Message from Steve Forester, Institute for Justice & Democracy in Haiti

Photo: Miami Herald

Photo: Miami Herald

As President Obama campaigns for Hillary Clinton in South Florida today, 27 Florida-based organizations and 24 other prominent Floridians have written Secretary Clinton (attached) asking her to promptly inform them of her positions on crucial issues of concern to the Haitian American community, a key electorate, and for a meeting regarding them.

Noting that “Hurricane Matthew devastated Haiti, affecting two million Haitians; stranding hundreds of thousands; killing at least 1,000; obliterating tens of thousands of homes; destroying and inundating towns, livestock, crops, and livelihoods; and causing a surge in cholera cases,” they ask Secretary Clinton “to promptly inform of us of your views on the following concerns, which are of great importance to the Haitian-American community.” Continue reading

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Phyllis Smith: How do I l̶o̶v̶e̶ lie to thee? Let me count the ways.

the-results-are-inAfter more than five years of patiently tolerating his “colleague” on the dais, North Miami Beach Mayor George Vallejo finally had enough of Phyllis Smith’s running off at the mouth with “misinformation,” innuendoes and outright lies.

At the last city council meeting on October 4, 2016, during the the second reading of Ordinance No. 2016-9, Quorum Required/Ethical Duty to Remain at City Council Meetings  the very ordinance designed to prevent Phyllis from deliberately breaking quorum again – she lost whatever self-control she ever possessed.

At hour 1:27 of the video, Phyllis vehemently objected to the ordinance using the excuse that she left the August 25, 2016 special meeting because she was sick.  This, as everyone knows, is a BLATANT LIE. Continue reading

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Is this the end of the road for Kelvin Baker?

truthLauderdale Lakes commissioners are understandably nervous that their Financial Services Director, Susan Gooding-Liburd, might be doing a perp walk out of City Hall.

The Sun-Sentinel reported in Lauderdale Lakes finance director linked to Opa-locka controversy  that she “is facing allegations that while working in Opa-Locka she violated city rules and used more than $1 million in customer utility deposits to balance the budget.”

Considering that the Miami Herald reported on Friday that, while serving as Opa-locka’s finance director, Susan Gooding-Liburd “ordered her staff to transfer the deposits into the city’s general fund,” there’s a pretty good chance that an indictment is in her future.

The big question, however, is just how loyal Gooding-Liburd will be to her long-time crony, Kelvin Baker, when the inevitable interrogation begins. Continue reading

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Dr. Smith Joseph, Mayor of the Year!

hurricane-matthew-track-10-06-16Last Thursday morning, as we were all anxiously preparing for the possibility of a category 4 storm, Dr. Mayor Smith Joseph was personally taking care of his extended North Miami family.

With Hurricane Matthew aiming toward us, most of South Florida was under a hurricane watch.  Despite the fast-approaching threat, Mayor Joseph, along with City Manager Larry Spring and Assistant Police Chiefs Neal Cuevas and Robert Bage, drove through the rain soaked streets of North Miami to deliver sand bags to elderly residents and allay their fears. Continue reading

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I’m not saying it was Kelvin Baker, but…

im-not-sayingAfter the latest breaking news out of Opa-locka, the Lauderdale Lakes commissioners might want to consider a forensic audit of its entire city.

As hard as it is to believe, things in Opa-locka just got worse.  The Miami Herald reported this morning in City raided customer deposits — $1.7 million belonging to residents, businesses,  that “Opa-locka officials quietly tapped into the security deposits belonging to thousands of water customers — $1.7 million —wiping out nearly all of the funds and depriving local residents of their lawful money for years to come.”

The Herald also noted that “in just four months” beginning in August of 2014, “the city drained the bank account of deposits that range from $170 for homeowners to thousands for commercial users.  The amount left: $16,267.Continue reading

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Kelvin Baker packs up his traveling circus and hits the road.

unemployed-circus-clownDespite a valiant effort to keep their city manager, last Tuesday night the Lauderdale Lakes commission voted to send Kelvin Baker packing.

On Wednesday, the Sun Sentinel first reported that the sticking point was the commission’s insistence on cutting three positions from the budget, including the assistant city manager’s.  The commission also balked at Baker’s only reducing his assistant’s $110,000.00 salary by $6,000.00.

In a failed negotiation attempt in which Baker offered to stay on the job, he insisted that in order to continue, he would need to have those three positions restored. Continue reading

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Tallahassee lawyer Mark Herron wrote the book on ethics. Oh, wait, never mind. (Part 1)

government-corruptionForget tourism.  Public corruption has become one of Florida’s major industries.

Each election cycle presents the opportunity to create more wealth for a handful of individuals who profit from campaigns all over the state.  Some of the top income producers for those individuals are the multitude of political committees that seem to be formed daily.

Lesser known, but even more profitable, is the rampant corruption prevalent in the gargantuan municipal insurance industry, in which a majority of cities all over Florida have no choice but to participate.

The unscrupulous activity taking place behind closed doors is nothing short of legal organized crime.  (And yes, that’s an oxymoron if ever there was one.)

Incredibly, one man seems to be at the center of both rackets. Continue reading

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The Phyllis Smith Sorry-Not-Sorry Apology Rant

sorry-not-sorryAt Tuesday night’s council meeting, North Miami Beach Fake Councilwoman Phyllis Smith faked an apology for the childish temper tantrum she pulled at the August 28, 2016 special meeting.

You will recall that the Mayor and Council were scheduled to attend a meeting of the Community Redevelopment Advisory (CRA) Board at 6:00 PM that evening.  As such, ten days in advance of that meeting, the Mayor also scheduled a special council meeting to immediately follow the CRA meeting for the purpose of voting to change the employees’ health insurance company.  As I already noted, this vote was critical in order to make the necessary change before September 1, 2016 so that the option would be available to the employees during open enrollment.

Instead of simply doing the job she’s paid $30,000.00 a year to do and waiting literally two more minutes  to cast a vote, Phyllis grandstanded yet again by complaining about having to attend all the imaginary special meetings that take up space in her vacant head. Continue reading

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Is this a joke? Kelvin Baker sets his sights on North Miami. No, seriously!

that-was-very-funnyAs reported last week, Kelvin Baker tendered his resignation as city manager of Lauderdale Lakes at a commission meeting on September 13, 2016.  The Commissioners refused to even address this issue and adjourned the meeting with no discussion.

The updated Sun Sentinel story about the meeting is even more hilarious.

Commissioner Gloria Lewis, who once publicly balked at hiring people who are “not my color”, now publicly “compared Baker to former Cuban dictator Fidel Castro.”

Alrighty then.

Commissioner Lewis went on, “It’s like we’ve got a gangster team coming into Lauderdale Lakes and not listening to us.  We have not had enough time to talk about this budget.”

In response, Baker replied, “I have been called things that I’ve never been called ever before.”

He obviously doesn’t read this blog. Continue reading

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