Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Spin Cycle

By now, those few who still subscribe to the Miami Herald have probably read the article by Pamela Duque yesterday. You read about the mayor's tax problems and the call for her resignation. You may also have walked away with the impression that North Bay Village Voice has joined forces with the Citizens for Full Disclosure. That impression is false.

The article has many problems and inaccuracies. I want to address the key error here:

I had provided Pamela Duque in writing that one of the key demands is a properly constituted review board for all purchases over $10,000 and all non union employment agreements. Instead, she wrote all union contracts and $100,000. It's not the working stiff that worries us, it's the absurdly self serving employment contracts for the police chief and the one proposed for the city manager.

As regards the ommissions. Ms. Duque never mentions that there is an actual recall petition filed in City Hall, and instead concentrates on the empty threats to recall Esquijarosa. She told me that she could not confirm the petition by deadline. Fair enough, but perhaps mentioning that there is at least a statement out there would have been full reporting.

Finally, as regards recalls, Fane Lozman and Al Blake know that a recall for Esquijarosa, Kreps and Lim are not possible right now. We are governed by the Miami-Dade Home Rule Charter, which says the following: "No recall petition against such an officer shall be certified within one year after he takes office nor within one year after a recall petition against himis defeated.” I pointed this out to her but she did not include that information.

The story was about everything but the story.

What are you seeing now is a concentrated effort to distract from the issues by using personal attacks and fake outrage ("faux"rage) at the mayor's tax problems, problems she noted and is addressing.

So let's review those issues:

1.) Side yard pickup is going away. The contract was so badly written and there are no real savings explained that it reeks. We need to fix the contracts process and stop the massive giveaway.

2.) The police chief currently enjoys a contract with nine months severance pay if he leaves for any reason other than criminal conviction. He started with five weeks of paid vacation and a higher salary than any of his peers in nearby towns. Now there is a call to write a similar contract for the city manager. In the meantime, we're going broke and the city employees are losing benefits nearly daily. We need to fix this.

3.) In the last commission, we watched as commission members jockeyed for post service employment. Miami-Dade, the state, the federal government all impose waiting periods before employment. We need to do that too.

4.) The NBV PD finished last year almost $350,000 over budget and is continuing to drain our coffers. One of the biggest unbudgeted expenses is the outsourcing of internal affairs for routine issues. We can't affod it.

5.) Finally, the commission raised our taxes and cut our services. Really?

Look, here's the problem. When people have a great deal invested in shutting up the legitimate discussions, they will go personal. And the let's be clear - the investment is personal financial gain.

Why the Herald joined in is anyone's guess.

Let's keep the focus on the issues.

Kevin Vericker
April 24, 2011

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