Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Commission on Ethics Dismisses Complaint Against Mario Garcia

For the second time, the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics found that Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez's complaint against Mario Garcia for publishing a flier during the campaign that detailed Gonzalez's history of:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Failure to pay taxes
  • Rebuke by the Commission on Ethics
  • Free trip from Turkish Lobbyists 
  • Votes to cut funding for PAL and Youth Services
  • Votes that raised our taxes a cool 38% over two years
  • Vote to dissolve the Business Bureau

did not violate the Miami-Dade Fair Campaign Practices Ordinance because the statements are true.

This Flier That Made Gonzalez Sad - Click to Embiggen

The Commission on Ethics found that these points were true twice in fact. First when retired Supreme Court Chief Justice Gerald Kogan found that these things were true in November 2014 and that there was no probable cause to admonish Garcia because if you say it and it's true, it's legal and ethical.

Gonzalez did not like being called out on the truth and he objected so because he was crying, the Commission on Ethics agreed to a second detailed investigation which found the same.

The Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics, led by Joe Centorino, who does not care much for honest and open government in North Bay Village, violated its own rules which clearly state that the probable cause determination shall be considered final and the Complaint may be made public at the time the Hearing Examiner makes the determination unless it is appealed. And then explains that the complainant (Gonzalez) has no right to an appeal.

Centorino and staff ignored this legal requirement, allowed Gonzalez to argue that the CoE should not accept the finding of Supreme Court Justice Gerald Kogan and with the collusion of staff, continued the “investigation.”

The new investigation brought no new facts to light, dragged on for five months at great expense to the taxpayers and concluded that every one of the statements made was backed by reliable sources including the Circuit Court, Recordings of North Bay Village Commission Meetings, the Florida Department of Revenue, the self same commission on ethics and other known purveyors of reliable information.

So after the second finding of No Probable Cause, the Commission on Ethics today agreed to dismiss the complaint against Garcia for telling the truth about the Gonzalez. Gonzalez and his attorney did not attend the meeting this time, which is good since it really makes the CoE sad when Gonzalez cries.

I have attached both findings and I urge you to read them. The second one is great writing. 

Below is the first finding from the former Chief Justice of Florida Gerald Kogan who finds the statements in the flier "valid".in a brief, to the point dismissal of the complaint.  

Then after Gonzalez went crying that it just wasn't fair, the CoE agreed to have a second investigation.  

Below is the second finding of No Probable Cause.  This one is awesome, well written and explains clearly that there is simply no basis for the complaint in detail which apparently was what was needed.

My favorite quotes are:

  • [in reference to this blog] It is clear that Mr. Vericker consistently criticizes Gonzalez on a whole host of issues...In large part, the posts criticize Gonzalez for his own statements and explanations.
  • [in response to Gonzalez's supplying a handwritten note by his child] Gonzalez's reliance on this “evidence” is sadly misplaced.
  • [regarding Gonzalez's claims that the flyer was false] Gonzalez provided additional information that Gonzalez characterized as the “truth” behind Garcia's false statements. (Note the use of quotes around the word truth)

I am glad that the Commission on Ethics found what anyone paying attention in North Bay Village knows, that telling the truth about Jorge Gonzalez results in nasty, deceptive defenses and that this is finally behind Mario Garcia, who ran an honest and truthful campaign.

Hey Commissioner Gonzalez, here's a test. Since the CoE has found the truthfulness of the statements about your record, your bankruptcy, your tax delinquencies, why don't you just resign? Why put yourself through this? 

Oh that's right, how else will you get tickets to the Heat and free trips to exotic locales? You know you've earned them with your votes. 

Kevin Vericker
May 13, 2015

Friday, May 8, 2015

Bay Access At Stake Tuesday Night

As our waterfront was encroached by high rises and the commission continues to give any variance that any developer with a checkbook requests, it is not just our bay views that are being overlooked.  It's our access to the bay.  There are clear, built into the code and to every project approval, laws and conditions that North Bay Village be ceded easements to allow public access to the bay.   

There's no question.  The condos were granted millions of dollars in variances and the price was reasonable and transparent, open the walkways and allow the residents of North Bay Village access to the waterfront.   

Almost none have.  The worst offender is the 360, a large fortress like structure on Harbor Island that locked down the access last year and refuses to let anyone in who doesn't live there.  Not coincidentally, Vice Mayor Jorge Gonzalez is also President of the 360 and as such has a unique interest in blocking out residents who he does not feel are fit to enjoy what the 360 has stolen.  Gonzalez has stated publicly that he does not know why people would want to go there as there is nothing.  Here's a picture of the nothing he is referring to:

The area is designed beautifully and has benches, walkways, dog stations, shade trees and amazing views.   It belongs to us, not the 360.

The 360 is not the only property blocking access.  Here is a list of buildings that also do.  Let me stress again that this is not a takeover of private property.  It is an agreed swap for significant value  and it is being unpaid. 

Bayview 1625 JFK
Bridgewater 1881 JFK
Eloquence on the Bay 7928 East Drive
Cielo 7935 East Drive
Adagio 7939 East Drive
Space 01 7934 West Drive

In addition, the commission is also going to receive and evaluate the only bay access they have worked on, a $100,000 plan to make a plan to build a walkway under the Miami Beach Grate Bridge, a project that even the engineering firm has said has never been done.   Here's the view of that.  

 Lovely, isn't it?  The only place we can go to see our bay is under a noisy, damp, and always gloomy bridge.   

If people don't show on Tuesday night and stay, the real bay walk, the one we paid for, will stay shut out and the giveaway to friends of the mayor will be built.  We have to let them know.  If it's the usual 5 people at the meeting, we'll have nothing.  

Kevin Vericker
May 8, 2015