics Commission only has jurisdiction over elected officials. Ray Marin is not an elected official. I know that Myron’s unclear on the concept, but Ray got voted out when Myron got elected. DUH! So what can the Florida Commission on Ethics do to a non-elected official/civilian? I’m guessing not much more than the equivalent of a “you-were-a-very-bad-boy- shame-on-you” slap on the wrist. Myron, on the other hand, IS IN A HEAP OF TROUBLE DUE TO HIS OWN ETHICS PROBLEMS! I guess misery loves company.
3. Does Myron realize, or even care about, the aggravation he’s causing a North Miami Beach business owner by dragging him into this ridiculous complaint? I’m guessing not. Just like his old buddy, councilwoman Phyllis Smith, all Myron thinks about is himself. All Mr. Laurenzo wants to do is run his grocery store in peace, yet he has to interrupt his life to become the subject of yet another Myron temper tantrum. Just more collateral damage left in the wake of Myron’s rampage.
4. I’m thinking that this complaint, like the other one Myron filed, is much ado about nothing.
Like I said…Myron has waaaaay too much time on his hands these days. Maybe he can invite Phyllis over for some Canadian bacon. I’m just saying.
“Spreading the Wealth”