Friday, July 15, 2016

He's Right

Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez
Mayor Kreps
Rey Trujillo was right.   The former North Bay Village Vice Mayor, former North Bay Village Commissioner, former North Bay Village Planning & Zoning Chair, former North Bay Village Candidate for Mayor, former North Bay Village Chair of the Connie Leon-Kreps Mayoral Campaign, and former North Bay Village resident returned on Tuesday night to address the commission.   He requested that Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez submit his resignation from the Commissioner At Large seat immediately.  

Jorge Gonzalez has declared his candidacy for mayor against his former best friend, Mayor Connie Kreps and under election law, will be required to resign sometime before Election Day.   

Trujillo's argument, long and poorly stated, was that there is legal precedent that a candidate should resign as soon as the candidacy is announced.  

Rey Trujillo was right.  There is legal precedent but it may not be the law.  

Trujillo then stated that by resigning now, the voters would have a say in filling the At Large seat in November.  By delaying his resignation until nearer Election Day, that will most likely cause the commission to select a new At Large member rather than the voters.   

Rey Trujillo was right.  

Finally, Trujillo stated that even without legal compulsion, not resigning and opening the seat for election would be "sneaky".  

Rey Trujillo was right again.   

My question is "Has Rey Trujillo met Jorge Gonzalez?"   I mean, does Trujillo seriously believe that this is a man motivated by his love of public service?  Of course he has!  In the world of North Bay Village Crazy™, Trujillo ardently supported Gonzalez in his last election bid.   They were besties, homies, compas, and entirely in agreement that they were destined to control our village.  

Jorge Gonzalez will probably lose his mayoral bid because like everyone else who has dealt with Mayor Crazy Eyes, he will underestimate her willingness to go nasty and does not understand that the interests that support her do not want to lose their useful idiot.  

But that's not the point.  The point is, Rey Trujillo was right.  

Kevin Vericker
July 15, 2016






Sunday, July 10, 2016

The New Normal

Dallas.  Orlando. Charleston. San Bernardino. Newtown.  All acts of domestic terrorism that have become such a part of our awareness that we know right away what happened in these places, and many others.  In each, military assault weapons were turned on other Americans, police officers, club kids, church goers, city workers and children, in mass shootings.   The cost to our psyche, our sense of safety and to our moral sense of who we are is beyond measure.  

But this new normal has another real cost.  Economic.   

In North Bay Village, our first costs are showing.  At the initial budget meeting, Chief Noriega laid out the cold facts of our own vulnerabilities.   While the chances of a North Bay Village suffering this kind of attack are infinitesimally low, just as they were everywhere they happened, the new normal is the reality that our police need to be prepared for random terrorism.   

And there is a cost.   Chief Noriega laid out an initial capital plan spending $240,000 for training and equipment for the PD to respond to mass shootings and other terrorist acts.   Nobody knows how much it will be to sustain the effort but Noriega made a compelling case for why North Bay Village can't afford to ignore the new normal.   We are vulnerable as an island city with a dense population and an easy tropical lifestyle.   

The budget is not final and there may be adjustments but there's little question that the commission will do the right thing and fund this preparedness effort.   

This is money that could be spent on things we need and want but because of the new normal, we have to spend our money on this.   

Kevin Vericker
July 10, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

The Great Election of 2016 - North Bay Village

I know.  I've been absent without leave for 2 months now.   It's not that nothing has been happening.  I've just been busy and the better discussions are going on over at North Bay Village Speaks on Facebook anyway.  

But today, it became official.  Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez formerly a BFF of Mayor Connie Leon-Kreps has announced that he is running against her this November.   

After all she's done for him, promoted his election the first time, supported his re-election the second time, cast aside the sitting vice mayor Eddie Lim to move Gonzalez to the Big Boy Chair, sponsored him to her friends at the Commission on Ethics so they could use the office to persecute other candidates, Gonzalez threw her to the curb like an old used shoe just because she's a little bit batty.  

Gonzalez is just like all the other men in Connie's life -

Her former bestie, Richard Chervony, turned on her after she had him appointed commissioner and then she refused to let him speak on matters about the village.  Connie got quite annoyed at him in fact and instead of shutting up, he decided to act like he was a commissioner. and you know do things.  That was intolerable to her so she dumped him or he dumped her or whatever.  But they are not friends.  

Her former 2nd bestie, Eddie Lim, didn't particularly enjoy being told to stop talking during his commissioner reports because Connie finds it boring when the subject is not her and Lim took umbrage when she accused all of her fellow commissioners of "collusion and corruption" with no specifics.   

Her former 3rd bestie, one Rootin' Tootin' Straight Shootin' Son Of A Gun Village Manager Frank Rollason who she lied about (said she had seen him in 10 years when she had publicly supported him in a failed run for office 5 years earlier) and brought in to get around the village hiring process as a "temporary" village manager and who she stood by through thick and thin, is now the object of her ire as she is trying to get him fired but he's more cunning than she is so she can't.  

Yes, Gonzalez  is just like all the nasty dudes in her life for whom she does so much and then they dump her just because she's batty and mean and manipulative,  Also, she's not very smart.  (Neither am I.  I play a game at each commission meeting to see how soon into the agenda she's been managing for 5 years before she gets lost.  Last week was a record at 28 minutes in.  A more intelligent person would not do that.)  

Gonzalez has his own baggage, an enormous ego inversely sized to his limited intellect, his penchant for bullying and his Trump like sensitivity to criticism over his bankruptcies, tax delinquencies and other matters.   Frankly, they seemed like a dream couple to me.   But sometimes, it just doesn't work and like the War of the Roses, this political marriage made in hell will play its way out on the North Bay Village stage.  

Should be fun!

Kevin Vericker
June 21, 2016

Friday, April 15, 2016

The Censure

Tuesday night, April 12, was a first in the long, conflictive history of North Bay Village.  The commission censured a sitting member, in this case the mayor, for her accusations of “Collusion and Conspiracy” against her fellow commissioners, both collectively and individually.  It was a sad moment, made necessary by the mayor’s refusal to retract or support her accusations.  

Let’s start with the facts.   

In March, there was an item brought up on the dais to discuss whether the commission should as a whole be advised and have the opportunity to discuss awards given to individuals and organizations on behalf of the Village before these are awarded.  North Bay Village has not had this as a requirement in the past, allowing each individual to decide who would be honored by the village on their own.  At least one member of the dais thought that since the awards were on behalf of the commission and village, the other commissioners should be made aware and their views taken into account.  

Mayor Kreps took this as an insult to her issuing awards on behalf of the village and instead of engaging in the discussion, which was about awards procedures in the future, she took the opportunity to emphatically and deliberately state that her fellow commissioners were engaging in “Conspiracy and Collusion” which is a criminal offense under Florida Law.  

Commissioner Lim, visibly shaken but maintaining a calm voice, asked the mayor twice to retract her accusation from the dais and the mayor ignored him.  

This month, Commissioner Chervony decided to introduce a Resolution of Censure to condemn the mayor’s use of false and baseless criminal accusations.  In the end, the commission voted 3-1 to sustain the censure.  Eddie Lim voted against.  

A censure is a statement of disapproval.  It carries no legal penalties nor does it involve and removal from office.  What it says is that a member’s behavior does not fit the standards of decorum.  

Why The Censure Matters

Regardless of the mayor’s feelings about the issue at hand, Kreps had no right to accuse her colleagues of criminal behavior.  And once she did, she had an absolute obligation to apologize and retract her statements.  And she refused.  

On April 12, she had the opportunity again to explain and resolve the matter but Kreps didn’t.  She doubled, actually tripled down, by packing the room with supporters to whom she lied.  Kreps claimed that the issue was about an award she gave to SAVE, which used to lead the fight for gay and lesbian rights in Miami and is now a corporately sponsored PAC publicity machine.  It’s on the people who showed up, that they didn’t take the time to read the resolution or to review the issue at hand.  

The mayor opened the meeting by reading a statement refusing to apologize, explaining that strong words were spoken in the  previous meeting and that she had been attacked.  Her defenders included two former commissioners, Rey Trujillo and Al Blake, neither of whom addressed the issue, several residents and Tony Lima of SAVE who tried to frame this as anti LGBT issue.  

If the mayor had apologized, or even simply retracted her statement, the issue would have died.  But this mayor sees danger and insult everywhere and is vicious in her response.  She brought this on herself and it’s painful to watch.  

It’s ironic that the proximate cause was an award, a key to the cty, that the mayor gave to SAVE.  SAVE, previously known as SAVE DADE, was formed to advocate for LGBT equality and in a hostile environment on the 1990’s, finally led Miami in joining the 21st century.  I was proud to be member, a Guardian (think dues over a $1000 per year) and to volunteer on their projects.  A few years ago, SAVE went in a different direction and much to my surprise, showed up in North Bay Village to endorse Connie Leon Kreps and give her money as a favor to David Richardson.  It was simple political manipulation without consulting anyone in the North Bay Village gay and lesbian community. .  

Kreps has not once brought a resolution to the North Bay Village commission on any issue of importance to the LGBT community in North Bay Village, never met with the local LGBT residents and in fact during her tenure, has done the following:

  • When a routine resolution was introduced by Commissioner Chervony to support an effort to stand against LGBT students being bullied in the school system, the mayor specifically demanded that the LGBT and school wording be removed and replaced with North Bay Village stands against all bullying.  October 10, 2013.
  • In August of 2014, a PAC supporting the mayoral campaign engaged in “pink smearing”.  They portrayed the mayor’s colleague on the dais as a puppet master and made a point of attacking the only out gay commissioner on the dais by bringing up an arrest record from his youth.  This is an old McCarthy like tactic from the 1950’s, called pinkwashing, to smear one’s opponents with accusations of homosexuality  or association with known homosexuals.  Sadly it still works today.
    The mayor refused when requested directly to disown the filthy pamphlet and I was pretty shocked when SAVE refused to condemn the mailer.  In fact, that’s when I withdrew my Guardian support.  
  • Last year, a year of great strides for the LGBT community as marriage equality became the law of the land, the mayor remained silent on the subject never acknowledging the legitimizing of North Bay Village’s LGBT communities marriages.  
  • Just two weeks ago, she was notable by her absence at the Pride Parade, where virtually every Miami-Dade official Republican and Democrat showed their support except our mayor.  

The award itself was a simple economic transaction.  The mayor gets a campaign donation, SAVE gets a patina of legitimacy, and the circle goes on.  It should never have been given.  

Nevertheless, not a single member of the dais objected to the award.  There were questions about what SAVE had done for North Bay Village (nothing).  The question being debated was whether the commission  as a whole should approve such awards or should a single member be authorized at her discretion to give awards out on behalf of the village.  

Pretending that this was either a personal attack on the mayor or an homophobic attack on SAVE is part of a large pattern of cynical politics as usual.  It was about commissioners refusing to accept a deliberately framed libel thrown against and were the mayor any sort of decent leader or person, she would have simply acknowledged that she was wrong and moved foward.  

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Missing In Action But Back Now

I've been super busy with entirely constructive and exciting new projects.  Life is going so well for me right now that explaining all this stuff would be bragging and you know I desperately want to hate to do that.  But I've been neglecting my self appointed duties to keep you informed so here's the roundup.  

Tuesday night was the commission meeting.  Let's talk about the stuff that got done.  


  1. The commission voted 3 - 2 to approve a contract to create 3 renderings of the proposed Village Hall, hold a workshop with the community to discuss and then move forward with revisions to the selected concept.  The cost is $58,000.

    This was a really fun process to watch.  4 of the commissioners were talking about how to best achieve the outcome of a new village hall.  One commissioner, Chervony, did not like the proposal because he wants the village to first decide the priorities of what should be in the renderings - e.g. office space, public space, parking, anything really - and then send it out to bid.  Chervony also expressed reservations about the cost, not that it was too high or too low, but that there was no justification presented.

    The other three commissioners, Jorge Gonzalez, Eddie Lim and Andreana Jackson thought that without a baseline of the proposals, the plan would remain stuck and their view prevailed.  

    Why was that fun?  Well, that's how discussions go.  You agree on the outcome and then decide how to get there.   It was good to watch.

    The mayor voted against the renderings but at this point, it's impossible to understand what she's doing.


  2. The Harbor Island Parking issues were brought up again.  The consensus seems to be that combination of the permit program and the lease of the lot by the 7904 West Drive building has resulted in a net positive for the residents but there are still deep concerns about the permit process and the sustainability of the parking lot lease.

    There is a special commission meeting planned for March 22 to work on the issues.

  3. Two developers have suggested that the village consider changing its name to the "Isles of North Bay" but it doesn't seem to be getting much traction.  I don't like it.  It sounds like a self described upscale condo development in my view.   But they did present and the subject will continue to come up.


    Beyond that, some administrative business and the meeting was over.  
Nah!   No it wasn't.   The really fun part, the part that causes me to type in all caps WTF happened near the end.   

You see the mayor has been handing out awards right and left.  She does this because she wants to act like people truly like her and in order to encourage them to keep liking her.   And on Tuesday, she create a new one that she gave to Tony Lima of SAVE, an organization that previously worked to advocate for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender residents of Miami-Dade but has since decided to go statewide, and to Jose Pinto, the contractor who restored the JFK bust.   (If you're interested, stick around to the final paragraph for a discussion of SAVE in North Bay Village.)  

The newly created award is a "Key To The Village" to honor the recipient for services.   

Well, as part of the New Business, Commissioner Chervony brought up that such awards typically require the approval of the commission.  While any commissioner is free to acknowledge anyone or any cause as deserving of our note and gratitude, a formal award should not just be created and presented as though it were agreed by all when there was no discussion.   

Mayor Kreps lost it.  Totally lost it.  Want to see  it?  Go to this link and play the meeting.  Jump ahead to 3:27 and be sure to watch the whole thing.  At the 3:36 the mayor begins screaming accusations against her fellow dais members of "collusion and conspiracy."  Those are criminal charges by the  way and Commissioner Eddie Lim took umbrage at the charge and the insult.  He repeatedly asks the mayor to retract her accusation.  She ignored him and went after the other commissioners as well.

Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez spoke about the inherent conflict of unapproved awards during election season and wondered what, if anything, SAVE had done in North Bay Village.  Commissioner Chervony mentioned the Community Enhancement Board had voted against the award to the sculptor because he was a paid contractor rather than a volunteer and that several volunteers were being overlooked.   The mayor blamed staff for that oversight when Commissioner Jackson asked about the subject and Commissioner Jackson then reasonably asked why the mayor had not followed through there.  

Mayor Crazy Eyes responded by pointing to the back of the room at a staff member who was in another conversation and instructed the staff member to "stop laughing."   

This issue is not going away.   The Mayor levied some serious charges here and the commission has a right to have a say in the awards given in the name of the village.  She should publicly and fully apologize for her outbursts and work with her fellow commissioners to put an approval in place.  Keep it classy.  


Final note on SAVE.  As I mention above, it was a once proud promoter of equality for the LGBT community in Miami-Dade.  But in recent years, it has taken a different turn and SAVE endorsed Mayor Kreps in 2014 against the explicit concerns brought up about her failure to involve the gay community in North Bay Village.  Kreps then refused to disavow a PAC supporting her that used McCarthy era homophobic smear tactics against her fellow commissioner Chervony and her opponents.  SAVE also refused to condemn the tactic and since 2014, Kreps and SAVE have refused to meet the gay community here in North Bay Village.  Kreps never acknowledged the historic marriage equality decision and SAVE has never asked the Village to do anything to support the goal of equality.   Full disclosure, I am a former Guardian of SAVE (means gave more than a small amount of money) and when I tried to get answers from Tony Lima, the executive director, he accused me of personal attacks on him and refused to address any of the issues.  So no more checks for SAVE.  The empty fictitious award gleefully accepted on Tuesday from a cunning, paranoid mayor pretty well sums up the ugly side of local politics.  It's a shame really.  

Kevin Vericker
March 12, 2016

Saturday, January 16, 2016

A Litter of Lunacy - Commission January 12

It's taken me a full three days to feel like I could write about the new and special kind of crazy that our commission is operating with.  Tuesday, January 12, was one for the books.  The mayor was sniping at the village manager, the village manager was passively aggressively cutting down the Community Enhancement Board, one commissioner dropped two F bombs and referred to assholism on the dais.   Jorge Gonzalez suggested that the village acquire police dogs to chase off  the village cats (he may have been kidding) and nothing got done.  

It wasn't all bad.   It started out with two good things. Andreana Jackson of Treasure Island was sworn in to the commission replacing Wendy Duvall.  She's bright, engaged and willing to ask any question that needs asking.  
Carlos Noriega was ratified by the commission unanimously as police chief.  Noriega's a good choice, in my view, and we did well.  

But the rest?  Holy spinning nutballs it was crazy.   How crazy you ask?  Let's break it down. 

Mayor Kreps  does a terrible job of chairing the meetings.  She frequently loses her place, talks to herself in front of everybody, misunderstands procedure and is just generally a mess.  Kreps usually melts down about an hour and a half into the meeting but on Tuesday, she screwed it up right out of the gate and forgot to swear in the new commissioner which would have made the whole meeting illegal.  The Village Clerk reminded her and it was right on the printed agenda in front of her.  

Well, that part was just stupid and nobody ever accused Mrs. Kreps of overthinking but it set the tone for the night.  

Consistently throughout the meeting, Mrs. Kreps tolerated someone sitting in the audience catcalling, laughing loudly, and talking over the dais.   Kreps encouraged a rambling seven minute discourse from someone who made no sense.   Kreps interrupted her fellow commissioners and in one the rudest moves, turned to the village manager during his report and said, "Oh, are you still talking?"  It was that kind of night.  

Not to be outcrazied, the Village Manager, one Rootin' Tootin' Straight Shootin' Son of A Gun Rollason gave a manager's report that was little more than a litany of incompetence and complaint.   Among other things, he mentioned that the village was now reimbursing the cat ladies for the food they litter on the sidewalks nightly, that he was well aware that 7525 East Treasure Drive is coming online in the next 2 months with 160 apartments and 98 parking spaces and no, he had no plans to deal with it but he could definitively say that the owners had no plans either, he asked for pile of emergency funds from the reserves for things he had not put in the budget, and had no comment at all about the visitor parking morass on Harbor Island.  

Then they all joined in a singularity of cynical catfighting, no, not about the actual cats, but about the boards.  The Mayor, the Vice Mayor, the Village manager have systematically destroyed all the active boards except for one, the Community Enhancement Board.  Now the mayor has been using the CEB as sort of an alternative commission to talk about every issue under the sun and to try very hard to get Frank Rollason fired. 
Rollason for his part regularly reports nonsense back to the CEB and tells them things that are not true.  Jorge Gonzalez is now planning to run against Kreps for mayor this year and ignores the board entirely.  

There are two separate complaints about this board in front of the Commission on Ethics - one about sunshine violations against Kreps and the other about misrepresentations made by Rollason.   The CoE will of course decide who they want to support in this year's mayoral election Kreps or Gonzalez and will find accordingly but this is bad.  

Because he is cunning where competence is called for, one Rootin' Tootin' Straight Shootin' Son of A Gun Village Manager Frank Rollason decided to put an item on the agenda with all the things that the CEB has been discussing.  This is legal but incredibly inappropriate.  It was a punk move on Rollason's part and it failed.  

Two members of the CEB gave their report, the mayor lost her thread, nobody on the dais slammed down their hand and said, "This is Bullshit", although I did hear a distinct "assholism" from one.   The commission had no idea what to do with the item and it just died.  Then they took no action on the Animal Control Board, called it a night and went home.  

Here's what they didn't cover:
  • The Visitor Parking program on Harbor Island whereby anyone who wants a visitor pass has to go in person to the police department with the license plate number of the car who will be visiting and proof that they are visiting a legitimate approve resident of Harbor Island.  
  • The lack of a Parking Plan for Treasure Island where 7525 E. Treasure is coming online with 98 parking spaces for 160 apartments.  Conservatively, that will result in 150 to 200 cars looking for street spots in an area that has few.  
  • The deteriorating sewers.  
  • The fact that all the properties on the north side of the causeway are letting their site plans and building variances expire meaning there is little hope of them being developed in the near future.  
Kevin Vericker
January 16 2016


Friday, January 8, 2016

Carlos Noriega Sat Down With Me

On Tuesday, the commission will vote on whether to confirm the contract for the proposed police chief, Carlos Noriega, the former police chief of Miami Beach.  Noriega took some time in his interview schedule on Monday to meet with me.  In my last entry, I expressed my concerns about his record of interacting with the community based on the very negative reports in the press.  

I was pleased then when one of the commissioners suggested a meeting that Noriega agreed.  I found him to be open, willing to talk, and not at all condescending like the last police chief, the disastrous Robert Daniels.  To read about the concerns, you can see more here, where the Miami New Times wrote extensively about his handling of three separate incidents in Miami Beach.  

My main question was framed around the Flamingo Park incident and why it took six months to respond.  A simple question that got a simple, verifiable answer.  There was no civilian or police complaint filed after the incident.  It was not until the ACLU served Miami Beach with a lawsuit that the PD was even aware of the incident.  

Side note:  my BS shields were at Yellow with this answer but Noriega explained (and I later verified) that the investigation comes under a state law which prohibits a police investigation if the report is older than 180 days ~6 months.   And I looked up the report and it's true.  

In the aftermath of the incident, Noriega and crew worked tightly with the community to bring Miami Beach to the 21st century.  

The conversation shifted then to community in general and Noriega talked about his record with the PAL, the community outreach, the homeowners associations, crime watch and other subjects.  Noriega has a strong verifiable record in that area.  

This combination, a solid record internally at the Miami Beach PD and a strong outreach to the community will serve us well.  

Robert Daniels destroyed morale in our PD, deliberately cut out the community and left the police department in a shambles.  It won't be easy fixing it and Noriega has his work cut out for him.  But he looks like he's up to the job.  

Kevin Vericker
January 8, 2016