Saturday, March 31, 2012

Facebook photo of the day

Posted today on Facebook with this caption: "Dinner for 8ppl at The Dutch Miami. One for the records!"

Friday, March 30, 2012

Because it's all about you, isn't it, Calvin?

Calvin: Back in the land of the
bottomless mojito!
Local 10's Calvin Hughes has to be one of the most clueless news anchors...ever.

According to a report on Thursday night's 11pm newscast on Hughes' and colleague Jen Herrera's return from their "exhausting and exhilarating" trip to Cuba where they covered the Pope's visit; Hughes actually admitted - before God and the world - that it wasn't until he had been in Cuba for a few days that he realized he was a Communist country.

Reporter Sasha Andrade's report was filled with a few other fun - but mostly embarrassing - facts gleaned from the perky news duo's trip down south.

If you didn't see Andrade's report, here are the low-lights:
  • Jen used the word "amazing" twice in a two-minute report to describe the Cuba trip. ("Amazing people" and "amazing experience.")

  • "All the cell phones were cut off, the Internet was cut off, the bars were closed early because they didn't want intoxicated people," said Herrera. (Hey Jen...Perhaps the real reason the authorities closed the bars was to keep Calvin "Happy Hour" Hughes from getting sloshed on mojitos.)

  • "When you were in the barricaded area, they could pretty much change the rules. You realize very quickly that you're in a communist country," said Hughes. (No one can ever accuse Hughes of being a slow learner.)

  • But, the Random Pixels Tip of the Hat goes to Andrade for coming up with this unctuous and smarmy line to end her piece: "While a piece of Cuba will always live in their hearts, after the trip to the communist island, they said there's no place like the land of the free."

  • Thursday, March 29, 2012

    New witnesses come forward in Chris Brown iPhone theft case

    The attorney for rapper Chris Brown has apparently "found" some new witnesses in the iPhone theft case against his client.

    Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle said in a statement today that Brown's attorney has supplied her office with the names of additional witnesses.
    “In our investigation of the Chris Brown incident, we have taken the statements of our local witnesses and have just finished discussing with the lead Miami Beach Detective the additional witness information supplied by Mr. Brown’s attorney Mark Geragos.

    We now must interview these individuals, some of whom may be from out of state, just as we do in every criminal investigation in order to uncover the truth in its entirety.”
    Back on Feb. 19, five witnesses told Miami Beach police they saw R&B star Chris Brown snatch a cell phone from a fan outside Cameo nightclub.

    But instead of arresting Brown, police went to the State Attorney and asked for an arrest warrant and once that happened it "kicked the case into slow gear," the Miami Herald's Jose Lambiet reported last March 1.

    From Lambiet's report:
    “Police have the power to make an arrest at the scene when they have probable cause,” State Attorney Spokesman Ed Griffith said. “But once they come to us, it brings a whole different approach. We’re re-interviewing every witness.

    “This is not because Chris Brown’s famous. It’s about handling every case equitably.”

    “Why didn’t the police grow a pair and arrest him when the complaint was drawn?” a high-ranking State Attorney’s staffer said. “That’s how you do it.”

    Wednesday, March 28, 2012

    About last night...

    So there I was last night at The "rakontur: The First Ten Years" retrospective at the O Cinema.

    In attendance were some of the "cast members" of the highly acclaimed rakontur film, Cocaine Cowboys, including a former drug smuggler, a former Miami police homicide detective, a former prosecutor, a former MiamiHerald crime reporter, a lawyer who did time in prison for scheming to obstruct a federal grand jury investigation into a drug-trafficking operation and other shady characters and former shady characters.

    The evening reminded me of one of those WWII reunions where former American and Japanese soldiers get together and talk about how they tried to kill each other. But, in this case it was cops and drug dealers and a crooked lawyer or two.

    But acting as a counterbalance to all those folks were Aleksandra, Hannah and Meghan.

    Aleksandra, Hannah and Meghan.

    (Click here for more pics.)

    The Random Pixels Losers Corner welcomes...

    Coral Springs police officers Nicole Stasnek
    and Derek Fernandes

    ...Coral Springs police officers Nicole Stasnek and Derek Fernandes.

    They're the latest South Florida cops to get caught falsifying a police report and then lying about falsifying a police report.

    Stasnek and Fernandes are being investigated by Broward County prosecutors for filing false documents following an encounter with Susan Mait, a 60-year-old widow from Coral Springs.

    Last October, Stasnek and Fernandes rolled up behind Mait while she was stuck with two flat tires on Royal Palm Boulevard.

    Instead of trying to help Mait, the two cops got belligerent with her and escalated what should have been a routine matter of cops helping a distraught, stranded motorist into a rude, profanity-laced confrontation that ended up with Mait going to jail and the two cops falsifying a police report.

    The Miami Herald's Adam Beasley reports...
    None of this would have happened if the driver — Susan Mait, a 60-year-old widow from Coral Springs — hadn’t dropped her phone to the floor of her SUV while the cops yanked her from the vehicle. Unbeknownst to any of them, the phone was still connected to a GEICO customer service rep, who, following company policy, recorded everything that happened.

    The audio tape, made public this week, depicts a starkly different exchange than what Stasnek and Fernandes described in their reports and during questioning under oath.
    It's nice to know that Coral Springs cops have eliminated all crime in their city and now have time to go out on the streets and look for stranded motorists to harass!

    And for that, Coral Springs officers Nicole Stanek and Derek Fernandes are the newest inductees into the Random Pixels Losers Corner.

    Here's WSVN's report:

    Tuesday, March 27, 2012

    Miami Beach police Internal Affairs investigating incident involving one of their own

    UPDATED at 4:30pm: The Miami Herald's David Smiley tweets...

    The Miami Beach police Internal Affairs unit is conducting an investigation into a weekend incident involving one of their officers.

    If the allegations are true, it would be just the latest in a long line of embarrassing episodes for the department.

    Random Pixels has learned that a Miami Beach police officer may have been involved in one what a source is calling, "a near collision" involving the officer's police vehicle and a car driven by a postal inspector.

    According to the source, the officer, Michael Veski, and the postal inspector had some sort of an exchange.

    But, the source adds, the postal inspector is alleging that Veski was not the one driving the police vehicle. The source tells me that a friend of the officer - who is not a cop - was behind the wheel.

    The postal inspector has allegedly told Internal Affairs investigators that when Veski exited his vehicle he was holding a beer.

    This afternoon Miami Beach police spokesman Juan Sanchez confirmed to me that an investigation into the incident is being conducted by Internal Affairs, but declined further comment. Sanchez also declined to confirm the name of the officer. But, Sanchez denies there was a "near collision" between the two vehicles.

    Did you catch the show last night?

    If you missed it, you missed it.

    I walked outside last night and looked up in the sky and sensed I was seeing something special. Took some pictures and then I went to Google to find out what I'd witnessed.

    From MSNBC:
    At sunset, Venus, Jupiter and the moon will appear together in the western sky in what astronomers call a conjunction. For observers with clear skies, the crescent moon will appear at the top of the trio like a giant smile in space, with Venus shining bright to the lower right and Jupiter perched below.

    "This will be the best Venus-Jupiter conjunction for years to come," NASA officials wrote in a skywatching alert.

    Click to enlarge.
    Camera-Nikon Coolpix P500. White balance set to incandescent.
    ISO-1600. Exposure-1/125 sec. @ f5.1

    Monday, March 26, 2012

    rakontur: The First 10 years

    rakontur sizzle reel

    For years, when people got around to learning that I'd worked as a photojournalist in Miami for almost 30 years, among the first questions they would ask was: "Is there one book about Miami's that you would recommend?" Without hesitation, my answer was always the same: "The Corpse Had a Familiar Face" by Edna Buchanan.

    A few years ago I started telling people they also needed to watch the 2006 documentary, Cocaine Cowboys, by filmmakers Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman.

    If you are a regular reader of this blog then I don't have to explain who Billy Corben and Alfred Spellman are.

    But, in a nutshell they are two 33-year old filmmakers, raised and schooled in Miami.

    Friends from an early age and now professionally inseparable as Batman and Robin or Crockett and Tubbs, they are the dynamic duo of Miami documentary filmmakers. A little over 10 years ago they formed a film production company and named it "rakontur"...that's rakontur with a small "r."

    Last year I described them like this: "They make movies about subjects that some people would rather forget."

    Two of their films bear that out.

    My favorite, Cocaine Cowboys tells the story the effects of the violent and bloody cocaine trade in 80s Miami. It's definitely not on the Chamber of Commerce's approved list of made-in-Miami films. Some have compared 80s Miami to 1940s Casablanca.

    And to say that 2009's The U is "a film about a subject people would rather forget" would be a gross understatement.

    Corben and Spellman set out to tell the story of the rise of the University of Miami's controversial football program in the 1980s. As I recounted last year, "when Corben and Spellman approached UM about doing the film, the school was so anxious to bury the past, the filmmakers were told by UM’s sports information director Mark Pray that they 'should rethink even doing this project.'"

    While the pair are best known for Cowboys and the The U, they've also produced other films including a sequel to Cocaine Cowboys and 2011's Limelight, the story of Peter Gatien, the king of the 1980s New York City club scene.

    And the Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez reports that several other projects are "in the can" including a Cocaine Cowboys Remix, Cocaine Cowboys: Los Muchachos, the story of Sal Magluta and Willy Falcon, two of the biggest drug traffickers in South Florida history, and The Ponzi State, a look at corruption in Florida, from housing fraud to pill mills.

    And that brings us to today.

    All this week, Corben and Spellman and the rest of the rakontur family are celebrating rakontur's first ten years with a retrospective showing of four of their films at the O Cinema in Wynwood.

    As I write this on Monday evening, they are in the midst of showing their first film, A Question of Consent, a documentary about a rape at a University of Florida frat house.

    On Tuesday evening, March 27, they'll screen Cocaine Cowboys along with never-before-seen footage from the upcoming Cocaine Cowboys Remix. In attendance will be Cowboys cast members Edna Buchanan, Al Sunshine, and Sam Burstyn just to name a few.

    The U and Square Grouper and will be shown on Wednesday and Thursday respectively.

    The week closes out with a conversation with Billy and Alfred that's hosted by CBS Miami’s Jim DeFede.

    Tickets for all remaining events this week are still available. Click here to read a detailed schedule and to purchase tickets. Doors will open at 6:30pm nightly. Film screenings will commence at 7:30pm. Panel discussions immediately after film.

    (Footnote: I'm honored that Billy and Alfred have allowed me to participate in the retrospective. They've allowed me to show a few of the photographs I shot during the 1983 filming of Scarface on Ocean Drive. They'll be on display in the lobby of the O Cinema.)

    They said it

    "Now that we've seen the first video of the [Marlins Home Run sculpture] in action, it's time to admit the unthinkable: Miami would have been better off letting Britto's army of factory artists decorate the stadium." -Tim Elfrink, managing editor, Miami New Times.

    "I don’t necessarily think a home run bazookabomb should be tasteful, refined, or show any measure of restraint, but I do think it should be interesting and memorable in some way. This… isn’t." -Sean McCaughan, @Suntanned Mumford

    "I have been to two pride parades and that's the gayest thing I have ever seen." -YouTube user "FrankusDomesticus"

    Chuck the boxer welcomes home his soldier

    I never get tired of watching these kinds of videos.

    Sunday, March 25, 2012

    Carlos Noriega wants to do for Fontainebleau Hotel Security what he did for the Miami Beach Police Dept.

    When Carlos Noriega retired last year as Miami Beach's police chief, he left a department in shambles.

    Last November, the Miami Herald's David Smiley reported, "Since Memorial Day [2011], the department has dealt with a high-profile and fatal shooting; an officer’s drunken, July 3 ATV crash into two pedestrians on the beach; demotions; firings, and criticisms of their overtime, pay and pensions."

    After retiring from the police department, Noriega quietly became the head of security for the Fontainebleau Hotel.

    Now, it appears that Noriega is running the ritzy hotel's security department the same way he ran the police department.

    A source tells Random Pixels that police responded to a report of a sexual assault at the hotel this morning.

    The source says a man attempted to rape a woman in one of hotel's cabanas early Sunday. The assault was interrupted when the woman's boyfriend returned to the cabana to find the assailant, pants down, on top of the victim. According to my source, the man fled before police arrived.

    It's the second sexual assault in less than a week to occur at the swank resort.

    Last Thursday, Miami Beach police arrested 26-year old Rafael Munguia for sexually assaulting a female hotel guest as she slept.

    Police say Munguia was able to gain entry to the woman's 15th floor room because her door was left "slightly ajar."

    According to the Miami Herald, the victim..."was in Miami Beach to attend the Winter Music Conference and staying in a room next door to her sister [when she] woke up during the attack and tried to fight Munguia off. He ran when she screamed for help, [police spokeswoman Vivian] Hernandez said."

    The Herald story quotes police spokeswoman Hernandez as saying that Munguia was a Fontainebleau guest who was staying on the 8th floor.

    However, Random Pixels has learned that Munguia was not a guest at the Fontainebleau.

    A source tells me that Munguia was staying at the Loew's at 16th Street and Collins Avenue on South Beach but was kicked out for being drunk.
    Rafael Munguia

    Munguia hailed a cab and traveled 25 blocks north to the Fontainebleau. Once there, the source says Munguia was spotted by hotel security wandering shirtless around the Fontainebleu's lobby.

    When asked if he was a guest, Munguia responded by telling the security guard the floor number of his room at the Loew's: 15.

    I'm told the security guard escorted Munguia to the 15th floor and left him there. Munguia tried several of the doors until he found an open door. And that's when he assaulted his victim.

    Following last Thursday's attack, the Herald's David Smiley reported "a Fontainebleau spokeswoman issued a statement, calling the incident 'isolated.' "

    Local 10's Calvin Hughes is ready to 'throw back' some mojitos

    Local 10 anchor Calvin Hughes is in Cuba to cover the visit of the Pope.

    Hughes and his crew arrived in Cuba Thursday after a flight that he called, "grueling" and "arduous."

    But, it's what Hughes said during Friday's live shot on the station's 11pm newscast that has some in Miami's broadcast news community buzzing.

    As Hughes and co-anchor Jen Herrera wrapped up their live shot, he casually told viewers, "The mojitos are waiting for us somewhere and I'm ready to throw them back."

    Apparently Hughes views Cuba in the same way some view South Beach: An island where everyone goes to get drunk...or to put it another way, Havana is nothing more than the southern branch of Mango's Tropical Cafe.

    One South Florida TV veteran called me late Friday to tell me that Hughes' quip was "One of the most disgusting and disrespectful things I've ever heard anyone say on the air. He's in Cuba to cover an important story and all he's got on his mind is getting off the air and throwing back mojitos."

    Another journalist emailed me this: "He apparently hasn't yet grasped the fact that he's in a country of 11 million that's been ruled by a Communist dictatorship for the past half century. And he's talking about getting drunk in a bar that's probably off-limits to Cuban citizens. What were they thinking when they hired this guy?"

    This isn't the first time Hughes has shown he has little or no empathy for the people he covers. In a video posted on Local 10's website, Hughes says that covering the Haiti earthquake taught him "to appreciate air conditioning.

    Friday, March 23, 2012

    THIS JUST IN! Local 10's Calvin Hughes survives 'grueling' trip to Cuba!

    Local 10's Calvin Hughes and Jen Herrera are in Cuba to cover the Pope's visit.

    The trip will be an excellent opportunity for Calvin to meet some actual Cubans; something he obviously never does here in South Florida.

    Local 10 insiders tell me that Calvin prepared for his trip by spending every available minute of the last few weeks on Wikipedia.

    Local 10 is the only South Florida station with a crew in Cuba. If you watch Local 10 news, you'll be reminded of that numerous times over the next week. Bet on it!

    Calvin reported on his blog that the trip to Cuba was "arduous" and "grueling."

    Yes, he actually wrote those words:
    The long, arduous journey into Cuba was grueling, but expected. We were warned to anticipate long delays and searches at the airport. I thought this process would take maybe one or two hours. Turns out, retrieving our luggage took three times as long as our flight from Miami which lasted less than an hour.
    "Three times as long as the flight"? Oh, my God, Calvin! Are you OK??

    This morning Cal and Jen met with Cuban government officials.
    We just wrapped up our meeting with Cuban government officials to talk about our "boundaries," but apparently, there aren't as many as we thought. We did request several interviews, including one with Raul Castro, Fidel Castro and Elian Gonzalez.
    Local 10 has posted a slide show of pics of Calvin and Jen on the plane and on the ground in Cuba.

    Here's one of the photos along with the actual caption.

    FRIDAY, MARCH 23 - Jen and Calvin already at work.

    At work? Looks like they're on their honeymoon.

    And, coming up tonight at 6...Calvin meets an actual Cuban person and tries out his Spanish!

    And, according to my sources at Local 10, here are just a few of the other stories Calvin and Jen will be working on while in Cuba:
  • Calvin goes deep-sea fishing with the Old Man and the Sea.

  • Jen goes clothes shopping with the Ladies in White.

  • Calvin can’t get an interview with prisoner Alan Gross, so he searches for Havana’s best corned beef sandwich.

  • After a drunken night in Havana, the Local 10 crew convinces Calvin that "jinetera" is Spanish for "school teacher."

  • I don't know about you,

    Thursday, March 22, 2012

    The Miami Herald and the death of Trayvon Martin

    The Miami Herald has featured the Trayvon Martin story on
    six section front pages since last Friday. (Click graphic to enlarge.)

    Question: What do Michael Beatty and Trayvon Martin have in common?

    Answer: Both were young black men who were shot to death.

    On Nov. 14, 2010, Michael Beatty, 20, was gunned down in broad daylight as he left a Liberty City market. His murder was recorded on a surveillance camera. His killer has never been caught.

    Gunman wearing hoodie chases Michael Beatty
    on Nov. 14, 2010.

    Trayvon Martin, 17, was also shot and killed. He died last Feb. 26 after being shot by a Crime watch captain at a Sanford, Fla. apartment complex. Trayvon was returning from a nearby 7-11 where he had bought a can of iced tea and a bag of Skittles.

    But, that's where the similarities end.

    Since Trayvon was gunned down less than a month ago, the Miami Herald has published at least 24 stories containing tens of thousands of words on every aspect of the young man's death.

    The Herald never printed one word on Michael Beatty's death.

    The sad, inescapable fact is that young black men have a greater chance of being murdered by other young black men in their own neighborhoods than they do of being gunned down by a paranoid Crime Watch captain. It's a fact the Herald hasn't bothered to mention in its sometimes breathless and superheated coverage of this story.

    And, for some unexplained reason the Herald is treating a story that occurred hundreds of miles from Miami like it's the Crime of the Century. All this while the paper routinely ignores stories of equal importance that occur a just few miles from its building.

    Here's a question for Herald editors: Didn't the brutal shooting of Michael Beatty in Nov. 2010 deserve just as much coverage; or at least a tiny fraction of the coverage that Trayvon Martin's death is now receiving?

    And, isn't the epidemic of violence occurring almost daily in Liberty City and Overtown just as worthy of coverage as Trayvon's killing at the Retreat at Twin Lakes?

    Miami Heat LeBron James hoodies photo Trayvon Martin photo

    Wednesday, March 21, 2012

    Tuesday, March 20, 2012

    Will there be fireworks at Miami Beach City Hall tomorrow?

    Click to enlarge.
    The Miami Beach City Commission meets tomorrow.

    Some of the items on the commission's agenda deal with the feeding of cats in city parks, the establishment of tobacco-free zones in city parks, and the erection of a memorial to Art Deco pioneer Barbara Capitman.

    There's even one that asks "Should the City commission amend the city code to permit rooftop wind turbines? ...blah, blah, blah"

    But, all eyes will be on City Manager Jorge Gonzalez who will formally ask the commission to approve his choice of Acting Police Chief Ray Martinez to be the city's next police chief.

    Martinez was last man standing from a field of 79 candidates who "applied from all over the country, including Ohio, New York, Virginia, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, Pennsylvania, Maine and Maryland, to name a few," wrote Gonzalez in a letter to the commission.

    One city hall veteran predicts that Martinez's appointment will sail through the commission without too much trouble. All Gonzalez needs are four votes for approval..but "he probably has 5," says a source. "Watch for the vote to happen in the morning around 10:30 or 11."

    However, a number of city hall watchers will also be paying close attention to Commissioner Ed Tobin when the vote to approve Ray Martinez comes up. "Expect some fireworks," says one source.

    Tobin made no secret of the fact that his choice for police chief was his long-time friend, Bal Harbour Police Chief Tom Hunker. When Hunker was passed over, Tobin's anger and disappointment bubbled to the surface.

    Also on the agenda is Item #R5N, Commissioner Jonah Wolfson's proposal to amend "the Unclassified Employees Salary Ordinance (Ordinance No. 1605) to specifically delineate the current compensation of the City Manager and City Attorney."

    According to a source, what that means in plain English is that, "the intent is simply to approve the manager and the city attorney's compensation by ordinance...up til now, they were just amending the contracts piecemeal by resolution."

    Wolfson first raised the issue during a Feb. 24th commission meeting. From the minutes of that meeting:
    "Commissioner Wolfson distributed, for the record, a copy of the City Charter and a copy of an old ordinance related to this item and stated that the City Charter provides, under section 4.01 and 3.01, that the City Manager and City Attorney compensations shall be fixed by ordinance. In the past, Ordinance 1605 has not set forth the specific compensation. What Ordinance 1605 stated for the past 12 years is that the salaries are "determined by the City Commission," which is not fixing the compensation. The salaries have been fixed by resolution. The City Charter is very clear that this shall be done by ordinance, because ordinances require two readings and a public hearing. He requested from the City Commission that the City Charter is followed."
    (In response to a public records request, Miami Beach City Clerk Robert Parcher told me in an email that over the years there have been 10 resolutions amending Gonzalez's contract.)

    And what that means is that Gonzalez's contract might now look something like this:

    After Wolfson raised the issue at the Feb. 24 meeting, some in Miami Beach started taking a closer look at the true cost Gonzalez's pay and benefits. It was apparently something no one had bothered to do during Gonzalez's almost 12 years with the city. For instance, some were surprised to learn that the city pays Gonzalez a monthly housing allowance of $2,000 on top of his $231,000 annual salary.

    Not bad for the manager of a city that's just 7.2 sq. miles in size with less than 100,000 residents.

    (Today, someone posted a detailed analysis of Gonzalez's contract on YouTube...set to music!)

    (By way of comparison, Miami-Dade County manager Alina Hudak earns a salary of $259,000, and receives $10,000 in Executive Benefits Allowance annually, participation in a 401(a) Supplemental Retirement Account ($1,500 per year) and an annual physical exam with County provider (optional).)

    If you want to see the tomorrow's action live outside of Miami Beach, city commission meetings can now be seen county-wide on AT&T Uverse government Channel 99.

    And the Miami Herald's David Smiley tells me he'll be live tweeting all the action.

    Another reason why Rick Santorum would be bad for America

    Last night, Jimmy Kimmel demonstrated why Rick Santorum is all wrong.

    Monday, March 19, 2012

    Here are the 2011 crime stats for Miami Beach

    Violent crime on Miami Beach - homicide, robbery, rape and aggravated assault - rose slightly in 2011, 2.66% higher than 2010.

    There were only 4 homicides on the beach last year; compared to 8 in 2010, a 50% drop.

    Total property crimes - burglary, car thefts and larceny - were up almost 10%. In that category, larcenies were up almost 13% over 2010.

    One person familiar with Miami Beach crime sums up the stats like this: "In a nut shell overall crime is up due to the thefts component. That's not good. Citizens complain about getting their car broken into and property stolen from the beach...Not HOMICIDES. Its a turd with frosting on top."

    Click to enlarge.

    Ltc 065-2012 2011 Annual Part i Uniform Crime Report

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Another day at the office

    Associated Press photographer Lynne Sladky was just minding her own business at the Miami Heat/Orlando Magic game Sunday night when .....

    Despite her expression, Lynne says she's OK.

    Click image to enlarge.

    Chuck Fadely, photojournalist

    Chuck Fadely
    Look around.  These days it seems like everyone has a video camera.

    But having a video camera - no matter how expensive - doesn't mean you can actually shoot video.

    Only a few can.

    The Miami Herald's Chuck Fadely is one of those few.

    He's been at the paper for almost 30 years.

    He tells me he started shooting more video and fewer "still" images back in 2005.

    Chuck reports that his video skills are mostly self-taught but that he has attended a few workshops.

    He occasionally shoots print assignments for the paper, but estimates the ratio is now 10% stills to 90% video.

    Chuck says he uses a Canon 5D Mark II and a Canon XF305.

    Today, Chuck posted a compilation of some of his recent work. (Don't try this at home unless you're a pro!)

    Good stuff, Chuck!

    Click here to visit Chuck's website.

    And follow Chuck on Twitter!

    Recent work by Chuck Fadely from Chuck Fadely on Vimeo.

    They said it

    Victor Diaz Jr.
    “In 20 years, I’ve never seen so many police officers enforcing the liquor laws on the beach. This is what is needed to change the culture of the police department and the kids. It says to them, ‘no, you’re not going to be stinking drunk and then staggering through our neighborhoods.’ ”

    “We’ve been tired of them not being police officers. Hey, get out of your cars and police! It’s about cops enforcing the laws. Yes, we have some disgruntled kids. So what? Throw a Frisbee and flirt with the girls.”
    -Victor Diaz Jr., former Miami Beach commissioner and vice president of the South of Fifth Association, quoted in a Miami Herald story on Miami Beach police getting tough on spring breakers.


    “David is David. He’s highly energetic, highly entertaining, and somewhat acerbic. You have to take what he says not with a grain of salt, but an entire salt shaker.” -Miami real estate "mogul" Jack Lowell describing Miami Marlins president David Samson in today's Miami Herald.

    Miami has a starring role in "Magic City"

    Can't wait to see "Magic City," a new TV show set in pre-Castro, 1959 Miami.

    "Magic City" premieres April 6th on Starz.

    From the Miami Herald's Rene Rodriguez:
    Unlike other TV shows such as Dexter and CSI: Miami, which are filmed primarily in L.A., all 10 episodes of Magic City were shot entirely in South Florida, because [writer-producer Mitch] Glazer felt actual locations were critical to recapture the sense and feel of the era. To house the vast lobby of the Miramar Playa, with its 50-foot ceilings and marble and terrazzo floors, the production built soundstages at the Bertram Yacht headquarters on the Miami River.

    “If I had a billionaire friend, I’d tell them to build a proper soundstage facility in Miami, because film productions will definitely come,” Glazer says. “We ended up at Bertram, which isn’t soundproof, but we made do. If some wealthy investment guy built a facility in Wynwood, where there’s a lot of property available and all these great restaurants, it would become something really great.”

    Friday, March 16, 2012

    The Random Pixels Facebook photo of the day

    The Night Team gets an early start on St. Patrick's Day.

    WPLG Reporter Bob Norman assaulted

    Okay, let's go over this one more time for those of you who may not have gotten the memo.

    It's not against the law to take pictures or videotape on a public street.

    To be more specific, if Bob Norman from WPLG shows up and starts shooting video at the Sun Recycling plant in Pompano Beach where you just happen to be a foreman, you can't stop him if he's not on your property.

    Furthermore, it's not advisable to get into a scuffle with Norman, who looks like he might be 6'2" or 6'3".

    But, if you do opt to get physical with Norman and he gets the best of you; don't steal his microphone.

    (NOTE: TV reporters are ALWAYS accompanied by videographers who tape everything and then put it on the air so that everyone can see what an ass you are. Also, in most places, video of someone stealing something is called "evidence.")

    And finally, if you are that recycling plant foreman who has just committed assault and theft, DO NOT - REPEAT - DO NOT CALL THE POLICE ON YOURSELF!

    But, that's what happened Tuesday.

    According to Norman, when he showed up at the recycling plant to shoot some video, a foreman confronted him and said "[you're] not allowed to "take pictures" of the plant. I asked him why, he said, "Because I said so."

    Norman will have the entire story - along with more riveting fight video - tonight at 11pm on Channel 10.

    Until then, you'll just have to make do with this slide show.

    Norman does report that he didn't press charges against the foreman. Maybe he was in a magnanimous mood.

    Last month, Jose Lambiet reported that Norman narrowly escaped a "misdemeanor trespassing charge in connection with an on-the-job incident" after "Norman allegedly entered without permission a Parkland horse-farm that’s the target of a lawsuit from neighbors."

    Thursday, March 15, 2012

    Miami Beach has a new police chief

    Miami Beach Asst. Police
    Chief Raymond Martinez
    Miami Beach City Manager Jorge Gonzalez has officially notified Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower and the members of the City Commission of his selection and appointment of Assistant Miami Beach Police Chief Raymond Martinez as the city's next police chief.

    In a letter to the commission, Gonzalez also informed the Mayor and Commissioners of his choice for Miami Beach's assistant police chief, Mark Overton, who is now Hialeah Police Chief.

    Random Pixels first reported Gonzalez's selection of Martinez and Overton last Monday.

    In today's letter to the commission, Gonzalez wrote that his decision to appoint Martinez "was based on who had the ability to best manage the necessary reforms in the police department. My charge memorandum to the new chief identifies both short and long term tasks that I have identified and prioritized for action."

    The commission is expected to vote on Gonzalez's recommendations next Wednesday.

    Embedded below is Gonzalez's letter to the commission.

    LTC 078-2012 Selection and Appointment of Chief of Police - Raymond a. Martinez

    On the closing of Jimbo's

    "The Powers That Be will never allow this old slice of Miami [from] back in the Day to survive. Tear it down, pave it over, gentrify it until every single thing from the past is gone forever. Just like the stupid pavers installed on the bay front beaches recently - it all has to be gussied up. Not everybody in town wants South Beach on every single corner. Some of us like it Rustic." -"YQue," in a comment left on a Miami Herald story on the closing of Jimbo's.

    Jimbo's is closing.

    If you've been keeping up with the news, you're probably aware that by the end of the month this piece of old Miami will be gone. Forever.

    An out-of-the-way dive on Virginia Key, Jimbo's ain't very easy on the eyes and it doesn't have an address. For years, people just referred to it as that place out by the sewage plant.

    Jimbo's doesn't have valet parking, velvet ropes or a doorman.

    But, for decades it's been a magnet that attracted European fashion models, New York photographers, L.A. movie actors and film crews and writers and tourists.

    But mostly, it was a haven for locals who knew that there was a place - a tattered remnant of a simpler time in Miami - just a short, 5 or 10 minute ride from downtown Miami or Brickell Avenue, where one could get lost for a few hours.

    For some of us, the demise of Jimbo's - if it happens - will be just as tragic and heartbreaking as the razing of the Orange Bowl or the death of Neil Rogers.

    Esquire magazine once described Jimbo's like this: "Tucked among mangrove trees beside a lagoon on an island in the middle of Biscayne Bay, it's not just in Miami but of it."

    So, what are we losing?

    The Miami Herald's Elinor Brecher captured the essence of Jimbo's in a beautifully-written piece that ran in the paper on July 29, 1993.

    by Elinor J. Brecher, Herald Staff Writer

    He's young. He's bare-chested. And he's in my face.

    "You put in the newspaper how to find this place," he snarls, all beer breath and hostility, "and I'll track you down and kill you."

    Well! I'd heard that the regulars at the "World Famous" Jimbo's Bait on Virginia Key -- bait shop, bar and bocce field, all in one -- harbored an unusual loyalty to their favorite hangout, but this was a bit more ardent than I'd expected.

    "Don't write about it!" pleads another Jimbo's habitue. "It'll be overrun with tourists and yuppies!"

    Relax, guys. The likelihood that tourists and yuppies will descend en masse on your little waterside haven and despoil it with their annoyingly bourgeois standards of attire, ambiance and plumbing, is about as likely as the bait-house shrimp rising from their tanks and whistling Moon Over Miami.

    For starters, there are no tables, just a small cluster of exhausted armchairs and sofas on the bait-house porch, and wooden benches along the bocce court that face a midden of garbage bags swollen with empty beer cans.

    There is no air conditioning.

    There is no thoughtfully chosen list of California chardonnays.

    There are a great many hungry mosquitos, curious raccoons and lingering hurricane damage (as well as manatees that swim right up to the dock for fresh water and handouts, and a squadron of resident black-crowned night herons).

    As for service, Jimbo's daughter-in-law, Rebecca Luznar, will ask if you'd like a beer. If you do, she'll step into the bait house -- with its corrugate tin roof -- flip the lid off a picnic cooler on the floor, and grab one for you (75 cents and $1, for premium brands). Or if you like, you can grab one yourself. Or a canned soda.

    There is nothing to eat except Jimbo's famous smoked fish ($5 a pound; the marlin is sublime). There are the shrimp, too -- $8 a pound -- but they're still quite alive and swimming.

    Sure, the funny little pastel shacks of the permanent Virginia Key movie set provide an amusing background, but then there's that nearby sewer plant. . .

    So, a tourist and/or yuppie might reasonably wonder: What exactly inspires such fiercely protective impulses? Why do Key Biscayners rumble up in their Caddys and Mark IVs, and downtown business types zip all the way across the Rickenbacker in their Beemers for a liquid lunch alongside a bunch of guys with tattoos and no teeth who smell like fish?

    "No matter what you accomplish in life, you gotta get back to your roots," explains Dario Navarro, an executive with Digital Matrix, a downtown Miami software company, who drove over one recent lunch hour with a colleague. "I haven't been here in 20 years."

    Jimbo's, which has been around since 1954, is a shrine to the good old days. The Miam-uh days, before the Miami Herald building pushed all the two-legged river rats off the docks at the west end of MacArthur Causeway.

    That's where Jimbo Luznar -- a native Marylander and son of a Yugoslavian miner, No. 14 of 17 children -- kept his shrimp boats before he relocated to Virginia Key.

    Jimbo, 66, is a bandy-legged, leathery sort with arms and hands about four sizes too big for the rest of him. He wears a Steve-Clark-for-Mayor ball cap, and chain-gnaws stogies the approximate size of kielbasa, which he buys in bulk from a tobacconist in Hialeah.

    "I don't inhale," he explains. "I just chew and spit."

    Jimbo is the kind of guy who, if you ask him how to catch shrimp, will tell you how to build a shrimp boat.

    Rebecca, who is married to son Jim and lives on a houseboat tied to the bait-shop dock, recently found a matchbook printed with, "If bull---- were dynamite, you'd blow this place apart."

    "Look!" she says. "I got this for Papa!"

    He'll tell you about the filming of Flipper behind the bait shop, or part of Gentle Ben, or all those episodes of Miami Vice.

    And about serving in the Merchant Marine in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico during World War II, and how he met Ruby, his wife, on a blind date in 1947, how he drove her and her sister and his buddy around that night in the 1941 Chevy that cost him $200.

    Ruby comes to the bait shop from their North Miami Beach home only for his public birthday bash every April, and "major holidays."

    She told him, "If you get rid of the cruddy old chairs out here, I'll come more often."

    He didn't, and she doesn't.

    Jimbo will gladly relate how he got into the shrimping business through a relative in New Smyrna, Fla., how he retired from the boats 15 years ago and let sons Jim and Bobby take over. (Son David is a Miami Beach corporate lawyer -- Jimbo calls him the black sheep of the family. Daughter Gail Araujo is a North Miami Beach homemaker; daughter Marilyn Doyle works for a Miami eye surgeon. There are seven grandkids.)

    Jimbo will also tell you how he got his beer license when construction began on the luxury homes of nearby Fisher Island: No one there wanted the workers hanging around drinking.

    But it's the bocce as much as the beer that attracts many of the faithful to Jimbo's. It's a game that resembles bowling -- except there are no pins. It involves red and green grapefruit-size balls and a wood-framed rectangular pit about 10 by 60 feet.

    The games at Jimbo's go on all day -- hour after hour, beer after beer -- hatching odd partnerships and friendships among the eclectic clientele.

    "It takes a lot of finesse and concentration," says Jimbo, who has been playing since childhood and is hopelessly addicted. "It's better than baseball."

    Jimbo's bocce court is such a powerful draw that T.J. Lynch, who provides nautical decorations to restaurants, drives all the way down from Tamarac every weekend to play.

    "I like the people and the tropical atmosphere and the bocce," he says. "You gotta love it."

    "This is called male bonding," adds Jack Kiffner, who is about to open a restaurant on Miami Beach. "If we can bond with the women, that's even better."

    Miami Herald photographer Chuck Fadely shot this video a couple of years ago.

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012

    The way we were... The Farrah Fawcett poster

    Thirty-five years ago this week, posters of actress Farrah Fawcett-Majors were flying off the shelves in Miami and elsewhere. The price: $2.

    A clerk at Vibrations II in North Miami told the Miami News, "The teenagers buy them. They think she's cute."

    At the time, it was the largest-selling poster in history.

    from the Miami News, March 17, 1977

    Here's your chance to tell the Miami Herald what you think

    The Miami Herald needs your help!

    We want to run some ideas by you

    We are looking for volunteers to help us with a usability study of some new ideas we're developing for Here's your chance to tell us what you think!
    We're hosting three roundtable discussions on Tuesday and Wednesday, March 27th and 28th, at The Miami Herald office at 1 Herald Plaza. The discussions will be focused on news websites and what you look for when you're reading online news.
    We're also planning several individual sessions where we take readers through a prototype of a site we're working on to see how easy it is to use.

    We're giving $25 Target gift cards to all our participants as a "thank you" for helping us improve our site!

    If you're interested in participating, please apply through the following form by clicking here. If you meet the volunteer criteria, we will contact you to confirm your place on the schedule.

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012

    Robber turns Ft. Lauderdale Burger King drive-thru window into 'dive-thru window'

    From WSVN:
    Employees at a South Florida fast food restaurant fought back against a would-be thief at the drive thru.

    Fort Lauderdale Police officers responded to a Burger King restaurant along Northwest Seventh Avenue and Broward Boulevard on Monday morning after a call about an attempted robbery.

    Surveillance video shows a man, identified as Edwin Walker, attempting to rob the restaurant by jumping through the drive thru window and snatching at cash from the open register.

    According to police, Walker waited for a customer to pull up to the drive-thru window before making his move. "As she opens up the cash register, the suspect jumps on the hood of the car, dives head-first into the Burger King through the drive-thru window and tries to steal some cash," said Fort Lauderdale Police Detective Travis Mandell. "Once inside, the female employee was able to grab onto him as he is trying to flee with the money. Without a doubt in my mind, the actions of this female employee is what prevented the suspect from getting loose."

    Raw surveillance video

    Sun-Sentinel miraculously turns cocaine into marijuana

    If you needed any more proof that some newspapers have gone to pot, (pun intended) consider this.

    The South Florida Sun-Sentinel has rewritten a U.S. Coast Guard news release about the seizure of 3,532 pounds of cocaine in the Caribbean; transforming the cocaine into marijuana.

    The story was corrected this morning at 11 a.m., but the URL still reflects the thrust of the original story.,0,6800669.story

    So, how did this happen? Who knows? The Coast Guard press release plainly says cocaine. Freudian slip, perhaps?,0,

    h/t: South Florida Daily Blog

    Monday, March 12, 2012

    Miami Beach city manager Jorge Gonzalez set to name city's next police chief

    Several well-placed sources are telling Random Pixels that Miami Beach city manager Jorge Gonzalez has decided his picks for the city's next police chief and assistant police chief.

    Gonzalez made his selection from four finalists who were in the running for the job of top cop.

    I'm told that Gonzalez will recommend to the city commission that Assistant Chief Raymond Martinez - who has been serving as acting chief for the past few months - be named chief.

    Additionally, I'm told that Gonzalez plans to recommend Hialeah Police Chief Mark Overton for the job of Assistant Chief.

    A source tells me that Bal Harbour Police Chief Tom Hunker - who was the choice of at least one Miami Beach commissioner - received a call today telling him that he will not be Miami Beach's next police chief.

    Your mid-morning time waster

    From Conan O'Brien and

    Highly original local news stations across America ask the question, "Could this be the end of e-mail overload?"

    Here's another example of local TV news originality.

    Saturday, March 10, 2012

    Miami-Dade Commissioner Javier Souto quotes a dead Nazi

    I'm never surprised at the stupid comments that emanate from the building at 111 NW 1st Street.

    But the quote Miami-Dade commissioner Javier Souto allegedly uttered last week, could be the Mother of All Stupid Quotes.

    According to the Miami Herald's Patricia Mazzei, Souto compared [news] reporters to Nazi propaganda chief Joseph Goebbels.
    “The news people who keep repeating lies or things that are not such, and they — it doesn’t matter if you tell them it is not like that, they just keep saying it. It’s like Goebbels, in the days of Hitler,” he said. “Repeat a lie, repeat a lie, [so] that it stays.”
    But, if Souto is going to quote Goebbels, he might want to quote him correctly. To make sure he gets it right next time, here's a handy cheat sheet I made up for the commissioner.

    Click image to enlarge.

    Miami Marlins president David Samson on CBS4, Sunday at 11 a.m.

    CBS4 anchor Eliott Rodriguez sends Random Pixels this email:
    Miami Marlins President David Samson is my guest on "News & Views," Sunday at 11 a.m., right after Face the Nation.

    In an interview taped Friday, Samson talked about the new Marlins Stadium and the “soft opening” that has included 3 games—two pitting the Marlins against college teams FIU and UM—and one high school game pitting Belen vs. Columbus. Samson said the Marlins are working out problems with traffic getting into the games and parking.

    He said fans may not know about parking lots located a few blocks from the stadium that are serviced by shuttle buses. The stadium seats 37,000 and has about 6,000 parking spots, which are pre-sold to season ticket holders.

    I asked Samson about the controversy over who should pay the property tax bill on the parking garages. He said, “Supposing there is a property tax bill, that’s an issue between the county and city that they’ll work out. I’m confident they’ll figure out a way to get thru it.”

    At this point I asked if the Marlins bore any responsibility for the property taxes, or even a portion of the bill. Samson said the team was not responsible for the property taxes on the garages.

    “There are city garages all over Miami-Dade county so they’ll figure it out I’m sure. We bought the spaces so its 4.5 million dollars that helps pay for most if not all the cost of the garages.”

    The garages cost the city of Miami $100 million to build.

    By pure coincidence, my second guest on the show is Miami-Dade property appraiser Pedro Garcia, who will decide how much is owed in property taxes and who should pay up.

    “The decision is mine,” Garcia said. “I believe it is taxable.”

    I asked Garcia who should pay.

    Garcia said it appears from looking at the contract between the city and the Marlins, that the city of Miami is on the hook for the estimated $1.5 million annual property tax bill. Garcia says his decision is based on state law that says municipal property can only be exempt from property taxes if it is used exclusively for a public purposes. The garages, he said, do not meet that criteria.

    Garcia says his office is still reviewing the issue but that as of now everything seems to point to the city being liable for the bill. The tax bill will be sent out June 1st.
    Eliott Rodriguez | News Anchor
    8900 NW 18 Terr., Miami, FL 33172

    Friday, March 09, 2012

    The way we were...Daytona Beach Spring Break, 1962

    Fifty years ago, in April 1962, NBC News discovered something called Spring Break in Daytona Beach.

    Anchorman Chet Huntley reported that college students drank a lot beer while dancing the Twist, the Mashed Potato and the Hully Gully.

    Brian Williams notes that some of the kids in the video are now pushing 70!

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

    Entire 30 minute show below.

    Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy