Baker’s Double Dirty Dozen

Double Dirty DozenAs I first reported to you in Rumors?, two North Miami cops claimed they were hired by Opa-locka city manager Kelvin Baker to fill the positions of chief and deputy chief, only to be told “You lie!” by Baker after they publicly announced they got the jobs.  When Commander Jeffrey Key was invited to speak at a press conference announcing his new job as chief of police, it was the media’s chance to tell Baker, “You lie!”

Only, they didn’t.

As Random Pixels noted, they were too busy reporting that the new chief “wasted no time in announcing that his top priority was to “reduce crime” in the 4.1 square-mile municipality,” at the same time their cars were being broken into and vandalized.

Gotta love Opa-locka!

Until now, no one knew the fate of the other cop that Baker also denied hiring.  As reported by the Miami Herald’s Nadage Green, the Candidate for Opa-locka deputy chief has a long disciplinary file.  That shouldn’t be a problem, though.  The way Baker runs Opa-locka, Peter Cruz will fit right in.

According to the article, since 1985 Officer Cruz had “24 disciplinary cases against him,” thereby breaking the outgoing chief’s record by two.  She had 22 charges filed against her even before she got the job of Top Dawg.  That accomplishment alone should automatically qualify Cruz for the position of Deputy Top Dawg.

Yup.  Gotta love Opa-locka!

When I published the first column about this fiasco, I had understandably, but naively, assumed that the cops were the good guys and that Baker really screwed them over.  As it turns out, several North Miami cops called and wrote me to set the record straight.  Apparently the NMPD had been trying to figure out a way to get rid of those two cops for a long time and were only too happy that Opa-locka wanted them.  I had no way of knowing at the time about Cruz’ “lengthy internal affairs file.”  (As we speak, L’il Frantzie P is trying to beat his record.)

One cop was so horrified at my suggestion that Chief Elias consider rehiring them that he called me immediately and yelled, “Nooooooooo!  Steph, we don’t want them back!  We’ll take Phyllis instead!”

Okay, I made that last part up.  He really doesn’t want Phyllis.  That was just wishful thinking on my part.

Word on the North Miami street is that Commander Key is as dumb as a box of rocks and Peter Cruz, well, his Baker’s Double Dirty Dozen record speaks for itself.

Kelvin Baker runs the City of Opa-locka.  Hiring these two cops to run his police department will be a match made in heaven.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

Phyllis Weighs In

ScaleAnd in…

And in…

And in.

I just spent way too much of my Sunday morning watching parts of Tuesday night’s marathon North Miami Beach council meeting.  Yeah, I know.  Crazy, huh?  But I heard that North Miami Beach councilwoman Phyllis Smith, our favorite Screaming Yellow Parrot, was in rare form.  I just had to see for myself.

screamingparrot
I’m not going to insert my opinion (which no one cares about anyway) on whether or not the city should have allowed Jackson Medical Center to build a heliport at the old Parkway Hospital site, I simply wanted to see if Phyllis’ comments were as outrageous and insane as I’d heard.  I was not disappointed.

After about two hours of presentations by Team Jackson, which I did not watch, at hour 2:25:38, Phyllis weighed in.  I didn’t want to watch that, either, but as painful as it was, I couldn’t look away.

Phyllis Untethered

Phyllis Untethered

She started out by stating that she “wanted to address two issues, one is a firewall.”  She then said, “It would behoove us to have lights on the top.”  Seeing as how I missed the presentation, I have no idea what the connection is between a “firewall” and “lights on the top.”  She never brought it up again, so that’s a big whatever.

What was WTMI (Way Too Much Information) was when Phyllis stated that she spoke to Mr. Heid when she went to use the restroom.  I’d much rather have the thousand words than a picture of that in my mind.

In any event, Phyllis started her speech by reminding us all, yet again, that she’s been in the real estate business for 34 years, and that she’ll “make it quick” because she knows that “the mayor is anxious to move on.”

Yeah, right.

At hour 2:29:00, Phyllis told us all about an accident she had “about ten years ago” when she had to be airlifted to a trauma center in Reno, Nevada.  The others in the accident “went by ambulance and were an hour away.”  She was “airlifted on one of the most windy, windy, windy days” and she kept “apologizing to the nurses” and that her husband could not go with her because there wasn’t room in the helicopter.  Phyllis explained, “I don’t have to tell you, my husband is very strong and very close to his wife, and he had to drive an hour until he could get to me to see if I was okay.  I think it was one of his worst hours.”  She bloviated some more, and then added, “But the point was, without that helicopter I would have been in that trauma center in Reno for six to eh, maybe, maybe two months.  Instead, because of the helicopter I was out in five days, six days.  Because of the helicopter I could go back to work in two months instead of five to six months.  So it’s not always life and death, it’s a big economic difference.”

Okay, let’s see if we can make sense out of this.  Phyllis claims she spent only six days in the hospital instead of six weeks BECAUSE she was airlifted and not taken by ambulance.  REALLY?  That is such an intangible that I don’t even know where on earth she came up with this “fact.”  If anyone out there cares to verify this, please be my guest.

Moving right along, Phyllis emphatically stated that only seven homes abut against the wall where the helipad is supposed to be built, but that this is for the Greater Good.  She pronounced, “More people will come to live in North Miami Beach.  More people will come to eat in North Miami Beach, their lunches, do their, buy their gas and go to the grocery store, the gain so far to have this opportunity for all of us, I just can’t see how we as a body could ever do anything but, especially with your standing on record that if there is a physical disturbance to their property that you as a body will stand behind it and do what you have to do to make sure it’s whole.”

At hour 2:31:46, she finally shut up.  As a body.

Well into the third hour of the meeting (yes, you could just plotz, right?), the issue of restoring the 19th Avenue gun mount was discussed.  You’d think that by then Phyllis would have run out of gas.  Turns out, she was just getting started.

At hour 3:34:15, Phyllis asked the Procurement Director, “Mr. O’Conner, does this particular gun have a lot of significance to our city or is it the fact that the gun, the milit…, the cannon will, uh, give credence to the military that served?  Because I spoke to the Secretary of Defense, uh, they’re gonna call me back in reference to surplus guns that they haaaave that they donate to cities.  It’s expensive to, to, um, ship them, but it’s nowhere near as expensive as this, probably under ten thousand dollars.”

Mr. O’Conner said that he had extensively researched the history of the gun, but discovered that a fire in 1955 destroyed all the records.

Phyllis wanted to know if the foundation was CBS block.  He said they wouldn’t know exactly until the base was cracked open and refurbished.

Phyllis then commenced on a rant that absolutely, positively HAD to be transcribed verbatim for your reading pleasure.  I present to you Full Frontal Phyllis.

“Well I spoke to the gentleman that does military surplus sales for when you want to restore, or he actually has a company that he was in Virginia today, and I spoke to him and he said do not put water on it, whatever you do don’t put a fountain near it, don’t put water on it ‘cuz it’ll only deteriate [sic] the gun itself.  I also had, spoke to Surfside today the recreation department from Surfside has a gun, and the Boy Scouts came to them with a project and they, of course ours is too teriated [sic] to have, not have a professional come and do it, but they said that, um, in order to paaaaaint the gun to be very careful that definitely go to the mitila…, the military befoooore you select a paint because you could paaaaaint it and you would insult a lot of people that actually were in the service if you don’t do it correctly.  So my questions are I’m very much in favor of restoring this gun even though I’ve had terrible phone calls that are thinking I’m in opposition, but I’m not in favor of spending this kind of money without the true knowledge I set, I definitely wouldn’t start out with sixty three thousand dollars, um, one of the former councilmen that was here tonight he said it was crazy thirty eight thousand dollars.  I told him thirty eiiiiight.  He thought it was absolutely crazy that there is plenty of people out there and plenty companies the thing is if when they move that gun it’s very heavy and that’s where your big money comes moving it out moving it back.”

Phyllis then came up for air before starting the World’s Longest Run On Sentence:

“If we’re gonna keep thaaaat gun, which again I have asked the manager several times to go and find out about these surplus, um, guns that the government will ship and so today I explored it myself and I found out with the Department of Defense they’re gonna get back to me what’s available or if there’s a slight cost and what the cost would be and what it would take but before we say that we’re gonna take when we have residents that need so much that gun does mean something to our city it needs to be restored or replaced but I think that at the maximum that I would ever vote for would be and I do believe that we should do something with flowers around it absolutely I think we should highlight it if we’re gonna have it I don’t know about three flaaags and that whole, um, you know, that whole big show first phase one should be just to renovate it and make sure that it’s not gonna deteriate [sic] further if that’s the gun that we’re gonna have I actually was at a wedding and I sat at the table with a man whose brother was here for the dedication of that gun.”

Did y’all get that?

Undaunted, Phyllis wrapped it up with:

“So there, there’s a lot of avenues we could take before we start spending sixty three thousand dollars.  Um, I, I definitely think we need to replace it or refurbish it but I think that that phase is much too far in advance without finding out what else we could do.”

At 3:39:15, that’s five full minutes none of us will ever get back.

When Councilwoman Kramer gently admonished Phyllis by letting her know that the staff had fully researched the gun issue, as did resident Bruce Lamberto, Phyllis shot back, “Didn’t change the faaaaact that I was on the phone all afternoon with, I spent three and a half hours on this.”

I’m sure that’s three and a half hours that the Secretary of Defense wishes he had back, too.

Ah, Phyllis.  When will you ever learn to STFU?

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth Manure”

0

I’m truly at a loss for words

Just posted on MiamiHerald.com.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the…”
Oh, never mind!

underwear

Opa-locka mayor to residents: Take down hanging underwear

By Janey Tate
jtate@MiamiHerald.com

According to Opa-locka Mayor Myra Taylor, a city guard rail is not a place for residents to hang their underwear.
During a recent City Commission meeting, Taylor asked City Manager Kelvin Baker for the second time to have residents remove their unmentionables from a guard rail behind an apartment building on Ali Baba Avenue, near Northwest 22nd Avenue.Taylor asked Baker initially on Feb. 27 to contact the owner of the apartment building.

“Tell the people their underwear must come down,” she said. “I could say the drawers must come down.”

Taylor suggested placing a fence there to stop residents from airing out their clean — or dirty — laundry.


© 2013 Miami Herald Media Company. All Rights Reserved.
http://www.miamiherald.com

0

If you can’t stand the heat…

Fire…Get outta town!

Just posted online is a Miami Herald article entitled, 62 apply for Cutler Bay town manager.  Among the 62 are none other than former-former-FIRED North Miami Beach, and current-but-apparently-soon-to-be-gone Opa-locka, city manager Kelvin Baker, who also happens to be under fire for hiring/not hiring/hiring a new police chief under the radar.  Or, as Kelvin told the press, “behind closed doors.”

I’m guessing that Kelvin’s been feelin’ the heat right about now.  Even the Miami Herald Editor weighed in today in an opinion, Chief Beef, by stating, “The locked-down, shades-drawn selection of the Opa-locka police chief does not bode well for the future of a deeply troubled department in a crime-plagued city…This is no way to run a city that seeks to be known for something other than Arabian minarets and crime.”

Aside from reporters at a press conference announcing the new police chief while their cars were being broken in, Baker obviously didn’t realize that the public won’t back down when they suspect foul play.  Like all the sneaky maneuverings he pulled when he ruled the roost at North Miami Beach, Baker just proved to the residents of Opa-locka that he don’t need no stinkin’ Sunshine.  According to the Herald Editor, Baker & Co. “haven’t even come clean about [the new chief’s] salary.”

WHAT???

If he’s feeling the heat, it’s rightly deserved.

Little wonder that the Dishonorable Kelvin Baker has been shopping around for a new city to screw up.  So many cities, so little time.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

Convict of the Month

SIB Vice Mayor Isaac AelionWhy should North Miami and North Miami Beach grab the spotlight on municipal scandal?  Why should Myron Rosner and the Two Pierres in a Pod (a/k/a Andre and Frantz) have all the glory for being known as the most corrupt politicians in our Northeast Corner of the County?

Well, move over NMB and North Miami!  Make room for the only sitting elected official (so far) in this tri-city area who is a real live convicted criminal.  Sunny Isles Beach Vice Mayor Isaac Aelion can add three first-degree misdemeanors to his growing resume.  As the Sunny Isles Beach Reporter joked, he’s “doing hard time” on the dais of the Commission.

Yeah, that “punishment” really sucks.

Even though the Public Corruption Unit of the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust charged him with three “criminal violations of state law with his role in creating, mass-producing, and circulating an anonymous political mailer,” Aelion eventually pleaded no-contest.  He was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to repay $4,000.00 in costs and serve 35 hours of community service.

Oh, and he got to keep his seat on the dais.

The investigation took place during the Sunny Isles Beach municipal election in November, 2010 when the Ethics Commission was alerted to “possible misconduct” by then candidate Isaac Aelion, who was running for Seat 4 on the Commission.  It turned out that candidate Isaac Aelion was directly responsible for sending out an anonymous mailer attacking his opponents, and not reporting this expense (or even own up to it) on his Campaign Treasurers Report.

With help from the State Attorney’s Office and the U.S. Postal Inspection Service, not to mention the brave owner of a printing shop who testified that Aelion did order and pay for the “anonymous” mailer, the Ethics Commission filed the charges and eventually convicted him.  Even with all the irrefutable evidence that the three agencies uncovered and exposed, Aelion still refused to admit guilt.

Oh, and he got to keep his seat on the dais.

What is it about shameless elected officials who refuse to take responsibility for their actions even when caught red handed?  Gee, let’s ask Myron how that works.

To me, this is a clear case of having absolutely no conscience whatsoever.  I can only surmise that it must be a genetic mutation wired into the brains of politicians and other vermin who seek office for the purpose of misrepresenting the Public Trust, and which can only be surgically removed by professionals.

There really should be an app for that.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

Baker’s Folly

SewardThe fallout from Kelvin Baker’s hiring, not hiring, and hiring of a new police chief just keeps getting better and better.  For all the juicy details, run – don’t walk – over to Random Pixels for the latest update.  You won’t believe what happened at the press conference yesterday!

The only spoiler I’ll give you is this bon mot from the RP blog:

“Put another way, Opa-Locka’s new police chief told the media and his bosses that he’s “honored to walk in the footsteps” of one of the most corrupt and inept police chiefs to ever serve in South Florida.

So click here now and enjoy!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

Behind Closed Doors in Baker-ville

Closed doorsNow you see it, now you don’t.

Oh, wait!  On second thought…

Former-former-FIRED North Miami Beach-slash-current Opa-locka city manager Kelvin Baker has proven yet again that his termination had absolutely nothing to do with racism.  In the end, and despite the NAACP’s interference, it was his incompetence, combined with unbelievable arrogance, that did him in.

According to a press conference this afternoon as reported by CBS Miami, newly resigned North Miami Police Commander Jeffrey Key was hired for the position of Opa-locka’s Chief of Police.

This is the same job that Baker denied offering him after the Commander had already submitted his resignation to North Miami.

This is the same job offer that Baker claimed was nothing but a “rumor” that the “overzealous” officer had “taken out of context,” according to the article.

Baker brushed off the fact that he originally lied to the press.  As CBS Miami reported, “Today Baker admitted to CBS4′s Natalia Zea that he hired for the position behind closed doors and never advertised or conducted any type of search.”

“Behind closed doors” seems to be a pattern with which Kelvin Baker is very familiar.

In his brief stint as city manager of North Miami Beach, Baker “balanced” the city’s budget by tapping the water department’s reserves behind closed doors, which led to a downgrade in the city’s Fitch Ratings.

Behind closed doors, Kelvin contacted black members of the community and the NAACP, asking them to attend a budget workshop because he feared he was about to be fired.  He claimed he was being “persecuted” because he was black.   (But, of course.)

When he claimed that certain members of the city council were violating Sunshine Laws, he cried to the NAACP that he was being targeted because he was a “whistleblower.  Oh, and also because he was black.  (But, of course.)

Behind closed doors, Baker enlisted EX-mayor Myron Rosner to file complaints against those council members.  Myron even told NBC Miami that he was “convinced some of his colleagues were guilty.”  That’s pretty hilarious considering that Myron is now awaiting trial on felony charges.

Baker also encouraged the NAACP to charge that Baker “and other African-American department heads in the city have been targeted behind the scenes to be fired by the council.”

Kelvin and Myron made quite a pair, eh?  Good riddance to both!

During the budget workshop drama, Baker also knew “behind closed doors” that a story was about to break in the Miami Herald about the 254 missing manholes and sewer pipes that his employee Marty King ordered and paid for but never received by the city.  Good old Marty eventually got sent to the Big House for an even dozen for embezzling, while Baker shrugged his shoulders and claimed complete innocence, letting Marty take the entire rap.  Baker told the Herald, “He had the final sign-off.  He was the chief city licensed engineer – I’m not an engineer.”

In other words, “Don’t look at me.  I just work here.  Besides, I’m black!”  Never mind that he was Marty’s “direct supervisor.”  Baker had absolutely nothing to do with it!

In retrospect, it appeared that his anxiety over this looming scandal was the cause of Baker’s little Race Card Temper Tantrum at the budget meeting.   Instead of letting the council know what was really going on in the bowels of City Hall, he decided to go on the offensive.

Unfortunately for him, his “offensive” got his sorry ass canned.  On September 13, 2010, Baker told the council if they wanted to fire him to “bring it on.” They called his bluff.

Buh bye!

North Miami Beach’s “loss” was apparently Opa-locka’s gain.  In July of 2012, Baker became that scandal-plagued city’s manager.  His “behind closed doors” policy obviously continues.  Within the span of a week, Kelvin Baker:

  • Hired a new police chief.
  • Then denied hiring him.
  • Also denied the job was available.
  • Then called a presser announcing the appointment of a man he denied hiring for a job he denied existed.

Business as usual, behind closed doors in Baker-ville.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

Strike One!

Strike oneIt’s Spring Training Season in Major League Baseball.  Florida’s Grapefruit League’s first pre-season game starts today between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Detroit Tigers.  Baseball fans can hardly contain their excitement!

In the Florida Grapefruit League of Criminal Defense Attorneys, it’s also pre-season.  The League’s top hitter, Lawyer to the Criminal Stars Ben Keuhne, is swinging for the fences.  Unfortunately for him, the ump just called Strike One!

Who’d have thought that at his first at bat Hotshot Lawyer Ben Keuhne would have used the Sour Grapes Defense to try get his client off the hook for campaign finance fraud?  That is so bush league for a pro!

As awesome as it is that North Miami’s mayor Andre Pierre FINALLY got slapped with SOMETHING, even if it’s only an $8,000.00 civil fine, the bigger story here is that even a heavy hitter like Ben Keuhne hits foul balls.

The Miami Herald’s Nadege Green reported yesterday in North Miami mayor pays $8,000 civil fine to Elections Commission, that of all the wrongdoings he’s been accused of in the last couple of years, a complaint filed by Pierre’s challenger in the last city election finally stuck.  As the saying goes, if you throw enough poop against the wall, something is eventually bound to stick.  Confronted with irrefutable and documented proof that he “falsely reported or deliberately failed to report” his campaign finances, Pierre’s response was “It wasn’t me.”  Like his partner in crime, North Miami Beach EX-mayor Myron Rosner, who committed almost the exact same infractions (and for which Myron is about to stand trial on four felonies and five misdemeanors), Andre tried to blame someone else for his woes.

And, like Myron, Andre hired top gun Ben Keuhne to defend his ass.

According to the Herald article:

Initially, Pierre, an attorney, sought to deny any wrongdoing.

In a letter to the commission, Pierre wrote that the allegations were unfounded .

“It is clear that Ms. [Carol] Keys has not accepted the result at the polls and is unable to move beyond her defeat,” he wrote.

He said that Keys’ claims were “baseless” “conjecture-filled” and “speculation-laced.”

Claiming that Carol Keys was a sore loser in the election and that this was simply a case of Sour Grapes, Mr. Keuhne then tried to have the case dismissed and force Ms. Keys to pay his legal fees.  He actually stated to the Commission that by filing this complaint, Ms. Keys was trying to “to damage Mayor Pierre’s personal, professional, and political reputation.”

I’d say Hizzoner has done a pretty good job damaging his own “personal, professional, and political reputation” without any help from his “friends.”

It’s been well documented by now that the man honored by Island TV as the “Person of the Year” has been getting away with everything but murder.  His list of alleged fraudulent and corrupt activities keeps getting longer and longer, and with less than two months to go until he’s termed out of office, it’s not a minor coup that he didn’t escape with his “legacy” intact.  Although it’s common knowledge that Andre Pierre should probably have been imprisoned a long time ago, and most likely would have if State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle had done her job instead of pandering to the Haitian community to get re-elected yet again, chances are Pierre’s future plans include a long, and maybe permanent, vacation to the island nation.  Considering he’s been working behind the scenes to help build a resort in Haiti known as Petite Cayemite, perhaps that will be his vacation destination.  Only Andre knows for sure.  Maybe his hairdresser does, too.

The bigger story here, though, is that Benjamin Keuhne, Esquire, is not infallible.  His business card probably gets passed around to more elected officials than any other attorney’s, and his reputation for keeping crooked politicians out of jail precedes him.  Boy, is his plate full these days!

He’s got two more chances at bat this inning.

Next up is the trial of the aforementioned Myron Rosner, which is scheduled to begin on April 25, 2013.

That is, unless Ben gets it continued yet again.

On June 3, 2012, Ben will be defending yet another former politician, Opa-locka’s very own Terence Kenneth Pinder, on two felony racketeering charges.

Unless, of course, Ben gets it continued yet again.

But the fact that the Florida Elections Commission threw the first strike of the season only serves to remind Pierre-watchers that even Hank Aaron’s record was eventually broken.  Then again, Ben Keuhne is no Barry Bonds.

Two more strikes and he’ll be OUT.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

“You Didn’t Build That”

We built this cityFormer-former-former North Miami Beach mayor Jeffrey Mishcon was noted for saying, “If you don’t build it, they won’t come.”  He was right.  Nothing was built during his sixteen year term, and nobody came.  He fought development tooth and nail.  According to the 2010 Census, we have roughly the same forty thousand or so residents that was recorded in the 2000 Census.   No new growth equals no new revenue.

The good news is that development is coming to North Miami Beach.  And not a moment too soon.  The long-stalled project, formerly known as Marina Grande, will finally be constructed.  According to a Miami Herald article, Marina Palms Yacht Club & Residents “will boost [sic] two condominium buildings, consisting of 234 residences in each tower, along with a full-service marina with 112 slips.”  I’m pretty sure it will boast them, too.

The Biscayne Boulevard property’s scandalous history includes a lawsuit challenging the 2004 city council’s interpretation of the zoning code, for which the court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, and over which the plaintiffs subsequently and mysteriously “settled” in order to allow the city to build the development they claim they didn’t want built.  (Huh?)  Unfortunately, as the article states, by the time it was “settled” in 2006, just like old milk, “the economy had started to turn.”  After receiving a settlement of an undisclosed amount from the developers, and stalling the project long enough for the real estate bubble to inevitably burst, the savvy plaintiffs got exactly what they set out to receive – enough cash to buy a new mayor, and a room with a view.

The rest is history.  That mayor turned out to be as crooked as the day is long, the economy started turning around, and another window of opportunity has opened for North Miami Beach to enter the 21st century.

I will not hold my breath, though.

I fully expect the usual suspects to continue fighting the Marina Palms project until the bitter end.  The same way I expect the same ilk of people to fight the Braha Dixie project from breaking ground under the guise of “saving” Greynolds Park.  At least one of the four petitioners in this new lawsuit does not live in North Miami Beach, yet that didn’t stop Charles M. Baron from trying to stop development in our city.  He has a problem with a proposed ten story complex outside the West Dixie Highway entrance of Greynolds Park.  He does not, however, have a problem living in a seven story condominium outside the West Dixie Highway entrance of Greynolds Park.  Go figure.

Although I’m told that one of the petitioners, Shelly Clay, does live in NMB, since I’m also told this isn’t her real name, I have no way of either confirming or denying whether she does or not.

Another anti-development activist-slash-treehugger, Amy Werba, I’m told is behind the “grassroots/Facebook” effort known as Save Greynolds Park.  She is also a director (along with the lawsuit petitioner Errol Alvey) and registered agent of the non-profit corporation Friends of the Oleta River, Inc., which organization helped to successfully put the kibosh on a project known as Blue Palms several years ago.

In addition, Ms. Werba is also a director of the non-profit corporation Arch Creek Trust, Inc., which (and this is a good thing) successfully stopped the City of North Miami from completely bulldozing the historic and beautiful Arch Creek Park to build a car dealership.  As if Arch Creek Park wasn’t worthy of saving in and of itself, the League of Paranormal Investigators, Inc. found “medium levels of paranormal activity” there and that “one psychic got the impression that native spirits are hiding in the trees.”  Ghosts notwithstanding, North Miami did not need another car dealership and, fortunately, Arch Creek Park still exists today.

Unlike Arch Creek Park, no one is trying to bulldoze Greynolds.  Not even close.

Yet another non-profit organization of which Ms. Werba is a director is the North Dade Orchid Club, Inc.   I know this group meets at NMB City Hall, where I imagine the members talk about how much they like orchids.  Orchids are pretty flowers.  What’s not to like?  Orchids are really hard to grow, though.  I know, I’ve tried.  Please don’t tell Amy, but I accidentally killed a few before I realized that orchid growing is not my calling.  If she finds out, she might have me arrested for murder.  Or worse, she might get her posse to form a human chain around my house like they do at nuclear reactors to protest any future orchid-cide I might be contemplating.  Not to worry, Amy.  My Adventures in Horticulture are a distant memory.

In all seriousness, though, as far as I’m concerned we have been stuck in the shadows of several progressive cities, i.e., Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and, yes, even North Miami, all of which have not only embraced the future but have risen to the occasion.  Both literally and figuratively.  It’s long past time that North Miami Beach either follow suit by reinventing itself or just continue to slide into the muck of obscurity.  The only thing keeping this decaying city from completely rotting off the face of the map is our prime location.  I almost expect the cities of Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and North Miami to figure out a way to build a sky bridge heading east from I-95 and linking all three cities, which would enable drivers to safely bypass the crime ridden, wild west-like streets of North Miami Beach altogether.

But, hey!  That would solve our traffic problems, eh?

It would also solve the high rise “problem” that some residents seem to think we’re in danger of contracting once we start developing.  Instead of the dreaded “tall buildings,” we’d have expressway overpasses blocking our view and our sunshine.  Not to mention cutting our neighborhoods in half like they did in Overtown.  If NMB continues to be the slum of northeast Miami-Dade County, don’t think for one minute it can’t happen here.

The leaders of Aventura, Sunny Isles Beach and North Miami would be justified in ignoring (or, hopefully, eradicating) our existence.  Who could blame them?  We are a blight in their midst.  Upon entering the Gateway to North Miami Beach from I-95, visitors are greeted to a view of run down strip malls, tattoo parlors, palm readers, XXX video stores, pawn shops, fast food joints and Asian “massage” parlors.  If they keep heading east, they eventually pass by our “anchor” store, Wal-Mart, which we can’t even claim as ours.  The ability to bypass North Miami Beach Boulevard would certainly help our neighboring cities attract more visitors!

It took nine years to get one decent development built in NMB.  (And that’s IF it gets built!)  Will it take another nine years to get another one off the ground?  At this rate, we’ll enter the 21st century by the time the year 2099 rolls around.  Luckily, none of us will be around to enjoy it.  Or care.

Then again, most of the people who are protesting development in North Miami Beach either don’t live here, or used to, but moved out a long time ago.  On the Save Greynolds Park Facebook page, those out-of-town folks are calling for the heads of all the current elected officials, threatening to vote them out of office.  News flash:  You have to live in NMB to vote in NMB.

The Mayor and Council are also receiving letters from people urging them to stop development.  I had to laugh at the letter from a woman who lives in uber upscale Yorktown Heights, New York (home of the headquarters of the IBM research center and where median housing prices are $614,260), who wrote:

“I am opposed to the multi-story building project that would be adjacent to Greynolds Park…Allowing a large development project to come in will irreversibly damage the park and surrounding area…This is unacceptable.  Our public parks and open spaces are an asset in themselves.  They provide a grand service to everyone and they belong to everyone in the Community…While I no longer live in the Community, I still visit frequently and have many friends and family in the area.  I implore you to find another way to make money and create jobs in North Miami Beach.  Please do not sacrifice your beautiful jewel, Greynolds Park, to do it.”

Wait!  I know!  I found “another way to make money and create jobs!”  We don’t need no stinkin’ development.  Let’s just open a couple dozen more Asian “massage” parlors instead.  At the annual business tax rate of $177.05 per establishment, we stand to increase our revenue by a whopping $4,249.20 per year!  Just think of all the “jobs” that will create, too!  Of course, then we’ll need to attract some VD clinics to the ‘hood.  That should definitely boost our economy.

We won’t even have to change our logo.  Simply replace “Now More Beautiful” for “Now More BJs.”

On an uplifting note, no orchids were harmed in the writing of this column.

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0

Truth in Advertising

Kitty Massage

Now that we’re all well informed about what really goes on in Asian “massage” parlors, my peeps and I decided that what this industry needs is some Truth in Advertising.  AMPs all over the world proudly boast the “services” of their high class establishments to willing johns, er, um, customers.  They take Freedom of Speech very seriously.  Why shouldn’t we?

For example, one window proudly displays its wares:

Horny Care

Horny Care?

Another entrepreneur takes friendly competition to a new level:

JB-BJ

You had me at “BJ.”

In China, they just spell it out for customers so there’s no confusion:

BJ Massage

You get what you pay for.

Some even hand out business cards:

Happy Ending

I’ll take two.

Or not:

Not a Happy Ending Establishment

Are we clear?

One establishment is savvy enough to use local landmarks to help sell its products:

Phallic Symbol Massage

Schwing!

Yet another clearly states that nookie is off limits:

Male Muslims

Copy that!

The Sorebun Institute of Sexual Awareness and Massage Parlor kills two birds with one stone:

Sorebun Institute

Sorebun? Pun intended?

For the DIYer:

Self Serve

Create your own happy ending.

Caveat emptor:

If you are stolen

Makes perfect sense to me!

Not to be outdone, my peeps have suggested a brand new advertising campaign for North Miami Beach to replace our local boring Asian “massage” parlor signs.  Here are the first two prototypes they’ve come up with:

Ho Depot

No caption necessary.

And:

Nasty Buffet

After dinner mint, anyone?

Now THAT’S Truth in Advertising!

Your suggestions are welcome!

Stephanie Kienzle
“Spreading the Wealth”

0