Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Quick Update of Cattabriga's Contributions

6 Local Residents, 36 NonLocal Residents

Breakdown of Contributors

Laura Cattabriga "Self"*$15,72540.12%
Land Development$11,50029.34%
Village Contractor$5,25013.40%
Out of State$3,8419.80%
Local Resident$2,8757.34%

As of October 19, 2018 Cattabriga had raised ~$40,000.   The biggest contributor was herself in the form of loans that she will either expect to be paid back from other contributions or moneys left over at the end of the campaign.   

Of the rest, she has a grand total of 6 residents contributing an average of $479.  The rest (36) are out of state people, land developers, or village lobbyists contributing an average of $1009 (max contribution is $1000 per individual but several people used multiple businesses to get around this).  

Cattabriga is already delivering for the developers:
  • Removed the parking covenant on 1850 79th St Causeway to clear the way for another storage unit.
  • Increased maximum height to 400 feet (40 stories) on the Causeway.
  • Hired a new lobbying firm without an RFP
  • Contracted legal services without an RFP
When it comes to future votes involved her paid sponsors, Cattabriga has already stated she will not recuse herself.  

My big issue:  it's flat out wrong to accept contributions from Village contractors and contract employees.  And she does.  

Kevin Vericker
October 29, 2018

Friday, October 26, 2018

Why Vote For Brent Latham?

It's time to clean it up and throw them out.  There are two important things in this race:

Thing 1)  Laura Cattabriga is running a dirty campaign, funded by real estate flippers, city contractors and dais members seeking protection from investigation.   Cattabriga has no vision or ability to lead the village.

Thing 2)  Brent Latham represents the chance to get it right.  He's committed to building a strategy, working with the state, county and other cities to protect us, and to cleaning out the festering mess left behind by Mayor Kreps.

The choice couldn't be any clearer:

Latham has the experience, the character, and the ability to bring a professional, strategic vision to our failing and flailing government.  We are in big trouble after 8 years of incompetent leadership.

Latham is endorsed by the FOP, virtually every state officeholder in our district, supported by and funded by North Bay Village residents. 

Latham has withstood patiently the proven lies about his residency and the hysterical juvenile accusations of his opponent and continued to talk about what's best for North Bay Village.

Can't Stop Won't Stop Lying
Laura Cattabriga tells lies, big and small ones.  Just this week alone, we were treated to this headline in the Miami Herald:  "A mayoral candidate found guilty of spreading malicious untruths says she won’t stop"

She sued her way on to the commission and when that lawsuit failed, colluded with the mayor and the legal staff to clear the seat for her.

Just this week, she was found guilty of spreading malicious untruths about Latham's residency and instead of owning it and moving on, she and Mayor Crazy Eyes are doubling down.

Cattabriga refuses to explain her 7 years of Homestead ineligible claims nor her unlicensed businesses.

Cattabriga justifies her giveaways as a commissioner ($250,000 for legal settlements, $40,000 for lobbying services where she skipped the RFP, and of course $204,000 for legal services by an inexperienced team where again there was no RFP)  by saying, "I've only had 8 months."  Yeah, imagine what she'd give away in two years.

Cattabriga is endorsed by Mayor Crazy Eyes, and virtually no one else.  She only has 4 local contributors.  5 if you count herself but I kind of don't

And worst, she is everything that got us into this mess and she is determined to drag us down.

North Bay Village Is Stuck

We have to build new  relationships with the state and county.

Look Miami Beach is doing a great job on Resiliency.  The City of Miami is doing amazing things to attract businesses that we want to 79th St and the revitalized Little Haiti.  We don't have their resources so we should team up with them and maybe that means losing some local autonomy but our gains will be strong.  

Jason Pizzo is about to replace the Mayor's Only Remaining Political Best Friend, Daphne Campbell, and we need him to be our voice in Tallahassee.  Michael Grieco seems poised to be our State Rep and he knows North Bay Village well   Sally Heyman is going to be instrumental as we need to add Pelican Island into our front door plans.   

Latham knows how to work with people.  He did it in the UN, in FIFA, in his journalist career, and is doing it in his campaign.  We're close to being out of chances.  We're one storm away from being wiped out and one financial crisis away from Opa Locka.  

Can we really afford to risk our future on a different face from the old school, especially one who creates headlines like these "A mayoral candidate found guilty of spreading malicious untruths says she won’t stop"?  Let's say no to that.

Let's try a new tactic - putting a professional on the dais - and for that I say Vote Brent Latham for North Bay Village Mayor.

If you agree, please share this blog with your friends and neighbors.

Kevin Vericker
Octoer 26, 2018

Thursday, October 25, 2018

We Don't Need No Stinkin' Courts

"A mayoral candidate found guilty of spreading malicious untruths says she won’t stop"

The mayoral candidate referred to is Laura Cattabriga.  Cattabriga agreed in writing to not lie during her campaign and be bound by the rulings of Commission on Ethics.



Judge Victor Tobin in a Commission on Ethics hearing found two significant things:
  1. Latham lives in North Bay Village and Cattabriga claiming he doesn't is a malicious untruth.  A lie, as most people say.
  2. Cattabriga needed to disavow the lie and not keep spreading it.  

Cattabriga ups the lie by sending out unsourced copies of Latham's water bill which showed that he had a large credit balance starting on January 1 and that he and his family were away for 3  months over summer.  (Latham was working at the World Cup which was not held in North Bay Village. His family was mostly with him.)  Cattabriga did not include the December bill which shows the overpayment that the credit balance was based on.  Cattabriga states that this is PROOF that Latham is lying about where he lives. 

It's not.  It's a carefully constructed lie.  


The Herald article comes out and in spite of Cattabriga's promise in her signed Voluntary Fair Campaign Practices Pledge, agreeing not to spread malicious untruths and further agreeing to be bound by the ruling of the judge, Cattabriga through her lawyer, JC Planas, defies the ruling and the finding by saying the judge has no jurisdiction over her, further stating "...she’s definitely going to continue this line of attack because we feel it is completely and utterly relevant to this campaign. Eligibility to serve is a legitimate issue,” (Cattabriga's lawyer, Miami Herald October 24, 2018)

This behavior is perfectly consistent with Laura Cattabriga's history of disregarding promises to get what she wants, up to and including a failed lawsuit to vacate the seat she wanted on the dais, her enthusiastic support for hiring legal counsel without an RFP when that counsel found a novel and unprecedented way to remove Hornsby, not using the Charter or court rulings.

This has resulted in an expensive lawsuit but Cattabriga got what she wants - the commission seat.  No matter that the way she got it, through an unprecedented end run around the courts and the Charter.  No matter that she enthusiastically supported an unprecedented $204,000 for our legal services.   Cattabriga gets what Cattabriga wants.  

Vice Mayor Andreana Jackson Caught on Videotape Removing Latham's Campaign Material

And here's the other one - Andreana Jackson was caught on video sloping around the lobby of the Island Place.  When Jackson saw a pile of Latham's literature announcing his upcoming event at the same, and she took it.  All of it.  In the same article from the Herald (seriously you should have read it by now), she says, 

“All I did was grab some fliers to take back to the campaign to see what was going on,” Jackson said. “I didn’t realize that I took a whole stack of them.” 
She said she did not intend to prevent the building’s residents from receiving information about the event. 
“I’m offended that anyone would accuse me of doing anything malicious with campaign fliers,” Jackson said. “I almost resigned over it.”
 Jackson "almost resigned over it."  A decent person would.  Jackson won't.  


Why would Laura Cattabriga put in ~$16,000 of her own money to get a job that pays about $10k per year?  

Why would every developer in town contribute to her campaign?

Why would she solicit and accept money from village contractors who are direct beneficiaries of her disdain for the RFP process?  

Why is her only campaign strategy to lie about her opponent's residency?

The answer as always here is $$$.   Oh, maybe not for Cattabriga.  (Although I wonder about her way over the top self financing.)  

But developers make money from Cattabriga.  Village Contractors make money from Cattabriga.  Jobs are handed out by Cattabriga.  Cattabriga becomes very important in their view and since she has such a bad record on the dais and personally, she and they will use every trick in the book including outright lies to keep her in place.  

All of this is a distraction from the very real issues facing North Bay Village and all of it is carefully crafted to ensure that the money flows from the residents to the private interests.  

Kevin Vericker
October 25, 2018

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Thug Life in The 24 Hours News Cycle

North Bay Village Vice Mayor Andreana Jackson and her BFF, North Bay Village Commissioner Cattabriga are shown here in this video removing Brent Latham's literature in order to promote democracy, respect and freedom in North Bay Village.  

It's posted on the Herald site at this link and you can see her sloping around looking for stuff to stuff. 

Laura Cattabriga will undoubtedly issue another series of attacks  on Latham and his family.  

Jackson will just move along.  

Our government in action!

Kevin Vericker
October 24, 2018

Laura Cattabriga Defies The Court

Cattabriga lied when she said that Brent Latham doesn't live here.  Not my opinion, it's the opinion of Judge Victor Tobin, the special examiner brought in by the Commission on Ethics.  

The lie was so blatant the Commission on Ethics recommended it be heard by a judge which it was yesterday, October 23, 2018, who found that she had lied and in order to avoid prosecution, she agreed to disavow the lie.  

And her outburst of honesty almost lasted 24 hours.  But Cattabriga can't help herself so she'll drag everyone down.  

Today, she sent around Brent Latham's water bills to repeat the lie that he doesn't live here.  Except she left out the December 2017 bill where he paid the village over $700 following a leak on his property which the village reviewed and credited to his account.  So you see the diminishing credits each month in the bills but not the source of the credit balance. Cattabriga is the master of the deceitful lie.  

Cattabriga has been running a dishonest campaign funded by developers, village contractors and out of state interests (seriously she has only 4 donations from local residents.)   Her own record is abysmal and she has nothing honest to run on.  

Cattabriga settled for a Big Lie.  Today she repeated the same lie established in court yesterday.    

All of this is preventing the real discussions we need to have as a Village and I bet Cattabriga knows this.  Cattabriga's not stupid.  She is ambitious and morally flexible and knows how to sell a half truth (show only the bills with the credit balance, not the payment for it) and create a lie.  

In the meantime, let's look at who bought her campaign.  Cattabriga doesn't want you to see this.  

SourceLatham AmountCattabriga Amount
Village Contractors$0$4,250
North Bay Village$10,450$2,100
Out of Town$1,500$10,100
SourceLatham # of ContributorsCattabriga # of Contributors
Village Contractors06
North Bay Village194
Out of Town211

And here it is in chart form:

Latham in Blue, Cattabriga in Red

Kevin Vericker
October 24, 2018

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Cattabriga Slapped by the CoE over Malicious Untruths

Lied about Latham's residency
Breaking News:  Commission on Ethics Press Release October 23, 2018
A hearing examiner found Probable Cause that allegations regarding residency raised by one candidate for mayor of North Bay Village against another were violations of the Voluntary Fair Campaign Practices Ordinance during an expedited hearing at the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics and Public Trust (COE) today.  The request for the inquiry prior to the November 6th election in the complaint (C 18-39-10) was filed by Brent Latham against Laura Cattabriga. Former Broward Chief Circuit Court Judge Victor Tobin found Probable Cause on three counts that North Bay Village Commissioner Cattabriga violated the pledge she took to avoid malicious untruths, unfounded accusations or personal attacks when she accused him of not living in North Bay Village.  Additionally, a flyer mailed to all Village voters that alleged Latham is breaking the law by having two Homestead Exemptions should have been disavowed by Cattabriga, even though it was produced by an electioneering communications organization and not her campaign.

Judge Tobin ordered Commissioner Cattabriga to publicly disavow “any third-party allegations” against her opponent.  The judge declined to issue an admonition or reprimand and other counts in Latham’s complaint were dismissed as Legally Insufficient or Not Having Probable Cause.

Here is the statement agreed to at the hearing: “I, Laura Cattabriga, hereby advise voters that I disavow any third-party allegation against my opponent.  Voters are to only pay attention to official messages coming from my campaign and are to ignore any third-party advertising. While I had no participation in any third-party advertisement in this election, I have signed the fair campaign practices act, and agree to abide by the recommendations of the ethics commission hearing officer and will disavow the third-party attack against my opponent.”

The Ethics Commission was created in 1996 as an independent agency with advisory and quasi-judicial powers. It is composed of five members, serving staggered terms of four years each. Through a program of education, outreach and enforcement, the Commission seeks to empower the community and bolster public trust.    

Kevin Vericker
October 23, 2018

Friday, October 19, 2018

At Long Last, Robert J. Alvarez

Only known photo of Robert Alvarez
at a Village Meeting
Last week at the Great Mayoral Debate of North Bay Village, there was a second, less heralded introduction.  At long last, rumored candidate for Commissioner At Large made an appearance.  He spoke at the beginning of the debate, addressed the assembly bilingually, and announced he was running to improve the neighborhood.  Then he left.  

This was literally the first time he showed up to a community event and identified himself.  

Robert Alvarez has only reported raising $420 in the race and has been a ghost candidate for the campaign, while Julianna Strout has been actively campaigning since May 2018 and has sent out emails and updates regularly.   

When the Herald reporter, Sarah Blaskey, finally got to speak to him, the conversation was a little bizarre as she reports in her Twitter feed:  

But from the little we say, we can glean several things.  

Ana Watson Friend of RJ Alvarez
He is friends with Ana Watson, facing trial on 4 counts of condo felony fraud and named in every major internal NBV investigation, he doesn't think that he needs to talk to the press or residents, and that he's putting little to no effort into his campaign.  

In a place that's not North Bay Village, he would not be a contender.  

But it is North Bay Village.  We elected another Alvarez with almost the same profile just two years ago over the far more experienced candidate.   

Why? I don't know what his strategy is.  It's not like he's been around town but I'm pretty sure if past is predictor of the future, and with friends like Watson, Kreps and Jackson, he's betting on something nasty.   

Negative campaigns work.   Watch for it.  

Kevin Vericker
October 19, 2018

Thursday, October 18, 2018

The Amendments

North Bay Village Amendments

Regarding North Bay Village, let's just make it simple.  Vote NO on all of them.  

It helps to understand the process.  The Commission appoints an Advisory Review Board who studies the Charter and makes recommendations for updates.  

These changes are then presented to the Commission for their consideration and they vote on what ones to include and why.  

The Commission may also put on amendments of their own.  

This year the Advisory Review Board was dominated by the news that Ana Watson, while charged with four counts of felony fraud, was appointed by the Commission on the grounds that she's friends with Kreps, Cattabriga and especially Jackson.   They held their meetings, prepared their presentation to the commission and ....

Nothing.  On July 30th, the commission did not hear any presentation from the Charter Review Board and voted on all 16 of them without understanding any of them.   

None of them including the bullshit NEPOTISM one.  They never define Affiliation and this piece of garbage was proposed by our tire fire of a commission because, and I swear I am not making this up, Mayor Crazy Eyes decided that since Marlen Martell was related to someone who married someone who worked in the same city office as a relative of another employee, this was NEPOTISM and it's on our ballot.  And that's not the only crazy one.  

Save yourselves time.  Vote NO on every North Bay Village Amendment.  None of these matter.   

The State Initiatives:

Let's take time to kick off the easy ones.  Those are Amendments 1,2 and 5, which are simply partisan designed to benefit the majority party in the legislature.  They were proposed by the legislature because they didn't want to have to control taxes. 

Amendment 1 is there so they use a Homestead increase so that voters won't be affected but leave the bulk of taxes to businesses, tourists, and second home owners.  Easier than fiscal discipline

Amendment 2 does address non Homesteaded by enshrining in the Constitution an already existing tax break.  It would be unpopular for the leg to vote on that so they are kicking it  to the voters.  

Amendment 5 A 2/3rds requirement for any tax increases in Florida.  No.  Majority should have power.   

Vote NO on 1,2, and 5

The other ones to Vote NO on:

Amendments 6,7,9,10 and 11.  These all have disparate themes in them. 

Maybe the worst is 6.  It looks like a well intentioned effort to enshrine already existing victim's rights in the Constitution.  Who could argue with that?  Except it also forces judges to retire at 75 so the legislature can remake the court more to their liking.   Two subjects - one already a law and the other a trick  Vote NO

Amendment 7 - First part is to pay for the children of First Responders who die in the line of duty to attend state colleges.  That's usually a law so why this?  Oh, so they can hamstring the same state colleges and universities by restricting their control over costs.   Cynical AF, as the kids used to say.  

Amendment 9 - Ban Offshore Drilling and Ban Vaping Indoors.  I admit, I want to vote for this.  I think offshore drilling is a catastrophe and I don't think vaping indoors should be normalized (even though I do it) but it's a trick.   A critical subject and a trival subject.  Maybe I'll vote Yes just to spite them.  

Amendment 10 - Looks like it has something to do with Terrorism (it's against it) but no, it forces Miami-Dade to establish an elected sheriff's department to further politicize our public safety.  Nah.  

Amendment 11 - This is a true #FloridaMan amendment.  It's three actually:

  • Part one repeals a 1920's clause that prohibited Asians from owning land in Florida and failed to pass in 2008 because racists and stupid people thought it had something to do with illegal immigration (it doesn't) and they are counting on the same people to mindlessly vote against this.  
  • Part deux is a clause to remove barriers to high speed rail.   (That's related to immigrant status HOW?)
  • Parte tres is a clause that makes it easier to obtain a pardon for someone convicted of crime after that crime is deemed no longer a crime.  Or an expungement.  
Actually, I just changed my mind.  I'm voting YES on 11

And Voting  on these:  

Amendment 4 - Restoring Voting Rights to Convicted Felons After They Have Completed Their Terms.  YES.   Florida put this restriction in as part of Jim Crow era attempt to disenfranchise African American voters who were promptly arrested and charged with the felony of wanting to vote and it worked so badly that the Southern Alabama idiots are trying to keep it in.  It's unfair, unjust and leads to terrible outcomes.  You do the crime, you serve the time.  You should not have a lifetime of punishment afterwards.  

Amendment 3 - I'm voting NO because I don't like casinos or what they do to neighborhoods.  You probably don't agree.  

Amendment 13 - I'm voting YES for the same reasons above - I don't like that people bet on dog races.   

Amendment 12 - HELL YES.  It restricts government officials from lobbying while in office.  Can you believe they are allowed to now?  

Kevin Vericker
October 18, 2018

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Negative Campaign Lies Work

It happened again - my favorite kind of positive thinking bullying.  You know the kind, also called "meta-bitching" where the person complains about the complaining and proclaims themselves a positive person.   They're not.  They're ignorant.  

The truth is that negative campaigns work.  And nobody knows this better than Laura Cattabriga's political mentor and friend, Mayor Kreps.   

On any objective measure, Cattabriga is a terrible candidate for mayor and a failed commissioner.  Her record alone of destructive votes should disqualify her:
  • Voted for a change to zoning regulations that increases maximum height to 400 feet, then denies it.  
  • Voted to hire legal services, lobbying services, and communications services without an RFP.
  • Voted to remove parking from Treasure Island.  
  • Voted to pay out over $200,000 in legal settlements to three employees.  
The list goes on.  Her supporters should be a disqualifier:
  • Ana Watson, who is facing four counts of felony fraud. 
  • Mitch Edelstein, who ran all of Connie's campaigns, while lobbying for strip clubs and developers. 
  • Every developer who she already paid off above. 
  • Herself.  She's put in $25,000 so far to her own campaign for a position that pays ~$12k per year.   
  • Faked an endorsement from the police by using two officers in uniform for her campaign flier without permission.
  • Publicly attacked the Village Clerk for legally appearing in another video, reportedly with the Village Attorney's okay.  
And then even talking about her positions
  • Suddenly she concerned with resiliency.  Didn't put a nickel into resiliency in the budget.
  • Now she announces she wants a dog park.  Never brought that up.  
  • In a whiplash turn, she announces that she is in favor of every thing that Latham proposes.  
Her strategy then:

Present herself as an angel of positivity, seeking a bright positive campaign and then being dragged down by the "negativity" of others.   

Following her signature on the Fair Campaign Voluntary Pledge, Laura Cattabriga and her supporters have engaged in the same old nasty campaign crap we have seen for decades in this town.  

  • A series of anonymous videos using racism, homophobia, and mocking the disabled have been produced and circulated to bully people who are perceived to not support her.

    Cattabriga claims not to know who did it but I don't believe her.
  • Her repeated claims that her opponent committed a state crime on his homestead exemptions (he did not) and that he doesn't live here (he does.)

    This is an inoculation against her own, documented homestead issue.
  • Cattabriga "wonders" if her opponent even lives here and her supporter, the Vice Mayor, has been wobbling around town telling people that he does not.

    That's what ethicists call a "lie."
Why even bother to bring this up?  Aren't people smart enough to see low life like Cattabriga for what she is?

Well, yesterday, the oldest living voter (self reported) in North Bay Village said, "I can't vote for him.  He doesn't live here."  Not to single out a specific case where age and wisdom apparently passed each other on life's journey, but that's what happens.  

Negative campaigns work and Cattabriga knows it, so do the strip club promoters, the developers, the overpaid legal staff and the host of her supporters.   It keeps decent people off balance and on the defensive and in the meantime, allows Cattabriga to swan about the village claiming she is the experienced professional and in a stunning display of caradura Cattabriga bemoans the negativity.   

And people buy it.  Because it's easier than thinking.  

Kevin Vericker
October 17, 2018

Monday, October 15, 2018

Lot of Talk About Illegal Homesteads

Laura Cattabriga made up a story about her opponent Brent Latham and his property inherited from his grandfather.   The story was so weird that I couldn't help but wonder why she would even invent such a thing. 

But I think I have a clue.   Came across this piece of information.  Seems the county had a problem with homesteads that Cattabriga claimed between 2004 and 2011. 

I'm sure there's a good explanation.  With Cattabriga there always is. 

Kevin Vericker
October 16, 2018

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Brent Latham and The Debate

If you're looking for a report piece by piece on last Thursday's debate, you're not going to find it here.   

The entire debate is online at the Village Website and you can watch from the comfort of your own streaming device.  

Yesterday, I posted about Laura Cattabriga and the Debate.  Today I post about Brent Latham.  I'm supporting him which should come as a surprise to nobody.   
My primary reason is that I fundamentally believe that in order for North Bay Village to recover from the damage of the last 8 years under this administration, we need candidates who are not part of the North Bay Village Crazy™ politics of mismanagement.   That includes me.  
But a warm body is not enough.   It's not a rescue type of thing.  
Latham actually has a strong background in international organizations such as the United Nations, a nonprofit he ran in Peru and most impressively was brought in as part of the FIFA team to manage things post-scandal.   He's also a quick study who understands what went wrong here.  
So on to the debate.  
Temperament - When Cattabriga attacked Latham's family and children, Latham kept his cool.   When the Vice Mayor began disrupting from the audience, Latham kept his cool.   When he was accused falsely of Homestead Fraud, Latham kept his cool.  
But in this purposeful barrage of attacks and untruths, what he was saying could easily get lost.  
Strategic Planning - both candidates seem to be on board that without an overall plan for the Village the commission is directionless.  Latham however is clear that the Strategic Plan does not belong as a subset unassigned function of the Finance Department because it has to include every aspect of the Village - Planning, Public Safety, Resident Services, Accountable Government.  Simply having the occasional get together to put up aspirations is not enough and that's what we've done.  
Involving Residents - Communications is a clear issue.  The best example is that there was a building moratorium in place throughout September and there is currently a "conditional moratorium" in place.  The residents didn't know about this and we still don't know what this means.  This matters a lot.  If you are selling your house, you have to disclose this.  If you are submitting plans for any new construction, the permit will be held back.   Latham was clear that his experience in communications is that the more the better.   
The next example is when will the sewer project be finished and when the streets be repaved.  The opponent said it's all on the Village webpage.  Somewhere.  I can't find it.  
Latham was clear that this schedule needs to be front and center with residents. 
Boards that are actually tasked with studying issues, being heard by the commission and involved in the process are critical and Latham stressed his experience in this area and that the expertise lies in the room of gathered citizens.   The boards have been mostly vacant and are not included anymore for the most part in the commission meetings.  Latham thinks that has to change.  
Resiliency and Sea Level Rise - Latham was very clear that the Village can't go this alone.  Miami Beach has a forward thinking program on Sea Level Rise and Resiliency, as does the City of Miami.  We have $0 in the budget for this effort.  Latham wants to take the budget apart and find the money to start now, before it's too late.  
Development - in the last month, the Commission has approved two deals that are at best questionable for the Village.  The parking lot next to Happy's had a deed restriction that only allows it to be used for parking, a major problem in that area, and the commission lifted that.   For no good reason except the seller of the property wanted it lifted.   No negotiation, no understanding of the complex issues around the original restriction (hint: it was a court case settlement), no telling the developer that he would still need to replace the places.  
In another move, in a poorly advertised "special" meeting, the Commission approved height variances up to 400 feet (40 stories) on the northside of the causeway, smaller units, shallow setbacks, no requirements for types of business and for some reason dock sizes into a single piece of legislation that gives away most of our control over the causeway because the current holders paid too much.  Again, no negotiation and no clear understanding of the mix of businesses or residences being proposed.  
Latham was clear that these kind of wholesale changes would not simply be for the benefit of the developers but all the stakeholders.   
Village Services - We hired an attorney without an RFP because the mayor liked him.  He's making an unprecedented $204,000 per year and there was never a competitive process to see if we could get better value.  
Employees have totaled payouts ranging from $21,000 for a 40 day employee to $127,000 for a 4 month employee, presented as "waivers not to sue."   Latham was clear that handing out 6 figure severances would not happen without fully understanding why and in this case, it's clear that the fear of lawsuits is based on the demonstrably hostile work environment in Village Hall.   That has to be fixed.  
The Police - The Fraternal Order of Police have endorsed Latham and Julianna Strout.  Of all the village services, they may have suffered the most under the political pressure over this administration.  In the last year alone, they've had 2 police chiefs and 2 interim police chiefs.  The police need stable command and Latham committed to that.   
The Firings and Resignations - We have an interim Village Manager, an interim Village Police Chief, an Interim Village Clerk, a Village attorney with less than a year's experience.  While Cattabriga found this constructive and exciting, and bizarrely stated that the previous police chief was let go because the police should not investigate commissioners for crimes.   
Latham was clear that a professional government requires professional officials and that the process of hiring for these positions should not be on political expediency or personal likes.   We need a stable government.  
Working With Our Neighbors - We're small.  We can't go it alone.  Neither candidate is for annexation with Miami Beach but Latham was clear that he intends to work with our neighbors to discuss recreation, transportation, resiliency from climate change, and any issues of mutual benefit.  We need to examine these closely and carefully with the resident's participation.  
Political Contributions - Cattabriga brought up that one of Latham's supporers has a lawsuit against the Village, Latham owned it and promised that when the issue comes before the Village, he will recuse himself.  Cattabriga then falsely and smugly stated that a commissioner could not recuse themselves when there is an apparent conflict of interest.  They not only can, but should.  
Cattabriga has solicited contributions from every vendor to the village and has no intention of recusing herself when payback comes.  
My Conclusion - There's no savior, no one person who can undo the politics of chaos and self interest that have held North Bay Village back.  But Latham has the stuff to unite the Village and get us back on track.  
Cattabriga doesn't.  She sued her way on to the commission, and now is using whack a mole negative accusations against her opponent while excusing her own failure to perform because she's "new".  She's not.  She's the same old story without the crazy eyes.   
It's time for a reboot and Latham can do it.  
Kevin Vericker
October 14, 2018

Friday, October 12, 2018

Laura Cattabriga and the Debate

If you're looking for a report piece by piece on last night's debate, you're not going to find it here.   

The entire debate is online at the Village Website and you can watch from the comfort of your own streaming device.   

My purpose today is to unpack the questions and the statements made at the debate and I will start with Laura Cattabriga.   

I have written before that Laura Cattabriga is a master of the loaded question and innuendo while never providing answers herself and last night, her performance as the idealistic public servant confused by what she characterizes as hostile opposition shone through.   


Please note that I am using "fabrications" and not "lies".  Fabrications are carefully crafted stories based on disparate facts to build a conclusion.   And Laura is a master of this.   Say one thing, jump over the middle thing, add an unrelated third thing and then wonder how anyone can contradict her?  It's a classic evasion practiced by politicos and bunkum artists selling questionable products.   

Cattabriga claims to have a "natural curiosity" and "critical thinking" skills.  Seriously, she said that.  She may be all that but just doesn't understand answers very well.  

Let's look at how Cattabriga used this method last night.   

The Big Doubt.  

Cattabriga wondered if Brent Latham even lives here.  She based her question on the following facts:

  • His children attend South Pointe Elementary.   
  • He inherited a property in 2017 in Miami Shores, left to him by his grandfather, and the homestead exemption for the property still showed in 2017.
  • Had anyone ever seen him in North Bay Village before July?   
Latham answered these questions directly:
  • His children, like Laura's, attend South Pointe because they are enrolled in a program available only at South Pointe.  
  • The Miami Shores property showed the homestead for the tax year 2017.  This is the legal requirement as the owner, Brent's late grandfather, lived there and filed it. It was cleared in 2018, when homestead was no longer appropriate.  
  • Among the people who have known Brent for the last 5 years on North Bay Island are Cattabriga and her family.   
Not content to leave the doubts there, Cattabriga took a swipe at Brent's wife because she is president of the PTA at her kids' school.  

That in the process, Cattabriga disrespected a recently deceased family member, used his memory as a way to imply criminality on her opponent's part, took a swipe at his kids for being in school (seriously leave kids out of it!) and Latham's wife.   

All so she should could put out the fabrication, which will be coming to a mailbox near you shortly. 

Cattabriga said she only had been on the dais for only 8 months so it wasn't fair to complain that she did not do any of the things she now says she will do if only she becomes mayor.  

  • She's totally committed to combating sea level rise and it's not her fault that there are $0 for resiliency in the budget. 
  • She is wide open to communication and she can't help it if residents don't know when the sewer project will be done and the streets repaved.  They could call "Village Hall" and someone would surely tell them plus there are things on the web that might help.   
  • People throw their every grievance on her and are disappointed because she hasn't responded.  
Latham pointed out that a mayor, who is of equal power, has only 24 months and apparently Cattabriga wasted her last 8 months.   


Cattabriga said that Latham's promise to recuse himself should the lawsuit by a campaign donor come before the commission showed that Latham didn't understand government because you're not allowed to recuse yourself.  

This is a bit of crazy spread about the current mayor who swears that she heard it somewhere.  

It is, oh how to put this, the exact opposite of the truth.  In fact, commissioners are obligated to recuse themselves when there is conflict.  

This piece of nonsense was put out because Cattabriga has been eagerly soliciting donations from village contractors and developers and has no intention of recusing herself when their issues come up.  

"My Opponent's Supporters and Why I Took The Seat"

Okay, buckle up.  This part is rough.   Cattabriga masterfully fabricated her role in the Hornsby lawsuit by saying that she was only interested in getting at the truth of Hornsby's eligibility to serve.  Cattabriga failed in her lawsuit but she did not mention that.  Instead, she brought forth an opinion from the elections department that Hornsby needed to reregister and completely ignored the part that required the commission to follow our charter procedures to hold a hearing on the subject, which the commission did not do.   Then she claimed Hornsby's seat for herself.   

This in her mind is supported by the fact that Sissy Shute hosted a meet and greet attended by over 100 residents and every major political candidate in Miami Dade.   The crowd was open, enthusiastic and  clearly not supporting Cattabriga.  So Cattabriga is attempting to tie this into a vast conspiracy of people unaccountably out to get her.  Poor Cattabriga.   

Cattabriga never explained why she thought she should take the Hornsby seat and never acknowledged how it looked.  

Cattabriga made sweeping misstatements about Latham's suporters while refusing to acknowledge that she has very sparse but powerful support, simply painting people who support Latham as "negative" unlike her bright positive outlook.   

Cattabriga never spoke about why the subcontracted village attorney Neil Kodsi donated to her campaign, or every developer, or other village contractors.   


Everyone Does It - The Excuse

Following the commission effort to fire Yvonne Hamilton for appearing in a video campaign diary by a candidate, Cattabriga "tabled" the motion to fire while pronouncing herself "deeply disturbed."  

When confronted on her own use, without permission, of uniformed North Bay Village Police Officers and children in campaign materials, she smiled condescendingly and explained that "everyone does it."  

It's apparently enough to fire a 29 year employee but when it's her, well.  

Cattabriga Says She Is A Fresh Face In North Bay Village

No she's not.   Cattabriga might as well be Laura Cattabriga Kreps.    

Her campaign is being run by Strategic Campaign Consultants,  (see her finance reports), the same one man show who represents all the developers in North Bay Village, as well as strip clubs around the area, and who ran Connie Leon Kreps campaigns and Cattabriga is supported by the wife of Commissioner Jose Alvarez, the Vice Mayor and the Connie Leon Kreps herself, who sat in the front row next to a PR person.    

Cattabriga did not distance herself from the shambolic steps made by the mayor, including even defending legal services contracted without any comparison, is accepting donations from village contractors, and surrounds herself with the same people who have dragged the Village down to where it is now.  

She is not a fresh face, just the same one in different lighting.  

Cattabriga's Business

When the subject came up that Cattabriga never registered her several LLC's in North Bay Village for Business Tax Receipts, she explained that like many others, she serially starts LLC's and they usually don't make money but the one she was called out on, she registered last month.  So nothing there.  

Except it's not really borne out by the facts.  For one, she registered a company called Fixation Systems in 2014 to her home address.  Here's the document.  But she never paid business taxes on it.  Maybe because of the fraud lawsuit


Excuse the use of ALL CAPS.  I got excited.  

Okay, I'm calm now.  

Laura Cattabriga signed the Voluntary Ethical Campaign Pledge which requires her to actively conduct a truthful and honest campaign.  It includes an obligation, not a suggestion, that the signer, again, VOLUNTARY, must not only adhere to the laws of the county, but must also not misrepresent facts (e.g. her opponent's residence), not allow her supporters to do so, and must condemn anonymous attacks on her opponent, among other things.  

So far

  • Cattabriga continues to misrepresent where Latham lives, including in her mailing today.  
  • Cattabriga's supporters have posted vile anonymous videos on Youtube attacking residents for the thought crime of not supporting her and has refused to condemn the same.  
  • Cattabriga continues to misrepresent the facts about herself by claiming no business tax violation while attacking the opponent's marriage.   

Kevin Vericker
October 12, 2018

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Police Department

FOP Endorsement for Julianna Strout

FOP Endorses Latham and Strout

The North Bay Village Police Union, the Fraternal Order of Police, have endorsed Brent Latham for Mayor and Julianna Strout for Commissioner-At-Large.  

There are many reasons for this, mostly about how well Latham and Strout understood the issues facing the police in North Bay Village, and the fact that they have concrete plans to improve public safety, involve the police in the community and probably most importantly, to stabilize the command of the police department.   

The stability part is a huge issue.  I have spoken with cops with decades of experience in the field and in North Bay Village and their biggest single concern is the revolving door of the police chief's position.   

After Carlos Noriega was fired, supposedly to take us in a "different direction", most of the progress he had brought to the department has been lying fallow.  

FOP Endorsement for Brent Latham
When Lewis Velken was brought in after John Buhrmaster declined the position, he faced a department still fighting over union battles, hurt from the political chicanery of Commissioner Cattabriga resurrecting a dead scandal over the "hurricane party", a department halfway to full certification, and officers worried that the command direction would change yet again with the political winds.  

Velken did not have time to stamp his command style on the department as he was quickly reassigned to be Interim Village Manager and once again, the department entered what seems like an eternal holding pattern.  Velken was originally posted as a "dual appointment" but the Village Attorney needed to be educated on the fact that such appointments are illegal in Florida and I'm certain that he has not been de facto violating that.  

Things like certification matter.  It matters to the young cops who may want to move to another department to come from a certified department.  It matters to the Village because our PD is eligible for grants and sharing resources.  It matters to the citizens because we know that the PD is up to date and in conformance with best practices.  

Certification was just one of the programs dropped, then outsourced to start over again.   The K9 Unit has been disbanded.  The PAL camp was under threat until the residents made it plain that it matters to us.  There continues to be talk about eliminating local dispatch.   The PD bought GPS equipment but never implemented it.   

One issue on the table is 12 hour shifts for our police.   This is billed as a cost saving measure and it might be, but it is deeply unpopular with the cops whose lives would be disrupted by this.   It's the sort of thing that looks good on paper but only a manager with no experience of our police would think was a good idea.  

It looks leaderless over there and the cops are tired of it.  

And let's face it.  I think the cops were tired of being insulted by Laura Cattabriga.  The hurricane party was an idiotic frat boy stunt that had been dealt with by Chief Noriega.  Cattabriga dug up the corpse and paraded it on television claiming to be "terribly concerned" about it and wanting to know more.  What more she needed to know was never made plain.   

 Cattabriga Fakes An Endorsement

During the same time that Cattabriga was saying she was concerned about the "disturbing behavior" of the Village Clerk because she was incidentally filmed in a campaign video diary and justifying a payout to the same Clerk to avoid a lawsuit, Cattabriga also prepared and mailed a campaign flier featuring two North Bay Police Officers in full uniform, something prohibited by Village law.  There's a question of whether or not they gave their permission, although based on this memo by Village Attorney Norman C. Powell, it does not look like they did. The police department itself has not issued a statement on the matter nor have the officers spoken publicly.    

Powell exonerates Cattabriga while admitting that the police did not give permission. 

It seems like the Police Department are just props to Cattabriga's ambition.  It's not the first time she abused her position and it won't be the last.  But it does feel pretty creepy that Cattabriga used two unwitting cops and a group of kids in her campaign without their permission and without the permission of the kids' parents.  

Kevin Vericker
October 9, 2018