By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Cursed Busy-ness of Life After FTAA
Miami-Dade County Commissioner and mayoral candidate Jimmy Moralesaccepted the AFL-CIO's endorsement on May 12 with predictable platitudes about "rolling up his sleeves" and "working for the working men and women of this county." Nonetheless the AFL-CIO has never before endorsed a Miami-Dade mayoral candidate -- and Morales's sentiment was probably heartfelt, given his parents' union membership. As he put it: "It was union wages that fed me and clothed me, that put a roof over my head."
Morales aroused The Bitch's curiosity, however, when he stood next to the AFL-CIO's South Florida president, Fred Frost, and reminisced about protesting the Free Trade Area of the Americas. First of all, The Bitch had no idea that Morales actually marched with union members against the hemispheric trade agreement in November, and second of all, where the hell was he when the police were cracking skulls?
When cornered by The Bitch, the Harvard-educated politician clarified his position on the FTAA: He's against the agreement as it now stands. Morales added that "if there is going to be an FTAA, Miami should be the secretariat headquarters. Locally, that would be a great thing, perhaps."
Greatest Living Investigative Journalist
A story in the May 10 edition of the Miami Herald by Casey Woods, headlined "Major scandals rock small city," belatedly chronicled the legal woes of city officials in the tiny enclave of North Bay Village. The rhetorical "It all brings up the question: What happened?" appearing in the third paragraph of the story, made way for a deconstruction of the arrests of four NBV commissioners and the investigation of the police department by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
This device also allowed the Heraldto avoid explaining that "what happened" in the way of first bringing the problems in North Bay Village to light was a series of pieces by New Times reporter Francisco Alvarado.Starting in October 2003, Alvarado chronicled the misadventures of the village's obsessed civic activist Fane Lozman, influential businessman/thug Al Coletta, Commissioner Bob Dugger, Mayor Alan Dorne, and police Chief Irving Heller.
North Bay Village city attorney Robert Switkes should consider using part of his $5000-a-month retainer to pay for an educational course on Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law.
For more than a month Switkes has failed to comply with The Bitch's official request to obtain the logs of cellular phone calls made by North Bay Village public officials in March. Sought are records of former Mayor Dorne, former police Chief Heller, Commissioner George Kane, and police Ofcr. Steve McVay.
On April 21, a day after New Times submitted its public records request, city manager James Vardalis said that Switkes had instructed him to not turn over the records.
However, assistant state attorney Joe Centorino,head of the public-corruption unit that is prosecuting Dorne and Commissioner Armand Abecassis for violating the sunshine law, says, "The call logs of publicly owned cell phones are, in fact, a public record."
The law allows Switkes (whose Miami Beach law firm, coincidentally, employs Dorne's son Craig) a reasonable amount of time to go over the records and black out information -- such as the home telephone numbers of police officers -- that is exempt.
On May 10 Switkes claimed that the cell phone records were still not ready. "I'll turn over whatever I have to you tomorrow," Switkes said. Of course, May 11 through May 14 came and went, and Switkes has neither produced the records nor returned The Bitch's phone calls.
Attorney Sanford Bohrer, who represents New Times in First Amendment litigation, insists that Switkes should have turned over the cell phone logs weeks ago. "This is not a month-long process," Bohrer railed. "Switkes needs to get on the stick. It should not take longer than a day or two to process this public records request."
On May 17, Switkes sent New Times a twig: Dorne's records. We're still waiting for the rest.