Friday, February 28, 2014

The Random Pixels Lawsuit of the Day™

Meagan Simmons. 

Via the Tampa Bay Times:
In the early hours of July 25, 2010, a Hillsborough jail deputy snapped a routine booking photo of Meagan Simmons, who had been arrested on a DUI charge. In the picture, her head appeared slightly and seductively cocked. Her hair, tousled just the right way. Her eyes, hazel and piercing.

The mug shot turned out like a glamor shot, and it launched a thousand memes. "Guilty of taking my breath away." "This is what a model inmate looks like." "Arrested for breaking and entering your heart." On countless websites, Simmons, 28, became known as the "attractive convict."

None of this escaped her notice. Last year, the mother of four from Zephyrhills tweeted "look who made the cut!" when her photo was part of an Inside Edition special about hot mug shots. She did interviews with the Huffington Post and the Daily Mail in April. There was even chatter she'd pose for Playboy if given the opportunity.

This week, however, she indicated she's had enough publicity. In a lawsuit filed in Hillsborough County, Simmons accused the background check website of using her picture for commercial and advertising purposes, without compensating her or even getting her permission.


Even today, Simmons has a strong social media presence — she has 1,182 Instagram followers and 2,434 Twitter followers. She told the Daily Mail last year she didn't much like the photo that has become so admired.

"I don't think it's that good a picture. There are other ones I would prefer," she said in the Daily Mail story.

Click here to read the complete Tampa Bay Times story.

meagan simmons sexy mugshot, meagan simmons florida, hot mugshot

The way we were...The Cellular Revolution

30 years ago...

Miami News, Feb. 28, 1984.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Miami Herald covers First lady's visit to Miami but omits a big part of the story

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Miami Herald, page 1A, Feb. 26, 2014.
First Lady Michelle Obama was in Miami yesterday.

Here's how the Miami Herald's David Smiley reported her visit:
First lady Michelle Obama, campaigning in South Florida Tuesday for her “Let’s Move!” healthy kids program, unveiled a widespread expansion of after-school exercise and snack programs.

Her late-afternoon visit to Miami-Dade County’s Gwen Cherry Park followed announcements in Washington, D.C., that the federal government wants to ban advertising of junk food and soft drinks in schools and expand free lunches to millions more students.

“That’s not just good for kids. It’s also good for parents. They’ll know all their hard work isn’t being undermined every time [their kids] head off to school,” Obama told a small crowd at the Gladeview park’s recreation center.


In her Miami stop — during which she danced a Zumba routine with Miami Heat executive Alonzo Mourning and a group of kids — Obama celebrated what she said are the successes of her program, which has been adopted in every Miami-Dade public school. When the first lady began her campaign, she aimed to reduce childhood obesity rates that had tripled during the past 30 years to the point that one in three children and adolescents was overweight or obese.
Smiley's story was very nice. But it was also one that read like it came straight from the First Lady's press office.

What Smiley left out of his warm and fuzzy story was the fact that at almost the exact moment Mrs. Obama was making her opening remarks, other children - who hadn't been invited to see the First Lady - were running for their lives less than two miles from where she was speaking.

Shortly after 5 p.m., someone drove through the crime-ridden Pork and Beans projects and fired shots that struck a group of girls who were gathered outside a house at 1239 NW 65th Street.

Within minutes, local TV showed video of three girls arriving at the Ryder Trauma Center.

Click images to enlarge. 

But Herald editors, in their never-ending quest to keep unpleasant and upsetting news off page one, buried the story of the shooting on page 3B of this morning's paper.

First Lady Michelle Obama's Tuesday event at NW 22nd Ave.
in Miami was less two miles from a drive-by shooting
in the Pork and Beans project.

The First Lady, of course, was never in any danger yesterday.

But the irony of Mrs. Obama speaking to a group of inner-city kids about the benefits of staying healthy - while other inner-city kids were dodging bullets less than two miles away - wasn't lost on filmmaker Billy Corben.

As I wrote last December, crime happens far from the neighborhoods where the people in charge at the Herald live.

And until drive-by shootings become a part of everyday life on Belle Isle in Miami Beach and in Davie, coverage of crime in some sections of Miami will continue to occupy the inside pages of the Herald's B section.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Monday, February 24, 2014

Selling Your House - The Miami Herald way [UPDATE x1]

Miami Herald executive business editor Jane Wooldridge's home can
be yours for $2,2000,000. 


UPDATE: Miami Herald managing editor Rick Hirsch sent this email to media blogger Jim Romenesko:

Jane Wooldridge is our business editor. She and her husband, a Miami architect, are selling their home. Like most people who sell their homes, she hired a real estate agent.

Her real estate agent has an annual contract with the Miami Herald that includes a weekly ad on our Monday business magazine. This week, the agent included Jane’s home in that ad. The ad does not indicate who the home belongs to.

Jane played no role in placing the advertisement. She does not oversee our real estate reporter, who reports to a senior editor.

We see no conflict in a Herald employee patronizing an advertiser.


Miami Herald executive business editor Jane Wooldridge took to Facebook last Monday to announce to her Facebook friends that her house was "on the market!"

One of those who commented was Coconut Grove Realtor, Carol Smith. 

"Thank you Jane for allowing me to represent your beautiful home," wrote Smith. "Click here for a tour." she added.

Today, exactly one week after Wooldridge announced her home was for sale, an ad for Carole Smith, Realtor, magically appeared at the bottom of the Herald's business tab, Business Monday. 

And the home pictured in the ad? It's the home belonging to Herald executive business editor Jane Wooldridge. Now, with its own website!  Sale price $2.2 million.

Click here to enlarge.

Click here to enlarge. 

Wooldridge, who has been with the Herald for over 30 years, once served as the paper's travel editor before becoming business editor.

The Herald's business section, under Wooldridge, covers Miami's mammoth cruise industry and the Port of Miami (PortMiami.)

PortMiami, according to a Dec. 2012 report, is the "busiest cruise port in the world."

But somehow, in 2012, in what was termed a "unique arrangement," Travel + Leisure magazine appointed Wooldridge as its cruise editor.
In a unique arrangement, Wooldridge will remain The Miami Herald’s business editor and will also continue to oversee the visual arts coverage at The Herald while regularly reporting on the cruise industry for Travel & Leisure, effective immediately.

Posts by Jane Wooldridge on Travel + Leisure.

50 years ago this week...Cassius Clay defeats Sonny Liston at Miami Beach


A Lot More Than Lip Service | Feb. 25, 1964: Cassius Clay Beats Sonny Liston - via Sports Illustrated
He'd have better fights, create greater spectacle, make more history, practice another religion, have another name, become a so-called traitor to his country, transform himself into its conscience and light an Olympic torch. So there was a lot more news in him man this. But in February 1964, when he was 22, Cassius Clay helped set the tone for a decade (at least) when he toppled Sonny Liston in one of sport's most important upsets.

Maybe the '60s would have been tumultuous without Clay's wild personality. Probably the times, they were a-changin' anyway. But give Clay—later Muhammad Ali, of course—credit for being a magical character who in the course of a spectacular boxing career somehow made us reconsider politics, war, race and religion. Poetry, too.



New heavyweight boxing champion Cassius Clay is hugged 
on the ring floor in Miami Beach by one of his handlers 
when Sonny Liston was unable the answer the bell for the 
seventh round of their title fight on Feb. 25, 1964. Clay 
was only 22 years old and was an 8-1 underdog in the 
fight against the reigning champion Liston. (AP Photo)
(Click here to enlarge.)

Cassius Clay, left, connects on a punch to the face of Sonny 
Liston in the third round before a TKO in the seventh round 
of their heavyweight championship fight in Miami 
Beach, Fla., on Feb. 25, 1964. (AP Photo)
(Click image to enlarge.)

Miami News, Feb. 26, 1964.

Miami News cartoon by Don Wright. (Feb. 26, 1964)

FOX Sports: Fifty years ago, Clay stopped Liston

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Fabi Watch


The Miami Herald's Fabiola Santiago, inarguably America's worst newspaper columnist, yesterday, proved once again, why she so richly deserves that title.

In a column containing 543 words of gibberish and twaddle, Fabi railed against a bill being considered in the Florida Legislature that would forbid schools from disciplining students who fashion food products into fake guns.

"House Bill 7029," Fabi writes, "sponsored by Rep. Dennis Baxley - R-Ocala is all too real. It takes aim at the zero-tolerance for weapons policy that schools adopted in light of the deadly school shootings throughout the nation. If it becomes law, it will prevent children from being disciplined for playing with simulated weapons on campus."

H.B. 7029 - otherwise known as the "Pop Tart bill" - was introduced in response to a 2013 incident at a Maryland school where a 7 year-old boy was suspended for two days after he chewed a breakfast pastry into the shape of a gun. (See video above.)

Fabi sees the Florida bill as an attempt to "[take] away the ability of teachers and administrators to discipline — and to potentially get a troubled kid the help he or she needs..."

"Leave it to Florida legislators," she writes, "to think that obsessive doodling of guns on a notebook, wearing a T-shirt boasting about the power of guns, or taking aim at a classmate or a teacher with your finger shaped like a gun is appropriate behavior."

The bill, of course, is not designed to prevent school administrators from helping - to use Fabi's words - "troubled kids."

Rather, it's intended to protect kids from school administrators - and idiots like you, Fabi - who would use non-sensical, zero-tolerance policies to punish students for innocent childhood behavior.

After the Maryland incident, school administrators sent this this letter home with students that read, in part:
During breakfast this morning, one of our students used food to make inappropriate gestures that disrupted the class.
If your children express that they are troubled by today's incident, please talk with them and help them share their feelings. Our school counselor is available to meet with any students who have the need to do so next week.

You read that right. The people who run the Maryland school, actually offered counseling to any child who may have been emotionally-scarred after seeing 7 year-old Josh Welch - yes, that's his name - gnaw a Pop Tart into the shape of a gun.

Is it any wonder countless kids in this country are so f**ked-up after spending a majority of their young lives in the Kafkaesque world of the American school system?

Fabi ends her column with what is, quite possibly, one of the most idiotic lines ever published in an American  newspaper: "How sweet it is to rest our heads on a pillow at night knowing that the next generation of gun enthusiasts will be lovingly nurtured by our teachers and principals."

Sorry, Fabi, the fact that a kid points a half-eaten Pop Tart at a classmate is not a predictor that he will grow up to be a "gun enthusiast," any more than it's likely that an impressionable child who reads your column twice a week will grow up to be an imbecile. (But just to be on the safe side, parents, better keep the Herald away from the young 'uns.)

Now if the bill doesn't pass, and school officials aren't prohibited from yanking students out of class for fashioning guns out of toaster strudel, there's still one option left for any kid with a rebellious streak.

He can always say, "Hey, it's not a gun, I was just making a map of Florida for civics class."

Friday, February 21, 2014

Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz takes photos seen 'round the world, but editors at his paper don't think they're good enough for page one

Via the New York Daily News.
Photos by Al Diaz.


Al Diaz.
Veteran Miami Herald photographer Al Diaz was driving on State Road 836 in Miami Thursday afternoon when an SUV in front of him stopped abruptly.

Diaz didn't think anything of it until he heard the sound of a woman screaming. The next thing he saw was the door of the SUV open and a woman emerge with a baby.

Diaz tells CBS4 ...
A woman [Pamela Rauseo] pops out of the car and starts screaming ‘My baby can’t breathe, My baby can’t breathe. Call 911!’ So I got out of my car and ran over to help her.



The Herald's Sue Cocking recounts what happened next:
Diaz quickly jogged through traffic lanes to summon more help. He found Sweetwater police officer Amauris Bastidas, who ran to the scene and took over CPR for Godoy, performing chest pumps while Rauseo breathed into the baby’s mouth.
This morning Diaz told me by phone that after making sure enough people were helping Rauseo, only then did he grab his cameras and start shooting pictures.

Shortly after 8 p.m. last night, Diaz's story and photos were posted on the paper's website.

The Herald's news partner, CBS4, led their late newscast with the story and pictures from the afternoon's life-saving drama on 836.

And it wasn't long before websites all over the globe started posting Diaz's gripping photos, including the New York Daily News, the Oregonian, The Blaze, NBC NewsABC News, and the Daily Mail in London.

KABC in Los Angeles ran the story at the top of their 11 o'clock news show with reporter Elex Michaelson capturing the story's essence with these few sentences: "This starts with an aunt on baby sitting duty when everything goes wrong. She's stuck on Miami's version of the 405 Freeway, and that's when something really remarkable happened ... a community comes together to save that baby's life."

By now you may be saying to yourself, "Wow! If those photos are getting that much buzz around the world, surely the Miami Herald displayed them on the front page this morning."

But you'd be wrong.

What's more important to Herald editors than a set of photos that everyone is talking about?

Haiti, of course. Followed by stories on unrest in the Ukraine, an NFL player accused of rape, and a puff piece on the South Beach Wine and Food Festival.

Miami Herald, page 1A, Feb. 21, 2013. 

Some unknown editor at the paper made the decision to run Diaz's photos inside on page 1B.

Miami Herald, page 1B, Feb. 21, 2014.

The irony here is that while a TV reporter in faraway Los Angeles immediately grasped the significance of the story, editors at the paper in the town where it occurred squandered an opportunity to give the story the coverage it deserved.

One friend told me this morning, "Were it not for the dateline, I never would have imagined a story like this happening in Miami."

This morning on his Facebook page, Diaz wrote: "Woke up to the world calling this morning. Little Sebastian is doing OK! Thanks for all the kind words."

But some of Diaz's friends were also bewildered that the story and photos were relegated to an inside page.

Retired Herald staffer Elinor Brecher wrote: "Bravo, Al! Be a mensch first then do your job. Textbook example. And bravo to all the bystanders who jumped in to help. This is after all Miami....But I'm truly puzzled that the story ran on the local front-- below the fold except for the top of a photo-- instead of the front page. No comprendo."

This morning by email, Miami filmmaker Billy Corben said this of the Herald's decision to run Diaz's photos inside: "Miami Herald editors never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity. Despite their dwindling ranks, there are still a lot of very talented and dedicated people left in the newsroom who do their damnedest to produce a quality paper. The problem is a lack of strong leadership. It's a ship without a captain. Or worse yet: a ship with Francesco Schettino as its captain."

I've sent an email to the paper's two top editors, Mindy Marqués and Rick Hirsch, in an effort to learn why Diaz's photos were relegated to an inside page. So far neither has responded.

If either of them get back to me with an answer, I'll update this post.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Your lunch hour time waster

So there's this island in Japan, see? And during World War II, eight rabbits were brought to the island to test the effects of mustard gas.

I'm guessing at some point they stopped the testing, and that's when the bunnies got busy.

Now there's more than 8 bunnies.

Sometimes people show up to feed the bunnies....and then this happens.

Okunoshima island, japan, rabbit island

Monday, February 17, 2014

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier is now reporting stale news

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier reported some week-old news on his station's 6 o'clock show tonight.

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Weinsier was following up on a story he reported late last month after he obtained photos that allegedly showed some Miami Beach police dispatchers and 911 call takers "sleeping" on the job.

Weinsier's story tonight, viewers were told, was "an update you'll only see on Local 10."

But the story was as stale as the bread in some of the restaurants that Weinsier visits in his role as Local 10's fearless and resolute Chief Rat Shit Investigator.

Click image to enlarge.
In tonight's piece, Weinsier basically rehashes his original, thinly-reported story, adding only that Al Bello, the head of the police union representing Miami Beach cops has sent an email to Miami Beach City Manager Jimmy Morales. In the email, Bello objects to Morales' decision to replace the sworn police officer who had been running the Public Safety Communications Unit (PSCU), with a civilian employee from city hall.

What Weinsier neglects to mention is that Bello - who he never names in his report - sent the email to the city manager exactly one week ago. The email was then posted on a forum for Miami Beach police officers 15 minutes after it was sent to Morales.

That's your big "Only on Local 10" scoop, Jeff? Week-old news?

In his email, Bello labels Morales' appointment of Chuck Tear, a civilian city hall employee with "minimal law enforcement experience," as "injudicious."

But that's something I brought up in my post on February 8, when I reported that sources were telling me "that it's Morales who is now putting lives in danger with his appointment of Tear to a position that demands someone with an extensive background in law enforcement."

Additionally, one source familiar with Palm Beach County government tells me that Chuck Tear "definitely had nothing to do with [Palm Beach's] 911 system. At most, he had a call center of a few people underneath him called the County Warning Point that mostly handled calls for traffic lights out, etc. and definitely nothing related to emergencies unless a significant incident requiring county-wide coordination like a hurricane was occurring."

Another well-placed source tells me that in light of the publicity that Tear is now receiving, some are taking a closer look at his resume; something Jimmy Morales apparently never bothered to do when he hired Tear last year.

Here's the email Bello sent to Morales seven days ago that Weinsier reported as "news" tonight.

From: Bello, Alejandro
Sent: Monday, February 10, 2014 7:56 PM
To: Morales, Jimmy
Cc: Levine, Philip; Wolfson, Jonah; Weithorn, Deede; Malakoff, Joy; Steinberg, Micky; Tobin, Ed; Grieco, Michael; Police Intel
Subject: Open letter to the City Manager regarding PSCU changes
Dear City Manager Morales: 
On behalf of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #8, I write this letter to express our strong opposition to the City’s recent move of reassigning the management and supervision of the Public Safety Communications Unit (PSCU) from the purview of the Chief of Police and his staff to a non-sworn civilian coordinator.  We are gravely concerned by the motivation and possible repercussions of your decision and how it will impact public safety for our residents, business, visitors and the men and women of the Miami Beach Police Department.  
As you and your management team have known, issues of understaffing and supervision have been impressed upon by police administrators for quite some time.  So much so, that one of the enhancements requested by our department for Fiscal Year ‘14 was the addition of seven (7) dispatchers to alleviate the consistent practice of forced holdovers and mandatory overtime shifts.  Additionally despite our objections, a sworn Captain position in PSCU was reclassified to a civilian “PSCU Administrator” as early as April 2013.  To date, the City has yet to complete the recruitment process.  Our objections were ameliorated by the fact that this administrator would be in the Police Department’s chain of command.  Moreover, decisions involving the delivery of public safety services should have input from the law enforcement and fire service professionals on your management team and arbitrary measures should not be made in a vacuum.  Furthermore, when implementing changes, those who are directly affected by such decisions should have a seat at the table.  As the representative of over 370 law enforcement officers (stakeholders) whose lives depend on this crucial component of the City’s operation, the Fraternal Order of Police should have had some input on a prospective performance improvement plan. 
PSCU is a highly sensitive and sophisticated operation, requiring expert control and oversight from a law enforcement official.  To have a civilian, who has minimal law enforcement experience at best, oversee such an operation is injudicious.  As you know, the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (“FDLE”) has warned Chief Martinez via e-mail in pertinent part “an entity is not allowed access to the Florida Crime Information Center and the FBI’s National Crime Information Center without direct control or management control from a recognized criminal justice agency.”  On a yearly basis MBPD personnel conduct hundreds of thousands queries into the FCIC/NCIC database.  Limiting our personnel’s access to real-time CJIS information severely endangers their safety and ability to effectively discharge their duties.  Unnecessary delays in the obtainment of CJIS records could be perilous to our members’ personal safety.  Throughout the industry, all of the most successful and efficiently run 911 Centers/PSAP’s (Public Safety Answering Points) have sworn supervisory personnel on shifts.  This latest decision in essence is taking PSCU in the opposite direction.    
While the motives of this decision on its face appear to be innocent and uninformed, we respectfully request you keep the oversight of the Miami Beach Public Safety Communications Unit under the direction and control of the Police Chief and his sworn assignees – men and women who possess the background, knowledge, skills, abilities and specialized understanding that our professional law enforcement officers deserve and require.  
Alejandro Bello, FOP President/Sergeant 
Fraternal Order of Police William Nichols Lodge #8 
999 - 11 Street Miami, FL 33139

Your lunch hour time waster

via Buzzfeed: Vintage Foods You Won't Believe Actually Exist - Taste Test.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

50 years ago today: Feb. 13, 1964 ... the Beatles arrive in Miami

Fifty years ago today, on Feb. 13, 1964, an estimated 10,000 Miami area students skipped school and headed out to Miami International Airport to witness the arrival of the Beatles.

Police and airport officials cite "a barrage of publicity" by two radio stations for the airport mob scene "that left $2,000 damage and assorted cuts and bruises," according to the Miami News. 

Miami News, Feb. 14, 1964. 


The Beatles take in the sights during a cruise
a day after their arrival in Miami. 

(Click image to enlarge.)

Your lunch hour time waster

Still haven't picked up a Valentine's Day gift for that special someone in your life?

It's not too late to get her "Some Dumb Little Thing from CVS."

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Jeff Weinsier unfriended me on Facebook

Click to enlarge.

Local 10 reporter Jeff Weinsier didn't like a post I'd written about him over the weekend. (Click here to read the enire post.)

So he reacted the way any mature adult 14 year-old schoolgirl would: he unfriended me on Facebook.

But just before he unfriended me, he sent me two private messages letting me know what he thought of my post:

Good article....You definitely drank all of Bobby's kool aid.

To sum up, Weinsier came into possession of photos that purportedly showed Miami Beach Police Department 911 call center (PSCU) employees sleeping on the job.

While researching his story, Weinsier asked public information officer Bobby Hernandez for a comment on the photos from Miami Beach's police chief, Ray Martinez.

Hernandez asked him to email the photos so the chief could look at them and learn more about the circumstances under which they were taken.

Weinsier refused.

Yesterday, after Weinsier accused me of "drinking the Kool Aid," I asked him why he refused to email the photos to Hernandez.

I was told by MY management NOT to give the pictures.. MY BOSSES.. THE PEOPLE who pay me.. so as a courtesy I drove down to Miami Beach Police, with NO cameras and showed Bobby and a supervisor the pictures.. bet he didn't tell you that either.. keep drinking the kool aid.. im done well.

Weinsier is correct about one thing. He did drive down to MBPD where he showed ONE photo to Hernandez.

Hernandez again requested that Weinsier provide copies of the photos so that the chief could review them. Again, Weinsier refused.

What Weinsier didn't say is that the reason he and his boss, news director Bill Pohovey, didn't want the chief to see the pictures in advance, or provide any information about them is because they wanted to play "gotcha" with Chief Martinez.

It's a tactic that Channel 10 has been using a lot lately: Walk into a room with a camera rolling and show the person being interviewed some unflattering photos or video they've never seen before and get them to react.

Put another way, Weinsier wanted to make Martinez look like an ass...and get it all on tape.

In his private messages to me, Weinsier says that he emailed and called Hernandez at "his office for 6 days and NEVER heard from him."

Well, that's not entirely true.

This morning I filed a public records request with MBPD and asked for copies of the emails between Hernandez and Weinsier.

Below are the email exchanges between Weinsier and Heranandez in which Weinsier repeatedly refuses to provide any of the photographs for inspection.


From: "Hernandez, Robert"
Date: January 30, 2014 at 11:27:21 AM EST
To: "'Weinsier, Jeff'"
Subject: RE: WPLG

Good morning Jeff.

Some of the PSCU employees that have seen one of the pictures that you have state that they have identified that these pictures were taken over a year ago and prior to the break room being built. At that time employees were permitted to take their breaks at their workstation and in the photograph you can see the employee had her head set off.

Unfortunately, in my humble opinion, you are determined to take one side of the story and run with it. The fact that you cannot provide us with pictures that allege employee misconduct and allow us investigate appropriately is unfortunate. Thanks.

Bobby Hernandez, Sergeant of Police
Miami Beach Police Dept./ Public Information Office
1100 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

-----Original Message-----
From: Weinsier, Jeff []
Sent: Wednesday, January 29, 2014 10:56 AM
To: Hernandez, Robert
Subject: Re: WPLG

My News Director won't allow me to send them..

If you'd like to talk to him, call Bill Pohovey 954-364-2700.

He's the boss..

Jeff Weinsier/Reporter
WPLG-TV Local 10
3401 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard
Pembroke Park, FL 33023

On Jan 29, 2014, at 10:37 AM,

"Hernandez, Robert" wrote:

That is unfortunate Jeff.

I really do not know what the issue is for us to investigate and respond accordingly. Unless the Department is provided with the picture and more information, we will not be commenting on this issue.

We have counseled employees in the past for resting in an unauthorized area. This was before a break room was built and available for employees to rest on their breaks.

We are also in the process of hiring a Director and (7) employees to avoid forcing call takers/dispatchers from working overtime every week.


Bobby Hernandez, Sergeant of Police
Miami Beach Police Dept./ Public Information Office
1100 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

-----Original Message-----
From: Weinsier, Jeff
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 3:25 PM
To: Hernandez, Robert
Cc: Hernandez, Vivian; Pohovey, Bill
Subject: Re: WPLG

As per our conversation, I do not know when the exact time, nor date, the photos were taken.

In a previous email dated 1/23/14, I indicated the photos were taken in November sometime.

However, the Department did receive other photos and you indicated disciplinary actions were taken and changes were made based on the photos the Department received.

What were those changes or actions taken?

At this time I cannot provide you with those pictures. They will be available when the story runs.



Jeff Weinsier/Reporter
WPLG-TV Local 10
3401 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard
Pembroke Park, FL 33023

On Jan 28, 2014, at 3:14 PM, "Hernandez, Robert" wrote:

Good afternoon Jeff.

We are not trying to avoid answering your questions. However, we have yet to receive the pictures you have of employees allegedly sleeping on the job. We would also need the time/date to investigate. Meeting with you briefly and glancing at "a picture" does not provide us with enough information to respond.

Please provide us with the pictures that you have and when it occurred and we will be happy to provide you with the disposition of each case. We will also advise you of the changes that have been made to the Public safety Communication Unit (PSCU) in the last few months.


Bobby Hernandez, Sergeant of Police
Miami Beach Police Dept./ Public Information Office
1100 Washington Ave.
Miami Beach, FL 33139

-----Original Message-----
From: Weinsier, Jeff
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 2:56 PM
To: Hernandez, Robert; Hernandez, Vivian
Subject: WPLG

Not sure how we left it.

But let me know if there any information you are releasing about dispatchers.

What's being done?

What has been done?

Any discipline?


Jeff Weinsier/Reporter
WPLG-TV Local 10
3401 West Hallandale Beach Boulevard
Pembroke Park, FL 33023

Now, in light of this unfortunate incident, my sources at Local 10 tell me that news director Bill Pohovey has sent Weinsier back on "Rat Shit Beat."

Pohovey has also ordered Weinsier to brush up on his reporting techniques by watching the video below for some pointers on how real reporters get the story.

Stay tuned to Local 10 for Jeff's next report...coming soon from a Chinese restaurant in your neighborhood.

Your lunch hour time waster

Amy Siewe is not afraid of snakes.

Saturday, February 08, 2014

Local 10's Jeff Weinsier goes 'tabloid,' and Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine puts a 'mole' inside the police department

The TV news report titled "Asleep at 911" ran late last month on Local 10.

It was pure tabloid television.

Reporter Jeff Weinsier, a 20-year veteran at Local 10, had come into possession of some photographs taken late last year that allegedly showed some Miami Beach 911 dispatch supervisors sleeping on the job.

Anchor Laurie Jennings breathlessly introduced the report this way: "Experts say the conduct of the dispatch supervisors could put police officers, firefighters and your life in danger."

Problem is, Weinsier didn't tell the entire story.

The photographs in Weinsier's report were taken by a disgruntled Miami Beach 911 call center employee who had recently been disciplined. Weinsier never disclosed that information in his report.

While putting his report together, Weinsier tried to contact Miami Beach police chief Ray Martinez for a comment. When asked by a spokesman to email the photographs, Weinsier refused.

Instead, in a move straight out of the National Enquirer playbook, Weinsier showed up at an event the chief was attending, and ambushed him; a tactic many in journalism consider borderline unethical.

When the chief wouldn't comment, Weinsier pulled another cheesy stunt, hitting the streets, photos in hand, seeking out comments from "Beach residents."

One can almost picture a wild-eyed Weinsier running up to startled pedestrians on Lincoln Road, frantically waving his color 8x10 shots and asking, "Hey, what do you think of these photos of sleeping 911 dispatchers? Are you outraged?"

What in the hell did you expect them to say, Jeff?

Miami Beach city manager
Jimmy Morales. 
The next night on Local 10's 11 o'clock news, Weinsier followed up with reaction from Miami Beach City manager Jimmy Morales.

First, Morales - who took over as city manager last April 1 - tells Weinsier, "I didn't know we had pictures like this of people falling asleep."

But a minute after making that statement, Morales tells Weinsier, "Candidly, I'm not surprised. When I started this job, one of the early issues we identified is that we had a 911 unit that was understaffed."

But had a real journalist been conducting the interview, the next question surely would have been, "Well, Mr. Morales, if you identified the 911 unit early on as having issues, why didn't you take any corrective action? After all, you've been city manager for 10 months. What were you waiting for?"

But we never hear Weinsier ask that question.

The theme that keeps popping up in Weinsier's reports is that somehow, the lives of Miami Beach cops and residents were put in danger because a supervisor napped for a few minutes on her break.

But earlier this week, in a report on changes made at the call center, Weinsier quotes Morales as saying "I also want to point out that we have not identified any instances where the public was endangered. These were supervisors, and not call takers or dispatchers. There is no evidence or complaints that any calls were lost or not taken."

As for those changes at the call center, Weinsier reported that Morales has transferred control of the police department's Public Communications Unit to city hall. The unit "will now report directly to Emergency Management Coordinator Chuck Tear. Tear oversaw the 911 unit in Palm Beach County when he was the Public Safety Director there," Weinsier reports.

Chuck Tear
But according to my sources, Tear, who was Palm Beach County's emergency management director until resigning the post in 2010, never had any control over Palm Beach County's 911 call center.

Morales hired Tear as Miami Beach's Emergency Management Coordinator last May. (Tear's full resume can be seen here.)

Another thing Weinsier doesn't bother to mention in his report is that with Tear's appointment, the Miami Beach Police Department's communications section is now the only South Florida police agency without a sworn law enforcement professional in charge.

Tear, who boasts on his resume that he has a degree in "business management" from the online diploma mill, University of Phoenix, is a civilian employee with virtually no law enforcement experience.

Sources tell me that it's Morales who is now putting lives in danger with his appointment of Tear to a position that demands someone with an extensive background in law enforcement.

By way of comparison, the Miami-Dade Police Department's communications bureau is overseen by a police major, with shift commanders with the rank of sergeant supervising call takers and dispatchers. The Miami Police Department's communications section is run by a lieutenant, with police sergeants who also act as supervisors.

One source, a long-time observer of Miami Beach's political scene, calls Morales' appointment of Tear, a "diabolical move" orchestrated by Mayor Philip Levine.

"Think about it for a second. The city manager and the mayor now have a mole inside the police department. And he's hiding in plain sight," my source told me.

Tear's appointment as head of Miami Beach's call center hasn't gone unnoticed at the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, the agency that sets the standards for the state's public safety tele-communicators.

A few days ago, Larry Coffee, head of information security for the FDLE's Criminal Justice Information Services sent a strongly worded email to Miami Beach police chief Raymond Martinez.

In it he reminded Martinez that "an entity is not allowed access to the Florida Crime Information Center and the FBI's National Crime Information Center without direct control or management control from a recognized criminal justice agency."

Seems that putting Tear in charge of the department's 911 unit is a violation the police department's Management Control Agreement with FDLE.

Your move, Jimmy.

Friday, February 07, 2014

50 years ago today - the Beatles arrive in the U.S. - next stop Miami

50 years ago today, on February 7, 1964, the Beatles landed in New York City.

Six days later they flew to Miami.

The Miami News, Feb. 14, 1964

Beatles clown around with Cassius Clay at the 5th Street Gym,
Miami Beach. Miami News photo by Charles Trainor Sr.

Miami Archives: The Beatles visit Miami Beach, Feb. 13, 1964

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Cindy Seip found the perfect location for David Beckham's soccer stadium

Graphic designer, underwater photographer, and the world's best mom, Cindy Seip, came up with - all by her lonesome - a great location for David Beckham's soccer stadium.

Click here to enlarge. 

Miami Herald 's INDULGE Magazine throws a party...but not everyone was invited

INDULGE Magazine, Feb. 2014. 

A Random Pixels reader has a beef with the Miami Herald's Sr. VP for Advertising & Marketing, Alexandra Villoch.

Villoch also happens to be the publisher of the Herald's outrageously decadent and fabulously beautiful magazine, INDULGE, a slick monthly publication aimed at a select group of the paper's readers who suffer from terminal "affluenza."

The magazine's media kit describes INDULGE as a "beautiful, glossy tabloid magazine featur[ing] in-depth local content with an emphasis on gracious South Florida living."

(Think of INDULGE as the Herald's fond tribute to segregated water fountains and simpler times at the Augusta National Golf Club.)

Here's the email I received this morning from a long-time Random Pixels reader. (I have the smartest readers!)
Here's a new Herald misstep that has me baffled. Their new INDULGE, that glossy lifestyle insert magazine, has a cover featuring five hot chefs.  
What's wrong with the picture? Not a woman in the lot, even though there are plenty to choose from.

This isn't just a wah-wah rant. Not sure if you followed it, but there was a recent well-publicized controversy about a TIME cover.

It stirred a lively discussion among foodies in social media – and what came out of it in South Florida was that while women chefs are still under-represented, we really have plenty of excellent ones here: Nina Compton (Scarpetta) (tonight one of two competing for Top Chef Finalist); Micah Edelstein of NeMesis gets national accolades for her original and spirited cuisine; Julie Frans at Essensia is one of our best farm-to-table chefs in town; Paula da Silva is another; others include Dena Marino and Adrianne Calvo... well, you get the picture. 

Click here to enlarge.

Except the Herald doesn't. When I see this INDULGE cover showing the usual (male) suspects, I have to wonder if the writer, editor and publisher are totally oblivious to what's going on in the local food scene and to the recent TIME cover controversy and the subsequent discussion. Or they're just lazy. Or all of the above.

Alexandra Villoch is publisher and she crows about the success of this particular publication. In her letter in this issue, she speaks of celebrating local diversity in the food scene. Shame on her for squandering an opportunity to show that off on their custom shot cover.

[This] irks me personally when our hometown media group keeps looking like the gang that couldn't shoot straight.