Monday, February 26, 2018

Bright Spots in NBV

In  spite of the tragic descent of our commission into madness and illegality, it is sometimes important to note the bright aspects of life here in North Bay Village.  

The Volunteer Cleanups

Recently arrived residents Kevin James Culp and Michelle DeSantis saw a dirty causeway and decided to get to work.   They used the Facebook group, North Bay Village Residents Speak, to recruit local volunteers on a series of Saturday mornings to get out and clean up the causeway.  

It's hard, dirty work but they encouraged and prodded to get people on it and it was very rewarding.   Our Vice Mayor Eddie Lim and Commissioner Doug Hornsby lent support that meant the trash bags would be picked up and volunteers recognized.  Thanks, Kevin and Michelle.  

The Welcome Back to Treasure Island Elementary

The day of the horrific massacre in Parkland, Optimist Club members Sissy Shute and Doris Acosta were on it.   As we were all feeling angry and helpless and frustrated, these two stalwart community volunteers were focused on the kids and helping them feel safe in school after what happened.  

In the meantime, our police chief, Carlos Noriega, was quick to deploy and publicize the school safety plan for Treasure Island, to reassure parents and the community that North Bay Village is looking out for our kids.  

No, it doesn't take away the horror of what happened but it says who are as a community.  

The Basketball Camp  

Under Carlos Noriega, the police presence in the community has greatly increased.  Programs that had been ignored have come back to life, including the ones focused on our kids.  One of the great ones is the Basketball Camp.  It started last week and is the first of many rec programs being run by our PD to give NBV kids a place to be kids. 

The Sewers Are Finally Getting Fixed

If you live on Treasure Island, you've noticed that there is a lot of work going on, loud, dusty and entirely welcome.  After decades of neglect, we are finally executing the bond money and using the state and federal grants to repair our sewer systems.   Not the most exciting project in the world but as any long time resident can tell you, it's time.

North Bay Village on the National Scene

Our state representative, David Richardson, is running for US Congress and yesterday Commissioner Hornsby and his wife, Sissy Shute, hosted a "Meet the Candidate" at their home on North Bay Island.  The guest list read like a "Who's Who" of North Bay Village.  Among the nearly 100 attendees were Vice Mayor Lim, former Vice Mayors Rey Trujillo, Al Blake, Jorge Gonzalez and former commissioner Richard Chervony.   Members of the Village administration past and present were there, along with nearly 100 neighbors to speak and get to know David Richardson.   It was a great time and most importantly, shows that constructive politics are not dead in North Bay Village.  I find reason for optimism in this.  

David Richardson, Congression

Introducing the candidate
Richard Chervony
Kevin Vericker
February 26, 2018

Saturday, February 17, 2018

A Leadership Temper Tantrum

Yesterday, I published an email from the Mayor which she sent out to a wide mailing list and was also forwarded by Andreana Jackson.  I published it unedited including parts that are not really complimentary to me because good, bad or ugly, viewpoints need to be out there.  You can read the post here if you did not already see it. 

Every bone in my body is screaming "Yeah, well, what about ..." just fill in that blank.  I'm angry at what the mayor said and angrier at what she did not say.  But mostly I am disheartened at the approach to leadership that she is taking.  

Let's start with yeah, it's hard.  Being mayor is mostly a volunteer position in North Bay Village.  The "salary" is about $800 per month and it takes a lot of time.   Like being president of a condo association, it means contentious constituents, complex matters that you have no experience with, owning wrong decisions and demanding correct information and work from people who don't always have your best interest at heart.  There's a reason that a lot of people don't do it.  

Like a condo association, though, those people who actively seek the position and ambitiously pursue the office have to be prepared for disagreement, criticism and downright opposition.  And sometimes that illusion of power attracts the wrong people.  We've all seen it.  

A mayor, called upon to lead when there is an extortion attempt against the commission would quickly have acknowledged that getting to the core of the issues would make the resolution clear and fair.   

Connie Leon-Kreps is not that leader and it shows in every move, every self-justification, that she utters.  She has rewarded a group of residents who engaged in a fanciful lawsuit against Dr. Hornsby,  organized the firing of a Village Attorney who she brought on because he was trying to strike the balance between precipitous action and village stability, orchestrated a press campaign against Dr. Hornsby, and now brought in the latest in a list of an attorney whose advice is at best questionable. 

None of that will make it better for her.  

Look at the email she sent.  In it, she lists her grievances while never addressing the real questions brought forward, then Mrs. Kreps carefully and deliberately casts doubt on whether the extortion attempt was real, she refuses to discuss her reasons for firing the village attorney, and then she goes into a vitriolic attack on me, the readers of this blog, the Blakes and Chervony.  

I'm not above criticism and I do understand her frustration.  It probably felt good to write that email but it surely cannot feel good to have sent it. 

It's like a child who got caught stealing cookies and simply lashes out with "You don't understand.  You hate me.  You're a doodyhead.  What about that other thing?  Huh?"  The role of an adult in this situation is to help the child see how their behavior caused the problem.  And that's what we need.  A village adult.  But we have a village toddler.  

There will be more in this space about the specific implications of the legal advice that Mayor Kreps praises so effusively, and they are grave.   And it's important to know them.  

But before I finish this piece, there is one thing in her email that I want to specifically call out as emotionally disturbed bull.  She writes "I truly find Mr. Veriker, Mr. and Mrs. Blake, and Dr. Chervony’s  continued personal comments about Mr. Powell’s intelligence, competence and personal attacks simply inappropriate, unprofessional and racist."

I will speak only for me here.  I have never questioned Mr. Powell's intelligence or competence.  I have many questions about the quality of the legal advice we are getting and these questions are being ignored or deliberately misinterpreted.  Mrs. Kreps' statement above is the lie of a child trying to get even and she needs a timeout.  

Kevin Vericker
February 17, 2018

Friday, February 16, 2018

Mayor Kreps Claps Back

This is the unedited email received by dozens today in our Village.  I have invited her to post here, unedited, since 2010, and finally she did.  (Special note:  I do not seem to have the email that provoked this but will update if I find it.) 

Connie Leon-Kreps

Attachments5:21 PM (2 hours ago)
 to AlvinjaneblakemeRichardCNoriegaJoseAndreanaEddieal/lauraBertNorman
 Good Afternoon Everyone, As Village residents, current and former elected officials, we all should work together for the betterment of our Village.  Therefore, I feel it is my duty to respond to Mr. Blake’s statements and to urge everyone to personally get involved and obtain unbiased information.  Our Commission meetings are streamed and the minutes of all of our meetings are also available online.  Therefore, resorting to a blog as a method to obtain information is just ridiculous.  It is also a sure way to obtain  fake news. 

So let me take the time to point the instances where Mr. Blake and others have tried to turn an apple into a banana and peel away the misinformation. 

1.         The Special Commission Meeting held on Monday, January 29, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. concerning Dr. Hornsby’s qualifications to serve as a Commissioner under our Village’s Charter was publicly noticed on the afternoon of Friday, January 26, 2018.  The notice was included on the Village website and marquees.  The Village Clerk also delivered the notice directly to each Commission Member on the 26th.  It is clear that notice was not an issue because Dr. Hornsby, his lawyer, members of the press and several other people attend the Meeting.  So for Mr. Blake to even suggest that there was an illegal meeting is false.

 2.                 Since I moved our Commission to terminate the former Village Attorney at the end of the November meeting, I have publicly stated that I did that because I did not have any confidence in his legal services.  As a former Commissioner, Mr. Blake should be well aware of the provisions of our Charter concerning the hiring and firing of the Village Attorney.  He should also be well aware that the Village Attorney is not an elected official and does provide legal representation directly to the residents.  Instead, the Village Attorney’s role is to be the legal advisor to me, the Village Commission and Village staff.  Mr. Blake’s invitation to list or outline all of the reasons why I lost confidence in the former Village Attorney’s legal services for his and the public’s benefit is not required and could result in another lawsuit that he would be quick to highlight.

 3.                 Last Spring, Dr. Hornsby alleged he was the victim of threats, blackmail and extortion. I have no personal or professional knowledge of the status of any investigation. I regret that a neighbor and former commissioner feels it's appropriate to throw around such serious accusations.  Mr. Powell handed out his legal opinion concerning the Hornsby matter for the public and also read it into the record.  So, for Mr. Blake to act surprised  that the Commission followed his well-researched memorandum and legal opinion concerning Dr. Hornsby’s qualifications is ridiculous.  I have attached the Village Attorney’s opinion so that everyone can read it for themselves.  The sad fact is that Dr. Hornsby did not disclose that he was removed as an elector last year and was ineligible to serve on the Commission.

 4.                 The former Village Attorney advised the Commission that we must vote on a Vice-Mayor after filling a vacancy.  In fact, after Dr. Hornsby was appointed, the Commission voted Mr. Lim as our Vice-Mayor.  Therefore, I placed the Vice-Mayor item on the agenda and the Commission voted its' will.  Mr. Lim’s behavior at the last Commission meeting speaks volumes as to why he is no longer our Vice-Mayor.

 5.                 The Village Attorney reported on the five court cases involving the Village.  Dr. Hornsby filed a frivolous lawsuit on Monday.

 6.                 In the years Mr. Rollason served as Village Manager, nothing changed!  That is a fact.  He left the Village after hours with the assistant manager and his executive assistant with no notice.  So to make excuses for his unprofessional behavior is also ridiculous.

 7.       It seems that Mr. Veriker, Mr. Blake’s news source of choice, also has a problem with the difference between an apple and a banana.  I placed the Commission item concerning the Commission’s appointment of a Vice-Mayor on the agenda.  Mr. Lim requested the deletion of that agenda item and there was an objection.  If there is an objection, Mr. Veriker, a vote is required.  In the past, generally items that are deleted are removed from the agenda without objection from another Commissioner. Mr. Veriker’s blogs are available to online and anyone who has the misfortune to read them can plainly see that his comments are simply ugly and mean spirited.  He can’t make his point without resorting to name calling and personal attacks. 

So Mr. Blake as a former commissioner and someone who professes to want the best for our Village recommending Mr. Veriker and his hate filled rhetoric cannot further any of those professed desires.  As they say, tell me who your friends are? 

But frankly, I truly find Mr. Veriker, Mr. and Mrs. Blake, and Dr. Chervony’s  continued personal comments about Mr. Powell’s intelligence, competence and personal attacks simply inappropriate, unprofessional and racist.  So I have attached Mr. Powell’s amazing and exceptional qualifications so everyone can read them and then draw your own conclusions. 

What I find so troubling is that, like you Mr. Blake, I have lived and served here for years and I have never in all those years heard you or any of your latest bed fellows comment on the competency or qualifications of any of our former Village Attorneys or staff for that matter.  The fact is that at Mr. Powell’s first meeting, Mrs. Blake pointed to our Village Clerk, Ms. Jackson, and Mr. Powell, who are all Black, and stated that “something does not look right.”  Later that evening Mr. Blake sent our former Village Manager an e-mail questioning Mr. Powell qualifications and competency. At the next meeting, Mrs. Blake continued with the personal attacks. 

The latest is that Mr. Veriker, continues to comment on Mr. Powell’s competency.  Well, the fact is that in the time that I and many others in this Village have had the pleasure of dealing with Mr. Powell, there is absolutely no doubt that he is by far superior to what our Village’s legal representation has been in the past and is a welcomed and much needed change.

I truly hope that people like you who think that contributing to the public discussion is by resorting to ugly, nasty and vitriolic tactics do not cause him and others to move on.  Mr. Powell represents the professionalism, class, and quality you lack and that our Village needs.  So spend your idle time blogging away and commiserating on Facebook.         

8.       Last, Dr. Chervony all I can say is that you are a despicable and contemplable man.  I read your monstrous Facebook comments about Vice-Mayor Jackson and you’re encouraging that kind of filth saddened me.  Our Community will take a stand against that type of disgusting behavior, especially every woman who has been treated in that manner by people like you.  I have printed your disgusting Facebook remarks and at our next Commission meeting I will personally and publicly apologize to Ms. Jackson on behalf of our Village for your disgusting behavior and I will ask our Community to take a stand against monsters like you who encourage this type of treatment.  You are a disgrace. Our Commission, Village and residents will strive for better; and, I am confident our Village will move in a positive direction.  We will soon hire a professional manager who will bring fresh ideas and work on our Village’s priorities.  I encourage everyone to personally get involved.  

Connie Leon KrepsMayorNorth Bay Village1666 Kennedy CausewayNorth Bay Village, Fl 33141Tel:  305 756.7171Cell: 786 877. “There is no respect for others without humility in one’s self”Henri Frederic Amiel

Posted Verbatim
Kevin Vericker
Feb 16, 2018

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Commissioner Jackson Got Paid Last Night

Vice Mayor (*interim pending
legal action) Andreana Jackson
Well, I guess congratulations are in order.  One of North Bay Village's most engaging mysteries has been solved.  I refer not to the extortion case in which the wife of Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband and Mayor Kreps have been named as "subjects of interest" nor to the Hornsby matter regarding his eligibility.  The first is still in active investigation by the state and federal authorities, and the Hornsby matter is in the courts with several new actions filed this week.

No indeed.  I am talking about the mystery of why Commissioner Jackson who had always prided herself on openness and transparency decide to join the Mayor and Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband in doing the wrong things the wrong way.

It's not like she and Mayor Crazy Eyes were friends.  Just a year ago, the mayor assaulted Jackson at the Village Holiday Event.  Here's the police report.  My favorite part was the mayor's explanation that her slapping Jackson was understandable since it's only reasonable to assume that big scary "urban" women are bound to poke your eyes out.

But still, Commissioner Jackson is apparently a bigger person than most and forgave the Mayor.  I think. 

What was even more surprising was that Commissioner Jackson also forgave new interim commissioner Laura Cattabriga who accused Jackson of criminal conspiracy in a lawsuit no less.

You can read about that here.

Jackson by nbvrbc3373 on Scribd

Why no, Jackson forgave Laura Cattabriga and voted enthusiastically and illegally to install Cattabriga in the not legally vacant Hornsby chair.   Laura Cattabriga got up and pretended she didn't know that Mayor Crazy Eyes, Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband and the "conspirator" Commissioner Jackson had already agreed to put her in the not vacant seat. 

Then, wait for it, yep, IT HAPPENED!  (Excuse my outburst.) 

Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband
In a completely transparent move, Mayor Crazy Eyes announced that she had the honor and privilege of nominating Andreana Jackson for the not vacant office of Vice Mayor.  The groans delighted gasps that filled the chamber from the audience. Well, no. Nobody was that surprised.  I can't lie to you, unlike Jackson.  

So the mayor made the motion and it was promptly seconded by ... no one.  Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband did not break his customary silence and between you and me, I think he was unhappy about the fact that on January 29, Commissioner Jackson called the cops on him because he was screaming at a constituent in front of Village Hall or maybe he had just been instructed to be quiet.   Anyway he said nothing.  

Newly installed Commissioner Laura Cattabriga just sat there smiling like the first runner up in a discount beauty pageant.  You know the smile.  "I should have won and they crushed me for that?"  I'm not sure but I think maybe she thought she was going to get the nod.  

Anyway, after an awkward silence, Commissioner Jackson seconded the motion herself.  Relieved looks all around, except of course for the actual Vice Mayor who may not be removed, it's not allowed in our charter or laws but Norm Powell said it was all like, you know, cool because he invented a new law that said so.  And the commission voted 3 to 1 to install our new Vice Mayor (*interim pending legal action.)   

And it all paid off!  All the people Jackson betrayed, the lies, the plotting behind closed doors, the insults, the assaults, but she has her triumph.  It's Payday!  

Well, I mean not literally but given the current circumstances of our mayor, with the likelihood of resignation or removal, it could lead to even better things soon.   Like the mayor's seat.  

Right now, the job pays next to nothing, like $600 per month.  Not enough to settle the two current open lawsuits against Vice Mayor (*interim pending legal action) Jackson.  Seems she has a bit of a problem there.  But it gives us all hope that if we only are willing to betray our principles, our friends, and the village that trusted us, and align ourselves with people who don't care about the law, maybe we too can become Vice Mayors someday.  So congratulations, Madame Vice Mayor (*interim pending legal action.)  
Screenshot of Open Lawsuits as of Feb 13, 2018 Source:  Miami Dade Clerk of the Courts.
Kevin Vericker
February 14, 2018

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Kangaroo Courts, Our Commission, The Removal of Doug Hornsby

Let’s start with the removal of Doug Hornsby from the commission.  On January 29, two commissioners called for a “special” meeting to discuss the situation with Doug Hornsby’s eligibility to serve. 

Thing to understand – the North Bay Village Charter and Sunshine Laws agree that a meeting called for a specific purpose should be for that purpose.  Our Charter allows only the item advertised to happen at the meeting and specifically prohibits any additional actions.   Sunshine Law takes a lenient view of meeting agendas but specifically prohibits advertising a meeting for one purpose with the intention of doing something else.  

Commissioner Andreana Jackson and Mayor Kreps wrote the same memo requesting the meeting “for the sole purpose of discussion.” 

Commissioner Jackson and Mayor Kreps were lying. 

From the get go, this was a Sunshine busting, illegal deception of the North Bay Village community.

Out of the gate, the newly hired attorney read a prepared resolution to remove Douglas Hornsby from the commission alleging that he was not an eligible voter at the time of his appointment.  I say “alleging” because that issue was in fact the subject of a court case, since dropped, filed by the chair of our Budget & Oversight Committee and it’s likely he was eligible.  But this was a kangaroo court disguised as a discussion. 

It was completely illegal for the Commission to introduce and vote on a resolution at this meeting, let alone one that was already in the hands of the court.  

Nevertheless, following truly reckless legal advice, three votes, Commissioner Jackson, Commissioner Mary Kramer’s Husband, and Mayor Marcela Consuelo Kreps voted to remove Dr. Hornsby.  

Then, just to show further deep disregard for the law, the village attorney introduced a new resolution to open a process for a commission appointment to the supposedly vacant seat.  Again, the Charter specifically prohibits this.  

Now our mayor, who is a very stupid person and after 7 years completely oblivious to the legal requirements of a meeting, announced she thought this was a splendid idea and moved to adjourn the meeting.  She had to be not so gently led back to the fundamental process that the commission needs to vote on things.  Of course, it had already been agreed so when reminded, the three stooges, Jackson, Mary Kramer’s Husband and Mayor Crazy Eyes voted “Yes”.  

And as of this weekend, the website holds an application for appointment that includes the applicant signing a release for to disclose any expunged or sealed legal documents that they might have. 
This is illegal.  Under Florida Law, an employer may not require an applicant to disclose expunged or sealed records.   That’s the purpose of expunging and sealing.  And the commission is a paid position, in fact, for at least one member, it may be the only verifiable income. 

Additionally, the Charter does not include this as a requirement because it’s illegal.  

Yet someone added this new requirement with no voter or commission action, and it’s illegal. 

As of today, Feb 6 2018, I have received no response and frankly I don’t expect one.  The Mayor never responds, the commissioner who's married to Mary Kramer has nothing to say, and Commissioner Jackson, well she seems to me to be frightened by something, and she has gone completely silent except for bizarre clap-backs "thanking" people for their support when they ask questions. 

Now, we will be faced with more lawsuits, a less competent government and it's all a disaster. 

Oh, and the extortion investigation in which the mayor and the wife of Commissioner Mary Kramer's Husband have been named as "subjects of interest" is still on.  So there's that. 
Let the lawsuits begin!
Kevin Vericker
Feb 6, 2018