Miami's Ten Biggest News Stories of 2017

Miami's Ten Biggest News Stories of 2017
Gage Skidmore / Flickr
click to enlarge GAGE SKIDMORE / FLICKR
Gage Skidmore / Flickr
In a year when a semi-Florida Man took the White House and proceded to bring lasting and great shame to the state where he spends half his year hacking golf balls and schmoozing random Mar-a-Lago members, it was another local political son who dominated Miami headlines for his awful record on Capitol Hill. From taking heaps of cash from Betsy DeVos' family before confirming her as education secretary to kowtowing to every demand from a man who called him "Little Marco" to literally sprinting away from protesters, Marco Rubio deserved every mean thing said about him this year.

He wasn't the only news story you devoured this year, of course. From a local parking vigilante shaming Miami cops to Kathernie Fernandez Rundle's spineless decision about Darren Rainey to a truly mind-bogglingly bad year for Florida Power & Light, these were the ten most-read news stories we published in 2017:
Photo by Gage Skidmore / Flickr
1. Marco Rubio Took Nearly $100,000 From Betsy DeVos' Family Before Confirming Her
Rubio's help in DeVos' razor-thin approval is especially unsurprising. It turns out DeVos — a multibillionaire with zero educational experience — and her family have been especially generous donors to Rubio's campaign coffers. In fact, Rubio accepted more DeVos cash than any other senator who backed her nomination today.

Rubio has taken a total of $98,300 from DeVos and her family members, according to Federal Election Commission reports crunched by the Center for American Progress (CAP).
Darren Rainey and Katherine Fernandez Rundle
Miami-Dade County Department of Corrections/Miami-Dade County State Attorney's Office
2. Florida Won't Charge Prison Guards Who Allegedly Boiled Schizophrenic Black Man Darren Rainey to Death
In an unconscionable decision, Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle's office announced Friday that the four guards who oversaw what amounted to a medieval-era boiling will not be charged with a crime.

“The shower was itself neither dangerous nor unsafe,’’ the report says. “The evidence does not show that Rainey’s well-being was grossly disregarded by the correctional staff.’’
photo by Tim Elfrink
3. Miami-Dade Police Violate Parking Laws
For the past six months, Carr has been waging a one-man war on cops who flout parking laws. He hasn't struggled to find scofflaws. Every morning, he walks from his downtown apartment to the Metromover stop outside the courthouse. And nearly every day, he documents a half-dozen police cars hanging out in illegal spots.

Since August, Carr has sent at least 125 complaints, with photographs and details of where and when he found the illegally parked vehicles, to departments around Miami-Dade County. He's been berated by some officers, ignored by internal affairs investigators, and, more recently, validated by the independent Civilian Investigative Panel (CIP), which ruled that 15 Miami Police Department cops had broken regulations.
Florida Power & Light
4. Miami Frustrated With FPL After Hurricane Irma
McKenna is far from alone. FPL's workers on the ground seem to be doing all they can to fix downed lines and restore power to homes, and they deserve huge credit for working around the clock in awful conditions.

But the company's corporate and government-relations wings have serious questions to answer this week after quashing regulations that could have made the energy grid stronger at a slight expense to FPL's billion-dollar bottom line.
5. Donald Trump Won't Pay Miami Paint Store, Court Upholds $300,000 Fine Over Trump National Doral Golf Resort
Donald Trump is so rich. Big-league (bigly?) wealthy. So wonderfully wealthy that he apparently owes a Miami paint store $300,000 for work at his Trump National Doral Miami resort. So wealthy he's been fighting not to pay that $300,000 since last year. So wealthy that his lawyers officially lost an appeal yesterday and now he's gotta pay that $300,000 or try to appeal all the way to the Florida Supreme Court.

Yes, the president of the United States of America, the leader of the free world, the single most powerful human being on Planet Earth, a man who recently bombed Syria on a whim, lost a fight over a few thousand dollars' worth of paint supplies.
New Times photo illustration / Source images via
6. FCC Fines Miami Man $120 Million for Making 96 Million Robocalls in Three Months
Yesterday the Federal Communications Commission said it had proposed a $120 million fine against Abramovich, that trickster-god, in what the FCC has called "one of the largest — and most dangerous — illegal robocalling campaigns that the Commission has ever investigated." Abramovich was allegedly even sending calls over emergency phone lines used for medical professionals and hospital call centers.
click to enlarge FLORIDA POWER & LIGHT
Florida Power & Light
7. FPL Wins Right to Store Radioactive Waste Under Florida Drinking Water
South Florida sits atop two gigantic underground stores of water: the Biscayne and Floridan Aquifers. Miamians get most of their drinking water from the upper Biscayne Aquifer, while the government has used the lower portion of the Floridian to dump waste and untreated sewage — despite the fact that multiple studies have warned that waste could one day seep into the drinking water.

So environmentalists are concerned that Florida Power & Light now wants to dump full-on radioactive waste into the that lower water table, called the Boulder Zone. A small group of activists called Citizens Allied for Safe Energy (CASE) tried to stop FPL's plan, but their legal petition was shot down this past Friday.
8. JFK Docs: CIA Plotted to Bomb Miami, Kill Refugees, and Blame Castro
After Castro's revolution succeeded and thousands of Cubans fled to South Florida, the agency actually considered murdering a boatload of refugees, assassinating exile leaders, and planting bombs in Miami — all so Castro could be blamed for the chaos.

The basic idea was to turn world opinion against Castro and possibly justify a U.S. military invasion by pinning the atrocities on him. The details of the sinister plot are included in a summary about Operation Mongoose, a 1960 covert op hatched by the CIA under President Dwight Eisenhower with the aim of toppling Communist Cuba.
click to enlarge Milo Yiannopoulos - KEMRON FOR LEWEB / FLICKR
Milo Yiannopoulos
Kemron for LeWeb / Flickr
9. Model at Milo Yiannopoulos' Cinco de Mayo Party Says She and Others Weren't Told It Was Alt-Right Event
In fact, she says, some of the models — who had been hired for the event — hadn't been warned they'd be working as eye candy and cocktail waitresses at an alt-right event complete with signs that read "Feminism Is Cancer" and "Deport Your Local Illegal." The model says she didn't know what she was in for until she arrived at the party and saw scores of "Make America Great Again" hats.

"None of us knew what we were walking into," says the model, who asked to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation or harassment from Yiannopoulos' fans. "Some of the girls walking behind him in those shots were like, 'My mother is an immigrant. If she ever saw me next to this man, it would kill her.' But if you're working in those situations, you don't feel like you can say anything because you need your money and need to pay your bills."
10. Video: Florida Sen. Marco Rubio Runs Away From Miami Protester
Rubio arrived back in the States by this past Friday morning, just in time to teach his class at Florida International University, to skip another town hall in Miami for no good reason, and to get confronted on camera by numerous protesters. In the video embedded above, he was confronted on camera at his FIU class.

In the clip, protesters can be heard shouting "You don't care about our health care!" at the senator. Then Rubio, in a white shirt and tie, starts debating the ins-and-outs of the health insurance industry with some of the people he represents.

KEEP MIAMI NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Miami New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Miami, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Miami New Times staff