Wednesday, August 26, 2015

I need your help

If you like what I do here, and you'd like to see it continue, then I could really use your help. I hope you'll consider making a donation to help keep this blog going.

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Thank you for your support and continued readership.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Donald Trump has Jorge Ramos ejected from his press conference

More proof that Donald Trump is unfit to run for dog catcher.

Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson responds to constituent's email: 'You seem to be very crabby'

Visit Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's website and you'll see this right at the top of the page:


Commissioner Wolfson's credo:
"Swim, pray,
eat lots of French fries."
Keep those words in mind as you read the email exchange (below) between a long-time Miami Beach resident and Commissioner Jonah "Potty Mouth" Wolfson.

It was just a simple request from the resident, an elderly South Beach woman.

In the email sent last weekend to the Miami Beach City Manager, Mayor and Commissioners, the resident - who lives in a condo near South Pointe Park - wanted to know why there was so much clutter on the beach behind the Continuum Condominium and other buildings.

She voiced legitimate concerns about the crowding of chairs, trash cans, storage structures and traffic on the beach in her neighborhood.

From her email:
The view of the beautiful natural sweep of Miami Beach entering from South Pointe Park is completely obscured now.

Residents and tourists are confined to the foreshore. There is no fence, but this area is clearly defined, its looks like a claim to private ownership.

This spread is designed to deter the public's use of this section of the beach.

My question then is: How is this possible? Is it legal?

Who authorized this takeover of a public beach on a permanent basis?

They are not a concessionaire.. When was this agreement made? Has DRB, Planning, AIPP ever seen this ugly clutter?

Clutter on the beach behind the Continuum condominium.
(Click image to enlarge) 

A few hours later she received this curt response from Commissioner Jonah Wolfson: "I don't understand your concern. How does this affect you? Sincerely, JONAH M. WOLFSON"

The resident wrote back:
Commissioner Wolfson,

It is of concern to me and this is why.

I live here.That strip is my home beach. I swim and walk on it daily. I enter from South Pointe back yard I call it.

I experience the destruction of the view,and have to walk through the creeping unsightly piles of clutter that are causing it!

Locals and tourists have to sit and sun by the shoreline closer to the water, like second class citizens now.

The danger of the narrower pathway where concessionaire vehicles drive around as if they were authorized official vehicles is evident.

You have championed the proliferation of all this, for eight years.

All these schemes have created ever greater legal anomalies on OUR public beach.

Offer me an explanation instead of having the temerity to question my credibility.

A search of Google images backs up the resident's claims. Here's one shot that clearly shows beach clutter stretching from behind the Continuum and northward as far as the eye can see.

But here's how Wolfson responded to the resident the following day. Keep in mind, once again, that Mayor Levine says residents are to be treated as "valued customers."
-----Original Message-----
From: Jonah Wolfson
To: [redacted]
Cc: Cummins, Brett
Sent: Sun, Aug 23, 2015 11:55 am
Subject: re: Public Beach

The explanation is that those folks are having fun and enjoying life and not bothering anyone. You seem to be very crabby and trying to stop others. Maybe there's another way you can spend energy. You gotta.  Enjoy your swim, pray, I don't know. But I fail to understand how this really affects you. Anyhow god bless and have a wonderful day.

So how's that "customer service" thing working out, Mayor Levine?

Fun fact: The resident who forwarded the email exchange to me said she received Wolfson's last missive as she was watching last Sunday's "This Week in South Florida with Michael Putney."

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Miami Beach activist Frank Del Vecchio calls Mayor Philip Levine 'unethical'

It was a side of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine few ever see.

But there he was back on February 24, 2015, giddily offering up a warm and fuzzy tribute to two of his favorite people, Frank and Marian Del Vecchio; lavishing praise on the couple at a birthday celebration for Marian at the Cibo Wine Bar on South Beach.

Frank Del Vecchio, for those who don't follow Miami Beach politics that closely, is a long-time Beach activist and ardent Levine supporter. (During his 2013 run for mayor, Levine included the Del Vecchios in one of his TV spots.)

Just before presenting the Del Vecchios with a key to the city, Levine reminded them that they "make everyone be their best." Continuing, Levine said they were "the engine keeping everyone [at City Hall] honest, pure and good. You've done so much for our entire city."

But what a difference a few months makes.

Last Thursday, a day after Levine ally and Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson ran the first of two full-page ads in the Miami Herald attacking journalist Michael Putney, Del Vecchio sent an email to his friends with the subject line, "Setting the record straight."

Del Vecchio, a retired attorney, told friends what he thought of Levine's activities on behalf of the political action committee, "Relentless for Progress."

From: Frank Del Vecchio
Date: August 20, 2015 at 3:23:31 PM EDT
To: Recipient list suppressed
Subject: Setting the Record Straight

Dear Friends:

To set the record straight: Do not infer from my past support of Mayor Philip Levine that I condone the Relentless for Progress PAC [RFP], which he defends. I do not.

Although the PAC has been artfully structured so as not to be, on its face, in technical violation of state and local law, I consider it an unethical practice for a sitting Mayor and Commissioner or intermediaries to solicit contributions from vendors and developers who stand to benefit from Commission action. It violates the principles of integrity in government which I hold paramount.

Frank Del Vecchio

Well, it didn't take long for someone to forward Del Vecchio's email to Levine.

Less than 45 minutes after Del Vecchio hit the "send" key, Levine sent him this short response:

At 04:05 PM 8/20/2015, Philip Levine wrote:


I am sorry that you question my ethics.


Later that day, Del Vecchio wrote back: "Phil: I've been straight with you all along about my feelings. Frank"

To which Levine responded:
Yes but you threw me under the bus by clearly insinuating or rather saying that you do not support me anymore.

There were very few vendors who contributed to this PAC and only ONE developer as defined in our code. I guess I am a developer as well based on your rationale!!!

[To] everyone else, the majority are my friends that I have known for years!!! I am the guy who spent $2M to clean this place up, doesn't take a salary or expenses, funding my reelection campaign and spends out of pocket constantly when asked for a million reasons and causes and you gave the impression that I am not ethical.

I am hurt and appalled at your email.

Del Vecchio responds: "I am also hurt and appalled by this current mess that is affecting us all."

Levine writes back:
From: Philip Levine
To: Frank Del Vecchio
CC: Marian Delvechio
Subject: Re: Setting the Record Straight
Date: Thu, 20 Aug 2015 20:55:15 +0000

It is not affecting us "all." Only you are in the "fog of war" and are letting some inside baseball folks with a variety of allegiances and nothing to do cause you to jump ship when the ship isn't on fire!!!!

I would have expected my "friends" to stick up for me, call me out gracefully when they don't agree but not to try and damage me.

This "controversy" was created by a commissioner who wants her husband to take over the family business, a disgruntled commissioner who failed his ethics test and cannot be a police officer and Mt. Sinai who tried unsuccessfully to coerce us into not allowing Baptist to come to Miami Beach! This is election time!!! Last time I was anti Hispanic, Fidel Castro's business partner, a fraudulent businessman and a rich guy buying the election. This time I am unethical for following the law per our City Attorney and assisting to raise a few bucks like EVERY other elected official including our County Mayor!!!! Oh by the way, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled as well!!!!

No need for continued emails back and forth.

I guess there's nothing left to say except to play this oldie from 1966....


Earlier on Random Pixels: Miami Beach's sleazy millionaire mayor Philip Levine, has no moral compass

Michael Putney responds to Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson's attack ad

Michael Putney says Jonah Wolfson
is a "schoolyard bully" and
"lunch money thief."

Earlier this week, Miami Beach Commissioner Jonah Wolfson took out an ad in the Miami Herald that attacked veteran journalist Michael Putney. Wolfson was pissed that Putney used the term "sleazy" to describe a political action committee chaired by Wolfson.

This morning on his show, "This Week in South Florida," Michael Putney responded to Wolfson and points he made in his ad.

In his commentary Putney said he had invited Wolfson to come on the show and defend what he said in his ad.

But he said Wolfson declined unless Putney first apologized to him. "Not very courageous," said Putney, adding that Wolfson's actions reminded him of a "schoolyard bully" who took "lunch money from the smaller kids."

Friday, August 21, 2015

When did Local 10 become The Onion News Network?

Caution: Video contains coarse language.

It usually goes something like this: "We'll get to that story we promised you about the kittens being rescued from a storm drain in Miami Beach momentarily. But first let's go to Jeff Weinsier in the newsroom who has some breaking news for us. Jeff, take it away. Thanks, Laurie. We're receiving word that a car has crashed into a pizza parlor in Hialeah. Sky 10 is high above the scene, and as you can see, a car has crashed into a pizza parlor in Hialeah. As soon as we know more, we'll get back to you. Laurie, back to are those kittens doing?"

And there you have it, folks...that's pretty much what passes for news at what used to be a pretty decent TV news crashing into storefronts, 24/7.

Someone in charge has apparently decided to mimic that other station and this is what we're left with: a really cheesy imitation of the Onion News Network...but way funnier.

(And don't get me started on the two or three stories per hour that involve some random act caught on surveillance video.)

The most recent episode of a car crashing into a store happened just today. And Local 10 veteran reporter Jeff Weinsier (see video below) milked it like a champ...setting what must be some kind of station record for the most uses of the word "miracle" in a two minute story.

Woman crashes SUV into Fort Lauderdale store
Driver says her foot slipped, hit gas

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Here's a list of other stories on cars crashing into stores that have run on Local 10 in the past few months.

Employee injured after car crashes into Miami supermarket
Driver backs up into store, crashes into apartment building wall, police say

Car drives into store in Fort Lauderdale
Driver says he accidentally hit gas instead of brake

Car crashes into front of Deerfield Beach shoe store
No injuries reported

Van crashes into pharmacy in Miami after failing to stop for police
Driver taken into custody

7 injured when SUV crashes into DryClean USA in Fort Lauderdale
Driver, 85, believed to have suffered medical episode

Car crashes into Aventura business
No injuries reported after car crashes into Jus d'Orange

Driver crashes into supermarket, apartment wall in Miami

Ferrari driver loses control of car, crashes into Miami Beach home
Nobody hurt when car crashes into tree, porch on LaGorce Drive

10 hurt after car crashes into Homestead Little Caesars restaurant
Police: Older man mistook accelerator for brake

Bentley crashes into Miami Beach optical store
No injuries reported