Category Archives: Miami

Why Miami?

One of the hazards of living in Miami is that it attracts a certain class of person. Like Matt Drudge. Or the guys who made porn videos in the back of a bus.  And now it seems we get to have the second act of Milo Yiannopoulos.

Why did he have to pick Miami? Not that there are ton of places you can rent a mansion, throw a party, descend a staircase with a python wrapped around you, and then arrange to be surrounded by half-naked women you have imported to add tone to your event and attract photographers. But still, why not LA?

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Police Demand Shop Install Surveillance, Give Cops Full Feed, and also Right to Ban Customers

This story in the New Times seems outrageous:

But in September, the city suddenly declared the store a nuisance, citing drug deals made nearby. And the Nuisance Abatement Board made a long series of demands, including one that struck Corine as beyond strange: To get back in good standing, she needed to install 24/7 security cameras that would allow police constant live-feed access to the store.

The board also required Corine give police the power to remove people from her property. Officers quickly made a list of people the police department had decided were banned from Bradley’s and began arresting people for trespassing, though Corine says they were just shopping.

via Bradley's Market In Overtown Sues City After Police Demand Constant Surveillance, Boot Customers | Miami New Times.

There is a slight twist to the backstory: after a generation or two as one of Miami’s most blighted neighborhoods, Overtown is now suddenly the target of redevelopment. So part of the story may be an attempt to drive out a store that is surrounded by vacant lots in order to make up a nice parcel….

Posted in Miami, Surveillance | Leave a comment

She Does it Again

Someone serious really needs to run against Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle.

Prosecutors say no crime was committed in scalding death of Miami inmate:

The corrections officers who locked a schizophrenic man in a shower for nearly two hours — a shower that some inmates say was used as a means to punish unruly prisoners with blistering hot water — committed no crime, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernández Rundle announced Friday.

The state attorney’s two-year investigation into the June 23, 2012, death of Darren Rainey at Dade Correctional Institution concluded that the officers — Sgt. John Fan Fan, Cornelius Thompson, Ronald Clarke and Edwina Williams — did not act with premeditation, malice, recklessness, ill-will, hatred or evil intent when they herded Rainey into the shower.

Uh-huh.

(Note the Friday afternoon dump to minimize news coverage.)

Update: The local New Times pulls no punches, Katherine Fernandez Rundle, Miami’s Top Prosecutor, Is a Disgrace.

Posted in Law: Criminal Law, Miami | 6 Comments

Happy New Year?

I cannot think of any year I have looked forward to with more anxiety and gloom than 2017. But maybe low expectations is the secret to getting through it.

Meanwhile, here’s the Miami New Times’s list of The Weirdest 2016 WTF Florida Stories, including “Malachi Love-Robinson, Cuba Gooding Jr., Florida Alligators Galore!”

Posted in Miami | 1 Comment

2016 Ballot Recommendations — Coral Gables Charter Amendments

Only one of these amendments, number five, is really significant; otherwise I don’t think a lot rides on these–although I am going to vote against a couple of them in an excess of caution. The Charter Amendment process is really more a lost opportunity to do interesting things than anything else.

Amendment One YES It abolishes a Trial Board of Appeal that hasn’t done anything for a very long time.

Amendment Two NO Creates a method for removing Commissioners in case of incapacity. I am not aware that this has been an actual problem in the recent past, and it does create a theoretical avenue for abuse, so why look for trouble.

Amendment Three YES  The Mayor currently appoints the Vice Mayor, this puts that in the Charter. OK, whatever.

Amendment Four NO (?) Same issue as with Amendment Two; but this is actually a closer call than #2 because it aligns Coral Gables with state law procedures. So I can see why some people might think this was wise, or even necessary. Currently under the Charter it takes a 4/5 vote to censure or remove a Commissioner. This might make it easier to remove a Commissioner, but arguably the state rules control anyway.

Amendment Five YES! This will create a runoff procedure. That’s a good thing. I proposed to the Charter Revision Committee that they go for STV, also known as ‘instant runoff voting’ because they are fairer and cheaper, but they demurred on the grounds that it was ‘too complicated’ and ‘too hard to explain’ to voters. I think that was a great pity, but some runoff is better than none, given that currently Commissioners are getting elected with much less than 50% of the vote.

Posted in 2016 Election, Coral Gables | Leave a comment

2016 Ballot Recommendations – County Charter Amendments

NO on #1
YES on #2

Don’t be fooled by the fact these two issues seem about as obscure as stuff gets (but wait! I’ll be doing the Coral Gables Charter question anon – I’m sure you are waiting with great anticipation for that!).

On Amendment No 1 as the League of Women Voters aptly summarized it:

A YES vote would:

  • Allow for municipalities, the city council, to establish the annual rates to be assessed with the special taxing district for that municipality.
  • Allow decision making process to be more localized so that tax paying citizens within that municipality for the taxing district would have a more direct say.  
  • Create a new responsibility and cost for the city council to manage and operate the special taxing district
  • Municipalities would not be required to follow County contracting rules, including that contractors must pay workers a living wage.

A NO vote would:

  • The process for operating special taxing districts would remain the same, changes to the annual rates to be assessed for the specific municipality and special taxing district would be made by the Board of County Commissioners .  
  • Miami-Dade County would continue to be responsible for the management and operation of the special taxing district for the respective municipalities, and all related costs would be the responsibility of Miami-Dade County
  • All contractors and vendors hired by the County must comply with County contracting rules, including that they pay their workers a living wage.

There is no question that the county has done a lousy job monitoring special taxing districts. As an abstract matter, it does make sense to push control down closer to the areas affected by a district. But in practice, given the very poor quality of the administration of several of the municipalities in the county (Homestead, Opa Locka, and others) I suspect that giving control to municipalities would too often open the door to (even greater than current) shenanigans.

FWIW, the Miami Herald editorial board agrees that No. 1 is a bad idea:

The Editorial Board gets that this is a way for neighborhoods to have a direct say in their district instead of waiting for Big Government to respond to their needs. This would allow the decision-making process to be more localized.

But we’re also wary about the creation of new pots of money for municipalities as a hotbed for possible mishandling at best, and malfeasance at worst.

It creates a new responsibility and cost for a city council or commission to manage and operate the special taxing district. Are these municipalities ready for the task? How will this new money be administered by some small municipalities? Not every city is, say, Opa-locka, but you get the point. The County Commission would establish the rules for cities creating new districts. But how will these funds be monitored once the county steps out of the picture?

Here’s another down side: Municipalities would not be required to follow county contracting rules, including that contractors pay workers a living wage.

Vote NO on County Charter Amendments No. 1 (Vote No on Florida Constitutional Amendment 1 too – remember “NO on 1” in all cases!)

Amendment No 2 mildly strengthens public access to public records by giving a right to copy as well as read them. This won’t change current practices, but it will entrench the right to copy which is currently merely statutory. Vote YES on No. 2

Posted in 2016 Election, Miami | Leave a comment