Greetings, 2013! Looking back on 2012, I wonder if we learned any lessons from the year we just survived. Let’s take a short stroll down memory lane and see if we can expect any improvement in the next twelve months.
Starting the year off with a bang, at the first council meeting of 2012 North Miami councilman Michael Blynn had the audacity to question the privatization of the sanitation service and bring up the fact that mayor Andre Pierre’s nephew, Ricardo Brutus “had taken in fourteen $500.00 donations from apartment building owners for Pierre’s campaign.” The mere mention of Brutus, who had been previously arrested for taking bribes, caused mayor Andre Pierre to tell Blynn that his daughters were prostitutes! Yeah, that wasn’t pretty. Or professional. Then again, the Miami Herald’s editor also showed a gross lack of professionalism when reporting this incident by publishing the strangely bizarre comment about the ruckus, “Hey, at least no one said, ‘Yo mama.’”
At that point, we should have known that 2012 was going to be a wild ride.
Needless to say, Andre Pierre got his wish and practically single handedly privatized North Miami’s sanitation service – the desires of the taxpaying residents be damned! A local teacher who had the nerve to comment publicly during public comment against privatization was on the receiving end of Pierre’s wrath when he contacted her principal in an attempt to punish her for disagreeing with him. How dare she question the King of North Miami?
Turns out that Pierre and his colleague, Marie Steril, had an incentive to privatize the sanitation department. After receiving a combined $4,500.00 in campaign donations from Waste Pro, the Dynamic Duo apparently had an offer they couldn’t refuse. As I reported in Back Scratch Fever, Pierre and Steril’s enablers in the State Attorney’s Office gave them a pass on this quid pro quo by opining in essence that, “according to Florida Law, it’s perfectly legal to donate to your favorite candidate’s campaign even if you stand to benefit financially by getting that candidate elected or re-elected. Go figure. The thing is, the person “donating” the cash merely has to pretend there’s no payback whatsoever, while the person on the receiving end of the “donation” merely has to pretend not to wink.” No wonder the corruption in North Miami continues on its merry way.
Over in North Miami Beach, councilwoman Phyllis Smith continued to entertain us with her hilarious pearls of wisdom. For starters, Phyllis held a “Building Roundtable,” a/k/a The Phyllis Smith Comedy Hour, in September. She was in rare form as she held hostage a room full of professionals in the building and construction industry. I did my best to cover her antics for the first hour or so of the meeting, but you have to read her verbatim quotes to really appreciate her wit. Her best line, however, was said to a man on the panel, which was, “I think I knew your mother. His mother, may she rest in peace, was in her real estate office when she was actually murdered. So that was many years ago. I tell you.”
Boy, Phyllis can really work a room, huh?
Phyllis also hilariously bloviated at the November 7, 2012 council conference meeting, where she expounded on topics about which she has no knowledge such as economic development and pension reform, and technology.
On the first two, she emphatically stated, “Economic development and pension reform absolutely and those should be a top priority and ten all of the others could fall into place some of the things that were previously mentioned when we discussed them, uh, you might also want to put annexation because I think that annexation without us having the control that’s the most important thing when it comes to making a better city is that we have on some of our, our, actually our main corridor we only have partial control and that is a, you know, that’s a very big issue so those are mine and then some of these other minor things I’ll be more than happy to elaborate on if we have time.”
On technology, Phyllis bloviated, “In that regard, which, I, uh, the visioning session really didn’t require that kind of a update from my standpoint but I wanna as long as you’re mentioning it I wanna thank Roslyn and I wanna, uh, and thank Mrs. Kamali we went downtown and hopefully one day coming before you will be a request to purchase some, um, computer software that now we can tie in to Dade County and expedite so much of the process for them to get their fire, for them to get their, it’s already in, it’s already used but it doesn’t, they haven’t, really, Dade County really has not, um, given a go ahead for their software that they want each one of the municipalities to have, that they would all be the same instead of ten different ways coming in or thirty two different ways coming in, but that is really on the horizon and that it will make such a difference in the communities they do not have staff to give us a half a day every two weeks. They don’t have STAAAAAFF to give it to us to give it to, uh, twenty other municipalities, but they do have the software and the minute that that comes before us I think that will be a priority in our visioning issue as well.”
Thanks to our very own stand up comic, Phyllis Smith, we got to laugh in 2012. A lot.
The other Funny Girl of North Miami Beach, councilman Frantz Pierre, also had us in stitches. When he wasn’t infuriating us, that is.
For starters, we found out that L’il Frantzie P has a revolving assortment of anywhere from seven to nine registered voters living in his three bedroom, two bath home. We also learned that Frantzie doesn’t like water meter readers coming to his house and that he likes to throw chairs and bully city employees (and possibly frame them as well).
Another thing we discovered about The P Man is that he likes to be generous with other people’s money. For instance, as a councilman he voted to grant Law Enforcement Trust Fund (LETF) money to non-profits which are run by his close, personal friends (and housemates), who also enjoy the benefits of being appointed to North Miami Beach Boards and Committees, and being invited to crash other people’s parties. Courtesy of Frantzie, of course.
Frantzie’s tendency toward making shit up and falsely accusing his enemies of conspiring against him has led to his being the subject of FIVE Internal Affairs investigations, all of which I have covered extensively on this website here, here, here, here, and most recently, here.
Not one of those Internal Affairs investigations, however, have stopped Frantzie from doing his unethical best to continue rip off the taxpayers of North Miami Beach. Just a couple of months ago, L’il Frantzie P skipped out on a Florida Public Pension Trustees Association (FPPTA) Trustees School, for which the General Employees’ Pension Plan paid a total of $975.00, which sum “will not be reimbursed.” Frantz also received a check for per diem expenses in the amount of $200.00. According to the Minutes of the Meeting, as of October 30, 2012 the check had not been cashed. I don’t yet know if he’s cashed it since that date. But if he has will anyone be surprised?
The best performance of the year, however, was one that Frantzie gave at a council meeting in May, when he tried to get the then city manager fired. You have to read the script for yourself to believe it!
And yet, as we say goodbye to 2012, we STILL don’t know how many people live in La Maison de Pierre, or whether he’s violating City Code or State Election Laws! Unfortunately, since we have a city manager who can’t confirm the number of bodies dwelling in Frantzie’s abode, despite the fact that there are nine of them registered to vote there (DUH!), and who has yet to sic Code Enforcement on him. It certainly looks like 2013 will bring more of the same.
The first day of a new year usually inspires hope for a new beginning. Here in North Miami and North Miami Beach, each year we again hope that the people we elect into office and in whom we entrust our fate will have made New Year’s Resolutions to act in the best interests of the public trust.
Then again, we’d probably have better luck hoping that leprechauns and unicorns are real.
And so, despite the idiocy, fraud, corruption and skullduggery our local politicians continue to engage in, I want to wish all of you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
“Spreading the Wealth”