Friday, September 26, 2014

ROBOCALLS - Coming soon to a phone near you!

Mayor Kreps is planning a series of recorded calls to be sent to a phone near you in which she - 
  • Will claim that she alone saved North Bay Village from bankruptcy by strengthening our reserves.
  • Will warn darkly that her opponent wants to give North Bay Village to the city of Miami. 
  • Will instruct you to vote for her.  
 That Connie and Cohort spent all the money in the reserve on wasteful lawsuits,  moving city hall three times, hiring and firing a city manager, and in a grand flourish, giving away our recreation funds to design an Under-Bridge to Nowhere, then had to raise our taxes to pay for these decsions will probably not be mentioned.  

Nor has anyone, let alone her opponent, suggested that North Bay Village dis-incorporate to become part of Miami.  Nobody.  Well, except her.  She's been in early talks to have Miami Beach take over our police department according to several police sources.   

But when your record is that you wasted $1 million on a losing lawsuit, paid $80,000 because you thought you made a hiring mistake, spent another $100,000 or so on an unnecessary move of the city hall, I guess you just have to make stuff up.  

On the plus side, I bet Robo Connie sounds good on the phone. 

Kevin Vericker
September 26, 2014

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Mix and Match News

Monday the Commission met to agree to meet again next Tuesday to finalize the budget.   The notice in the Miami Herald was improper so they needed to continue the meeting until Tuesday, Sept 30 at 7:30.   A more cynical blogger might see this as a screw up but it's really just tradition.  Last year they totally forgot to even vote on the debt millage, so hey, score!  

Critical Mass is riding through North Bay Village this Friday.   In the past, they arrive about 8:15 PM and it clears out about an hour later.   It's not on the Village Website yet so I thought you might want to know.  Here's the link for the specifics - Miami Bike Scene.  

There are signs all over town for the election.  Here's my favorite: 
The Jorge Gonzalez Business Plan
Speaking of Commish Gonzalez, we need to be sure not to accept any more twin cities requests from him without using the Google.  Seems the mayor of Isparta, Turkey is a member of an ultra-nationalist right wing pro-Islamic party called the Nationalist Movement Party (MHP).  Lots of good reading about them here in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Terrorism so that's something.

By next week we should know who paid for his trip to Isparta Turkey to represent North Bay Village.  He won't tell us so far but he has to file the information by September 30.  

So a L'Shana Tova to all my Jewish friends.  

Kevin Vericker
September 23, 2014

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'd Vote For That

I received a mailer yesterday urging me to re-elect Connie Leon-Kreps as Mayor of North Bay Village.   You probably received one too.  It's a little hard to read in JPG format but if you click and zoom, it's legible.
Based on the letter, I'd vote for that.
But there are certain irregularities in what this candidate, let's call her Positive Connie, claims and what Real Connie did.  Here's the letter from Positive Connie. 
Click on the image to embiggen

The Issue Real Connie Positive Connie
Taxes Real Connie raised the Millage Rate
14% in 2014, raised total taxes in 2014
by 22% and just voted to raise taxes another 13.5% for 2015
Held the line of tax rates. 
Reserves Real Connie voted from 2010 to 2013 to spend our
reserves down to near zero, authorizing the
spend for $1 million in a lawsuit we lost and
which our attorneys said we would lose.  When the village reached the point that it could no longer
pass state audits, she proposed and voted for a
22% hike.
Doubled the  reserves
Village Manager
Real Connie led the recruitment of Dennis Kelly in
2012 as village manager.  Then in 2013 decided he
was not doing well.  Real Connie led the effort to
fire him and proposed and approved an $80,000
severance package as a parting gift to an employee
of one year. 
Recruited a personal friend
to manage the village. 
GPS in Village
Real Connie voted to spend over $100,000 to track vehicles in a village spread over 4/5ths of mile We have GPS
Village Assessment of Sewers Real Connie knows that the 2010 sewer assessment showed the same results as the 2014 assessment.  But in 2010, she voted against hearing the item snce she did not care for the then mayor. The situation is dire and our sewers are rotted out.  We knew that from the 2010 Sewer Assessment.  The current Assessment is not available to the public, has never been on the commission agenda and has never been publicly workshopped.  Also we paid twice.  We completed our first ever village assessment off the sewer. 
Save the Fire Pumper Station Real Connie was on a village paid junket when our fire station was threatened with closure.  The county held a hearing on Tuesday August 27 to discuss the threatened closure of Fire Engine 27 which serves North Bay Village.  Neither Connie nor a single member of the commission were present at that meeting.  She was on a village paid junket to Orlando.   The new village manager, two weeks into the job, went alone with no commission support.  When the county said they would not close Engine 27, then said they would, then the attorney for the village found out they couldn't, Connie never showed up once.   Thanks to my leadership, we saved Engine 27

Debunking over the top claims for votes is a fool's mission. It quickly becomes "I know what you are, but what am I?"  But this letter is disturbing, not because of the blatant falsehoods, but I think Mayor Kreps believes its true.   

Seriously, Mayor Kreps has shown an ability to change her persona and her views to fit her delusions.  We've all seen prevarication, but in her case, it's not a lie in the sense that normal people would understand a lie, it's an actual delusion. 

I am saving the worst delusion for now.  In her letter, she writes, "Happily, North Bay Village's government is no longer dysfunctional."  This is the ultimate delusion.  Connie was responsible for the screaming matches at the commission meetings from 2008 on.  When she took to the dais in 2010, she shut down every meeting by simply bellowing NO to whatever was proposed, has shut out any voice that disagrees with her, and then finally, when almost all the lambs in her head are quiet, she announces that she fixed the problem.   Then she puts out a letter listing things she never did and boasts of them.  

The record is simple.  

Taxes (both millage and collections) went up 22% last year and are going up 13% this year.:
  • The streets are filthy.  
  • The sidewalks are supposed to be pressure cleaned twice per year and we pay a contractor for that.  They've done it once in two years. 
  •  The commission spent less than an hour talking about the budget.   
  • Crime rates are up and police patrols are down.  
  • The sewers are now flooding our street regularly with actual sewage, not bay water. 
  • The PAL program was cut in 2010 and is not being considered for funding this year.  
So who do you believe, Real Connie or Positive Connie?  

Kevin Vericker
September 17, 2014

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Jorge Gonzalez Combines Business and Campaign Strategies

You have to hand it to Jorge Gonzalez.  As commissioner for 2 years, he has done nothing to plan or improve the business climate in North Bay Village.  Facing a unbroken row of shuttered businesses, vacant storefronts and empty lots on our Causeway, he finally took action.  He put up a really big sign on the corner of Hispanola Ave and the Causeway to block the view of the empty storefronts. 

Jorge Gonzalez Blocking The View of The Empty Storefronts at the Lexi. 

He also put up signs here and here:

So at last his business strategy for North Bay Village - do nothing and continue to obstruct - comes together with his campaign philosophy - hide your failures.  

Well done, Mr. Gonzalez.  Well done.  

Special note to the policeman's union who recently endorsed Gonzalez, have you noticed that the Gonzalez signs are not union printed?   Solidarity for never I guess is the slogan.   

Kevin Vericker
September 13, 2014

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Sept 9 2014 Commission Meeting

The Good:  The Commission unanimously approved Chervony's resolution urging Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi to stop wasting our money fighting marriage equality.  Twice divorced AG Pam Bondi who is currently shacking up with her boyfriend since really she doesn't get what marriage is has been pursuing the goal of ensuring that marriage is unlimited for some and prohibited for others.  

History:  North Bay Village was the second city in Miami-Dade county to pass a Human Rights Ordinance protecting against discrimination based on sexual orientation.  Tuesday was proud continuation of that.  

The Bad:  The Commission continues to shoot itself in the foot on the Transparency Issue.  As reported here before, they responded to a string of complaints about not reporting gifts in excess of $25 by raising the amount they do not have to report to $100.  They don't get that the problem is not the amount, but it's not reporting the gift.  

The Commission decided to override a 2002 law requiring that the village change auditors every three years so they can keep the current auditor (4 years already) for another 3 years.  The mayor, who previously had supported the 3 year limit, commented that "she was very sorry that she didn't remember her previous vote." but I think she was being sarcastic, and then voted to overturn it.  

The Absurd:  The Mayor continue to use the dais for re-election events by giving out awards.  After four years of ignoring the elderly in North Bay Village, the Mayor decided to give an award to the Treasure Island Care Facility.  The Mayor is not committing to elder services and has not put anything in the budget, but hey an award. 
The Ugly:  Gonzalez pushed his "twinning" of North Bay Village with Isparta Turkey, and even presented Isparta Mayor Yusuf Ziya Gunaydin via Skype  to speak through an interpreter.  Mayor Yusuf (as he prefers to be known) is a member of the ultranationalist, right wing pro-Islamic Turkish party called the MHP, So thanks for that, Mr. Gonzalez.  

 Gonzalez specified that the city did not pay for his trip to Isparta in May but still has not specified who did pay for it.  He did not have any further comment on his foray into Middle Eastern politics except to show us a really good picture of North Bay Village.

Next Month:  The Commission will hear plans to plan a new park under the metal grate bridge.   It promises to be fun.  

Tonight:  The Budget Meeting.  

Kevin Vericker
September 10, 2014.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Campaign Season

Labor Day is behind us and we move into the toughest season of all for North Bay Village, campaign season.   On the ballot this November are the races for Mayor and Commissioner-At-Large and the candidates are:

Jorge Brito running against incumbent Connie Kreps for Mayor.
Mario Garcia running against incumbent Jorge Gonzalez for Commissioner-At-Large.  

Eddie Lim will retain his seat as Commissioner from Harbor Island as no one declared to run against him.  

North Bay Village politics tends to get ugly very quickly with personal attacks, anonymous mailings, attempts to intimidate family members and employers, rather than a focused discussion of the issues.  I'm afraid this year will be more of the same. 

The smear tactics have already started.  Anonymous complaints have started about the professional life of the candidates and imprecations are being thrown around on posting boards.  

Given the history of how Kreps took over the mayoralty, I guess it's to be expected.  

Kreps was the founding mother of the now defunct Citizens for Full Disclosure who regularly sent unsigned emails in CAPITAL LETTERS attacking anyone who disagreed on any policy issue.  

The word around town now  is that Kreps has engaged her former enemy, Randy Hilliard, as her campaign consultant.  Hilliard has nicknamed himself the Prince of Darkness and has a long record of effective negative campaigns, mostly conducted through shadow PAC's and Electioneering Campaign Organizations.    Given her temperament and past performance, this style of campaign will probably suit the mayor fine.  It's her comfort zone.  

I hope I'm wrong.  I hope instead that this campaign is a discussion of issues and views on how to fix the city. 

As North Bay Villagers, we are accustomed to sewage running in our streets.  It's probably going to fill your inboxes too.  Let's learn to walk around it.  

Kevin Vericker
September 2, 2014