Gang Related

Mass transit trouble and coked-up greyhounds

Many faithful -- okay, a few faithful readers of The Bitch have written to inquire about an earlier reference to throwing gang signs. Some have expressed a desire to get in on the bandanna-happy action. So here is some lowdown: Before the deployment of complex gang greetings may commence, one must first belong to a gang.

Therefore:

All readers must join a gang.

Eric Oriol says bus drivers in Miami Beach won't stop for him when he wants to rack his bicycle
Jonathan Postal
Eric Oriol says bus drivers in Miami Beach won't stop for him when he wants to rack his bicycle

All gangs must adopt a name.

All gang names must contain the word "Bowery."

Bus-ted and Disgusted

Eric Oriol is a 49-year-old cook from Hallandale who -- and The Bitch totally approves of this -- gets around using public transportation with assists on the macadam from his bicycle. Lately, though, Oriol says he's been getting nothing but a cloud of diesel smoke from the Miami-Dade Metrobus drivers on South Beach, where he needs to be for work and errands.

Oriol contends that bus drivers don't want to stop to allow him to load his bike on the racks on the front of the buses on routes C and K in Miami Beach because it puts them behind schedule -- as if the traffic on Collins and Washington is really moving with the quickness.

"I was at the bus stop across the street from Miami Beach City Hall," Oriol recounts. "When the bus driver saw me waiting with my bike, he stepped on the gas and left me standing there." Oriol reports four similar incidents over the past month, and says a complaint he filed with the Miami-Dade Transit Agency on June 1 has gone unanswered.

"I'm black, and a lot of the bus drivers are black," says Oriol. "So I asked one of the drivers: 'What's wrong with you black guys?' and he said, 'Well, the white guys don't stop for passengers with bikes, either' -- as if that's an answer."

The MDTA's spokesman, Manny Palmeiro, didn't return calls from The Bitch, who is just trying to help a fellow public transit user out.

Blow: It's Not Just for Humans Anymore

A recent article in the Tampa Tribune revealed that more than 100 greyhounds have tested positive for cocaine at Florida racetracks over the past three years. In fact ten dogs have tested positive at the Flagler Dog Track, and thirty-nine positive tests came out of the Hollywood track.

Regulatory agents and animal advocates agree that the positive tests might not be the result of intentional doping. That is, owners probably aren't giving the dogs coke to make them lose weight or run faster. "Cocaine wouldn't be the drug of choice to fix a race," says David Roberts, director of Florida's Division of Pari-Mutuel Wagering.

Apparently there's so much coke floating around Florida that it's being accidentally ingested by dogs. Transference from a trainer's hand to the dog's skin and thence to the bloodstream, and inhalation of crack smoke from nearby baseheads are two of the ingestion theories proposed to The Bitch. By the time regulators get lab results, weeks have passed and there's no way to apprehend the culprits. One thing, however, is clearly illuminated by the testing: Hollywood is where the party's at.

The Evidence and the Envelope

When Lt. John Eller asked investigator Ramon DeArmas to get some boxes from the evidence room at the state Medicaid Fraud Control Unit's Miami office on April 14, DeArmas seemed to be feeling okay. But when the lieutenant asked for another carton related to an unsolved older case, DeArmas, a 49-year-old ex-Miami cop, became sick so suddenly he had to sit down, according to an affidavit. Then he had to go home. DeArmas later called the bureau and said he'd need the rest of the week off. And that, finally, made Lieutenant Eller suspicious: DeArmas is in charge of the evidence room.

What Eller had requested were three envelopes of cash totaling $5034.41 that were part of a criminal case. When Eller checked himself, the money was gone. So Eller and another Medicaid investigator opened an unlocked drawer in DeArmas's office desk and found "several property/evidence envelopes which had been cut open," according to the affidavit. The envelopes were, of course, empty.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement heavies were called in, and you can guess the rest: DeArmas faces two counts of grand theft and two counts of tampering with physical evidence, all felonies. Frankly if the allegations are true, The Bitch would expect an ex-cop-turned-fraud-investigator to make crime pay a little bit more, or at least to make the caper more interesting.

Air Cristol

When Miami-based Arrow Air avoided filing for bankruptcy last week, the jurist who approved the cargo airline's reorganization plan was pleased with his work.

Chief U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Emeritus A. Jay Cristol, himself an avid aviator, wrote a poem celebrating the solvency of this 520-employee air carrier:

"As of today I shot an Arrow into the air.

The reorganization plan was very fair.

Go fly your birds everywhere.

Haul your cargo with a great deal of flare.

Keep your planes on the runway and out of the muck.

May you continue to operate with the best of luck."

When Two Tribes Go to War....

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