(*Shot with my crappy cell phone camera.)
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|Pixel and Weegee enjoy a beach run. |
Photograph Suzanne K. Mast Lee.
|Weegee and Pixel at the beach. |
Photograph Wilfredo Lee.
Miami's first swipe at public indecency just may have occurred 100 years ago, on the afternoon of July 14, 1913 in downtown Miami. Click here to read the shocking details at Miami Archives, my blog devoted exclusively to Miami's history.
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The @marlins new PR firm is the @jeffreygroup - if Loria ad was their idea, man was it a blunder. #HugeBacklash. #StopMakingTheHoleBigger
— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) February 24, 2013
If open letter from @marlins owner Loria is an attempt at damage control - he actually made things worse. It was an incredibly insulting ad.
— Jim DeFede (@DeFede) February 24, 2013
In a way, it's like we appeared on a TV quiz show and won a Rolls-Royce. We were ecstatic, until we discovered that the maintenance costs -- insurance, gas, repairs -- are absolutely horrendous, and that we would have been better off with a Toyota, even if we had had to pay for the Toyota ourselves.
Metrorail is almost like that. But not exactly.
Because you could always sell the Rolls.
New York's subways are dirty and dangerous. You climb out of a grimy, unair-conditioned car, walk up greasy steps, sidestepping winos, nervously looking out for any Bernhard Goetz-types, and when you get out of the station, . . . you are right in the middle of the city. Times Square. Wall Street. Central Park.
That's why people take it. It deposits them right where they want to go.
With Metrorail , the stations are magnificently designed -- red-tile floors, translucent glass blocks, gleaming stainless steel -- but most of them give the casual visitor an odd sense that he is . . . well, no place.
-John Dorschner, Tropic Magazine, September 15, 1985
This is architecture at freeway speed. It pops into your vision as you speed down Interstate 95 south of Miami, a highrise topped by a huge red triangle. From the north, the building is all reflective glass. Glance in your rearview mirror: From the south, it’s a massive blue grid. And – if you look closely enough – you will see a hole in the center of the structure. A hole 12 stories off the ground, containing a red spiral staircase and a fully grown palm tree.
Meet Arquitectonica, a Miami architectural firm whose work dazzles the eye and sends the mind reeling. From the freeway, you can’t even see the whirlpool nestled in the building’s hole. Never mind. This is delirium in the tropics, fun in tourist town.
“Our buildings, says Laurinda Spear, “are meant to hold your attention at 55 mph.” That’s understating it. They don’t so much “hold” you as goose you.
You are being watched.
It happens at large airports, in places like Los Angeles and New York. Local police and federal agents are stationed there, at the Miami gate, waiting for you, watching. You are marked for their attention by the MIA ticket you hold.
The authorities don't demand that you go through customs; they don't ask for passports. They can't, because Miami is still technically part of the United States. But the agents know it isn't, not really, not like Schenectady is part of New York. There is an invisible border between Miami and the rest of the country, and these men are the border patrol.
If you fit a certain "profile," you are one of the usual suspects: Young Latin male? Definitely bears watching. And that blue-rinsed lady who walks with a cane? An innocent grandma, or a money-laundering "smurf"? You never know. Old folks make the best smurfs.
The agents are looking for money, not drugs. Greenbacks. The proceeds of dope deals. It happens all the time. Robert Targ, a Miami defense attorney who frequently travels to Los Angeles, often sees federal agents -- agents he cross-examines in court -- at the Los Angeles airport, watching the people who board the Delta red-eye special for Miami. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Attorney's Office acknowledge that Miami passengers are being watched, though they say it doesn't happen on every flight.
Herb Friedberg, an undercover operative for the Internal Revenue Service, tells about the time he and an IRS agent had just finished working a case in which they had seized $120,000. They were carrying the money back to Miami in an attache case. As the case moved through the X-ray machine at LaGuardia, Friedberg saw a security clerk nod to a man standing nearby, and they were asked to stand in another line. Ahead of them, police were already questioning a Colombian woman who had a satchel with $300,000 in cash and an American man who claimed he was a jeweler and was carrying $60,000 in cash to Miami to purchase some jewels.
That was one flight.
"The Casablanca of the Caribbean." That's what the world press is calling Miami.
Funny how images change.
Five years ago, Miami was "Paradise Lost," branded for all the nation to see, right there on the cover of Time Magazine. We had become the land of oppressive crime, runaway immigration, suffocating fear.
Look at us now. Awash in crime, still. Aswarm with immigrants. Aboil with fear. And we are . . . Casablanca. They call it exotic intrigue. Romance. Multicultural excitement. This town has become a movie. Or more precisely: a TV show.
John Dorschner has been a staff writer for The Miami Herald for 41 years. Much of that time was with the Sunday magazine, Tropic, in which he led a pampered existence, spending weeks on a single story. Tropic once sent him to France to walk in the wine country for three days. When the magazine folded in 1998, he became a business writer. In 2002, he started writing about healthcare economics. Since 2009, he’s focused on the turmoil of the tax-payer financed Jackson Health System. He believes that the only reason he has kept at it for so long is that he has a screw loose.
|A rare sight outside the Richard E. Gerstein Justice Building: a live chicken. |
(Photo via the Justice Building Blog)
|Family and friends of a defendant in a criminal case wait in a sixth floor|
corridor in Nov. 2011. (Photo by Al Diaz/Miami Herald)
This is obviously as high class an address as a public official could have. The walls inside the White House are not nearly as elegant, not to mention the tile work. It is a sumptuous vista, down there among the shipyards, and we should all swell with pride.
|Miami News, Sept. 29, 1962.|
(Click here to enlarge.)
@random_pixels @miamidadecourts so true!But your comparison is an insult to $49 Biscayne Blvd. motels.
— SFL (@SouthFLawyers) February 22, 2013
Read the entire story at Miami New Times by clicking here.
Ari Pregen picked the wrong strip club to throw his weight around. On January 26, the Miami-Dade assistant state attorney gained free admission for himself and two pals into downtown Miami's Goldrush by flashing his work badge at the titty bar's executive manager Jeff Levy. A few hours later, Pregen again whipped out his law enforcement credentials so he wouldn't have to pay a 15 percent credit card surcharge on lap dances he purchased.
Ari Pregen in happier
Pregen got belligerent with Goldrush's front door bouncers, demanding he and his crew be allowed into the club without paying the cover charge. Security called Levy, who came to the front door. He explained to Pregen that he only allowed military with a valid ID to enter the strip joint for free. "Mr. Pregen was more persistent and told me that he had not paid for admission fees for years," Levy recollected. "Mr. Pregen reached for his wallet and flashed his State Attorney's badge at me."
To avoid making a scene, Levy said he let the trio in without charging them "against my better judgement."
Around one in the morning, Pregen lost his cool when he used his credit card to pay for lap dances. He was annoyed that Goldrush -- like all strip clubs -- wanted to collect a 15 percent surcharge for swiping his plastic. Anyone familiar with titty bar etiquette understands that obtaining bands to make her dance inside the club usually comes with a Vig. That's why you stop at an ATM before you step through the front door.
Obviously, Pregen didn't get the memo. Levy alleges Pregen tried to intimidate the female employee who ran his credit card by stating "he is a state attorney and he dares her to charge him ... Mr. Pregen goes on to flash his badge again to the female employee." The assistant prosecutor also claimed it was illegal for the club to take his fingerprint because he was a state employee.
This is bs. Please do some investigation before posting such nonsense. I bet he didn't even "flash" it at all, but rather it accidentally fell out of his pocket as he was walking through the threshold of the establishment. My badge has a mind of its own whenever I get pulled over for speeding, when I purchase guns and ammo, and when I'm running late at the airport. Such clumsy things, those damn badges.Pregen isn't the first Miami lawyer to do something stupid in a strip club.
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|Click here to enlarge. (Photo on right by Emily Michot/|
"Our goal is to make WLRN the round-the-clock pervasive and constant source of news and information about and of interest to South Florida."
"Our goal is to be a major-market public media news juggernaut that has no equal." - WLRN 2016: News Is Our Future
NEWS ITEM: Feb. 16, 1988 - Republican presidential contender Pat Robertson Monday stood by his assertion that Cuba has nuclear missiles pointed at the United States, but the White House denied that Soviet missiles are based in Cuba
On Capitol Hill, a Senate aide identified by Robertson as the source of his information said the Republican presidential contender apparently drew his conclusion from a speech delivered by Sen. Jesse Helms, R-N.C., who only speculated that missiles could be in Cuba .
Peppered Monday with questions about his assertion during a GOP debate Sunday, Robertson said he was not backing off his claim, but he acknowledged that he had no proof.
|Miami News, Feb. 16, 1988. (Click to enlarge)|
Rude woman who held up the Publix express line for 15 minutes with her price questioning -- and then told those in line behind her to "kiss my a--" when we volunteered to pay the difference just to get the line moving.
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Rick at Stuck on the Palmetto got going this morning with a rather rancid take on Michael Mayo's column in the Sun-Sentinel about the isolation of gay inmates at the Broward County Jail. His post on the column, illustrated with a bar of soap, ends thusly:
"Hey, if the guys wants to mix with general population, let them mix with general population. Better yet, before they transfer, let's give them some high heels, lipstick, pink tutus and a big, Costco-sized tub of Vaseline."
A little background: Rick is/was probably the most active blogger in South Florida. He mines the newspapers and the larger Internet for his material and posts several times a day, illustrating just about every post. I'd say he averages three to four hours a day on it. Just an educated guess.Fast forward to last Sunday.
Everyone by now has gathered what line of work he's in, thanks to his bullhorning of an obscure jab that was tucked away in a comment on the Pulp. Now it's time for you to put two and two together. I've devoted half my career so far to exposing waste, corruption etc in government. So I'm not going to lie and say my eyebrows didn't raise a notch when I found out what Rick does for a living. It crossed my mind that all that Palmetto time might be better spent doing his actual job, which is not an unimportant one at all.
I barely gave it a second thought, though; this wasn't a job for Pulpman. His blog was decent and who knew how he juggled it with his job to make it happen. But when he started accusing me of bashing police and made himself out to be some avenging angel of law enforcement, it did irk me. It's the one issue Rick -- solid, middle American, mind-numbingly normal Rick -- gets totally irrational about. I knew why he was biased, but nobody else did. Basically I thought he should admit what line of work he was in, in general terms. We tussled about it a little in the past and I nudged the guy over the weekend. I thought it was harmless.
Seems to me that it wouldn't take much time or effort for Didziulis or any other reporter with the time and resources to assemble a reporting portfolio that would clearly show Caputo's bias.
Which has to make one think of glass houses and stones, you know.
Judging by the appearance of the link, this is the guy who trolled me on Twitter. I blocked him. Someone gets blocked for being anonymous, false, stupid, hypocritical and a name-caller.In his post, "Rick" called Caputo "thin-skinned" for blocking him on Twitter.
Interacting with people like this is like handling feces: no matter how clean you are, their stink clings to you if you deal with them.
So I haven't read the post. Nor will I. When I first got trolled a few weeks ago, I quickly scanned over the blog (which has about 200 readers). I saw what he's up to. He wants to drive traffic by making inflammatory remarks because he can't produce good content with original reporting.
There are two versions of Micky Arison.The reason you won't see this story in the Herald? What? And risk pissing-off one of Miami's most powerful men? Are you serious?
One is the billionaire deeply involved in the success of his professional basketball team, the Miami Heat. That Arison is close with the players, attends nearly every home game and talks often about the team on Twitter.
The other is the CEO of cruise company Carnival (CCL) -- he remains largely silent during company disasters.
It happened in 2010, when an engine fire knocked a cruise ship offline and forced nearly 4,500 to spend three days stranded in the Pacific. It happened last year during the Costa Concordia shipwreck, which killed 32 off the coast of Italy.
And it's happening again.
|GIF by Huffington Post.|
|Karlie Tomica in court Friday with attorney |
Mark Shapiro, right.
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Circuit Judge Migna Sanchez-Llorens, citing the extraordinary facts and Tomica’s alleged underage drinking, raised her bail to $77,000. Tomica was re-booked into jail, and will likely be released later Friday.Read Ovalle's full story by clicking here.
The impact was so violent that her car was severely damaged, covered in skull fragments and brain matter, prosecutor Warren Eth told the judge Friday. A nearby street barricade “was painted in blood,” he said.
Tomica refused to stop, instead driving several miles to her 17th-floor condo even as a good Samaritan followed and tried to get her to stop. Police arrested her at the condo.
She refused to take a breathalyzer test at the scene, Eth said, and she later fell asleep on a chair at the Miami Beach police station, snoring loudly. In her purse, detectives found another woman’s drivers license they believe Tomica used to buy liquor.
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A correspondent from British Columbia agreed, saying that "the word which once aptly described the process of birth is now used to describe such trivial things as toast, or the color of a shirt".So, here's my offer to anyone at Local 10: Buy a Thesaurus and give it to Laurie. Take a photo of her holding it, send it to me and I'll buy you dinner!
Twenty-five years later, Rubio still has a drinking problem.CORAL GABLES, Fla. — As a teenager in the late 1980s, Marco Rubio's favorite place to get drunk with his high school buddies was the golf course surrounding the Biltmore Hotel, a towering Mediterranean-style structure at the center of town.
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MIAMI BEACH -- She was as drunk as a witness described.
Blood alcohol test results shows Nikki Beach bartender Karlie Tomica was three times over the limit when she plowed into Shore Club executive chef Stefano Riccioletti and kept driving.
Miami Beach Police told The Huffington Post the 20-year-old self-proclaimed "party princess" will now appear in court Friday to be charged with DUI manslaughter.
Riccioletti, a father of three, died at the scene in the wee hours of January 28 on Collins Avenue near 18th Street. His son Jacopo sued both Tomica and the nightclub last Thursday, alleging Nikki Beach operators allowed Tomica to consume alcohol underage and on the job before driving home drunk.
[Nikki Beach] is named for the daughter of the owner, who was killed by a drunk driver just weeks before her high school graduation.
Feb. 8: 'Party princess' Karlie Tomica retains high-profile defense attorney; family of hit & run victim files suit against her and Nikki Beach
|John Goodman (left) and attorneys - Mark Shapiro, Guy Fronstin, and
Roy Black - |
react as a guilty verdict is announced in Goodman's DUI manslaughter trial,
March 23, 2012. Click image to enlarge. (Palm Beach Post photo.)
The son of the well-known chef killed in a South Beach hit-and-run has filed a lawsuit against the driver and her employer, nightclub Nikki Beach, as first reported by NBC6.One section of the suit alleges that Nikki Beach's bartenders and servers are encouraged to consume alcohol with customers.
Though blood alcohol test reports are pending, a witness to the crash said bartenders 20-year-old Karlie Tomica, was "really drunk" when she plowed into the Shore Club's executive chef Stefano Riccioletti on Collins Avenue in the early morning hours of January 28. The witness followed Tomica to her home, where he said she could barely stand.
Tomica was "served and consumed alcohol at the club, with the club's knowledge and authority that she was underage the lawful drinking age," reads the complaint, embedded below. It states the club "knew or should have known that she was going to drive. It was foreseeable to the club that she posed a dangerous risk of injury or death to other motorists and/or pedestrians."
|Canadians Angelina (left) and Michele Mastrangelo allege they were roughed |
up after they were arrested by Miami Beach Police just before Christmas last year.
However, when asked to back up their allegations with
a sworn statement, the pair refused. (Toronto Star)
During the darkest months of winter, half of Canada flees to South Florida. So you'd think police would have some respect for the maple-syrup-guzzling visitors who fuel the local economy through spring break.Alvarado wrote that cops arrested the sisters on Dec. 23rd "for allegedly acting belligerent and refusing their commands to leave the Ritz-Carlton at 17th Street and Lincoln Road."
That's not what one pair of sisters from Toronto found in Miami Beach last month. The women say two Beach cops assaulted them while hurling insults such as "bitches," "sluts," and "dirty Canadians."
Not very neighborly, eh?
Miami Beach Police officers Eduard Alba and William Beeker allegedly gave Canadian tourists Angelina and Michele Mastrangelo a nightmare before Christmas they will never forget.
According to Alvarado, the sisters "filed a complaint at the police station against Alba and Beeker."
"Those officers are disgusting. They completely ruined our trip."
Angelina claimed one cop told her to "sit the f*ck down bitch."
Michele told Alvarado that one cop "Grabbed my sister by one arm and yanked her up...He dragged her to his cop car, threw her against the car and told her, 'you are in my playground now bitch.'"
Michele told Alvarado, "Alba called her sister 'Miss Piggy' and 'fat bitch' when she told him her weight. Alba also called us sluts, cunts, and dirty Canadians. He told the other male cops not to talk to us because they would get HIV."
My daughter Michele has been waking up every night crying her eyes out. Angelina cries every time she talks about it, which is why she has Michele tell most of the story. This has traumatized them forever. I'm never ever in my life going back to Miami.So, how traumatized were the sisters by their experience at the hands of the cops?
State Rep. Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat , R-West Dade, is betting voters will overlook his reputation for having a short fuse and a sharp tongue and return him to Tallahassee for a third term representing District 114.
In February  when Florida International University professor Dario Moreno described Miami on national television as "almost the definition of a Third World Banana Republic," Rodriguez-Chomat retaliated by threatening FIU President Mitch Maidique to hurt the university when funding issues came up in Tallahassee if Maidique didn't take a stand against Moreno. Maidique refused and Rodriguez-Chomat was forced to apologize and retract his statement."
I saw the video and while it is clear the girl is not exactly the model of decorum, it also seems to me the judge was on a bit of a power trip. After setting her bail, he shows a lack of decorum with his dismissive "bye-bye," to which she respectfully replied in the native tongue of much of So. Florida (and evidently, both she and the judge,) "Adios" -- which is much more respectful than the judge's high and mighty "bye-bye." Sure the girl is a bit of a dope, but she also appears to be a druggie -- heavy volumes of Xanax are usually reserved for people with major panic disorders. The doses can make people excessively talkative (like she was) and irritable/impulsive -- especially upon withdrawal.
But that's still no reason for the judge being a thin-skinned bully. But there's a pattern here. When the judge was ...in the [Florida] State Legislature, there's a famous picture of him mixing it up on the floor with another lawmaker when the judge thought the other lawmaker got personal.
It is easy to see this in black and white -- a disrespectful party girl who is used to flirting her way through life, getting her comeuppance. But this bully in a black robe is hardly the model of humanity who should be delivering society's disapprobation. His snickering mockery is simply the flip side of the girl's callow disrespect. The thing is, the judge should know better -- but bullies rarely do. They just seek out more powerful positions. As a judge, his ability to [exert] power over a pretty but bubble-headed party-girl seems, [to Santiago], to be a virtue. When he was on the floor of the legislature engaging in fisticuffs, the other party had the ability to hit back. We should expect better from our robed jurists!
[Carlos] Valdes said [Jorge] Rodriguez-Chomat had walked over to him and repeatedly called him a jackass.
"By the third or fourth time (he said it), I just said, "You must be looking at yourself in the mirror,' " Valdes recounted. "He grabbed my tie, and I was just trying to keep him away." He said Rodriguez-Chomat also tried to punch him.
|TALLAHASSEE, FL. 4/9/98-Reps. Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat, R-Miami, left, and Carlos Valdes, R-Miami, scuffle on the floor of the House of Representatives as Rep. Bruno Barreiro, R-Miami Beach, right, tries to intervene Thursday at the Capitol in Tallahassee. Earlier during debate over the School Readiness Voucher Program bill Valdes pointed out that Rodriguez-Chomat's children attend a private school. Rodriguez-Chomat took exception to the comments and said he felt the statements overly personalized the debate. Photograph by COLIN HACKLEY|
Miami-Dade police investigate an entire squad of Kendall cops
Miami Herald - August 11, 2011
by Michelle Hammmontree-Garcia
A Kendall District police squad, made up of five to six officers and a sergeant, has been put on suspension with pay while the Miami-Dade Police Internal Affairs Bureau conducts an investigation.
The squad has been on suspension for at least a month. But Miami-Dade police have little else to say other than that Internal Affairs in investigating their conduct while on duty.
Maj. James O?Donnell, who heads the Kendall District station, said: ?At this point they are under investigation for actions conducted while on their work schedule. Once the investigation is complete, appropriate action will be taken, if necessary.
Although police internal affairs investigations of individual officers are not uncommon with an agency as large as the Miami-Dade Police Department, a probe of an entire squad is unusual.
Documents pertaining to internal investigations of police officers are exempt from Florida's public records law until the probe is complete.