“Lucy! You got some ‘splainin’ to do!”

One of my favorite childhood shows was I Love Lucy.  It didn’t matter what I was doing, the minute I heard the familiar theme song (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_CzPL_7LuQ) I would drop everything and run to the television.  For the two or three people on the planet who aren’t familiar with the show, Lucille Ball played Lucy Ricardo, wife of Ricky Ricardo, who was played by Desi Arnaz.  Lucy was constantly getting into all kinds of mischief with her best friend, Ethel Merman, played by Vivian Vance.  Inevitably, Lucy and Ethel would realize that while it seemed like a good idea at the time, their schemes and plotting always got them into hot water.  No matter how much they tried to cover up for themselves, their husbands would always find out.  I was glued to the television screen and waited with anticipation for that moment in the show when Lucy would walk in and Ricky would say to his wife, “Luceeeee!  You got some ‘splainin’ to do!”  The deer-in-the-headlights look on Lucy’s face was one of those moments in television history that will forever be known as a classic.

Here in North Miami Beach, lots of people have some ‘splainin’ to do, too.  As all of you know, we are in the midst of a heated budget battle, and like every other city on the global map, we are in dire economic straits.  There is just not enough money to continue to run our local government the way it’s been done since probably the day our city was incorporated.  Belts must be tightened, pennies must be pinched, and deep cuts must be made.  Like most problems, the only way to tackle it is to go headlong through it and fix the mess. Continue reading

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Reader’s Column: Your Letters Published Here!

I’m certainly not going to try to compete with the Miami Herald.  I also don’t want to step on the toes of our reporter, Nadege Green, who I believe is one of the best we’ve ever had here in North Miami Beach.  But I do know that many residents bemoan the fact that not all of their letters make it to print in the Neighbors section on Sunday.  As a public service to all of you, I decided that I would publish your letters right here on votersopinion.com every Sunday in a special Reader’s Column.  Unlike the Herald, I won’t limit your word count (but, please don’t write a book), and I won’t edit your letters unless you request me to do so.  The only requirement I have is that you use your real name for letters.  I don’t mind your using pen names or being anonymous when you post comments to the blogs, but when I publish your letters I want to give you the credit (or blame) that you deserve. 🙂 Continue reading

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Economics 101: Privatization

Chart of contract v. in-house workers

In the world of government, the word “privatization” has become a dirty word.  Of course, those who run government agencies don’t want to hear that private companies could do the same job, more efficiently and cheaper.  Advocates of government will give you every reason in the book why it’s a bad idea to contract out some services, as opposed to keeping public employees on the payroll.  Of course, the public unions will try every trick in the book to stop all privatization at any cost.

But, let’s look at some of the simplified reasons how the City of North Miami Beach could save tax dollars and run more efficiently by contracting out certain services.  For starters, please click on this chart above to magnify it so you can read about the relationship between contract workers and in-house workers.  Then please read my essay below so you can understand my thoughts.  Please remember, this is just my opinion based on my own research.  If you disagree, please explain why and give some examples.  I’m certainly open to discussion. Continue reading

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A North Miami Beach Police Officer Speaks Out

Regardless of the personal attacks I’ve received from a very, very small group of North Miami Beach police officers (three of them to be exact), I still believe that the vast majority of the members of our Police Department are courteous and professional.  They are just as anxious as the residents about how this budget process will end.  For every piece of “hate mail” I’ve gotten, I’ve received at least three or more letters and comments from cops who completely understand my position, even if they disagree, and who are willing to discuss the issues in a rational and adult fashion.  I welcome these comments because an open and direct dialogue is the only way to create an atmosphere of understanding and, hopefully, resolve problems.

Like all of you, I have no idea what’s going to happen with our Police Department.  Like all of you, I have an opinion.  But, unlike most of you I am fortunate to have this website and be able to publish my opinion, whether anyone cares to read it or not.  Hopefully, you do even if you don’t always agree with me.  By the same token, I would like to give others the opportunity to express their opinions, regardless of whether or not I agree with them.  You know what they say about opinions….we all have one.

I received a comment from NMBPD Officer Juan Pinillos that prompted me to write back to him.  First of all, I was impressed that he was willing to use his real name, and discuss his real life situation.  Continue reading

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State of the UNION

Everyone knows that when UNIONS organize peaceful protests, it’s all good.  Nothing bad ever happens, right?

The North Miami Beach Police Officers Association, a/k/a UNION, applied for a permit for a “1st Amendment Right Demonstration,” described by UNION president Mike Pons as a “Peacefully demonstration by union members and
citizens in front of NMB City Hall (17011 NE 19 AV)on public sidewalks.”  This “Peacefully demonstration” is scheduled to take place on Tuesday, August 16, 2011, from 5:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

But, I assure you, nothing bad will happen.

Just like nothing bad happened in February of this year in Madison, Wisconsin, when Governor Walker tried to balance the state budget and bring government spending under control. Continue reading

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Beware of Calico Cops

To say that all this madness in North Miami Beach is making me a tad jittery would be a gross understatement.  All the nasty, rude and “GO F$&K YOURSELF” comments are, if nothing else, keeping me on my toes.  Not that I’m a bad driver or anything, but I’ve taken to traveling the streets of NMB even more cautiously than ever before, going at least a mile per hour under the speed limit.  I’m not about to give any cop who’s already pissed off enough at me a reason to pull me over.  I’m just saying.

Anyway, here’s a story for you.  Try to follow the runaway train of thought of a “crazy woman.”

I may have stated a few times or so that I’m an animal lover and that I’m a sucker for a whiskered face.  Rodents aren’t my favorite of all animals, but when my daughter brought home a pet hamster named Doc I welcomed him to the menagerie.  I jokingly told a friend of mine that I expected Doc to pull his weight (like the cats who are on critter patrol), and that Doc decided to apply for a position at the North Miami Beach Police Department.  My daughter just found out that she can’t bring Doc back to school with her this year because she’s in a brand new dorm, so we’re stuck with taking care of yet another four legged child.  Yeah, we’re suckers alright. Continue reading

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Your a crazy woman Kienzel. GO F$&K YOURSELF.

crazy womanI got yet another “lovely” comment from yet another disgruntled North Miami Beach cop, from what is most likely a freshly created email address, and calling himself “YeahRight.”  Frankly, this is getting tiresome.

This cop starts off his comment with “Your a crazy woman Kienzel.”  The English teacher in me must again lament the misuse of the word “your” for the word “you’re,” but I’ll refrain from explaining yet again. <sigh>

The misspelling of my name is a common mistake many people make, but if he bothered to look at the blog he claimed he read, all he had to do was copy it correctly.  However, I digress.

Officer YeahRight then follows that statement with a story about his loss of salary, his new expense of having to contribute to his own pension, and how his wife has been out of work and unable to find a job.

Well, at least this guy has an idea of what’s going on all over the country.  Millions of Americans are in the same boat, many of them right here in North Miami Beach. Continue reading

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“From MY Seat”

I understand there’s a new drinking game in town called, “From My Seat.”  The rules are very simple.  Every time North Miami Beach councilwoman Phyllis Smith says, “from my seat,” you’re supposed to take a shot.  Apparently, that’s become Phyllis’ trademark phrase, along with the variation, “in my seat.”  No matter what she says, and we all know she says a lot, she typically ends her comment with “from my seat.”  She also manages to intersperse “from my seat” within a sentence – sometimes in the beginning, sometimes in the middle.  Sometimes you can’t tell whether it’s the beginning, middle or the end, what with all her run-on sentences and continuous chatter.  You just know you’re gonna hear “from my seat” a few dozen or so times at any given council meeting or, lately, budget workshops. Continue reading

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UNTITLED. Because I’m too pissed to think of one!

Last night’s North Miami Beach City Council meeting was a real eye opening experience for me.  Fully expecting the “sea of blue” to the fill the Council Chambers, I knew I wouldn’t be getting a warm and fuzzy welcome from NMB’s Finest.  But I certainly didn’t expect the open hostility and snide remarks from the so-called professionals who I had previously thought were civil servants.  “Civil” being the operative word here.  The police officers filled the Chambers and stood guard along the back and side walls with stern faces as if challenging anyone to “cross the picket line.”  They also recruited a bunch of heretofore-unseen-at-City-Hall residents holding cute little signs saying “Hands off our police.”  Nice touch.

I wonder if any of the cops who asked these folks to come support them also checked the public records to how much they paid in property taxes to the City of North Miami Beach like they did to me, as if the amount we pay in taxes is directly correlated to how much our voice is worth.  Oh, wait, I know!  Maybe the council should allot speaking time to residents based on how much they contribute to the coffers.  We could even be required to present copies of our property tax bills before we’re allowed to speak and the Clerk can set the timer accordingly.  Would that work for you guys?  I’m just saying. Continue reading

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Blue Herrings and Hunting Cats

So here I am standing at the kitchen sink this morning washing dishes when I catch a movement out of the corner of my eye.  I instinctively look down and right there on the counter under my face is one of those big fat, ugly, disgusting palmetto bugs that made South Florida famous.  You know, the ones the size of small helicopters that aim right for your head if you’re unlucky enough to be in their flight path.  Normally I just nonchalantly walk away and load my shotgun…  KIDDING!  They sure would be great for target practice, anyway.  But, this morning it caught me completely by surprise and I dropped the plate and screamed like a girl.

My husband came running, thinking I got electrocuted or burned myself trying to boil water again (kids, don’t try this at home), and when he saw it was just a palmetto bug he promptly killed it.  My hero!

Now our cats usually take care of this problem before I run into any of those damn bugs.  The deceptively sweet faced Little Girl is actually our best critter hunter. Continue reading

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