Banana Republican kicked off 2012 by recognizing a local Internet cabal of rabble-rousers and muckrakers who have helped fill the investigative journalistic void in the Magic City. In a cover story back in January, we ranked the Top Ten activist bloggers who work incessantly to expose shady government officials and their cronies who betray the public's trust. We love them because of their gumption and their abrasive style.
As we toast farewell to 2012, we asked four of the best bloggers to give us their favorite posts from the past year. Enjoy:
Stephanie Kienzle, VotersOpinions: Honor Among Thieves, published on Oct. 10
In Kienzle's post, she exposes how North Miami Public Works Director Aleem Ghany and the city's former Mayor Joe Celestin allegedly steered a contract to a firm that had hired a friend of Ghany and Celestin.
"My 'assistant' and I worked really hard on Honor Among Thieves, putting all the pieces together and ending up with an 'aha moment,'" she writes. "I heard that the next day this was the talk of North Miami employees, LOL!"
Anonymous, Homestead Is Home: Homestead Mayor Steve Bateman's Wife Bought Wayne Rosen's 2004 Mercedes S430, Nov. 16
In this post, Homestead Is Home reposts a Miami Herald piece detailing the strange circumstances involving Bateman's spouse buying a Benz at a steal of a price from a local car dealer. Coincendentally, the car's original owner is Rosen, a real estate developer with various business interests in the city and a major fundraiser for the mayor and city council members.
"The reason this is an important post is because at no time since the purchase has Mayor Bateman recused himself from voting on any Wayne Rosen connected issue brought before the City Council and there have been a few," the anonymous author tells Riptide. "If not for the news report there would not have been any knowledge of this transaction and that is the problem."
Alan Farago, aka "gimleteye," Eye On Miami: Where is Ana Alliegro, Oct. 8
The post was the funniest take on the whereabouts of the missing in action and self-described "Republican bad girl" Ana Alliegro, who is at the center of the David Rivera scandal. Before Alliegro disappeared, (too Australia maybe?) she was sought by investigators who wanted to know about Rivera's involvement in cash transactions that helped fund the Democratic primary candidate against the eventual winner of the Congressional seat, Joe Garcia.
"What's a good political corruption story without a femme fatale?," Farago writes. "That would Ana Sol Alliegro. Who wasn't entertained by our post, which asked our readers for suggestions to help the FBI find Ana.We got more feedback from readers than any post: showing that when it comes to political corruption in Miami-Dade, Eye On Miami readers can sniff an aromatic Miami story like a glass of fine wine and assess its quality with the best."
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Mike Hatami, The Strawbuyer: Some fun with Googlemaps and I need a favor, can someone help me find an auto tag agency near South Miami? March 7
"I'd have to say that the blog post where we exposed the South Miami Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro's unethical and illegal activities had to be my favorite post of the year because in one fell swoop we managed to turn the tables on the chief. Now the once mighty chief finds himself in a situation where he's fighting for his job and is having to defend himself against the charges filed against him by the ethics commission."
This post began a series unraveling Martinez de Castro's alleged unethical practice of steering work to his wife's auto tag agency, which is now the subject of a Miami-Dade ethics commission complaint. Hatami went after the chief after writing several posts about how his wife allegedly wrongly accused three of her former employees of theft.