Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 - Looking Back

2011 will probably be remembered as a pivotal year in North Bay Village. The big news of course was the resignation of the mayor. After months of relentless pounding over a tax matter that she herself had brought to the county tax appraiser, the mayor quit.

The end result of it of course is that we have a new mayor who was not elected, either to the commission or to her current position. In a particularly sneaky move, the new North Bay Island commissioner is the president of the group founded by Connie Kreps which led the recall effort, an unlicensed "MD" as an unelected commissioner. Kind of perfect North Bay Village symetry.

The commission could easily have held an election for the positions but these are not people who believe in elections and so they didn't.

Let's look at what else they didn't do in 2011, some good, some bad.

Good Thing - The attempt to outsource the sanitation services to Waste Management Systems failed. That was a good thing. It would have ended side yard pickup for the single family homeowners, lowered property values and was based on a lie that it would save $500,000 per year.

Bad Thing - As we continue to have one of the highest rates of foreclosures in the county, the city has not formed a foreclosure registry to accurately account for and maintain foreclosed properties. They continue to rot visibly in our city and drive property values further down.

Good Thing - In spite of their best efforts, the commission was unable to raise taxes again this year.

Bad Thing - No serious improvements were made to our spending and the budget was only balanced by the creative use of DEA Federal money. Expect a big bump in tax rates for FY 2013.

And what we are going into 2012 knowing:

  • Dr. Paul Vogel and his wife stole over a $1000 in phone services yet continue to sit on the commission.
  • The strip club looms ominously over the city, with inept city planning doing everything possible to ensure its passage.
  • The city's largest tax debtor and Eddie Lim's biggest campaign donor, the strip club developer himself Scott Greenwald, continues to sit on the Budget Oversight Board deciding how the money those of us who pay our taxes should be spent.
  • The legal bills for routine personnel management issues in the police department are running near a half million dollars and there is no end in sight.

We're really close to not being able to function at all. I'm not optimistic but the best we can hope for is that in November of 2012, when four seats on the commission are open, that we can elect people whose investment in the city is the city itself. That's something.

Happy New Year.

Kevin Vericker
December 27, 2011

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Holiday Break

Taking a break from blogging this week. Just wanted to wish all of you a Happy Holidays, whatever you're celebrating.

I'll be back with my year end wrap up next week.


Kevin Vericker
December 23, 2011

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Rest of The Meeting

Other than the strip club, there was really only one other significant item on the agenda. It was an ordinance to create a "Re Occupancy" certificate. In a nutshell, it would require a $250 city inspection when a property is sold to certify that the property meets code.

Connie Leon-Kreps was against it, strongly, and the acting city manager withdrew the item.

This was the right thing to do. A Re-Occupancy certificate is a good idea that could quickly fall into bad company and become a major obstacle to home sales.

In North Bay Village, most of the single family homes were built in the 1950's and many of the condos were built in the 1980's. Code has changed dramatically and simple observation shows that many modifications have been made. Establishing whether these changes were to code at the time is difficult in most places and could be impossible in North Bay Village. Many of our city records were destroyed in 2005 following Hurricane Wilma and anyone who has lived here a while knows that Coding has been an erratic function.

The challenge facing the new city manager is going to be put together a full coding revision including an inspection program, an "amnesty" of some sort to establish a baseline, professionalize the city planning, educate the public, and then, if it is still a good idea, consider a time of sale re-occupancy certificate. But right now, it would just add one more obstacle in a seriously depressed real estate market.

Eddie Lim and Richard Chervony spoke in favor of the ordinance, Lim mentioning that it raises money for the city and Chervony that it would only hurt people who had something to fear, which he seemed to think was the purpose. These two have an odd philosophy of governance.

In a related situation, Al Coletta spoke about how the city planning department created so many obstacles on a clearly zoned marina that it drove out a small business. This is the same city planning department that could not find anything wrong with the strip club plans. Something is not right.

Kevin Vericker
December 15, 2011

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Upscale Gentlemen's Club

The proposed Gentlemen's Club at 1415 JFK Causeway was not on the agenda at last night's city commission meeting but was clearly on the minds of all the attendees.

During Good & Welfare, Penelope Friedland of North Bay Island read a letter about the issues with the lackadaisical city planning recommendation to approve the plans even though the measurements are suspect, the city planner did not know about the school across the street nor the religious congregation, had not reviewed the traffic study, never requested an economic impact study nor a public safety study and took at face value that less than half the zoned retail, club and restaurant will be available to the public so minimal parking is needed.

Others, including me, spoke against the real threat that the commission could try to pull the same trick they did last year when they tried to ram through the plans at a special commission meeting called with 72 hours notice.

In the meantime, there are over 1000 signatures on the petitions.

The commission needs to take this seriously. NBV cannot keep paying for the city planner to treat this as though it were just any old building. And even if it were, the things left out of the application would be disastrous for any development this size. Part of our slump is poor city planning and if our current contracted city planner cannot do the job, we need a new one. It's too risky.

Did anyone else see the Herald story on the kidnapping from Diamond's Gentlemen's Club, a five star rated (on Yelp) club known for its exclusivity and classy ambience. Check it out by clicking here. Yeah, just what we need.

More tomorrow about the other subjects at the commission meeting.

Kevin Vericker
December 14, 2011

Monday, December 12, 2011

1,141 Signatures as Dec 12

That's pretty darn good considering the short notice and the time of year. In fact, it's good for any time of year and I am very grateful to all the people who have turned out to support this effort.

The bad news is that the commission will not hear the item on the strip club and has refused a special presentation of the petition at tomorrow night's meeting. So I have digitized these and will hold back the originals until such time as the commission sees fit to accept the petition. In fairness to the commissioners, I will provide them the digitized copies.

Tomorrow night though, at Good & Welfare, early in the meeting, residents are free to speak for 3 minutes on any topic of their choosing.

I expect there will be at least one person talking about how the city planner recommended the strip club plans for approval three times without verifying the measurements, didn't know there was a school across the street, had not reviewed the traffic studies, never requested a public safety study, and did not request an economic impact study.

The commissioners tell us how they are serious about the strip club. Tomorrow is their chance to get it right by ensuring that our city planner does not treat this loosely, for when it does come up.

I know I'll be talking about the need to hear the strip club proposal with full notice. You see, last year the commission tried to pass it at a "special" meeting, a function reserved for emergencies, with 3 days notice. The commission needs to be accountable to the people and not try this again.

If you have not spoken before, it's easy. Around 8:30 (best to be there at 7:30), the section known as Good & Welfare is opened to all residents who want to speak, on any subject pertaining to the city. for three minutes. You raise your hand, go to the microphone and state your name and address. Generally, the commissioners do not respond during the session, although they may. Obscenities are prohibited. I'd urge you to be there.

In a completely unrelated matter, there is an item on the agenda to institute a "Re-Occupancy" Certificate, which would charge home sellers $250 for a code inspection upon sale of their house. While not a bad idea, it is not part of an overall code review or amnesty program, which means that the sale could be blocked if you can't prove that work done on your house was to code. If you are thinking of selling your house, you may want to stick around for this part.

Again, thanks to all who have worked so hard. We need to keep vigilant. We are up against a well funded developer and a commission that has a history of trying to approve this club.

Hope to see you tomorrow.

Kevin Vericker

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Current Status about the Strip Club

The petitions are being put together now. We've well over a thousand signatures. Now the question becomes when to give them to the commission. Let's talk about that.

On October 30 of 2010, after Planning & Zoning had rejected the plans for the "building" on the grounds that they were deficient, then commissioners Rey Trujillo and George Kane called a special meeting to approve the plans for the building. Greenwald had been very clear that the building was being considered for all "legal use" including a strip club.

Then the motion was tabled on the grounds that the plans were incomplete.

The important thing about this meeting is that it was called and advertised with 72 hours notice. It was not on the regular schedule and the two commissioners invoked it as an "emergency" measure.

It was clearly designed to attract a minimum of publicity.

In December, 2010, at the regular commission meeting, with a new commission on the dais, it was brought forth again. Again the city established that the plans were incomplete and should not have been recommended for approval. Eddie Lim was the sole vote in favor of the club.

We need to make sure on Tuesday, December 13, 2011, that the city hears loudly and clearly that while their respect for Mr. Greenwald's rights may be important, that we as residents have the right to competent and proactive city planning reviews and legal representatives. We pay these people, a lot, and they should know the law and understand the sensitivities of the residents.

It's appalling that our city planner would have recommended these entirely incomplete plans for approval. Our city attorney should know the one ordinance inside out.

The commission will not hear the petition on December 13. They are taking the cautious view that they don't want to expose the city to lawsuits. But we need to be loud and clear during Good & Welfare that we expect our city services to step up and worry about our rights.

This year, the club was brought in with the exact same incomplete plans. Let me list them:

  1. The measurements to the child care center show 501 feet apart. The law requires 500 feet. The margin of error is .01% and this measurement is .002% of the total. Neither the City Attorney nor the City Planner knew if the measurements portion meant door to door or building to parcel line.

    Without independent verification of the measurement, it is highly suspect to believe these surveys. It wouldn't be the first time a sex oriented business lied about 12 inches.

  2. The parking spaces called for only 307. that means that less than half the entire retail, club and restaurant space would be used for customers. This seems unlikely for any such construction.

  3. The studies required in the code governing adult entertainment to show impact on public safety and on nearby houses were not done.

  4. The traffic impact study was submitted but not evaluated.

  5. The environmental studies were incomplete or not done.

The City Planner should never have recommended the plans for approval.

Tuesday, December 13, make sure the city hears you loud and clear. No tricks, no incomplete plans, n0 "special" meetings, no voting on "the box".

Kevin Vericker

December 13, 2011

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tomorrow Night on Channel 41 (17 Atlantic Broadband)

Diana Montano, a reporter for Channel 41 WJAN - Atlantic Broadband Channel 17, will be doing a report on the proposed strip club at 10:00 PM on Friday, Dec. 9. It will be in Spanish.

Kevin Vericker
December 8, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Strip Club Petition Denied by the City

I received confirmation today that the commission is refusing to hear the Petition Presentation at the Commission Meeting on December 13.

Their explanation is that hearing the concerns of the citizens could jeopardize the rights of the strip club developer, Scott Greenwald. Below is a quote from the city attorney's response to Commissioner Rodriguez' request for the petition to be heard.

All evidence and testimony for the City Commission to consider must take place at the actual hearing on the application when the item comes before the City Commission. Placing a special citizen presentation on the agenda for this item expressing opinion on the application would be outside of the hearing. The appropriate time to take any oral testimony would be during that hearing

The right of the people to address their government is firmly established as a guiding principle of American democracy and the citizens have a right to bring any issue they choose to their government.

I propose that we each show up and talk about this issue during Good & Welfare. The commission may try to shut us down but we have to make sure our voices are heard.

The strip club may be playing a legal game now. They have deliberately not requested to be on the agenda on December 13. The last time they did this, in October 2010, the commission called an "emergency" meeting with 72 hours notice to pass the proposal and it was a huge amount of work to get enough people there to let them know that we didn't want this club. I hope they are not planning to do this again. We need to insist that if the item is to come before, it be at a regular commission meeting with 10 days notice.

This battle is not over.

Kevin Vericker
December 6, 2011

Friday, December 2, 2011

An Open Letter to Commissioner Lim

Below is the text of an email I sent to Commissioner Lim. I will let you know if he replies.

Dear Commissioner Eddie Lim,

On Tuesday of this week, as part of your speech where you expressed your hope that now the city politics would be more civil with the appointment of Richard Chervony, you also expressed your exasperation regarding what you refer to as half truths and innuendo by "other" candidates. You did not mention what these supposed "half truths and innuendo" are, which is in itself disingenuous but I believe you are referring to my application.

In my application to be considered for the commission seat, I wrote "there is grave concern over apparent ties on the commission to the developer of the proposed adult entertainment complex. It is critical to the citizens to see that an appointed interim commissioner does not carry the history, real or perceived, of financial ties to one or another side in the current controversy." I don't see either the half truth or the innuendo.

The facts are that you voted "Yes" three times for the strip club. October 7, 2010 and October 30, 2010 as a member of Planning & Zoning, then voted again in favor of the strip club as a commissioner on December 7, 2010.

That combined with your accepting the maximum legal contribution from Scott Greenwald on September 23, 2010, has led to the grave concern of which I spoke.

So, Mr. Lim, if I am wrong and these facts are untrue or if there is some evidence that you have not continually supported the strip club, say so. I will publish your response on the blog and should I have my facts wrong, will read a retraction at the next commission meeting.

Awaiting your response,

Kevin Vericker
December 2, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Former Dr. Richard Chervony Appointed To The Commission

In a totally unrehearsed and completely transparent process, Eddie and Connie Lim Kreps were joined by Dr. and Mrs. Dr. Vogel in an overwhelming urge to appoint CFD President and former Dr. Richard Chervony to Connie Lim Kreps old seat.

Connie Lim Kreps was then duly appointed mayor and Eddie Lim Kreps took first runner up and is now vice mayor.

It was a bizarre evening as it always will be when this crowd gets together and much of the entertainment consisted of Rey Trujillo being bashed by Fane Lozman and Trujillo in turn attacking me, which was weird. Poor Rey. Once again his friends turned on him and he withdrew rather than the face the humiliating sting of defeat.

Strip Club Scott Greenwald got up and announced to the horrified attendees that I had not been going to the Citizens Budget Oversight Board of which he, as the city's largest tax debtor and very very concerned about it, has been religiously attending. He's right. For months I've been asking that these not be held during regular business hours but like the other boards, meet after work. Since I don't make my money from a harem's tips, it's not possible for me to be there. But the Budget Oversight Board won't change the hours so citizens can watch Scott Greenwald weigh in on fiscal responsibility.

Eddie Lim Kreps made a short speech about the need for unity and moving on, before he voted for Richard Chervony. He also made a veiled reference to my own application for consideration as containing "innuendo".

My application contained the statement

Concern in the city is high following the recent recall campaign and there is grave concern over apparent ties on the commission to the developer of the proposed adult entertainment complex.
To clear up any clear confusion, I was specifically referring to Eddie Lim Kreps taking the maximum legal contribution from Strip Club Scott for his campaign and his three enthusiastic "Yes" votes to approve the club. These are well documented.

There were other whacky diversions.

But for now, I will leave you with one of the many Richard Chervony emails I have received over the last year. This one dated October 17, 2010 was sent to me when I called him out on his use of the title "Dr." and "MD" even though he is not and never has been a licensed physician. All misspellings are his and the reference to "lude" is a mispellling of the word "lewd".

Dear Miss Manner:

It is general social etiquette to name the full name so kinldy when referring to me as lascivious Richard Chervony, kindly include "THE LUDE".


The lude and lascivious Richard Chervony

Richard will be fine addition to our commission.

Kevin Vericker
November 30, 2011

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Meeting at 6:30 PM on Tuesday November 29 at City Hall

North Bay Village's leading intellectuals The Citizens for Full Disclosure decided to send out an email informing the citizens that the special commission meeting to choose an "interim" commissioner, Rey Trujillo, and then appoint him Mayor, is Wednesday, November 30. It's not.

It's Tuesday, November 29 at 6:30 PM City Hall and we need to be there.

The CFD wants the confusion. They acted as an electioneering group for Rey Trujillo and their activities have been supported by Scott Greenwald, the strip club developer.

Rey Trujillo was for the strip club before he was against it (sponsoring the resolutions to pass the plans, actively voting for it as a commissioner, and accepting campaign donations from Scott Greenwald.) If he becomes commissioner, whether or not he is appointed mayor, his ties are too deep with the developer and his previous support too strong to be trusted.

There are eight other candidates, myself included, with no ties to the strip club. If the commission must fill the seat (which they don't) then select someone with NO TIES TO THE STRIP CLUB.

They will only do this if we show up in numbers.

See the Agenda Below:

11-29-2011 Agenda City Commission Meeting

Kevin Vericker
November 26, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

No Ties To The Strip Club

On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM, the commission will appoint an "interim" commissioner. The plan is to appoint Rey Trujillo as "interim" commissioner and then appoint him mayor. This is the only way he can be appointed mayor without an election. And Trujillo has been the direct beneficiary of the strip club developer and has championed the attempt to build the strip club in the past. He was for it before he was against it.

Scott Greenwald, the strip club developer, gave targeted donations to Trujillo and Lim, provided key help in their campaigns and the recent campaign against the sitting mayor. And he wants his payback on Tuesday November 29 at 6:30 PM at City Hall. He wants a commission controlled by people favorable to his interest.

The meeting last week and the petitions being gathered now are not enough to stop this development. The Commission has the final say and it's not clear that they will vote NO on the club. We need to make sure they do.

Trujillo is deeply entwined with Greenwald. Greenwald financed his losing mayoral campaign.

Trujillo fought for the strip club when he was on the commission.

Even as head of P&Z voting no, Trujillo did so saying only "I'm voting this way because the people say so but we are going to get sued." rather than against the plans themselves. As chair of P&Z, either through incompetence or deliberately, he failed to swear in the majority of the speakers, leaving the legitimacy of the findings in doubt. It was a major oversight.

Trujillo told me personally that he "can't be bought for $500" and I believe him. But his consistent association with Greenwald, his championing of Greenwald's status here in North Bay Village, and his questionable judgment indicate that the relationship is too close for comfort.

There are seven candidates for the "interim" seat, myself included. I'd like your support. As interim commissioner, I have two firm points -

  • Do not pass the Strip Club plans.

  • Hold an election for the mayoral seat.

As noted there are five other candidates to choose from.

We need to be at the meeting sending the clear message "No One With Ties To The Strip Club." No one.

In my last post "History of the Strip Club, I laid out the timelines of the votes and the money.

Kevin Vericker
November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

History of the Strip Club

While I am waiting for the petitions to be printed, I thought it might be helpful to lay out the history of the plans for the strip club. Many of you heard about these for the first time last week but it's been lurking around for over a year.


September 23, 2010 - then candidate for mayor Rey Trujillo and candidate for commissioner Eddie Lim each accepted $500 (maximum legal contribution) from Scott Greenwald, the strip club developer, for their campaigns. At the time Eddie Lim sat on the Planning & Zoning Board.

October 7, 2010 - The plans were presented to the Planning & Zoning Board. The board deadlocked with Eddie Lim voting a strong "Yes". There was an attempt to reconvene the meeting to force the other P&Z members to vote "Yes" but it was declared invalid under Sunshine.

October 30, 2010 - There was a second meeting of the P&Z Board on the subject. The plans were rejected 3-2, with Eddie Lim again casting a "Yes" vote to approve.

October 30, 2010 - Immediately following the P&Z Board, there was an "emergency" meeting of the City Commission called by Vice Mayor George Kane and seconded by Rey Trujillo to approve the strip club. George Kane had already been disciplined for accepting a $25,000 commission from Scott Greenwald to move the city hall to the Lexi (at a cost of $80,000). Rey Trujillo spoke passionately about how the vote was "not to approve a strip club" but just to "approve the box."

The approval did not pass.

November 2, 2010 - Rey Trujillo lost the election for mayor. Eddie Lim won a commission seat.

December 14, 2010 - The strip club comes back up at a commission meeting. Again, we are told that "it must be approved." Eddie Lim votes "Yes" to approve but the plans again are defeated.


January 2011 - Rey Trujillo is appointed to the Planning and Zoning Board by Eddie Lim. Strip club developer Scott Greenwald is appointed to the Citizens Budget Oversight Board, which monitors our finances. Greenwald was and still is in tax arrears on his city properties to the tune of $1.5 million.

November 15, 2011 - The strip club is back. As Chairman, Rey Trujillo for the first time votes "No" while making it clear that he believes the city will be sued. It's worth noting that during this meeting, the chair did not ensure that all speakers were sworn in as required by law, leaving the outcome in doubt.


November 29, 2011 at 6:30 PM - In a special meeting, the commission will appoint an interim commissioner to serve until the commission appoints a mayor. Full disclosure, I have put my name in for consideration. I would appreciate the support but more importantly than me is the simple message to the commission. DON'T APPOINT ANYONE WITH TIES TO THE STRIP CLUB. Seriously. They need to hear that message.

Otherwise, the plans pass on December 13, 2011.

Kevin Vericker
November 22, 2011

Monday, November 21, 2011

Petitions to be distributed

Paper petitions against the Strip Club will be printed and we will begin distributing them tomorrow November 22, 2011. We are hoping to collect over a 1000 signatures by December 13, 2011.

Kevin Vericker
November 21, 2011

Friday, November 18, 2011

Community Against the Strip Club

At 11 AM or so yesterday, I set up a Facebook group called North Bay Village Residents Against The Strip Club. By 8 PM, it had 68 members.

Alejandra Slata set up a petition at Change.org called Reject An Adult Night Club In North Bay Village at around 2 PM and had 69 signatures by the end of day.

This weekend a physical petition is being prepared and will be circulated in North Bay Village.

The outpouring is amazing. I'll give more detail over the weekend.

Update: - The Sun Post Weekly did the best article summing up the issues. Well worth reading by clicking here.

Kevin Vericker
November 18,2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Strip Club - It's Not Over

Tuesday night was a great outpouring of community sentiment and clearly sent the message that we don't want a strip club in North Bay village. But that message is only partial. The same message equally as strongly must go to the commission as they, and they alone, have the ability to reject the plan in its entirety. Tuesday night was a recommendation to reject but not an actual rejection. That is for the commission to decide.

It matters that the voice be heard, loudly and clearly. If you are able to circulate a petition, please let me know. Better even, if you can attend the commission meeting on November 29 at 6:30, a special meeting to select an interim commissioner, and confirm the city manager's new contract, that would be great.

Most importantly, attending the commission meeting at which the petition is presented, the second Tuesday in December is the critical point. Our commission needs to kill this project completely.

Important to know: since the rejection by Planning & Zoning was unanimous, the city commission requires a super-majority to override the rejection. Four out of five must vote to override. Section of the code is quoted below.

Okay, now the boring stuff. A breakdown of Tuesday night's happenings.

Channel 7 did a good job of covering the meeting. Click here for the video, the Herald much less so. Click here for the article.

But neither of them covered the bad plans submitted to the city. Understand that even if this were the perfect fit, the plans are so flawed that they should never have passed city planning's approval, much less been recommended for approval.

There were ten conditions and exceptions to our plan, including environmental reviews, noise regulations, traffic studies, number of parking spaces, and no standard of measurement.

That alone should have caused the city to reject the plans. You could not build a shed or a dollhouse on your waterfront property without these.

The city planner did not seem to know how the distance should be measured to the nearest child care facility and school. The city attorney was befuddled by the definition of the "parcel".

Our city staff should know the Adult Entertainment Ordinance by heart before they present a plan they say should be approved. It's all there in Section 152.111 and they should have studied up before the meeting.

The kindest explanation is that this was confusion that day from the dais.

As the Planning & Zoning board members discussed their reasoning for their vote, only one, Richard Chervony, brought up the technical questions of distance measurement. The others simply talked about vague lawsuits and that the "citizens don't want it."

I hope that the commission will look at the deeply flawed plans and reject them on their merits.

Now for the big argument. The lawyers for the developer condescendingly educated us that the Supreme Court requires that a city with a wide diversity of public establishments must have an adult entertainment district, so there's nothing we can do about it. That argument is truthy but not true.

The ruling allows for a wide variety of exceptions. In a city like North Bay Village, limited by our island geography and neighbors with two cities having nearby adult entertainment, the argument falls apart. There is no compelling reason to locate such an establishment here. The most readable research is from Exploring Constitutional Conflicts on the University of Missouri at Kansas City site. Read it. There is no constitutional requirement to allow nude dancing or other adult businesses to operate where local conditions are unsuitable.

Here's the text from our regulations that show a super-majority of the commissioners are required for approval. From Section 152.102 of our ordinances. Emphasis mine.

If a written protest against an amendment, supplement, change, variance, or special use exception is filed with the City Clerk, signed by the owners of 50% or more within 500 feet of the perimeter of the property being considered, or if the Planning and Zoning Board recommends, after a public hearing as described above, that the proposed amendment, supplement, change, variance, or special use exception be disapproved by a unanimous vote of the full Planning and Zoning Board, such amendment, supplement, change, variance, or special use exception shall not become effective except by a favorable vote of at least 4/5 of a all of the members of the City Commission.

Finally, a personal point regarding a slander hurled at me. During the meeting, Fane Lozman, a resident at 2913 Avenue F, Riviera Beach, stated that he and I had discussions in which I expressed racist views regarding the clientele at another establishment. Lozman has an unhealthy obsession with me; he has made similar outlandish statements before; Lozman has harassed my family and with the full consent of the city commission slandered me in other city meetings.

I am stating here that Lozman and I never had any conversation remotely related to the subject of ethnicity or the establishment in question. He lied in a blatant attempt to slander me. The chair of the meeting, in accordance with our City Charter which specifically prohibits such behavior should have shut the microphone down. Section 30.13 states

The public. Any person making personal, impertinent, or slanderous remarks or who shall become boisterous while addressing the Commission shall be, forthwith by the presiding officer, subject from further audience before the Commission unless permission to continue be granted by a majority vote of the Commission. This remedy shall be in addition to the provisions of section 135.03(A).

It is not just about me. Our City Commission and Boards have an absolute obligation to enforce decorum and allow free speech at our meetings. That Lozman does this is despicable but our city allowing it is illegal and injurious to citizens.

Much more when the petition is ready.

Kevin Vericker
November 17, 2011

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy North Bay Village

The strip club proposal for 1415 JFK Causeway was voted down unanimously by the Planning & Zoning Board.

Within the 24 hours prior to the meeting, hundreads of citizens mobilized to pass out fliers in front of the school, write to their commissioners, spread the news to their neighbors and one intrepid mom made a hundred "No Strip Club" signs and passed them out to attendees.

There was no leader, no formal organizing, no "you do this, I do that", simply the spontaneous community organizing that happens when enough is enough.

It was impressive to say the least. And the message carried.

Last night shows what the power of community can do. The spark, a Channel 7 news report on the plans, was enough to ignite the opposition of an often fractured and seemingly detached community.

I'll review the details of the meeting later this week - the arrogance of the developer's lawyer, the poorly drafted plans that were accepted by the city with holes large enough to drive a truck through, the anger of the residents at "business as usual".

This is not the last step. This could still go before the commission and they can override the recommendation. So let's be prepared for another round.

You did good last night, North Bay Village, you did really good.

Kevin Vericker
November 15, 2011

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Strip Club Meeting Tonight

Special note: There was some confusion over the start time since the sign on Treasure Island read 7:00 PM but Yvonne Hamilton assures me the time is 7:30 PM.

The plan reads "The fourth and fifth levels will provide a total of 27,970 square feet for a night club offering adult entertainment." for the new building proposed by Scott Greenwald at 1415 JFK Causeway, the Channel 7 property.

Tonight at 7:30 PM, the Planning & Zoning will be considering the application for the strip club, an application that contains a large number of variance exemptions from our code and requires parking that is currently under litigation.

Both the Miami Herald and Channel 7 have covered this in detail.

The agenda specifically includes a use agreement for an adult entertainment club and extensively discusses the plans for the club.

I think it will pass. The rumor circulating is that Rey Trujillo will vote against it, even though Scott Greenwald financed his unsuccessful campaign, as it is politically untenable for him but that the votes of two other members are assured yes, giving enough to pass. Let's see how it plays out.

Kevin Vericker
November 15, 2011

Monday, November 14, 2011

Strip Club Meeting Tomorrow Night

Killed twice by the North Bay Village Commission, tomorrow night (Tuesday November 15) at 7:30 PM at the City Hall, Planning & Zoning will once again hear the application for a strip club at 1415 JFK Causeway.

This time, it will probably pass. Scott Greenwald lined Chairman Rey Trujillo's campaign coffers during his unsuccessful run for Mayor, spent an equal amount on Commissioner Eddie Lim successful run and has been greasing the skids throughout the city.

Channel 7 did an excellent report on it tonight. Click here for the piece.

Last time, they prevaricated, bullied and did everything but admit that it's a strip club. This time, they don't even bother. On the city application, their business plan reads "The fourth and fifth levels will provide a total of 27,970 square feet for a night club offering adult entertainment."

It may not happen. Greenwald has left a series of vacant lots overrun by squatters and vermin in his disastrous career here in North Bay Village, so maybe this will fail too.

But not if the ruling junta of North Bay Village can help it.

Meeting is tomorrow at 7:30 PM, City Hall.

Kevin Vericker
November 14, 2011

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Mayor Resigns

As of 5 PM today, Corina Esquijarosa is resigning her office as mayor of North Bay Village. After a brutal and deceitful campaign which took a routine tax matter and portrayed it as a criminal offense, she had enough.

So the unelected Connie Lim-Kreps becomes acting Mayor. The commission can decide to hold an election but since Rey Trujillo will lose again, the more likely course is that the commission appoints Lim-Kreps mayor and appoints Rey Trujillo to her vacant seat.

In the meantime, the strip club will pass and Paul Vogel can resume stealing city services and money ($1,225 and counting).

Kevin Vericker
November 11, 2011

Friday, November 4, 2011

Recall or Resignation

The CFD ROME Pepe Jueves coalition sent out another of their blood red, poorly written screeds this week with the subject line "CORINA RESIGN NOW - THE CITIZENS DEMAND IT!!!!!" and that leaves me wondering. I wonder if that, resignation, is really the point of their brutal and mendacious campaign. Heck, they qualified the recall signatures which they gathered by creative misrepresentation and intimidation. Why not take it all the way to a recall?

It occurs to me that a recall would put Esquijarosa's personal tax and financial problems before the voters. But it would also put all the nasty business that this group has actively supported out in public, all of it.
  • Vogel's theft of services from the city (over a thousand dollars in cell service for his wife.)
  • The hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on legal services to handle routine management issues in the police department.
  • Lim's failure to pay any city taxes in 2008.
  • Kreps illegally signing thousands of dollars in unaudited checks.
And a lot more. Things like the strip club continuing to be pushed, what happened with the project money and why the city broke its own charter rules in the police chief's employment contract.

If there is a recall election, and I profoundly hope there will be one, then questions will be asked and answered. Questions they don't want you to hear and the answers will scare the socks off you.

The recall is just a pretense for an intimidation campaign to keep control of the city and keep us in the dark while our money is drained away.

The CFD and the twins don't want a recall. It was never about that.

Kevin Vericker
November 4, 2011

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Taxes Are For Little People

In 2008, Eddie Lim did not pay his property taxes on his home or two investment properties. They went to tax auction in 2009.

TAX CERTIFICATE : YEAR 2008 NUMBER 27368 for $4088.40 bought on Aug. 13, 2009.
TAX CERTIFICATE : YEAR 2008 NUMBER 27366 for $7127.48 bought on July 24, 2009
TAX CERTIFICATE : YEAR 2008 NUMBER 27367 for $2119.49 bought on October 26, 2009
The total is $13 255.37

source Miami-Dade Property Appraiser

No word on how these have been satisfied but there are people looking into that.

Speaking of unpaid taxes, the city's biggest tax debtor, appointed by Eddie Lim to the Budget Oversight Commission, is bringing back his proposal to build a strip club at 1415 JFK Causeway. Yes, the strip club, enthusiastically supported by Eddie Lim in his tenure on the Planning and Zoning and on the commission but rejected by the city repeatedly, is back.

It will be on the agenda for the P&Z meeting November 15 at 7:30 PM. Rey Trujillo is on that board, and of course his campaign received the bulk of its financing from the gentlemen's club impressario. Eddie Lim has unwaveringly supported the development of the strip club, which I am certain has nothing to do with the $2000 he got from the same developer.
Bring popcorn and lots of single dollar bills as it promises to be a triple DDD show that night.

Kevin Vericker
October 30, 2011

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Strip Club Hearing Planned on November 15

Once again, the Planning and Zoning will be taking up the subject of the proposed five story Adult Entertainment Complex that the city's largest tax debtor, Scott Greenwald, is proposing to anchor our Baywalk. There is some confusion over the actual time - the meeting notice says 7:30 PM but the sign on Treasure Island says 7 PM.

What there is not is confusion regarding the intent. After going bankrupt, after abandoning his properties at 7914, 7916 and 7918 West Drive thereby leaving a squatter encampment, after paying a former sitting vice mayor $25,000 for the unnecessary and expensive city move to the Lexi, after financing the campaigns of the P&Z chairman and two commissioners, Scott Greenwald's latest "get rich" scheme is to put up a tawdry club that doesn't even come close to conforming with our zoning.

And the Planning and Zoning board is likely to vote to do it.

Unless you show up - Tuesday, November 15 at 7 PM (just to be sure) at City Hall - to let them know what you want for the city.

And tonight, on Channel 7's "Help Me Howard" at 6 PM and 10 PM, there is a special report on the ugly politics of North Bay Village.

Ad-Isle of Dreams-1415 Kennedy Causeway

Kevin Vericker
November 14, 2011

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Vogel Friends and Family Plan

Commissioner Dr. Paul Vogel and his wife, Marietta Vogel, ran up $1,225 in cell phone bills between March 2007 and August 2010 paid for illegally by the city.

In 2007, without the knowledge or permission of the city manager, and without the knowledge or permission of the Commission, the Vogels decided that the then recent city policy of providing either a cell phone or reimbursement for the same meant that they, Dr. and Mrs. Vogel, were entitled to cell phones (note the plural) on the city's dime.

The cell phones they took, without the city manager's knowledge, and not recorded in the logs carried the phone numbers 786 877 1680 and 786 999 5454. These phones were turned back in shortly after I made the public records request in the spring of this year.

This has been documented, the records subpoenaed and is right now in the hands of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics.

So the Vogels, without permission, decided to take money monthly from the city for over three years.

It's a shame really. I used to think Paul Vogel was a decent guy, a little too in bed with some of the entrenched interests, but I really didn't think he was doing grand theft and abuse of public office. I guess, once again, I was wrong. I fell for the "I'm just a nice old guy" act.

Between stealing our money for at least $1,225.91 in phone services (and more), four unexcused consecutive absences which means he's off the commission, and the marked up agendas instructing him how to vote, Dr. Vogel needs to resign.

Next up: Who paid Eddie Lim's delinquent property taxes of $13,255 from 2008? Not Eddie Lim. They were sold at auction. Details to follow.

Kevin Vericker
October 28, 2011

Monday, October 17, 2011


I didn't post last week because I was out of town. I was at an infrastructure conference in Washington DC, the equivalent of a spring training trip for fans of public policy. The national picture is dismal for the infrastructure in North America. While there is general agreement that investing in water systems, transportation, new power generation and fixing the aging systems in place is critical for economic recovery, that sense of critical has not translated into a sense of urgency. In two sessions with members of Congress, I realized that the only consistent message is that Congress is deeply divided and not much is likely to get done. That's pretty depressing.

On Saturday night, when I got back, I went to the New World Symphony Soundscape in Miami Beach. It was the season premier and the park outside the concert is a marvel. The projection on the wall and the excellent acoustics outside make for an amazing experience, unique to Miami Beach. In this economic climate, the Soundscape is a concrete example of how public private partnerships can work and make a city a better place.

And that got me thinking about North Bay Village and what's going on.

Put aside for one moment the filthy tactics of personal destruction that pass for politics in this town and look at what is not happening. The city is stuck. We voted for and agreed to pay new taxes to improve the quality of life here and for a little while, a short while, it looked like we were on track to finally become the waterfront city so often discussed.

The Causeway, our main window to the world, was going to be upgraded and lined by businesses and housing that we could be proud of. There was to be a Baywalk, a strip along the northern section of Treasure Island to connect the restaurants, shops and housing along the beautiful bay. Harbor Island would have a waterfront park and sidewalks, with a new city civic center anchoring the development.

But what do we have? One good thing is that the sewers did get done so we don't flood at every rainstorm. That's been particularly good this week.

Overall, lots of money was spent to build a wall of marginal attractiveness on North Bay Island, nice enough but they already had one. The park was a total disaster and is not even functional. Harbor Island has no sidewalks and no plans. A large functioning taxpaying business, Jumbo Buffet, was forced out of business when its access was cut off and it's not going to be open again soon. Treasure Island continues to be blighted by the empty retail spaces of the Lexi, the flooded parking lots, auto repair junkyards and the derelict strip malls.

Our taxes went up again to pay for such improvements as - the wall around Harbor Island, which kills the chances of retail taxes, further improvements to an inaccessible park surrounded by garbage scows and overgrown abandoned lots, the further entrenchment of city facilities in the barely functional Lexi building.

None of these are the type of infrastructure improvements that will bring stability to North Bay Village, fix our broken tax base or improve our property values (except maybe the sewers.)

Unless and until there is significant progress in fixing that causeway and attracting high volume businesses to North Bay Village, we are going to become a waterfront ghetto, a place to speed by and not even wonder what's there.

It could be different. Instead of paying back political debts with public money, protecting entrenched interests without regard to the damage it does to the city, the commission could and should be focused on getting us out of this mess.

But like Washington, the greed is too immediate to concentrate on the long term fixes and the future looks bleak.

Kevin Vericker
October 17, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Mayor Trujillo

The fundamental motivation of the Citizens For Full Disclosure is laid out in this plaintive sentence from their latest email "It is less than a year ago that the voters of North Bay Village elected an unknown resident by a mere 6 votes"

It's true. An unknown resident defeated a sitting commissioner who briefly served as vice mayor (until his allies turned against him), a commissioner with a well funded campaign and high name recognition. The only fair analysis of the 2010 election is that Rey Trujillo lost, not that Corina Esquijarosa won. The people of North Bay Village chose the unknown candidate over the known quantity on offer.

This was a rational decision. The voters had seen the out of control spending, the arbitrary firings, the famous "Trujillo Tax" where the city spent nearly $500,000 in unnecessary expenditures to suit the would be mayor's whims.

To see what those six votes meant, consider the following. If Trujillo had won, NBV would:
  • Have outsourced the garbage services at no discernible cost savings to the taxpayers and eliminated side yard pickup. The Trujillo campaign was heavily financed by the Waste Management companies and the debt would have been paid by us.
  • The operating millage rate would have been 5.1 for this year. It was only the dogged insistence by the mayor that the budget be taken seriously and savings found that stopped that. Don't believe me? In 2010, Rey Trujillo had no problem raising your tax rate by 11% to fund the firings and generous contracts he put in place to secure the FOP support.
  • Trujillo fought for and continues to be in favor of a strip club on the causeway. And the strip club proposer, Scott Greenwald, was both a major donor to his campaign and a major force behind the recall effort.
Now let's look at the positive side of things:

  • For the first time in our history, we are getting back money from the Children's Trust Fund and have after school youth programs. This was a major platform item for Esquijarosa.
  • Instead of responding to the personal insults at the commission meetings, Esquijarosa has brought some level of discourse and transparency to the commission, a situation that infuriates Vice Mayor Lim-Kreps.
  • Her intense reviews of the city's payments stopped one retiring city employee from granting himself a large bonus parting gift and she has forced the signing of checks to be done in public.
There's a lot more to do. Since the first day she stepped in, she has been the object of relentless attacks by the people who believe they are entitled to the city, or more importantly to the city funds, and that's taken its toll. Her family, her livelihood, people who supported her have been the ongoing victims of abuse sanctioned by Connie Lim Kreps and her supporters.

The CFD believe that they, Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Gloria Carter and Jane Blake, have the sole right to the city and their offense at not winning the election has morphed into a dangerous hatred.

Rather than look at why their preferred candidate lost, Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Gloria Carter and Jane Blake, supported by out of town investors and beneficiaries of lawsuits against North Bay Village, have taken to the streets to tell the voters of North Bay Village that a routine tax matter, a matter that the mayor herself brought to the county appraiser's office, was criminal in nature.

In their twisted rage at being deprived of what they believed they were entitled to, this group has presented this as though there were a criminal conviction, instead of a tax settlement, and a massive fraud instead of a routine, dull story of a property investment gone bad.

Let's do a little bit more about that last email, shall we?

Here's one quote:
"We want a Mayor who listens to what the citizens need and desire and not concentrate on one specific group that benefits them and their family directly." Is there any example, any proof to substantiate this claim? No, of course not. So to whom do the CFD refer with this unsupported allegation?

Certainly not me. Since I got involved, I have been the victim of USPS mail fraud, the target of anonymous emailers who happen to share the CFD mailing list, my car has been vandalized, my family attacked at work. Don't believe me? Do a public records request at the North Bay Village police.

Another citizen who disagreed with the recall found that she too was the victim of first an anonymous email and then one sent by the CFD, accusing her falsely and with no substance of mortgage fraud.

In a similar vein, a citizen who volunteered to be on one of the boards found the CFD sending around his businesses tax records, perfectly legitimate records, but to let him know that they are "watching."

One petition gatherer on my street, a neighbor who I banned from my house two years before because I don't tolerate her constant racial slurs and filthy language, has taken to screaming obscenities at me when she is panhandling on Lincoln Road, income I imagine she does not report to the IRS.

It's hard to see how the people standing up to the CFD have benefited. Quite the opposite.

Here's the final quote from the CFD email: "
Let's take our City back and silence the naysayers and bloggers that twist, distort and mislead the misfits with their twisted perspectives."

Read it again.
"Let's take our City back and silence the naysayers and bloggers that twist, distort and mislead the misfits with their twisted perspectives."

Did you catch the bit about
silencing people? Did it send a chill down your spine? It should. Healthy democracies don't silence. Healthy democracies are noisy places of disagreement and agreement. Healthy people don't "silence" others for disagreement. Good people certainly don't.

I don't know. Maybe it read better in the original German.

So when you get emails like this, consider what it means. Are these really the people with whom you wish to align yourself? Do you really think they want an open city government? What is their platform?

Kevin Vericker
October 7, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Turns Out The Budget Wasn't Balanced After All

On September 20, after much complaining from the Vice Mayor about how the mayor had so "many, many questions" about the budget, and when the mayor asked that the inconsistencies be explained, she was brushed aside. The budget passed with Lim, Kreps and Mrs. Dr. Vogel voting yes.

Imagine how embarrassed the Lim Kreps twins and their elderly servants Dr. and Mrs. Dr. Vogel must be now that less than three weeks later, it comes out that the budget wasn't balanced at all. September 30th came and two cops were laid off. Now on October 11, there is a resolution seeking $937,530 to fund the police department. (Fun fact: the grant money to fund the cops did not come through because Connie Lim Kreps led the effort to fire the last legitimately hired city manager and the replacements never hired a grant writer.)

Actually I was just kidding about Lim Kreps being embarrassed. They knew all along that the budget wasn't balanced and knew what the strategy was. They just didn't want us to know.

In another step towards destroying democracy in North Bay Village, the interim city manager is introducing a resolution to restrict commissioners from introducing legislation unless there is a prior vote by the commission to allow it. Since the Lim Kreps and Mrs. Dr. Vogel have introduced virtually no legislation, this would effectively eliminate the commission from doing anything unless the Lim Kreps approved prior to approval.

Anyone else feel like we're living in a bad joke?

Kevin Vericker
October 5, 2011

Friday, September 30, 2011

The Recall Campaign and Other Lies

You've seen the emails from the electioneers about recalling Corina Esquijarosa.

You may even have read them.

What you will note is that they are filled with BLOOD RED CAPITAL LETTERS INFORMING YOU THAT THE MAYOR IS GUILTY, GUILTY, GUILTY. of something.

Except she's not. The real story is so much duller. A foreclosure, a mishandled tax claim, and the mayor herself bringing the issue to the tax office for resolution.

Not a penny of city money was taken. All this happened before the 2010 election, and the situation well known at the time.

No fraud, no malfeasance, just a stupid tax error and an attack for trying to resolve it.

This weekend will be the final noise-making campaign on the histrionic recall of the Mayor. Led by the North Bay Village's secret cabal the CFD comprising Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Jane Blake and Gloria Carter, founded by Connie Kreps, and supported vocally by out of town grifters, this campaign is not about the mayor's financial issues.

Don't believe me? Why should you really? Well put aside what you've heard for the moment and look at the mayor's record.

Esquijarosa campaigned on a platform to bring children's services to North Bay Village and to restore transparency to how our city spends money. And guess what? She's done that.

In the first part, improving services for kids which has the net effect of improving our community quality and value, the mayor identified and pushed for a Children's Trust Fund grant. For the first time since the Children's Trust Fund was established, North Bay Village is receiving a direct benefit back from the taxes we've been paying.

We have an after-school program and summer camp open to NBV kids, just like a real town, and best of all, at nearly no cost to the city.

Other people mattered in this grant, most of all Jenice Rosado and also the interim city manager Robert Daniels deserve credit for structuring and managing this through.

The mayor has also been working hard along with the school board to create an international baccalaureate program at Treasure Island Elementary, which would turn our local school into an internationally recognized elite school.

The Vice Mayor and founding mother of the CFD, who has not once introduced or supported a program to improve the children's services, let alone one that would claim the money we have all paid all these years to make this a vibrant, family friendly community, reacted to this by quoting Whitney Houston and saying, "I believe that children are our future" and then ruined it by saying "but not if the North Bay Village taxpayer has to lay out money." I'm not making it up. Review the DVD from the 9/20 meeting. Then Vice Mayor Lim Kreps tried to shut down the discussion by complaining that the mayor had too many questions.

Still, Esquijarosa promised to work on youth programs and in less than a year, has delivered, in spite of the Lim Kreps opposition.

Then let's look at the transparency issue. North Bay Village passed a budget holding the operating millage at 4.8. Now the city has tightened some areas but the mayor took apart the budget, noting raises at a time of fiscal crisis, car allowances for people who do not regularly use their cars for city business, longevity bonuses to people who don't work here, and questioned the size of the legal budget, nearly all of which related to labor management issues.

Questioning this sent the Lim Kreps twins into a fury. They don't want the money questioned. Not in public and not by the mayor and certainly not by us. So a bad budget passed, one that remains far too generous to non productive services and tightens those services we residents actually care about.

Again, you don't believe me? Just look at how the projects money has been spent. Millions to create a landscaped wall on North Bay Island, millions for that stupid useless park and not a penny for sidewalks to get there. Could it be any clearer?

So when they ask you to sign the recall. When people tell you that the mayor "stole money from the city." When the "open government" secretive CFD CAPITALIZE their emails and scream at you about how the mayor must be removed, ask them how they intend to maintain the youth services progress? Ask them why they never question a budget item? How come nobody but the mayor asked any questions on the budget?

Finally, when they write about the number of state agencies supposedly investigating the mayor, if they have any proof? (Hint: they don't.)

Then decide. Who do you trust here? The mayor who has delivered on her promises? Or the people who have contributed nothing to the city while trying to hide the budget?

Kevin Vericker
October 1, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Citizens for Full Disclosure?

Local group Citizens for Full Disclosure comprising Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Jane Blake and Gloria Carter, sent out a mailing last week entitled ELDER ABUSE. The email is reprinted below, with the permission of Richard Chervony, Alvin Blake, James Carter, Jane Blake and Gloria Carter. I also sought and received permission from Nancy Sonnett-Selwyn.

The email refers back to my posting of June 14, 2011 where I discuss the ongoing bullying on Dr. Paul Vogel. You should read that posting here for full context.

Before getting to the email, I have two brief comments.

The mistake in the letter regarding the circuit court is mine. I filed the papers with the Miami-Dade Clerk of the Courts, the governing authority on recalls.

All grammatical and spelling errors in the email belong to the writers of the email and Ms. Sonnett-Selwyn gave her permission contigent on my noting that she would never have used the word "infirmed" as there is no such word.

Finally, you will find the letter referred to below the quoted email text.

From: Citizens for Full Disclosure of North Bay Village Inc. <cfd_nbv@hotmail.com>
Date: September 23, 2011 8:12:48 AM EDT


The actions in the last months committed by a group of individuals in our City may border or may be considered as ELDER ABUSE. This has been reported to the proper agencies and their investigation and admonitions are sure to follow.

First and of most impact is the behavior and accusatory tones used by our Mayor in her attempt to intimidate, Dr. Paul Vogel. Her illegal request to have him barred from the dais for a vote and to accuse him of having missed four consecutive meetings unexcused is reprehensible lie and a low attempt to usurp the power of the City. Must we remind the Mayor that North Bay Village does not subscribe to a STRONG MAYOR form of government. Furthermore North Bay Island Commissioner, Dr. Paul Vogel also known as the Mayor Emeritus of North Bay Village has served this City for 20 plus unselfish years. He has given of himself at all times with respect and dignity and at no time has insulted or belittled a fellow commissioner, no matter what the offense they committed.

Secondly, the Mayor's mouthpiece and community mis-blogger, Kevin Vericker, stated on his rant of June 14, 2011, " Well, today I want to speak about the more grotesque bullying happening on the dais and in plain sight. I refer to the way Dr. Paul Vogel, a man who served the city long and honorably, is being exploited." He further states "It's sad. It's sad that age and sickness have struck this fine public servant and a hell of a guy, and it's made even worse to see how those who claim to respect and even to love him, don't hesitate to exploit him, in public, in front of cameras and in front of the city he served so well."

He continues, "What's happening to Dr. Vogel fits the definition of elder abuse. Those surrounding him are isolating him, keeping him uninformed, directing his behavior for their own personal gain and punishing him with withdrawal if he does not comply. We are all complicit when we allow this to happen. We are all bullies if we do not protect our elderly. "

Attached you can find a letter written by Mr. Vericker a couple of weeks prior to his rant. In it he states that "today I filed paper with the county circuit seeking you recall." His actions demonstrate the elder abuse by threatening the Mayor Emeritus into thinking he was being recalled. No recall has ever been filed in the circuit court nor is this the process for a recall as our charter reads and we all know it.

The last person from this group, Ms. Nancy Sonnett-Selwyn who at the Commission meeting in April 2011 accused Mayor Emeritus Vogel of being "too old and infirmed" therefore he should resign or she would seek his recall. Ms. Sonnett-Selwyn attempted to create a recall based on the Carlos Alvarez documents. Being such a long time resident of our City, being involved in numerous Boards yet she doesn't know the charter of our beloved City nor the "GROUNDS FOR REMOVAL OF AN ELECTED MUNICIPAL OFFICIAL"

Nowhere in the Florida Statutes does it list age or illness as grounds for removal. The actions of these individuals with their cohorts merit an investigation of not only ELDER ABUSE but AGE DISCRIMINATION and ABUSE OF POWER.

As Mr. Vericker blogged "When we are called to account, I firmly believe that the question we will have to answer is "How did I treat people who were weaker than me?" The longer we let this go on, how will any of us be able to answer that question?


This information was sent to you by Citizens for Full Disclosure of North Bay Village, Inc., whose purpose is to help the citizens of North Bay Village obtain full and complete disclosure in all matters of government of the city of North Bay Village.

President - Richard Chervony
V. President - Alvin Blake
Secretary - James Carter
Director - Jane Blake
Director - Gloria Carter

Now the text of the letter referenced that I wrote to Dr. Vogel.

April 29 2011

Dr. and Mrs. Paul Vogel
7801 Beach View Drive
North Bay Village, FL 33141

Dear Dr. and Mrs. Vogel,

It is with genuine sadness that I write today. Today I filed recall papers with the county circuit court seeking your recall. It was not an easy decision and one I had hoped never to make.

Wednesday night was a travesty. The issues around reforming the purchasing processes, the taxing, the non umion employment processes were simple. Put them before the voters. Not pass it effective immediately. Not vacate the existing contracts. Just put the reforms before the voters.

Connie Leon-Kreps and Eddie Lim were fundamentally dishonest in their “concern” that the whole charter needed revision and it was better to not do anything and maybe in 2012... etc. That's a load of crap. Were their concern genuine, somebody would have proposed a motion to move the charter review up, but no one did.

I have for several months, and particularly since the Alvarez recall, kept the lid on the whole talk about recalls. But last night, a simple request to put the issues before the voters was rejected. I had promised those calling for a recall that you would openly listen and engage in the reform discussions. When that didn't happen, I did what was necessary.

This leaves me wondering if either it is more important to please the Lim-Kreps team than do the right thing or if perhaps you just didn't understand it? Our city can't afford to be run this way. We are almost broke.

Dr. Vogel, it would be best for the city if you ended your distinguished career with an honorable retirement. In the current political climate, following the Alvarez recall, for the same reasons we are facing - increased taxes, reduced services and generous private contracts – North Bay Village will see the same result as the 90% vote to recall Alvarez. My hope is that for the good of all, you will consider that.


Kevin Vericker

For more about the Citizens for Full Disclosure, check their website at www.cfdnbv.com or email them at cfd_nbv@hotmail.com

Kevin Vericker
September 27, 2011

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Budget Meeting Was Missing A Certain Something

The Final Budget 2012 meeting was held on Tuesday night. The commission by 3-2 approved the same operating millage (4.8) and the new debt millage (1.2). So the city tax rate is now 6%, up from 2011 where it was 5.3%. At the same meeting, the 2012 budget was adopted. It was a remarkable meeting, actually two remarkable meetings.

The first part was a special meeting of the commission to decide five items. Originally it was to be a consent agenda but two items were separated for discussion. One of those items was the decision to continue advertising with the Miami Herald. That item was discussed by the commission, with Frank Rodriguez asking if a more economical approach might be found. Eddie Lim stated his objection to considering the New Times as it is filled with ads for sexual and quasi-legal activities. For what it's worth, I actually share Commissioner Lim's view of the New Times but do think that the Biscayne Times which has universal circulation in the city should have been an option. Things got a little heated with Lim saying that this was an old issue and Oscar Alfonso did not want the Herald because of unfavorable personal coverage. Not much of an argument since the New Times coverage of Alfonso was much worse. Notwithstanding that disagreement, our commissioners were able to pass all five items and move along to the budget.

But something was missing. There was a strange calmness over the whole thing.

The commission took a short break and then reassembled to do the main and most important job they do each year - the budget. It all began well enough. There was a presentation by the interim city manager, then by the finance director. The floor was opened to public comments.

Former former vice mayor Rey Trujillo spoke about how there is a misunderstanding among city residents who for some reason believe that the commission actually has something to do with the budget and the commission doesn't and it's the city staff who do it and the commission sees it and the commission has to approve it and that's why he wasn't the author of the Trujillo Tax last year and that was totally unfair so there and ave Maria, that sentence was long but believe me it was short compared to the actual sentence. Hint: the commission decides the budget.

Some out of town guy got up and made some noise and then left but nobody really understood him. He was quite confused and believes he lives in a house that no one else can see on a vacant lot. Anyway he left.

Then the mayor had many questions she put forward to staff. The other commissioners not nearly as many but still that was good. Several residents talked about some line items that bothered them. (My issue is that I don't see the support for achieving a $2.4 million dollar reserve as required by law. I still don't.) Some were bothered by the car allowances and wanted to know why not go to the more standard reimbursement for mileage. Similar questions were asked.

Then the fires of hell rose up and consumed the chambers dragging all the charred, damned souls to the eternal pit where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

No, wait, the fire alarm went off. The chambers were evacuated in an orderly manner, the source was identified and the meeting resumed.

But still something was missing. The atmosphere was stiflingly civil and nobody speaking was shouted down or insulted. What was missing, we all wondered?

Around 8:50 PM, the vice major began to wonder aloud why the major had so many many questions. Why didn't she ask them in private instead of being all public about her questions? The major - oh, did I say "major", I meant "mayor" but my notes say "major" for some reason - the mayor calmly explained that she had studied the budget in detail and felt it was best to ask questions in public. The vice major mayor didn't like this answer as she dislikes public displays of curiosity but decided to let it go.

And the vote was called. The commissioners were polled one by one and when the clerk got to Dr. Vogel, his wife Mrs. Dr. Vogel told him loudly how he was to vote and he obliged.

Then it started.

The mayor brought up the issue of whether there was an inherent conflict with the charter in Dr. Vogel's vote. Referring to the charter which states that a commissioner missing four consecutive regular meetings has forfeited his seat and the mayor asked the city staff if there was a conflict.

The something that was missing became clear. Vice Major began shrieking "How dare you ask a question about the charter and the process? Dr. Vogel was sick." The Vice Major kept increasing the volume and called upon the demons of hell to come to her aid. And they did.

You see, that's what was missing from the meeting. The CFD, the loud, ignorant, bullying cabal of demonic haters had chosen to sit out the budget meeting. But hearing their mistress's call above in the night, several flew to her side. Well, not really flew since they are a pretty portly bunch but gathered in a portly but infuriated way. There was even a miracle. One member who had explained to me that she spoke no English less than a year ago now speaks perfectly fluent English, or perfectly fluent enough to blame me.

Of course by then it was too late. The question had been asked and still remains out there as there was no answer offered. In the meantime, the budget passed and as I left I heard the Vice Major wailing to the heavens she rejected so many eons ago, "that major has balls. Do you believe her balls?" (The CFD is obsessed with testicles and confused about the biology of them. If only they had a doctor who could educate them?)

So after a well run, interesting meeting about the fundamental issues facing the city, the pressure was too much.

For those of us who have not sold our souls to darkness and hate, the question remains. How best should the commission deal with Dr. Vogel's absences and his wife's ongoing abuse of her husband and her manipulation of our city politics? Must we allow the bloodless demons of the night to fully destroy us?

Let's see what happens next.

Kevin Vericker
September 22, 2011

Friday, September 16, 2011

Fire the Commission and the City Management

We have a government of laws and the Charter is serious about that. It allocates the power to decide commission procedures solely to the commission. That matters.

The City Charter was violated by the city manager's unauthorized inclusion of Dr. Vogel by phone at the last meeting.

It's the commission who decides how to grant the request for extraordinary accommodation, not the city manager.

Section 3.09 of the City Charter B. clearly states "B. Rules and record. The Commission shall determine its own rules of procedure and order of business and shall keep a record of such proceedings open for public inspection.

Interim City Manager Robert Daniels broke the law last week when he summarily and arbitrarily put commissioner Vogel on the phone. This was illegal.

The commission should have voted on two resolutions for this to happen.

1.) A resolution setting the procedures for remote participation.
2.) A resolution allowing remote participation in the specific meeting by Dr. Vogel.

That didn't happen. There was no such resolution on the agenda and the city manager put the commission on the spot.

Now we are going into the final budget hearings without these resolutions.

The irresponsibility of the city manager and the commission are putting us at serious risk.

According to Section 3.07 of the city charter, when a commissioner has missed four consecutive regular meetings of the city commission, he has forfeited his seat unless his absence was excused by motion. Well, guess what, that motion hasn't happened, so is Vogel off the commission or what? He missed four regular consecutive meetings without a motion so maybe he is or maybe he's not? Does his phone in appearance count even though the commission did not approve it?

Here's what should happen. On September 20, the commission should pass a continuing resolution of the current budget until October 31, fire the city management staff, request emergency intervention from the state and then resign. Oh, and an apology for wasting our time and money would be nice.

But they won't. My guess is they will all show up and keep fighting.

Kevin Vericker
September 16, 2011