April 26th, 2012
To anyone thoroughly displeased with the current City of Miami Beach government’s management of the corruption scandal and general administration policies, you can now sign a petition to express your voice. The petitions are on Change.org.
If you wish to sign the petitions to fire Jorge Gonzalez and Recall Mayor Bower, visit:
Let’s remember though that the ultimate petition you need to sign happens once a year. It is called the election. Matti Bower was re-elected just a few months ago. For all she know, this re-election proved that citizens are please with her governance, including her management of issues such Memorial Day weekend, Police Shootings, crime on the beach, and corruption.
If you want true change – please vote every year!
April 25th, 2012
As we recently reported, Miami Beach mayor Matti Bower responded to the recent corruption scandal within the city’s Code Compliance and Firefigher Departments by arranging for additional Ethics courses for the city employees. The courses will be administered by the Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust.
We find this to be highly ironic, given the fact Miami Beach’s very own City Manager, Jorge Gonzalez, has been reported to the Miami Dade Commission on Ethics for taking his wife on undisclosed tax-payer paid trips to Switzerland.
On April 8, 2011, an Ethics Complaint was filed against Jorge Gonzalez for violating Section 2-ll.l(e) 1ofthe Miami-Dade County Conflict of lnterest and Code of Ethics ordinance (the Code) entitled Gifts, for failing to disclose the cost of airfare received by his spouse from the City, in order for her to accompany him on several trips to Switzerland.
April 20th, 2012
The mayor of Miami Beach, Matti Bower, refuses the commissioner’s call for a special meeting to discuss the arrests of city employees in a large corruption scandal that errupted last week. The employees were arrested as part of an FBI investigation that uncovered that had extorted a nightclub owner to the tune of $25K. 7 Code Compliance officers and Firefighters were arrested as a result.
Four of the city’s 7 commissioners have called for a city meeting to address the corruption scandal (Ed Tobin, Michael Góngora, Deede Weithorn, and Jonah Wolfson). However, since this special meeting can only be called by the City Manager or the mayor – and both of them conveniently refuse to hold this meeting – there will be no such discussion.
Both Ed Tobin and Jonah Wolfson support a motion to fire the City Manager Jorge Gonzalez, who has been in his current position for 12 years. Four commission votes are needed to relieve Gonzalez of his duties.
Matti was cited saying
“What are we going to discuss? How horrible everything is? I’m not calling for a special meeting until we can lay out a plan.”
April 17th, 2012
Shortly after the city manager released his statement on the corruption scandal involving 7 City of Miami Beach employees, the mayor of Miami Beach, Matti Bower, released a statement of her own titled “Accountability Is Our Top Priority“. She assures the citizens of Miami Beach that she was appalled by the betrayals of public trust and lists a 5-item action plan to address the issue.
Ironically, one of the action steps is involving a senior Miami Beach Police Department official in the oversight of the Building Department. Funny enough, as I was under the impression that the Police Department had their own hands full dealing with their own scandals, ranging from the Memorial Day shooting in 2011, the killing of tourists, the drunk police officers posing with the ladies on Ocean Drive, and joyriding their ATVs on the beach in the wee hours. So, my confidence in them “overseeing” anything is understandably not at it’s highest level.
April 14th, 2012
The City Manager of Miami Beach, Jorge Gonzalez, released this public statement after the FBI investigated cases of fraud involving 7 Miami Beach City employees. While we applaud this effort, fraud and corruption in the City of Miami Beach is nothing new and is happening at every level of the organization. How were these crooked code compliance officers able to conduct their business without their managers ever noticing? Let’s also not forget that these are not the first Building Department employees investigated and arrested by the FBI.In 2008, Miami Beach Building Department employees Mohammed Partovi, Andres Villareal, and Thomas Ratner went to jail for accepting briberies from a developer when reviewing plans. This scandal caused the Miami Beach Building Department Director to resign. What did Mr. Gonzalez say then? ““We remain committed to the highest level of ethical and transparent government — and expect no less from all of our employees.” – sounds eerily similar to the below statement. Now that the public is learning little by little just how corrupt their “public servants” are, the questions remains: what can we do about it??
October 17th, 2011
The candidates for the seat of mayor in Miami Beach held on Tuesday, November 1, 2011 are Steve Berke, Matti Herrera Bower, Dave Crystal, and Laura R. Levey.
In order to allow for easy comparison, we’ve created the following chart to help voters decide on whom to pick for the next term of 2 years. As some of the information was not available, I’d appreciate anyone who has the info to fill in the gaps by commenting. The names appear in the order in which they are listed on the ballot. Oh and…while all of the below sounds really good, please be careful what you promise, dear candidate, as we’ll hold you accountable!
September 26th, 2011
The Miami Beach Mayor election is nearing (November 1st, 2011) and the race is heating up.
The candidates have been bombarding my mailbox with advertisements. The one that has sent an especially high volume of advertisement is Dave Crystal. He hopes to release Matti Bower from her current seat in the Mayor’s Office, which she has occupied since 2007. Matti certainly knows her way around Miami Beach politics as she has served as a commissioner prior to being elected mayor and served on several Boards. Dave Crystal is a young entrepreneur who, after attending the Miami Beach Leadership Academy, declared his candidacy.
As a long-time Beach resident, I cannot vouch for Matti’s intentions or integrity of character. What I can do, however, is judge her performance. In the last years:
- I have seen the Urban Memorial Weekend go from bad to worse.
- I’ve seen traffic increase, and nothing but parking garages being built.
- I have witnessed the salary increases of city employees across the board with no intent to really make any reductions or pension adjustments.
- The Miami Beach police Department has been exposed through several scandals and unnecessary shootings and other embarrassments.
- Lots of Miami Beach is still as dirty as always. Have you walked down Washington Ave lately?
As far as I can judge, he is educated, determined, and wants to make changes that matter to me, such as attacking the Miami Beach police overtime pay. For now, my vote goes to him – should you have any opposing information, feel free to comment and share your thoughts.
September 10th, 2011
Did you know that Deede Weithorn has a fabulous dog called Skippy? I didn’t, and neither did you, presumably, as this fact us about as newsworthy as a leaf falling from a tree in Timbuktu. However, it is this very fact that Deede Weithorn has chosen to blast out to residents in Miami Beach in anticipation of the upcoming commissioner election. She markets herself in big, bold, pink and mauve “Deede W” letters with the slogan of “Our fiscal watchdog” underneath. And right next to this statement is a family portrait with her husband, 2 sons and, the “fabulous dog, Skippy.”
Questions that come to my mind:
- Why is she branding herself as Deede W, like another famous W in American politics? Is there a hidden agenda or message behind the W that voters should be aware of?
- Why is her dog fabulous, but not her sons, or her husband? Is she trying to appeal to a particular South Beach crowd, what with all those pink and mauve letters?
- And last, but not least: why in the world should anyone in the world care about her dog? How is this information relevant to the election?
If you have any answers to any of the above, feel free to leave me a comment below as I am stumped.
September 9th, 2011
I have witnessed the Urban Beach weekend happening here in Miami Beach every year since it’s inception in 2001. Every year, residents flee the city to escape the one weekend of the year where shootings are almost guaranteed. To my knowledge, the city government has neither enabled this weekend, nor done much to prevent it.
Looks like I was wrong! In comes a flyers to my mailbox, in which Commissioner Jonah Wolfson labels himself as “the lone voice in opposition” to the “major issue of the Hip Hop/Urban Beach weekend”. As the flyer says, he has “showed consistend and principled leadership for the residents of Miami Beach.” Really, Jonah? Let me see…if you are indeed so vehemently opposed to the Urban Beach Weekend… then why have you not done anything to prevent it from happening since you were elected to the commission in 2007? Furthermore, if you are as successful in working on other city issues as you are in fighting the Urban Weekend…then it seems like you are not very effective at all? Commissioner Libbin has at least held a town hall meeting with residents to talk about the issue…what have you done? Oh, the flyer also presents this ultimate proof of his engagement, a quote to the Miami Herald from 2007:
What is your overall assessment of the city’s reputation as a destination location? Would you continue with the annual Hip Hop weekend? How would you manage the city’s image going forward? What would you do differently than has been done in the past? What new ideas do you have enhancing the city’s image?
Wolfson: We have a good reputation, but we must work to maintain it. I don ‘t believe the annual Hip Hop weekend has been a successful event for our city and would likely oppose its continuance. I would promote the city’s image by working to ensure our city is a safe place to visit, a great environment for families to live in, and an affordable place to run a business in.
Well Jonah, if you are serious about your engagement…how come you are not even a fan of the official Facebook Group “END: Memorial/Urban Weekend in Miami Beach“, made up of residents and visitors alike, that protests the event and raised the attention of the media around the world? How come your face is not prominently featured on TakeBackSobe.com, a website dedicated to the cause? Not even a single quote to the media after the police killed man this year during Memorial Day Weekend?