Wednesday, March 11, 2015

March 10 2015 Commission Meeting

The good news from the commission meeting last night is that it ended in a record 1 hour and 51 minutes.  This accomplished a long held goal of discussing absolutely nothing.  But of course it was not nothing.  Let's break it down to the major themes:
  • Ongoing issues with the Kennedy House
  • The firing/not firing of Chief Robert Daniels
  • Harbor Island which deserves its own post but won't get one today. 

 The Kennedy House

If you have been living under a bridge, in a coma, or visiting your in-laws in Central Florida, you might not know what is going on at the Kennedy House.  The full breakdown is here but to make it short, the management company and condo board president are facing charges of burglary, grand theft and assorted misbehaviors. 

Village Attorney Robert Switkes took great pains to explain the process of the arrests, that the decision finally lies with the state attorney and that no one in the village administration is privy to the particulars. 

Village Manager Rollason took great pains to explain that the Kennedy House did not figure in his decision to fire/not fire the chief of police and that the Local 10 report that he said it was a factor was wrong.  Rollason further explained that he had a "heart to heart" talk about "truthful reporting" with Bob Norman.  

Rollason also said that he had no idea of the status of the Kennedy House investigation when he fired/not fired the chief. 

Bob Norman of Local 10 ABC clarified for me that he stands by his reporting. 

Oh, the voices in my head
say they love me.
 Sidenote:  I asked Mayor Kreps if she was now willing to disavow the flier that her campaign supporters sent out trashing her opponent in the last election for bringing the Kennedy House issues as a way to attack him.  She is not.
With this guy vouching for
your integrity, how can you
go wrong?

However, Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez rose gallantly to her defense by saying that he knows her to be a woman of unquestionable integrity and that I have a political agenda.   So there.  The Gonzalez has spoken.  

Then the former president of the Grandview, former treasure of the Kreps Kampaign and former former vice mayor got up and explained that her campaign had nothing to do with the hit pieces and that they got 47 signatures from the Kennedy House not from the manager and she's good.  

So that settled that.  

 Fired/Not Fired, Definitely Suspended

Rootin' tootin', straight shootin' son of a gun Village Manager Frank Rollason then gave his report, a fair amount of it about the police chief who was not fired.   He is still the police chief.  He is on six month administrative leave with no return.  Maybe he'll get a new job and we won't have to pay his severance.  But he's not fired.  And Bob Norman reported that he was but Frank Rollason never said that.  Everyone clear?  Good.  Now don't ask again. 

Harbor Island

There were two big issues discussed about Harbor Island.  

Parking:  In his report, rootin' tootin', straight shootin' son of a gun Village Manager Frank Rollason explained that he will be  presenting the parking program to the commission in April.  For Harbor Island, it will be a three tier system.  
  • Have Private Parking?  No sticker. 
  • Have No Private Parking?  You get a sticker.
  • Have Some Private Parking But Not Enough?  You can get a sticker for the extra cars if there are enough.  

The attorney explained that the 7904 Board are not showing up at meetings and apparently not answering the phones.   Since the Bayshore Yacht & Tennis Club Building is a major cause of the parking issues on Harbor Island, this does not bode well.  

Docking:  The commission authorized the administration to seek a $200,000 grant to build a dock at Vogel Park.  If we get it, the Village will have to match the grant for an amount between 25% ($50k) and 50% ($100k).   There is no demand for the dock from any residents and the commission acknowledged this and then voted to seek it anyway, taking an attitude of "some people won't like it."  

Other Stuff:  

Not much.  Wendy Duvall did not come for reasons.  They passed the  styrofoam ban.  They agreed that Ethics Training should be done online.  As the last item of the evening, they motioned to adjourn and voted "aye".  The mayor then shouted ROLL CALL but nobody knew why.  Then they went home. 

Kevin Vericker
March 10, 2015

Monday, March 9, 2015

Ask Not What You Can Do For The Kennedy House, Ask What The Kennedy House Can Do For You

By now, most people following North Bay Village are familiar with the ongoing scandal at the Kennedy House.  The allegations are that the management company conspired with board members to remove high end appliances from units being sold, replace them with cheaper appliances, and profit from the difference.  
1865 JFK Causeway - The Kennedy House
The crimes were first alleged by a group of homeowners in the building, where the selling unit owner had installed high end appliances but when the buyer came in, they found these had been swapped out.  Police reports were made and it was generally expected that the investigations would result in some kind of a resolution.

But it's North Bay Village.  Connie Kreps was running for election.  Mayor Kreps is a woman of high cunning, low intelligence and a well defined sense of grievance.  Kreps believes herself to be an independent agent but as mayor, she is little more than an easily manipulated tool of the self interested crowd who profit from our village.   Nowhere was this more apparent than in her campaign's decision to use the routine criminal investigation for property and economic crimes at the Kennedy House to trash her opponent and support her candidacy. 

Her campaign supporters, through their Electioneering Campaign Organization supporters, sent out a nasty flier charging that Jorge Brito, her opponent, was disliked by the very people he as a homeowner in the Kennedy House, was investigating.  He was.  A homeowner and his neighbors who were looking to the village law enforcement to help them find out what happened in their homes are often not popular with the accused. 

Former police chief Robert Daniels was in charge of the investigating detectives and according to one report, on Channel 10, click here for the link, the deliberately slow and obstructive pace of the investigation was a factor in the Village Manager's decision to fire the chief.  From the report:
"North Bay Village manager Frank Rollason told Local 10 that the poor way in which the Kennedy House cases were handled was one factor among others in his decision to fire Police Chief Robert Daniels last week"
So how does our Mayor tie in?  Well during the campaign, an Electioneering Campaign Organization, funded by among others the Condo Hotel developers on the JFK Causeway, the developers for the other buildings, the real estate interests on Harbor Island, the village engineering firm, a current lobbyist,  among others, put out this piece of trash to support Kreps' election.

Trash talking by Kreps Supporters To Discredit Jorge Brito
 Here is a link to the contributors to Floridians For a Strong Future, High Minded Civic Thinkers they are. 

It was not enough for Her Honor, simply accepting the support of people who felt that her election mattered to protect the "rights" of condo management.  No.  She actively recruited for her campaign volunteer staff one of the prime suspects, a woman named Alejandra Saucedo who works at the Kennedy House and who does not live in North Bay Village.  Here's a photo from her campaign via Facebook:

Connie's Campaign Supporter Including State Rep David Richardson

Mug Shot of Alejandra Saucedo Following the Arrests Last Friday.

Working Together To Protect The "Right"
It's no secret that Chief Robert Daniels owed his position to Kreps.  She led the group that ousted the Village Manager and the duly elected mayor of North Bay Village, has consistently supported even the sloppiest of police reporting, and actively coveted and won the union endorsement of the North Bay Village police, the same union that supported the installation of Robert Daniels. 

But by February, the negligence and inaction of the police department had become too much and the village manager fired Robert Daniels (after a six month fully paid notice period expires in July, then he gets three months severance and a year's health care).  Rumor has it that the mayor is furious about this.  She could not protect her supporters.  There will be more to this story. 

I don't know how it will all work out.  Arrests are not convictions.  Links are not causes.  But it paints an ugly picture of our North Bay Village leadership under Kreps.  

Kevin Vericker
March 9, 2015