Friday, September 22, 2017

Must Have Hit A Nerve

Two days ago, I received a "Cease and Desist Order/ Take Down Demand" from lawyers representing Mayor Kreps.   It was in regard to an earlier post, linked here, in which I asked her to speak to the reports that she is a target of a federal investigation.  Specifically, I asked her to either categorically deny these reports or recuse herself until the investigation is complete, so that the commission's actions would not be under a cloud of suspicion.  Her constant sniping about Dr. Hornsby along with her maniacal insistence that the commission fire Village Manager Frank Rollason and Village Attorney Robert Switkes make no sense.  

I ran the piece through the Fleisch-Kincaid readability test which reported it was easily understandable by anyone with 10.6 years of schooling.   If you did read the piece, I think even the most careless reading will see that the point of the piece is to say that in light of the reports, which I am hearing from both the dais and other protected sources, that the mayor should clear these up or take a step that would allow the village business to be unclouded.  

I have never accused our mayor of excessive intellect and so her lawyers wrote me the letter you can see at this link.  Click Here For The Cease and Desist

I am sharing my response to the mayor's lawyers below:

Ms. Donaire and Ms. Baker, I cannot accommodate Mrs. Kreps demands, communicated through you, for the simple reason that the assertions are factually incorrect.  At no time do I make any allegations.  Even the most careless reading of my posting would make it clear that I am discussing the reports, both public and through protected sources, of the investigation.   

Again, since I did not make the allegations you state, it is impossible for me to comply with your demand to remove nonexistent text and it would appear your sole intent is to squelch discussion of this important matter.  

I do understand the mayor's concern about the damage to her reputation, although that is of her own doing, and would like to reiterate my long standing offer that she, like any other involved citizen, is welcome in the Facebook group I administer, North Bay Village Residents Speak, to participate in community conversations and I will also reiterate my standing invitation for the Mayor to post (unedited) as a guest on my personal blog,  

Finally, let me conclude with a question.   Your incorrect assertions on what I had written reference an FBI investigation.  Naturally I did not write about that as I know of no such participation by the FBI.  I wonder if you can confirm for me that the FBI is actively involved?  

Best Regards,
Kevin Vericker
Seriously, poor Mrs. Kreps is befuddled, demanding that nonexistent content be removed because in America North Bay Village, the mayor must not be questioned?

Well, lo and behold, the Miami New Times picked up the story and ran with it.  You can see that here.

What a mess.  But I stand by what I wrote.  I'll keep you posted.

Kevin Vericker
September 22, 2017

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Mayor Kreps and Commissioner Alvarez Should Step Aside

The unspoken shadow over the North Bay Village Commission are the reports that Mayor Kreps and Commissioner Alvarez are under criminal federal investigation for using the US mail to extort a fellow commissioner into either resigning or complying with their demands to fire the village manager.  The 2 issues are a violation of the Federal Hobbs Act, which makes extortion of a public official a federal crime and and mail fraud.  
For more on the original issue, see the blog post here.

Those who are familiar with the sad history of NBV politics know that such a situation is entirely plausible.

Normally, this would just be another case of North Bay Village Crazy™  but if there is an investigation happening and the Mayor and Commissioner Alvarez are aware of being targets, we got a problem.  The federal penalties for the violation of the Hobbs act are severe and it is deeply concerning that Kreps and Alvarez are focusing on firing the village manager and village attorney at this time of crisis.  The only people who would benefit from this would potentially be them because that would reduce the pressure to investigate and prosecute this extortion attempt.  They should not be making decisions about this grave matter at this time.  

There is an easy way to handle this.  Commissioner Alvarez and Mayor Kreps could simply:
  • From the dais, state categorically that they had nothing to do with the extortion attempt.  We can assume they would be telling the truth since it is an offense under the Miami Dade Bill of Rights for an elected official to deliberately misstate the truth in their official capacity and an outright lie would add further complications to their situation, if there is one.
  • If the reports of a criminal investigation soon to be closed are true, and they do not want to speak about this publicly for fear of compromising their own positions, then they should recuse themselves from participating this Tuesday in the meeting.  There would still be quorum and the process could move along.
  • Finally, if they were involved in the extortion attempts, they could either resign or admit it and explain themselves to the public.

Now I don't think they will.  Mayor Kreps screwed over too many people to get herself in the position she's in and I believe her to be a fundamentally flawed person but if there is to be healing for her and the Village, confession will be good for both.

As re Commissioner Alvarez, even when he's there, he's not.  He clearly doesn't want the job, hates being up there, never speaks or even asks questions.   He's in way over his head and should resign.  

Kevin Vericker
September 17, 2017


Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Who Do You Have To Tickle To Get A Traffic Ticket Fixed Around Here?

Among the words I may to have to eat someday are, "I'm glad that the North Bay Village Police have stepped up enforcement on the Causeway."   I am glad.  All of us see the crazy speeding, reckless turning and overall bad driving on the Causeway.  

The police have made a more aggressive effort to get people to cut that crap out and I delight in seeing drivers pulled over.  Of course, if I pull some boneheaded move, I reserve my right to complain bitterly and threaten consequences but right now, it's working for me.  
But not for everyone.  

A longtime resident of North Bay Village was pulled over on the Causeway for:
  • Speeding
  • Changing lanes without a signal
  • Not wearing a seatbelt.  
In the time honored tradition of North Bay Village where there is a better class of people overall, the elderly driver explained to the officer that she has lived here since Biscayne Bay was a puddle, was good friends with the mayor, Mrs. Kreps, and could name the other commissioners.   Also she was late for her doctor's appointment.  

In violation of all that is holy and decent in North Bay Village, the young whippersnapper of a policeman still gave her a ticket, but because she was such a nice old lady, the ticket was only for not wearing a seatbelt.  

Now we all the know the legally correct way to handle a ticket in North Bay Village is to drop it in the mayor's mailbox with a note saying "Take care of this." and leave the  country for a few months.  Paying your debt to society and moving on with your life?  That's more of an El Portal thing.  Besides, the Latest Generation who survived both disco and pet rocks needs some consideration.  

Our mayor, who is all about constituent service, attempted to do as instructed and took the envelope with the ticket, dropped it with the village clerk with instructions to give it to the manager for him to "take care of."  

Now our manager, a mainlander, apparently misunderstood what "take care of this" means and thought perhaps the mayor wanted the police to make the ticket go away which was totally not what the mayor intended.   

You see, unlike the foreign lands to the east (Miami Beach) and the west (City of Miami), in North Bay Village, the protocol for dealing with a traffic ticket is:
  • Explain to the officer how long you have lived here.  
  • Discuss your close personal relationships with the elected officials.  
  • Listen attentively as the ticketing officer explains that you can pay the fine or contest the ticket at a hearing.
  • Drop the ticket in the mayor's mailbox with a note saying "Take care of this."  
  • The mayor then contacts the village manager saying "Take care of this." 
  • The manager then gives it to the police chief saying "Take care of this." 
  • The police chief then gives it to the ticketing officer saying "Take care of this." 
  • The ticketing officer then goes to the traffic violator's who has left the country for an extended period and explains to a friend of the ticket recipient that the way to take care of the ticket is to pay the fine or contest the ticket.  
In a shocking lapse of protocol, the manager and the village attorney decided that "take care of it" might mean something extra legal and so decided to seek the opinion of the Commission on Ethics about this procedure, with the unspoken question of whether the mayor was implying that the ticket should go away.  

Fortunately, the Commission on Ethics, a group of politicos in the witness protection program headed by Let 'Em Go Joe Centorino, were all "What?  How could 'Take Care of This?" mean anything at all but the process explained above and ruled that it was just an attempt to harass an elderly resident by holding her accountable for her traffic violations and an attempt to be really mean to an elderly mayor with issues by applying non-crazy standards to her behavior.  

The mayor is naturally outraged that she was badly maligned but she has not been spending her time cutting letters out of newspapers and gluing them to anonymous threatening letters she totally never sends.  What with that other investigation and all that. 

And that's the latest in North Bay Village.  For your reading pleasure, you can click here to read the full Commission on Ethics report.  

Kevin Vericker
July 20, 2017

Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Blackmail Attempt Fails

During the  commission meeting on Tuesday May 10, 2017, Commissioner Hornsby startled some of his fellow commissioners by announcing that he had been arrested and convicted in the late 1980's for an offense involving cocaine.  It happened in his then home of Tennessee and since then, he has completed rehab, always noted the incident on his professional certifications and been upfront about his past.  

The reason he brought this to the commission was because he and his wife have been receiving anonymous threats to reveal this information because the writer did not like the way Hornsby had voted on certain issues.  Instead of trying to keep it under wraps, Hornsby decided a public statement was in order and that's what he made.   

In the meantime, the letters sent through the mail and the threats sent I believe by text or possibly email have been turned over to the federal authorities and North Bay Village Chief Noriega has told me that the PD is aggressively pursuing the case with the feds.   

Following the advice of the Village Attorney and to ensure that there would not be any confusion about previous votes taken by Hornsby, the Village Commission voted 4-0 to reaffirm Hornsby's position on the commission and his previous votes.    

Hornsby and his wife are not talking about the case as it is under investigation and that's pretty well all I know about this situation.  

However, I do know about other situations.  In 2010, an attempt was made to blackmail then Commissioner Frank Rodriguez by revealing the contents of a supposed arrest from his youth.   Then Police Chief Daniels refused to have the PD investigate because Daniels was a terrible police officer.   

Also in that same month, filthy anonymous letters were mailed threatening exposure of real or imagined crimes to candidates who were not approved by the North Bay Island junta and although sent anonymously, falsely used my return address.  Police Chief Daniels refused to accept my complaint because he did not want the department involved in politics.  

Former Commissioner Richard Chervony was the victim of anonymous mailings to his study colleagues in a Good Government class as a clumsy attempt to discredit him.  

Former Mayor Corina Esquijarosa was barraged with similar tactics while she was on the dais.   The list goes on.  

My point is this is old school, North Bay Village, dirty politics.  I think the big difference now is that we have a new sheriff in town with Carlos Noriega and I believe him when he says the force will pursue this.   

I don't know where it will lead, but I hope that they do find and punish the creep or creeps behind this. We've been too long harmed by this bullshit.  

Kevin Vericker
May 13, 2017