It’s time for another installment of the VotersOpinion 2014 Year in Review. Picking up where we left off…
…1st, 2014, the North Miami Beach Police Department’s Public Information Office issued a press release about the four shootings that had taken place the weekend before.
Obviously, the joke was on NMB residents, who for some reason were stupid enough to believe that four shootings in one weekend was newsworthy.
The other April Fool, NMB Councilcritter Frantz Pierre, hit the floor babbling something about principles, morals and not passing the smell test, seeing specks everywhere while obviously forgetting about the plank in his own eye. (Yeah, it’s a Bible thing. Google it.)
The first week in April, however, would not be complete without another shooting in North Miami Beach five days into the month, and more gunfire the very next day. The first one involved a police shooting of a suspect who refused to show his hands, according to the press release.
The second one was committed by a convicted felon who shot himself and then was promptly arrested because he wasn’t legally allowed to possess a weapon.
Both suspects are proud recipients of a 2014 Darwin Award nomination.
The beleaguered North Miami City Manager left his job at City Hall to resume a career in law enforcement as the Chief of Police for the City of Miami Gardens. He was originally promoted from his job as Chief of the NMPD to City Manager by former Mayor Andre Pierre, but ultimately run out of town by Andre’s successor, Lucie Tondreau. Sources told me that Lucie ordered Johnson to force then Chief of Police Marc Elias to resign or be fired himself. Johnson reluctantly complied, but Lucie was unappeased and continued to make his life miserable. So Steve packed his bags and left for greener pastures where he didn’t have to ask for permission to go to the bathroom.
While their respective careers in North Miami were destroyed, Stephen Johnson and Marc Elias can take small comfort in the fact that just a couple months later, Lucie made history by becoming that city’s first Mayor to be permanently escorted out of City Hall.
North Miami residents, weary of the drama at City Hall, got a huge break when scandal hit the neighboring Village of Biscayne Park. The Village Police Chief, Ray Atesiano, resigned shortly after being mysteriously suspended with two of his colleagues.
North Miami Beach residents and police officers started getting nervous when rumors surfaced that the Village’s exiting Chief, whose suspension had something to do with disappearing off-duty money, applied for a job at the NMBPD.
Because NMB’s Police Department didn’t have enough troubles of its own this year.
The rumor eventually prove to be true, but the job never materialized.
North Miami Beach police officers heaved a collective sigh of relief.
On a single day in April, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust found probable cause, then declared “nothing to see here,” against a public servant in North Miami. Assistant City Manager Lumane Pluviose-Claude was accused of Hiring-by-Nepotism, charges that were dropped in less time than it takes to watch two episodes of Law & Order, and infinitely less entertaining.
In mid-April, we also checked in on the felony trial of Andre Pierre’s nephew, Ricardo Brutus, which is still moving at glacial speed.
April also made history by being the first month of 2014 that didn’t begin AND end with a shooting in North Miami Beach.
And, finally, April was the month that Myron Rosner’s wife, CIRCUIT COURT JUDGE SARAH ZABEL, drew an opponent for her seat on the bench … for about five minutes. Because in …
…Zabel’s challenger dropped out of the race, which effectively ended my FIRE SARAH ZABEL! campaign.
I also learned that one of the reasons her opponent withdrew had to do with the same-sex marriage case on Zabel’s calendar. (She eventually ruled on August 1, 2014 that the state’s ban was unconstitutional., finding that “that the state’s ban, approved by a referendum in 2008, ‘offends basic human dignity’ and violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of equal protection under the law.”)
May also was the month that L’il Frantzie P recommenced his Haitians-Only Recruitment Plan in earnest by enlisting carpetbaggers to run against two of his colleagues in the upcoming 2015 NMB City Council election, criminal lawyer Ben Kuehne set up a collection to “Help Steve Bateman Get Out Of Jail Free,” and MOCA’s board of trustees tried to sneak out of town.
In a Who-Saw-This-Coming? Moment, the biggest news story of the year took place in May when the FBI charged North Miami’s then Mayor Lucie Tonreau with mortgage fraud.
Tuesday, May 20, 2014 made history for several reasons.
But, most importantly, VotersOpinion got the highest number of hits in any one day.
After Lucie got her extended fifteen minutes, the very next day the sun still rose and the fickle media sought out the next big story.
The remaining un-arrested members of the North Miami City Council appointed the sitting Vice Mayor Philippe Bien-Aime as Interim Mayor and then scheduled a Special Election to elect a more permanent Mayor.
While only 21 people volunteered to take the survey, the results indicated that 38.10% of my readers supported Kevin Burns for Mayor, while 23.81% – all five of them – intended to vote for the candidate who actually ended up winning the election.
To me this proves that people who vote for winners have better things to do with their time than read this blog.
The fact that nobody thought Jean Marcellus had a snowball’s chance in hell to win the election should have given him a clue before he wasted precious months and thousands of taxpayer dollars by single-handedly causing a run-off election.
The MOCA board of trustees closed out the month of May by not approving the City of North Miami’s appointment of Babacar M’Bow as director of the museum. They claimed they couldn’t perform a background check on Mr. M’Bow because he refused to provide them with his Social Security number. This was a blatant lie, but they told it anyway, hoping the general public was too stupid to see through their ruse.
And, speaking of stupid … The husband of former North Miami Beach City Council candidate/MIRAMAR resident Yvenoline Dargenson filed a complaint against me for filing a complaint against him with the Florida Elections Commission. The FEC received his Complaint on April 1, 2014. Less than two months later, they advised him that there was no basis in reality for his bogus Complaint and smacked him with a “legally insufficient” letter. No need for further comment.
Speaking of “legally insufficient,” the first of Charles M. Baron’s Writs of Certiorari , a/k/a appeal, was shot down in court by a three-judge tribunal. In a decision rendered on May 19, 2014, Chucky was told he had a snowball’s chance in hell of stopping a hotel from being built in North Miami Beach. Even though the second one was also recently denied, chances are Chucky will continue to file nuisance lawsuits. Because it’s what he does. His unofficial motto is, “If at first I don’t succeed, I sue, and sue again.”
Miraculously, the month of May began and ended without a shooting in North Miami Beach.
…3, 2014, Dr. Smith Joseph and Jean Marcellus filed to run in a Special Election scheduled to replace the suspended Mayor, Lucie Tondreau, and the race was officially on.
Kevin Burns held off filing while waiting for a decision by the Third District Court of Appeal as to whether or not Lucie Tondreau was qualified to run for the position from which she was humiliatingly ousted just weeks earlier. The long awaited Opinion was filed on June 4, 2014, which was so freaking confusing, I still am unclear on the ruling. The tribunal arrived at the conclusion, “AFFIRMED IN PART; REVERSED IN PART WITH INSTRUCTIONS.”
They lost me at “INSTRUCTIONS,” which I never read and which I make a point to never follow. I guess that’s where lawyers come in handy.
Also during the month of June: The MOCA battle raged on, and on, and on., while the man who would be director quietly made plans for the museum’s grand re-opening. MOCA eventually opened in the fall to rave reviews much, I imagine, to the dismay of the former trustees who tried their hardest to to put it out of business.
After confusion as to when the deadline was to enter the race for North Miami Mayor, it was revealed that Kevin Burns finally threw his hat in the ring.
This time around, however, Jesus declined to endorse anyone after his lawyers filled him in on that whole separation of Church and State thing.
Lawyers for Kevin Burns contemplated suing Jesus for breach of contract.
I also attempted to nominate North Miami Public Information Manager Pam Solomon for Mayor, who politely declined.
Also in June, the Miami Herald reported that after 21 years in office, Miami-Dade County’s State Attorney, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, is finally going to get serious about crime.
Yeah, I had a good laugh at that one, too.
June was also the month that North Miami’s CRA “Coordinator,” whose job was created for him during the Andre years, was finally shown the door, proving to skeptics everywhere that City Manager Aleem Ghany was the right man for the job!
Speaking of Aleem, he also had his work cut out for him during the second half of the year dealing with an IRS audit and mutiny at the Police Department.
But you’ll just have to wait for those stories when the VotersOpinion 2014 Year in Review continues.
“Spreading the Wealth”