Two in the Bush

Purloined pigeons and a rooster identity crisis

With this from a piece by Roca in the Heraldthis past February 27: “He does not disappoint his fans. It is even endearing to see how the program’s sole double pirouettes — dazzlingly youthful, incidentally in the middle of Cesc Gelabert’s 2003 dance ‘In a Landscape’ — can bring out the biggest applause...”

Unlike notorious New York Timesplagiarist Jayson Blair, Roca reportedly stole only from his old clips.

Neither Fernandez nor Herald managing editor Judy Miller returned calls seeking comment.

Invisible City

Miami-Dade County Commission memberswon’t grant an audience to a group of citizens concerned about shelter for the poor and the county’s public housing problems.

At the June 22 commission meeting, members of the grassroots organization Low Income Families Fighting Together, or L.I.F.F.T., were prohibited from responding to a Miami-Dade Housing Agency report on the progress of the disproportionate number of vacancies (1038) in county-owned housing projects.

The group had been in the commission chamber from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., patiently waiting for the opportunity to exercise their right to free speech, only to be turned away, grouses Max Rameau of the Miami Workers Center.

When housing agency bureaucrat Alphonso Brewsterpresented the report to the commission, Commissioner Dorrin Rolle objected to letting the L.I.F.F.T. contingent speak. Despite a roar of protest from Rameau and members of the group, vice chairwoman Katy Sorenson, who held the gavel, refused to recognize the L.I.F.F.T. members. Sorenson then requested that Miami-Dade police officers remove them from the commission chambers when L.I.F.F.T. members began chanting: “No justice! No peace!”

Earlier, county commissioners spent nearly two and a half hours discussing how they were going to spend another $67 million to cover cost overruns on the previously estimated $255 million Performing Arts Center.

Best “Free” Publicity

Miami Beach Realtor Charles Burkett, owner of Burkett Properties, received the following e-mail from SunPost classified sales manager Jamie Kaufman, evidently an effort to streamline the Miami Beach paper’s flow by combining its news and advertising functions:

“The SunPost is about to put together our Best of Issue ... perhaps you would consider placing a FULL PAGE ad with all your properties — not only do you get the ad placement BUT you also get a Best of Award.... and a small write up in the paper.... This is the issue NOT TO MISS.... Have I enticed you??”

Kaufman’s comment on this merged media process was: “More than likely we got a nomination for this business.” The SunPost’s “Best Of” issue comes out this week.

Customer Nervous

Automatic teller machines are one of the great boons of the modern age. Miami Beach residents who deposit their dough at the Bank of America ATM on Alton Road and Fourteenth Street, however, may want to start burying their money in the back yard along with the bones instead. At least two customers have reported depositing checks and cash via ATM, only to later learn that the transactions did not accurately register. Crobar cocktail maker Kristine Hall deposited $1800, and was only credited with $1400. “A friend of mine deposited $5000 two different times, and only got $4700 both times,” Hall says.

At first the bank’s customer service reps told Hall and her friend that it was their word against the bank’s (sounds like the same BofA employee who, when The Bitch called to ask about the missing funds, referred all queries to a nonexistent phone number), but when Hall started talking about filing a police report, they changed their tune. “We have good credit ratings, and we’re good customers,” Hall says. “So for now they credited our accounts for the missing amount, and they said they’re investigating.”

Wrecking Ball Swings

Palm Bay resident and Upper Eastside Miami Council co-founder and vice president Bob Flanders used to be just a nice guy plugging events going on in his neighborhood. Now he has become an apologist for big developers. A while ago in an e-mail he touted the greatness of the gargantuan proposed Midtown Miami development and the wonderful economic kick in the pants he thinks it’ll give to the hood. Flanders also supports the new fourteen-story Kubik condo/retail project, which won unanimous Miami City Commission approval on June 10, to be built on the west side of Biscayne and 56th Street, much to the consternation of Morningside residents who say it’s out of proportion with nearby buildings.

He said this about development on Biscayne related to the Kubik case six months ago in the South Florida Business Journal (January 12, 2004):

Area residents want the city to freeze the permitting process for proposed projects in the Upper Eastside, said Robert Flanders, a founding member of the Upper Eastside Miami Council, an umbrella organization for the area’s many homeowners associations. “The code in place doesn’t represent the residents’ view,” he said. “We want development that is smart, sustainable and reflects the historical character of the boulevard.”

Compare that with what Flanders had to say about Kubik in the June 10, 2004, issue of Miami Today: “These people clearly applied for their permits to build long before the law was changed,” he said Monday. “The building could have been 23 stories high. The developers didn’t have to have 50 meetings with the residents, they didn’t have to change the project about a half-dozen times, and they didn’t have to add in extra parking spaces,” Mr. Flanders said. “These people have bent over backward to accommodate the neighborhood.... If all developers were like this, what a magical world it would be.”

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