Tuesday, September 29, 2015

A sneak peek at Miami Beach mayor Philip Levine's latest campaign ad

When Philip Levine ran for Miami Beach mayor in 2013, he pledged to fix the city's streets and "stop the flooding."

Less than two years later and up for re-election, he's claiming victory with ads like this.

But for the past few days, South Florida newspapers and TV stations are showing pictures of flooded Miami Beach streets.

And social media is lighting up with residents posting pictures of streets in front of their homes that look more like lakes.

But Phil "Just Get It Done" Levine didn't get to be mayor of America's most water-logged city Winter Playground by listening to a bunch of crybabies.

When life gives him lemons, he makes lemonade.

Behold his latest campaign ad!

Click here to enlarge.

Monday, September 28, 2015

An open letter to Miami Herald executive editor Aminda 'Mindy' Marqués

Miami Herald, Sept. 17, 2015, page 2A.
Click here to enlarge.

Dear Mindy:

 In your Sept. 17 column about the Herald's new look, you wrote:
We packaged all news in the A section to underscore our emphasis on local news. This is what we do best and a key reason why so many of our readers turn to us. Our reporters and editors produce coverage unmatched by any local source — from the halls of municipal governments to the state Capitol and across the Caribbean and Latin America. These are the stories we are uniquely poised to bring you.


Come on, Mindy, why not tell the truth? The Herald's local news coverage is almost non-existent....especially on weekends.

It's time to level with your readers and tell them the Herald is no longer able to adequately cover local news.

I'm sure by now, you've read attorney Roy Black's critique of the Herald's local news coverage. On the re-design, Black had this to say: "I think they merged the sections to cover up the reduction in local reporting."

I'm afraid I have to agree with Black.

This is a screen shot of your website this morning.

The story, posted yesterday, talks about flooding on Indian Creek drive in Miami Beach.

The problem is that the photos used to illustrate the story are 6 years old.

Click image to enlarge.

Really, Mindy? This is your definition of "emphasis on local news?" Six-year-old photographs?

This morning's paper has four pages devoted to yesterday's Dolphins game. Sports coverage is fine, I suppose.

But local news is important too.  The Herald couldn't find a photographer to take some pictures of the flooding? You had to resort to using 6-year-old old file photos?

But wait. It gets worse.

In this morning's paper, the Miami Beach flooding story was relegated to page 6A...paired with a photo of the moon taken in Berlin, Germany. Whose idea was that?

So, how about it, Mindy?

Why not write an honest column that tells the truth about the current state of the Herald? Here, let me help you: "We killed the local section and buried what's left of our coverage inside another section to underscore our emphasis on local news."

But please stop blowing smoke up your readers' asses. Instead, why not shine a bright light on the Herald's failings? Your readers aren't stupid.

Tell your readers that the days of the Herald producing "coverage unmatched by any local source" are a thing of the past.

And while you're at it, why not include a paragraph or two on how your ineptitude cost the Herald a Pulitzer this year?

Come on, Mindy, let it all out. Tell the truth for a change.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

A Miami Herald staffer responds to Roy Black's criticisms of the paper

Miami Herald employees pose in front of One Herald Plaza, circa 2003.
Click here to enlarge.

Roy Black loves reading newspapers.

Roy Black
Over the weekend the famed criminal defense attorney shared that bit of information with his Facebook friends and followers. Black also let it be known that he wasn't happy with the new look the Miami Herald unveiled last week. "The paper as I knew it for the past few decades has passed away. I will mourn its demise," wrote Black.

More than a few in the Herald newsroom read Black's rant and commented on a Facebook page frequented by current and former Herald staffers.

Yesterday, a current Herald staffer penned a rebuttal to Black's rant that somehow made its way into my inbox.

To local attorney Roy Black and the others who are crying crocodile tears "mourning" the death of the Miami Herald:

Congratulations to you. You have uncovered the Herald's dirty little secret: We are not particularly well. We have hemorrahged staff, and now we are cutting off newspaper body parts to meet our budget. Worse, you say, newspaper leadership is doing what all other corporate leaders do. They are telling you the patient could not be healthier, despite that gaunt, sunken look you have observed with your own eyes.

But here is what you also know, and choose to ignore, while you blast away at that fish in the barrel: Nobody at the Herald woke up one morning and decided it would be a good idea to move to a warehouse in Doral. Nobody at the Herald thought it made sense to lay off most of the paper's reporters and copy editors. Nobody chose to dismember the print edition. Nobody wants to watch helplessly while the institution we've loved suffers and dies.

Mr. Black, all the retired Herald people who are trashing us on Facebook, and everyone else who claims to care about quality local journalism in Miami: Your sadness and outrage won't eliminate that $1 billion debt that hangs over our corporate owners like an albatross. Your sadness and outrage won't cause those corporate owners to reorganize the company so that the newspapers have a fighting chance -- though at the expense of their million-dollar bonuses.

If you care about local accountability, if you care about the quality journalism you are mourning -- if you care about any of it -- dig into your own pockets and buy us. But only if you also believe in editorial independence. Otherwise, all your whining is just so much noise.

After reading the rebuttal, one former Herald staffer sent me a few thoughts:
"It is unbecoming for news people - who regularly explore the failings of other institutions - to whine when others detect failings in their institutions.

"Why are they so sensitive and defensive? No one has taken a shot at the rank and file there - no one. Everyone who ever worked there knows that it's primarily corporate's fault. The critics and what's left of the newsroom are actually all on the same side, trying to get the same message to corporate."

Miami Herald employees in front of the paper's
Doral headquarters in 2013. (Click here to enlarge)

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Miami defense attorney Roy Black says Miami Herald 'has lost its relevance'

"Old" Miami Herald.

"New" Miami Herald. 

The Miami Herald unveiled a re-design of its printed newspaper last Wednesday.

By now, some of you are probably asking, "Wait....the Herald still prints a newspaper?"

Yes, they still print a newspaper for die-hard fans of print journalism.

In a nutshell, the new look is cleaner and easier to read.

On the downside, there's less to read. They have eliminated the freestanding local section. Instead, local news is now in the A section along with the business news.

One retired Herald staffer posted a picture on Facebook of the "new" - rain-soaked - Herald she received Wednesday morning. (Some things never change.)

A few days ago, Herald executive editor Mindy Marques wrote about the feedback she's received from readers.
However, many of you told us you missed having local and business news in separate sections. “I have been reading the Miami Herald for 40 years and the new format really stinks,” one reader wrote.

Said another: “Every morning at breakfast, we have three people who share the paper. Didn’t anyone at the Herald realize this before removing two sections?”

Apparently no one at the Herald gave any thought to the fact that many people who still read print editions of any newspaper do so because they're resistant to change.

I've checked around and the general consensus on the Herald's new look can be summed up in two words....

In her column, Marques said, "We packaged all news in the A section to underscore our emphasis on local news."

But famed Miami defense attorney Roy Black ain't buying it. This morning he weighed in on Facebook with a few thoughts on the Herald's alleged "emphasis on local news"...
I love reading newspapers. I get 7 or 8 a day. Some hard copy some electronic. So it is with great sadness that, after “reading” this morning’s edition of the Miami Herald, I can only say RIP.

The paper as I knew it for the past few decades has passed away. I will mourn its demise.

I figured the “new” format used in the past week was only for the daily edition. Unfortunately my optimism was misplaced. The Herald has given up the ghost. It has abandoned the local section. its raison d’etre. The corporate spin doctors claim the local news has been merged into national section because of its “importance.”

They sound like Carly Fiorina justifying her disastrous job at HP.

The only reason to get the paper is for the local news. We can get national news everywhere on the web. The Herald would be better off if they abandoned the national news and only reported the local.

In case you haven’t noticed they made sure to keep sports in its own section. That tells you what is important to them. In today’s edition there is virtually nothing on local reporting. A couple of pages filled more with advertising than information. I think they merged the sections to cover up the reduction in local reporting. So there is no longer any reason to get the paper. It has lost its relevance.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Someone get Mayor Philip Levine on the phone and tell him the Van Dyke closed more than a year and half ago

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's new campaign ad shows footage of the old
Van Dyke Cafe on Lincoln Road. Someone better call him and
tell him it closed in Jan. 2014...two months after he took office.

(Click image to enlarge)

On his official website, Miami Beach Mayor Philip "Just Get It Done" Levine brags about how he started a media empire with just $500.
In 1990, with only $500 in capital, Philip launched Onboard Media, a start-up business that originated in a studio apartment above the News Café on Ocean Drive. Designed as a port-marketing program for the cruise industry, the company expanded to publish eighty-five in-stateroom magazines and to produce award-winning TV programming.
But Levine's newest campaign ad - rolled out today - is anything but "award winning."

As an announcer talks about how Miami Beach streets were flooded for years while city hall did nothing, we're quickly reassured that "new pumps are [now] returning filtered floodwaters back to the sea and the streets are drier," as the camera shows us a postcard-lovely shot of the wonderful old Van Dyke Cafe.

"All because a mayor cared enough to fight back," intones the announcer.

In 2014, Levine crowed to a magazine writer "I made more money in my first year [of business] than the Miami Herald made in the past 10."

Hopefully Levine paid more attention to the media he was producing back in the day than he does these days.

One wonders how a man who made millions producing "award-winning TV programming" approved an ad that shows an outdated shot of a restaurant that closed more than a year and half ago.

When I showed the ad to political blogger Elaine de Valle, her reaction was "so that means the video of Lincoln Road is STOCK VIDEO from BEFORE the flooding was fixed??? Are you kidding me? This is gold!"

Setting the record straight about Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine's $90,000 a year 'chauffeur'

At last week's City of Miami Beach budget meeting, vice-mayor Ed Tobin spent some time trying to get answers about expenses incurred by the mayor's office since Mayor Philip Levine assumed command two years ago.

This IS NOT Mayor Philip Levine's chauffeur!
At one point Tobin began asking questions about a driver assigned to the mayor's office.

At the 0:32 mark on the video above, City Manager Jimmy Morales explains that the mayor's driver "is through our security guard contract when as needed [we] request the assistance of a driver or a guard be provided."

Tobin then asks budget director John Woodruff (at 1:50 on the video) "How much is the chauffeur costing us?"

Woodruff responds: "I think, in sum, it's around $90,000...that sounds correct. But I think it encompasses more than just the driver, for example, I think it's security and some different aspects."

The following day, I wrote a post that quoted the $90,000 figure for the mayor's driver.

But I still had questions: Does Mayor Levine really have a $90,000 a year chauffeur?

Earlier this week, I emailed a City of Miami Beach spokeswoman with these questions:

1) Is the mayor's driver a city employee?

2) Does the mayor's driver perform any other duties besides driving the mayor?

3) What is his annual salary?

A few days later, the spokeswoman responded.  (Her answers are in red.)

1) Is the mayor's driver a city employee? No.

2) Does the mayor's driver perform any other duties besides driving the mayor? Yes.

3) What is his annual salary? He is not salaried. His rate of pay is $32.81 per hour.

Yesterday, I followed up by asking what the driver's additional duties are.

Turns out that driving the mayor is just part of the chauffeur's duties.

His official title is "Supervisory Security Officer."

And he is, as Morales explained, a contract employee.

Here's a list of the chauffeur's other duties as supplied by the city spokeswoman:
Security for the City Hall campus is the responsibility of the Department of Emergency Management. The City has contracted with AlliedBarton to provide a number of security officers and a supervisor to staff posts in City Hall and the 555 Building.

Duties and Responsibilities of Supervisory Security Officer

* Supervise the day to day security operations of the City Hall campus to include:
o Scheduling of security officers.

o Maintenance of time and attendance records.

o Approving security officer incident reports.

o Video and alarm monitoring.

* Coordinate and conduct initial and in-service training of security officers posted at City Hall.

* Develop and revise post orders as required.

* Assist in conducting threat and security assessments for City facilities and events.

* Provide security at the EOC during activations.

* Provide security at Commission Meetings and other City events as directed.

* Coordinate scheduling of additional security officers for special events and other projects when requested.

* Function as Executive Services Officer to:
o Provide security and transportation for Mayor, Commissioners, City Manager and other individuals as directed.

o Conduct site security assessments and route selection related to above duties.

o Collect and analyze information regarding potential threats towards elected officials, City employees and City property.

* Maintain situational awareness as to safety and security issues within the City.

* Perform other duties as directed by the Director of the Department of Emergency Management.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Here's a video of 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed explaining how police arrested him for bringing a homemade clock to school

Via the Dallas Morning News:
IRVING — Ahmed Mohamed — who makes his own radios and repairs his own go-kart — hoped to impress his teachers when he brought a homemade clock to MacArthur High on Monday.

Instead, the school phoned police about Ahmed’s circuit-stuffed pencil case.

So the 14-year-old missed the student council meeting and took a trip in handcuffs to juvenile detention. His clock now sits in an evidence room. Police say they may yet charge him with making a hoax bomb — though they acknowledge he told everyone who would listen that it’s a clock.

In the meantime, Ahmed’s been suspended, his father is upset and the Council on American-Islamic Relations is once again eyeing claims of Islamophobia in Irving.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine has a branding manager, and other fun facts

Mayor Philip Levine keeps his public relations staff
busy producing stuff like this.  (Click to enlarge.)

Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is fond of telling his constituents that he doesn't take a paycheck for the wonderful work he does. "I am the guy who spent $2M to clean this place up, [and I don't] take a salary or expenses," he recently reminded a disenchanted former supporter.

And on his campaign website, Levine says, "Taxpayers work hard for their money. This City should work equally hard to ensure that money is wisely spent."

But just because Levine doesn't take a city paycheck — and hollow campaign clichés notwithstanding — doesn't mean he's not spending the taxpayers' money like a drunken sailor.

Yesterday, outgoing Beach Commissioner Ed Tobin chaired a meeting on the city's budget.

Inexplicably, however, the mayor was absent despite the fact the meeting had been on the calendar for months.

One wonders how the meeting would have gone had the mayor been present. Almost immediately, Tobin turned his attention to the increased staffing in the mayor's office since Levine assumed command in 2013.

Tobin noted "the mayor has increased his staff significantly," and expressed concerns that some of the mayor's staffers seem to have been hired to do Levine's PR work.

Tobin also repeatedly tried to find out how much taxpayers were paying for Levine's "chauffeur."

"Tell us about the chauffeur," Tobin implored. "How much is the chauffeur costing us?"

After quite a bit of prodding, Tobin was able to get Budget Director John Woodruff to admit the cost taxpayers to have a chauffeur squire the mayor around town is about $90,000 a year.

Tobin then turned his attention back to the mayor's public relations people. "We have an extra four employees we never had before, " said Tobin.

Turns out the mayor does have quite a bloated staff, including a secretary, a front desk secretary, an office manager, a chief of staff, an aide, an executive assistant, a public relations specialist, and something called a "branding manager." All this for the mayor of a town with less than 100,000 residents.

Click here to enlarge. 

One of the questions not asked at the meeting was "Why in the hell does Levine need a branding manager?"

His branding manager, I've learned, is a guy named Djordje Milekic. He's the lucky dude who gets to follow the mayor around the city with a camera and preserve moments - like the one you see below - for the enjoyment of generations of Miami Beach citizens not yet born.

Click image to enlarge.

Best unscripted moment of the meeting came when Tobin cut off Commissioner Jonah "Potty Mouth" Wolfson's microphone after he attacked Commissioner Deede Weithorn after she raised questions about the city's budget.

But my favorite moment came when Tobin was discussing the city's Emergency Management department and Tobin called, Chuck Tear, the city's emergency manager, "one of the greatest Americans in the modern history."

I'm still trying to figure out what that means. Ed never disappoints.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Here's why most of the stuff you see on the local news during hurricane season is total bullish*t


Marty Merzer retired from the Miami Herald in 2008 after more than 29 years at the paper.

In those years, Merzer wrote hundreds of stories about hurricanes. His work during Hurricane Andrew in 1992 helped the Herald win the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.

But while Merzer is retired, he's still keeping his eye on the tropics.

During hurricane season, he constantly updates his Facebook friends on tropical weather from a fortified bunker in Tallahassee.

Last Aug. 26, as Tropical Storm Erika was still thousands of miles from Miami, Merzer - drawing on decades of experience - told his Facebook friends:
A few words about Tropical Storm Erika and the concern I'm seeing expressed on Facebook: Over the years, I've learned some things about these situations. First of all, everyone in the hurricane zone always should be prepared for tropical weather systems and, as we approach the peak of the season and with Erika out there, this would be a wise time to check and restock your hurricane supplies, perform a test run on your auxiliary generator (if you have one), keep an eye on your vehicle's fuel supply and propane for your grill, etc. But when it comes specifically to Erika, the storm is still on the other side of the outermost Caribbean islands, exactly 1,602 miles from Miami (roughly the distance from Miami to Denver) and 1,955 miles from Tallahassee. The five-day forecast track is pointing toward Florida's East Coast, but five days is a lifetime in the span of a tropical system and many things can and likely will happen during those five days.
Dan Brown and the other hurricane forecasters at the NHC are, quite literally, the best in the world, and they are telling you that the four- and five-day forecasts should be taken as general guidance, as a very early alert, but not as gospel.

I'm told that the broadcast media in South Florida is in team coverage already and hyping like crazy, with one anchor or reporter asking former NHC Director Max Mayfield the other day if it was time to put up the storm shutters - with Erika nearly 2,000 miles away.

Bottom line: Take Erika seriously. Keep an eye on it and prepare accordingly. But, at this point, imo, get a grip. And beware of premature media hype, which can lead to a perilous boy-crying-wolf syndrome when an imminent threat really does appear.

"Boy crying wolf?" Like this, Marty??

Eriika, is long gone, but Merzer is still on the case.

This morning on Facebook, Merzer linked to a very informative post on the National Hurricane Center's official blog... 
Important reading for anyone interested in the limitations still inherent in forecasting hurricane track and intensity - complicated by media inexperience or ignorance or intentional over-dramatization. A key section: "Although NHC’s Tropical Cyclone Discussions (TCDs) repeatedly talked about the uncertainty surrounding Erika’s future beyond the Caribbean, including the possibility that the cyclone could dissipate before reaching Florida, it does not appear that this was a prominent part of the media’s message to Florida residents.... Reaching anyone in the television industry with such [media] training, except for on-camera meteorologists, has proven over the years to be very difficult. We would like to train more reporters, producers, news department staff, executives, etc. so they are more sensitized to forecast uncertainty and how to communicate it with the help of our products, but we realize that a more focused “talking points” approach as described above will probably be needed to assist these busy folks in conveying a consistent message."

A few minutes later, Merzer posted this::
With the thing still on the other side of the islands, experienced reporters and media meteorologists who should know better were posting and broadcasting pieces that sliced and diced exactly where it was "projected to hit Florida." It's aiming straight for Miami. Next advisory - straight to the Keys. Next advisory - along the Space Coast. Next advisory - back to Miami. Some of those pieces had a few words of cautionary context, but the graphics and the ledes did not. It was disappointing - and potentially dangerous, because that behavior can and probably will undermine public confidence and response the next time a real threat appears.

So next time you're wondering why field reporters covering weather events for local TV stations seem so stupid, remember this line: "Reaching anyone in the television industry with such [media] training, except for on-camera meteorologists, has proven over the years to be very difficult."


National Hurricane Center blog: After Further Review: Tropical Storm Erika

Sunday, September 06, 2015

Sarah Palin: Immigrants should 'speak American'

Sarah Palin - a woman who struggles with the English language on a daily basis - told CNN this morning that immigrants should "speak American."

(Full interview here)

Saturday, September 05, 2015

The Pembroke Pines Arby's incident...the rest of the story


The exact year is unknown, but in the late 60s or early 70s, two boys in their early teens crouched in some chest-high weeds of a vacant lot in remote northwest Dade County. 
The boys watched the road intently, waiting for a victim to appear. 
Then, as the sun dipped below the horizon, the teens saw a car slowly approaching...a green and white Dade County Public Safety Department police cruiser.

The boys crouched lower and readied the weapons in their hands: three or four large grade A eggs.

As the green and white slowed to a stop at the intersection, the boys jumped up and threw the eggs at the cruiser's windshield. Before the officers inside could react, the boys were sprinting down the road. The cops gave chase, pulled up beside them and ordered them to stop.

The boys lived just a few blocks away, so the cops did what cops did back then...they took the boys home and turned them over to their parents. Case closed.

But the story doesn't end there.

A dozen or more years later, one of the boys was two or three years into his first job. He was now a police officer at the Dade County Public Safety Department.

One day he learned that his request for transfer to a special squad of detectives had been approved.

On his first day in the new unit, he was introduced to the other members of the squad. As he scanned the faces of his squad-mates, his eyes widened. One of those in the unit was one of the officers who was riding in the police car he'd egged a lifetime ago.

The officer gave no indication he'd recognized his new squad-mate, so the young officer quickly moved on and busied himself learning the ropes.

But one day, the young officer was assigned to work a case with the same cop who had transported him home after he'd egged his car.

At some point, the young cop and the veteran left headquarters to interview the victim in a case. 
As they made their way through traffic the new partners made small talk. Then, as the car was at a stop light, the older detective looked over at his young partner and asked, "You thought I'd forgotten, didn't you?...you little shit!" And then he laughed and shook the young cop's hand.

The young cop moved on to other assignments in the police department, eventually becoming a police helicopter pilot. He retired from the department a few years ago after more than 35 years of service.

The helicopter pilot told me his story a few years ago when I ran into him while I was photographing an assignment at the Miami-Dade Police Department's aviation unit in Opa-Locka.

I remembered the details of his story earlier this week as two news stories involving cops showed up on my Facebook newsfeed.

The first was about a young man in Ohio who was pulled over by a police officer for the crime of "making direct eye contact" as the two drove past each other.

The other story was a little closer to home, but equally ridiculous.

Last Wednesday, while newspapers in Europe were printing horrific images of a child who drowned while trying to escape the war in Syria, South Florida TV stations were providing breathless, super-heated coverage of a non-story about a Pembroke police officer who was allegedly "refused service" at an Arby's in her city the previous evening.  

And before you could say the words "viral" and "retweet," the story was national news.

Here's what happened, according to the Sun-Sentinel:
Kenneth Davenport
[Two Arby's employees] were working at the restaurant, 11755 Pines Blvd., when Sgt. Jennifer Martin said she was told by [manager Angel] Mirabal that [employee Kenneth] Davenport refused to ring up her order after accepting her credit card.

“He doesn’t want to serve you because you are a police officer,” Martin quoted Mirabal as saying.

Davenport said the comment from Mirabal was an attempt at a joke that backfired.

After finding himself so busy with other customers than he could not complete Martin’s transaction, Davenport said he asked Mirabal for help. That’s when Mirabal made his remark, Davenport said.

One might argue that the behavior of Mirabal and Davenport was no different than that of the teen-age egg throwers: stupid and juvenile, but far from the crime of the century.

Sgt Jennifer Martin
Additionally, what no one is reporting is how this ridiculous incident became a "story" in the first place.

It's a story because a clueless cop with no sense of humor was convinced a silly joke uttered by a bored fast food worker was the latest salvo in the so-called "war on cops."

After Martin says she was "refused service" at the Arby's, she drove back to the station and spent the better part of an hour writing an incident report. 

It goes without saying that any other clear-thinking, rational adult probably would have parked their car, gone inside the store and asked for an explanation or an apology. But she's a cop, and cops write reports.

But wait, it gets more bizarre!

Later than evening South Florida TV stations started receiving anonymous emails from Pines cops alerting them to the incident.

Shortly after 9 a.m. the next morning, the Pembroke Pines PD tweeted out a press release on the incident.

"I am offended and appalled that an individual within our community would treat a police officer in such a manner. It is unacceptable, and I will be contacting the Arby's CEO to demand an apology," the press release quoted PPPD Chief Dan Giustino as saying.

Before the day was out, protesters were showing up at the Arby's and telling customers, "Don't eat here. They hate cops."

Later in the day, the head of the Broward County police union issued a press release that blamed the Arby's incident on, unbelievably, Barack Obama:

“This behavior is unacceptable. The distain and lack of respect for law enforcement, as well as the fatal attacks on the men and women in uniform in America, is due to a lack of leadership—starting with our Commander-in-Chief, President Barack Obama,” said Jeff Marano, the BCPBA President.

The only thing Marano left out of his press release was an accusation that Davenport took his marching orders in the "war on cops" directly from the White House.

And here in Miami-Dade, Dade County Police Benevolent Association president John Rivera said, "This is yet another example of the hostile treatment of our brave men and women simply because they wear a badge. It is unacceptable and warrants much more than an apology. We are calling for a national boycott of Arby’s."

Both Marano and Rivera also called for the dismissal of the Arby's employees.

And that's ironic, because as Miami Herald columnist Fred Grimm writes in a column for Sunday's paper, it's much easier to fire a fast food worker than it is to shit-can a dirty cop.

From Grimm's column:
Of course, calling for the termination of someone — at least someone who is not an police chief or a mayor not amenable to the demands of the PBA — was jarring coming from Rivera, whose union regularly fights to reinstate police officers dismissed for rather more egregious behavior than the Arby’s incident.

Let me quote, instead, Jeff Marano, president of the Broward County Police Benevolent Association.“It’s not a career-ender. Did he do something silly? Yeah, but you don’t execute a person for that.”

Oh, sorry. My mistake. Marano was not referring to the Arby’s kids fired last week. No, that was Marano in 2014 defending the job of another clown, a Broward County Sheriff’s deputy who had driven his patrol car, with two drunken civilian friends aboard, one passed out in the back seat, down Las Olas Boulevard and through the Himmarshee Village entertainment district. All the while, the deputy’s friend was using the patrol car loudspeaker to direct salacious remarks toward female pedestrians along the way.

Marano argued to save that jokester’s job. He was not so forgiving of the Arby’s transgressors. He issued a statement last week declaring, “This behavior is unacceptable.”
Marano and Rivera, in their demand for the heads, and quickly, of a couple of young underpaid workers in the service industry, were utterly bereft of any sense of irony. Both are famous defenders of bad eggs. So long as they’re wearing a badge.

The Arby's manager has been fired, but Davenport will get to keep his job, according to Local 10.

Who knows, maybe Kenneth Davenport will leave his job at Arby's, apply to become a cop at a South Florida police department and one day fly helicopters for that department.


Miami Herald - Fred Grimm: Firing an Arby's worker is easier than getting rid of a bad cop

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Is Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine ready to admit he committed several crimes last March?

Yesterday's MIami Beach City Commission meeting was a drama-free affair.

Mayor Philip Levine and all the commissioners were on their best behavior - a major deviation from last July's get-together that was full of insults and personal attacks.

However, the meeting did take a bizarre turn when during a discussion about the problems caused on city streets by delivery trucks and vans, Levine interrupted Commissioner Michael Grieco in mid-sentence: "Michael, this is crucial," says Levine at the 0:43 mark on the video above.

"I know it's crucial," Grieco responds.

And then in an obvious reference to an incident last March when Levine confronted and bullied the driver of a Coca-Cola delivery truck, the mayor asks, "How does it affect like Coca-Cola trucks, or things like that?" Several commissioners can be heard snorting and guffawing. "I mean does it kind of like affect all soft drink companies?" Levine continues.

Levine has never admitted that he snatched the keys from the double-parked Coke truck and illegally detained the driver. In May, he refused to answer a TV reporter's questions about the incident.

However, with yesterday's flippant remark it appears that Levine has no problem making light of the fact that he got away with committing some serious crimes ... but not quite ready to come out of the closet and admit he broke the law.


Earlier on Random Pixels: Miami Beach activist Frank Del Vecchio calls Mayor Philip Levine 'unethical'

Wednesday, September 02, 2015