Friday, September 22, 2017

Must Have Hit A Nerve

Two days ago, I received a "Cease and Desist Order/ Take Down Demand" from lawyers representing Mayor Kreps.   It was in regard to an earlier post, linked here, in which I asked her to speak to the reports that she is a target of a federal investigation.  Specifically, I asked her to either categorically deny these reports or recuse herself until the investigation is complete, so that the commission's actions would not be under a cloud of suspicion.  Her constant sniping about Dr. Hornsby along with her maniacal insistence that the commission fire Village Manager Frank Rollason and Village Attorney Robert Switkes make no sense.  

I ran the piece through the Fleisch-Kincaid readability test which reported it was easily understandable by anyone with 10.6 years of schooling.   If you did read the piece, I think even the most careless reading will see that the point of the piece is to say that in light of the reports, which I am hearing from both the dais and other protected sources, that the mayor should clear these up or take a step that would allow the village business to be unclouded.  

I have never accused our mayor of excessive intellect and so her lawyers wrote me the letter you can see at this link.  Click Here For The Cease and Desist

I am sharing my response to the mayor's lawyers below:

Ms. Donaire and Ms. Baker, I cannot accommodate Mrs. Kreps demands, communicated through you, for the simple reason that the assertions are factually incorrect.  At no time do I make any allegations.  Even the most careless reading of my posting would make it clear that I am discussing the reports, both public and through protected sources, of the investigation.   

Again, since I did not make the allegations you state, it is impossible for me to comply with your demand to remove nonexistent text and it would appear your sole intent is to squelch discussion of this important matter.  

I do understand the mayor's concern about the damage to her reputation, although that is of her own doing, and would like to reiterate my long standing offer that she, like any other involved citizen, is welcome in the Facebook group I administer, North Bay Village Residents Speak, to participate in community conversations and I will also reiterate my standing invitation for the Mayor to post (unedited) as a guest on my personal blog,  

Finally, let me conclude with a question.   Your incorrect assertions on what I had written reference an FBI investigation.  Naturally I did not write about that as I know of no such participation by the FBI.  I wonder if you can confirm for me that the FBI is actively involved?  

Best Regards,
Kevin Vericker
Seriously, poor Mrs. Kreps is befuddled, demanding that nonexistent content be removed because in America North Bay Village, the mayor must not be questioned?

Well, lo and behold, the Miami New Times picked up the story and ran with it.  You can see that here.

What a mess.  But I stand by what I wrote.  I'll keep you posted.

Kevin Vericker
September 22, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mayor Kreps and Commissioner Alvarez Should Step Aside

The unspoken shadow over the North Bay Village Commission are the reports that Mayor Kreps and Commissioner Alvarez are under criminal federal investigation for using the US mail to extort a fellow commissioner into either resigning or complying with their demands to fire the village manager.  The 2 issues are a violation of the Federal Hobbs Act, which makes extortion of a public official a federal crime and and mail fraud.  
For more on the original issue, see the blog post here.

Those who are familiar with the sad history of NBV politics know that such a situation is entirely plausible.

Normally, this would just be another case of North Bay Village Crazy™  but if there is an investigation happening and the Mayor and Commissioner Alvarez are aware of being targets, we got a problem.  The federal penalties for the violation of the Hobbs act are severe and it is deeply concerning that Kreps and Alvarez are focusing on firing the village manager and village attorney at this time of crisis.  The only people who would benefit from this would potentially be them because that would reduce the pressure to investigate and prosecute this extortion attempt.  They should not be making decisions about this grave matter at this time.  

There is an easy way to handle this.  Commissioner Alvarez and Mayor Kreps could simply:
  • From the dais, state categorically that they had nothing to do with the extortion attempt.  We can assume they would be telling the truth since it is an offense under the Miami Dade Bill of Rights for an elected official to deliberately misstate the truth in their official capacity and an outright lie would add further complications to their situation, if there is one.
  • If the reports of a criminal investigation soon to be closed are true, and they do not want to speak about this publicly for fear of compromising their own positions, then they should recuse themselves from participating this Tuesday in the meeting.  There would still be quorum and the process could move along.
  • Finally, if they were involved in the extortion attempts, they could either resign or admit it and explain themselves to the public.

Now I don't think they will.  Mayor Kreps screwed over too many people to get herself in the position she's in and I believe her to be a fundamentally flawed person but if there is to be healing for her and the Village, confession will be good for both.

As re Commissioner Alvarez, even when he's there, he's not.  He clearly doesn't want the job, hates being up there, never speaks or even asks questions.   He's in way over his head and should resign.  

Kevin Vericker
September 17, 2017


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Who Do You Have To Tickle To Get A Traffic Ticket Fixed Around Here?

Among the words I may to have to eat someday are, "I'm glad that the North Bay Village Police have stepped up enforcement on the Causeway."   I am glad.  All of us see the crazy speeding, reckless turning and overall bad driving on the Causeway.  

The police have made a more aggressive effort to get people to cut that crap out and I delight in seeing drivers pulled over.  Of course, if I pull some boneheaded move, I reserve my right to complain bitterly and threaten consequences but right now, it's working for me.  
But not for everyone.  

A longtime resident of North Bay Village was pulled over on the Causeway for:
  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes without a signal
  • Not wearing a seatbelt.  
In the time honored tradition of North Bay Village where there is a better class of people overall, the elderly driver explained to the officer that she has lived here since Biscayne Bay was a puddle, was good friends with the mayor, Mrs. Kreps, and could name the other commissioners.   Also she was late for her doctor's appointment.  

In violation of all that is holy and decent in North Bay Village, the young whippersnapper of a policeman still gave her a ticket, but because she was such a nice old lady, the ticket was only for not wearing a seatbelt.  

Now we all the know the legally correct way to handle a ticket in North Bay Village is to drop it in the mayor's mailbox with a note saying "Take care of this." and leave the  country for a few months.  Paying your debt to society and moving on with your life?  That's more of an El Portal thing.  Besides, the Latest Generation who survived both disco and pet rocks needs some consideration.  

Our mayor, who is all about constituent service, attempted to do as instructed and took the envelope with the ticket, dropped it with the village clerk with instructions to give it to the manager for him to "take care of."  

Now our manager, a mainlander, apparently misunderstood what "take care of this" means and thought perhaps the mayor wanted the police to make the ticket go away which was totally not what the mayor intended.   

You see, unlike the foreign lands to the east (Miami Beach) and the west (City of Miami), in North Bay Village, the protocol for dealing with a traffic ticket is:
  • Explain to the officer how long you have lived here.  
  • Discuss your close personal relationships with the elected officials.  
  • Listen attentively as the ticketing officer explains that you can pay the fine or contest the ticket at a hearing.
  • Drop the ticket in the mayor's mailbox with a note saying "Take care of this."  
  • The mayor then contacts the village manager saying "Take care of this." 
  • The manager then gives it to the police chief saying "Take care of this." 
  • The police chief then gives it to the ticketing officer saying "Take care of this." 
  • The ticketing officer then goes to the traffic violator's who has left the country for an extended period and explains to a friend of the ticket recipient that the way to take care of the ticket is to pay the fine or contest the ticket.  
In a shocking lapse of protocol, the manager and the village attorney decided that "take care of it" might mean something extra legal and so decided to seek the opinion of the Commission on Ethics about this procedure, with the unspoken question of whether the mayor was implying that the ticket should go away.  

Fortunately, the Commission on Ethics, a group of politicos in the witness protection program headed by Let 'Em Go Joe Centorino, were all "What?  How could 'Take Care of This?" mean anything at all but the process explained above and ruled that it was just an attempt to harass an elderly resident by holding her accountable for her traffic violations and an attempt to be really mean to an elderly mayor with issues by applying non-crazy standards to her behavior.  

The mayor is naturally outraged that she was badly maligned but she has not been spending her time cutting letters out of newspapers and gluing them to anonymous threatening letters she totally never sends.  What with that other investigation and all that. 

And that's the latest in North Bay Village.  For your reading pleasure, you can click here to read the full Commission on Ethics report.  

Kevin Vericker
July 20, 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Blackmail Attempt Fails

During the  commission meeting on Tuesday May 10, 2017, Commissioner Hornsby startled some of his fellow commissioners by announcing that he had been arrested and convicted in the late 1980's for an offense involving cocaine.  It happened in his then home of Tennessee and since then, he has completed rehab, always noted the incident on his professional certifications and been upfront about his past.  

The reason he brought this to the commission was because he and his wife have been receiving anonymous threats to reveal this information because the writer did not like the way Hornsby had voted on certain issues.  Instead of trying to keep it under wraps, Hornsby decided a public statement was in order and that's what he made.   

In the meantime, the letters sent through the mail and the threats sent I believe by text or possibly email have been turned over to the federal authorities and North Bay Village Chief Noriega has told me that the PD is aggressively pursuing the case with the feds.   

Following the advice of the Village Attorney and to ensure that there would not be any confusion about previous votes taken by Hornsby, the Village Commission voted 4-0 to reaffirm Hornsby's position on the commission and his previous votes.    

Hornsby and his wife are not talking about the case as it is under investigation and that's pretty well all I know about this situation.  

However, I do know about other situations.  In 2010, an attempt was made to blackmail then Commissioner Frank Rodriguez by revealing the contents of a supposed arrest from his youth.   Then Police Chief Daniels refused to have the PD investigate because Daniels was a terrible police officer.   

Also in that same month, filthy anonymous letters were mailed threatening exposure of real or imagined crimes to candidates who were not approved by the North Bay Island junta and although sent anonymously, falsely used my return address.  Police Chief Daniels refused to accept my complaint because he did not want the department involved in politics.  

Former Commissioner Richard Chervony was the victim of anonymous mailings to his study colleagues in a Good Government class as a clumsy attempt to discredit him.  

Former Mayor Corina Esquijarosa was barraged with similar tactics while she was on the dais.   The list goes on.  

My point is this is old school, North Bay Village, dirty politics.  I think the big difference now is that we have a new sheriff in town with Carlos Noriega and I believe him when he says the force will pursue this.   

I don't know where it will lead, but I hope that they do find and punish the creep or creeps behind this. We've been too long harmed by this bullshit.  

Kevin Vericker
May 13, 2017

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Don't F With Me, Fellas!
Tuesday, December 13, 2016 was the night that North Bay Village Mayor Crazy Eyes Kreps officially started her sweet, sweet campaign to take revenge against every single man, woman or child who ever, ever questioned her or dared to disagree with her.  She was in rare form as she chaired the dais, starting the evening out by demanding the police chief remove a long time resident from the meeting for talking, losing her place less than 40 minutes into  the meeting, not knowing the procedure for electing a vice mayor and not understanding the process for appointing a new commissioner.

All trivial compared to her bombastic, disorganized, dishonest attacks on the entire village staff, because, Damnit, she will be avenged.  

Okay, so let's talk about the agenda.  

First up was the confirmation of the previously agreed replacement commissioner-at-large.   Douglas Hornsby, a longtime North Bay Island resident (there are no other kind) had been agreed in advance to be the candidate and was predictably selected by a 3-1 vote.   The pro-Hornsby commissioners were Jose Alvarez, Eddie Lim and Crazy Eyes Kreps.   Commissioner Andreana Jackson voted for another candidate, Marvin Wilmoth.  

Wilmoth, a young and dynamic member of the Planning & Zoning Board, a holder of an MBA from Columbia, and someone with a clear vision of how the projects in North Bay Village should be overseen and executed was dismissed by the Council of Elders of North Bay Island because he's black he works in Real Estate Development and because one of the elders decided that the people speaking in his support were "outsiders."   It was definitely because of this and not because he's black and we already have a black commissioner because he doesn't live on North Bay Island.  

Other candidates included Joshua Furman and Jane Blake but Jane Blake dropped out after her husband, former Vice Mayor himself Alvin Blake, got up and enthusiastically endorsed her opponent Joshua Furman.  Nobody on the dais was planning to vote for Furman or (Ms.) Blake, but it was sad to see her thrown under the bus like that by her own husband.  After his disavowal,  Blake meekly approached the dais at the end with the small, dignity saving lie that she was withdrawing because she hadn't been on any committees in a while.   

As part of the deal to support the Mayor's choice, Eddie Lim was supposed to regain the title of Vice Mayor which Mayor Crazy Eyes stripped him of in favor of now former Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez who then ran against her.   The Mayor of course didn't understand the procedure to select a Vice Mayor and so it had to be deferred until next Month when rumor has it that she will screw Lim over again.   

With that out the way, the Mayor then spent 45 minutes berating the Village Manager for a budget item to hire project management auditors to make sure that the multimillion dollar projects are being executed on time and budget.  Her reasoning was unclear but her belief in her correctness was unwavering in its resistance to the facts put forward about the legal requirements for funding this work by both the village manager and the village attorney.   They are enemies!  They must not be heard!  

And so the funding died, putting the loans in technical default, with the mayor and a visibly frightened Commissioner Alvarez voting No, while Commissioners Lim and Jackson voted  Yes.   

And the evening went on like this, the Mayor shouting, speaking in non sequiturs and avenging every imaginary slight she has kept bottled up for years.  

She explained to the Police Chief that "some residents" definitely not the voices in her head were worried that his decision to use a repair facility in Miami Beach where he had good experience and who were cheaper than our current situation was actually a ploy to move our police department to Miami Beach.     

She tolerated an audience member shouting out all night while threatening to have people who weren't even there arrested for disrupting the meeting.  

In her biggest failure of the evening, an ordinance proposed to ban the heinous, discredited practice of reparative therapy failed to pass.  Reparative Therapy is a pseudo-psychological practice that proposes to change gay people straight.   It is practiced on adolescents, truly a form of child abuse, and is widely denounced by organizations such as the American Psychological Association, the AMA and really any non bigot who has heard about it.  The Ordinance in question would have banned the practice in North Bay Village.   

But the mayor, who to her credit introduced the ordinance, has frozen out the LGBT community in North Bay Village and never mustered the support required for the village to take a potentially risky stand against this practice.   There was no prework, no discussion of possible ramifications should some deep pocketed organization choose to sue North Bay Village, no discussion of HIPPA and other potential violations and no attempt to engage community support.   So when these uncertainties came before the commission, there were no answers and no compelling reason to vote for the ordinance and it died.   I'm sorry it did but I also know that the two commissioners who voted against the ordinance did so because they did not want to expose the village to risks they did not understand.  

In fact, all 4 then passed a resolution condemning the same odious practice, but that has no legal ramifications.  

And so the evening went until 12:30.   Nothing on the boards, broken promises to "unify" North Bay Village, a badly managed meeting that wasted the time of everyone there, except for the Mayor because she got her revenge.  She got hers.  

Kevin Vericker
December 19, 2016 

Friday, November 4, 2016

NBV Election Season - It's Not The Heat - It's The Stupidity

No sooner than I finish writing about the ECO's and the half truths presented to be "facts" than another ridiculous piece comes around, this one about the mayor.   It purports to be from a group called "United For A Better North Bay Village" Seriously, look in the black print, hold it up to a white light, use a magnifying glass and you will see that printed in the lower left hand corner.

Or don't bother - there is no such group according to the Florida Secretary of State.

The flier informs us that the mayor was censured and that she tried to get Benedict Kuhne to defend her at a cost to the village of $650.   Both these facts are true and well documented but this piece gives you no useful information.  The censure was for stating without proof and then refusing to retract an accusation that the mayor made against her fellow commissioners.  She accused them of criminal acts of conspiracy and collusion and refused to retract the statements.  Then Mrs. Kreps attempted to engage an attorney and have the village pay for it at $650 per hour to do something.   Since there's no defense and no legal action, it's not clear what.   But if you going to write a piece, don't assume a nasty picture and words are enough.   We're smarter than that.
In order to balance this piece out, a new group called "Truth & Transparency" have been sending out odd emails.  They are Transparent in their support of the mayor, but Truth, eh, not so much.

Their main points seem to be:
  • The mayor is not a realtor and the vice mayor is so this makes the mayor an environmentalist, a conclusion unsupported by any facts.   Just to be clear, in the five and a half years, the mayor has never once introduced a piece of environmental legislation.  Not once. 
    The realtors she compares to are Jorge Gonzalez, who pushed for the PACE program allowing us to make our houses more resilient and if Florida does not pass Amendment 1, will allow us to install private solar energy while Jackson has led island wide cleanups and fought hard to bring the trash and environment to the forefront.
  • The mayor was apparently cleared by the Commission on Ethics on October 25 of making "false statements."  Well, maybe they did.  We have no way of knowing because the CoE, a corrupt organization designed to protect the powerful, does not clear people and no investigation is closed until the board votes on it, which will happen on Nov 9.  Must be leaky.

  • Then there is "Sign Gate" which definitely happened.  The Village code enforcement decided to enforce an obscure regulation and removed all political signs closer than 25 feet from the center of the roadway on North Bay Island.  All signs.

    I believe they did this to impress Jodi Foster and it was a stupid move.   Commissioner Chervony is furious and posting all about it.  I imagine the other candidates are too.   It was a disgrace and I wish our code enforcers showed half the initiative in removing obstacles from our sidewalks that they did in this matter.  
    It's the dark implication that "someone must have done this.  Another candidate perhaps?"  Yeah, well it was the Village Manager.  Take it up in the right place. 
So if you haven't voted yet, be selfish.  Think what's in it for me?  Will my town be better with this one or that one?   And ask why this weird distortion?   We're small enough if you need to ask a candidate what they are for or against, you can find several on Facebook or just call them.   It's that simple.

Kevin Vericker
November 4, 2016

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Sleazy Lying Scumbags. Hello North Bay Village.

Lurking around in the sewers of Florida politics is the peculiar group known as Electioneering Communication Organizations (ECO's).   These organizations exist for the sole purpose of disguising political agendas that are too dirty to own publicly.  

You've seen 2 of these pieces in the North Bay Village Election cycle.  They came from a group called "Common Sense".  Hey, with a name like that who could be against them?  It's just common sense, right?  

So who are these civic minded publishers who are so concerned with the political future of North Bay Village?  Well, that's a bit hard to say.  

"Common Sense" is an ECO headquartered in Tallahassee, City of Dreams.  Common Sense is registered to Mark Herron and is funded mainly by Floridians For A Strong Future (also registered to Mark Herron, as are dozens of other clandestine ECO's.)   Why two?  Well, it's to make it less obvious who is paying for this.

To understand who is looking out for their own best interest in North Bay Village, follow the money. Look at who contributes to Floridians For A Strong Future.   The contributors are property developers and the lobbyists who represent them. In other words, the same people who benefit from North Bay Village having a poorly run commission that allows them to do what they will.   Not a single resident of North Bay Village gave 10¢ to these ECO's because the ECO's are not citizen focused, they are focused on profits.  Here's the link to the contributors.

This year Common Senses spent money to link Jorge Gonzalez to Donald Trump, which is odd because I don't think Gonzalez and Trump chat regularly, although I haven't asked either of them.  But I'm pretty sure Trump is not interested in North Bay Village.

Another flier by Common Sense exposes that Richard Chervony can be crass.   Perhaps they should rename themselves "Common Knowledge" because that surprises no one.  In fact when I read the flier, I thought "Hmm Chervony seems unreasonably restrained."  The ECO then went on to make the bizarre claim that he voted against local school funding, a weird lie, but what they really wanted you to hear.   Chervony in fact vigorously supported the school funding but did insist on reports on how the money was spent which some found objectionable, especially the mayor.  TIES is now a D school.

If it's not true, then it must be against some sort of campaign law?  Nope.  Not in Florida.  There is zero accountability, which is why ECO's are beloved by skeezy politicians.  

And how the profiteers love our current mayor.  Her disorganization on the dais and her complete lack of interest in zoning issues, along with her predisposition to give rich people whatever they want, is perfect, if what you want is to use a small island city to play real estate shell games.

Just look at our causeway.  None of the developers were going to build there.  They are all hoping to sell and profit by holding their parcels and their magical thinking has made our causeway a sad, desolate ruin.   A better organized mayor with a competence in zoning would be a threat to that but we don't have one.  

And our mayor loves to use the ECO's.  Two years ago, she was supported by ECO's who helped our mayor take a strong stand supporting the right of profiteers to steal from the Kennedy House residents and attacked her opponent Jorge Brito for objecting to this.  That it turned out Brito was right  and multiple convictions followed, including one of the mayor's closest campaign workers, Alejandra Salcedo, is not something Common Sense or the mayor has published.  

Our mayor also used the same ECO to disparage her openly gay colleague for well, being gay at a time when that meant arrest.   So I'm only surprised that this year seems milder but no less dishonest as Connie Kreps continues to enjoy the fervent support of people who enjoy their special profits.  

Hiding behind these dark, clandestine committees is a bad thing.  We are not getting information but carefully crafted scare tactics.  I urge each of you to contact the Mayor at and ask her about the mailings.   Does she agree?  Does she approve?  And ask her about her trusted campaign worker's conviction.   

After all, it's only Common Sense.  

Kevin Vericker
November 1, 2016