Thursday, January 10, 2019

Norman Powell Dragged Through The Sunshine - North Bay Village Loses

On Broadway, there is a thing called the 11 O'Clock number, the big dramatic song or monologue that stops the show.  And like any good show, this one had an 11 O'Clock.  

Presenting Commissioner Andreana Jackson weeping loudly in her hit number "Don't Cry For Me, North Bay Village."  Watch as Ms. Jackson enraptures the audience with her simulation of a frustrated, decent person.  

This critic would have found her performance more powerful except that leaves unexplained her own role in the savaging of former Village Clerk Yvonne Hamilton, former Village Attorney Robert Switkes (although in a stunning new development, Jackson speaks for the first time publicly about why she voted to fire him), her fabricated allegations against a resident of threats and her knife in the back to Eddie Lim.   Perhaps in the sequel?

Anyway, three members of the commission courageously aligned themselves with the right of former strip club lobbyist Norman C. Powell to collect the $204,000 plus extras annually and run rampant over the Village.  They were unelected Vice Mayor Marvin Wilmoth, along with Commissioners Mary Kramer's Husband and Andreana Jackson, who clutched their collective pearls and voted to keep Norman C. Powell in place on the grounds that:

  • It's ever so mean to talk about these things in public.  Why can't the elected officials do like previous administration and discuss the problems out of the public view and against Sunshine Law, you know like the way politics really should run?  It worked really well when the previous commission got rid of Switkes, Hornsby, demoted Lim and lynched Hamilton.
  • What will the neighbors think?  Seriously, this was Wilmoth's big concern.  That potential employees watching this public discussion would say, "Oh, me, oh, my, I don't want to go to North Bay Village.  I mean I keep reading about how awful their Village attorney is in the Herald but that they are discussing it?  The nerve.  Well, it's Opa-Locka for me."

  • Julianna Strout has an exhaustive, well researched list of missteps and straight up bad moves since the "probation" was announced.     But you know, she's blonde...

The meeting went past midnight, again, just to prove that Norman Powell is untouchable.

It was no surprise that Mary Kramer's Husband voted to keep him on the dais.  Nor that Ms. Jackson did.  Given the extent of their political debts and Norman Powell's assistance to Ms. Jackson on resolving her credit card debts, they owe him big time.

But it was a surprise that Marvin Wilmoth who as a candidate and as member of the dais argued passionately that the Village needs to get beyond all the drama and move forward, did not share  his reasoning on why he thought keeping Powell was a good idea.  He simply voted not to fire him.  So the Village is stuck.

That's not to say completely.

Commissioner Julianna Strout was well prepared with the list of issues Powell has created since the last meeting. 

The director of the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics was there.  He had written a personal opinion that Powell needed to recuse himself and the commission needed independent counsel to discuss his employment.  Mr. Arrojo emphasized "personal" as the CoE is still working on a formal position. 

Mayor Brent Latham brought up that the recent confusion over the firing of Bryan Miller Olive and the retention of Weiss Serota as labor counsel had resulted in several contradictory explanations from Mr. Powell. 

These were all well presented and discussed by Ms. Strout and and Mr. Latham. 

But it was clear that it fell on deaf ears.

After the refusal to fire Powell, the three, Wilmoth, Jackson, and Mary Kramer's husband, tried to stonewall against putting any conditions on Mr. Powell's probation but Latham and Strout kept at it until they reluctantly agreed. 

Remember, the key objections to this process as stated are:

1.)  It's being done publicly as required by Sunshine.  Jackson found this to be "coming at you with daggers."

2.)  It's being done publicly and people might not want to work here.  Wilmoth was most concerned about this but there were at least three attorneys present willing to work so I think it won't be much of an obstacle. 

My take.  Unless Marvin Wilmoth steps up and acts like the reformer he claims to be, we're doomed.  It may be time to just shut the Village down.   We're so far in a hole, I don't see how we climb out.

Kevin Vericker
Jan 10 2019


  1. It certainly points to a pre discussed decision by three commissioners. Regardless of where you fall pro or against Mr.Powell it’s a matter of cleaning up the previous administration’s totally ignoring the process and starting over with a fresh and strong foundation. Now it appears that the village once again gets screwed. We can only hope for a miracle, a screw up by the village attorney or that he graciously resigns for the good of the Village.


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