9 June 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 80 of the #OnlyInMiami Show featured interviews with some of the participants of the recent WynCode pitch night.
Grant began the show by commenting about multiple issues facing the Miami-Dade County government. He talked about the nine-month shutdown of the Venetian Causeway and the impact that it will have upon annual events like Art Basel. Grant urged the county to release more funding to be able to speed up construction to finish in time for the winter season. Grant also talked about the three projects proposed for the Park West neighborhood. One project would include a 600 foot tower whose sole purpose would be LED advertising. He encouraged the project developers to create affordable housing first rather than advertising so that the technopark they want to create will have people to work there. Finally, Grant talked about the Miami WorldCenter project whose application for funding had its first reading in front of the Miami-Dade Commission this past week. He mentioned that there is a lawsuit that has been filed claiming a lack of adequate public notice for some of the hearings.
Grant continued talking about Wyncode Academy by speaking with another development team from Wyncode Academy. Their app, Coffee Break, saves user preferences and places orders automatically to speed the time from when you feel the need for a caffeine fix to when you actually get it. The app’s developers spoke about their experiences at Wyncode Academy as well.
At the beginning of the second hour, Grant spoke with Mark Hart, the Executive and Artistic Director of the Community Arts Program, which consists of two basic components. The Summer Concert Series hosts renowned classical and jazz artists every other Thursday night at Coral Gables Congregational United Church of Christ. Mark talked about this summer’s series and the artists who are coming up. The other component is a community outreach that provides musical education to area middle and high school students in both the classical and jazz arenas. They are the recipients of a recent Knight Arts Challenge grant to develop a Jazz Institute to offer instruction in this uniquely American art form. For more information about the Community Arts Program, visit their website at http://www.communityartsprogram.org or follow them on Twitter at @CommArtsProgram.
Finally, Grant, Darrin, Brandon, and the Drastic Fanatic talked sports, specifically the NBA Finals. The guys talked about the past two games and their expectations for the rest of the series.
2 June 2015 Brandon Mowry
Grant began the show by updating the audience on the proposed Midtown Walmart development. Oral arguments in the lawsuit regarding the building permit and whether or not Walmart has followed established procedures for its approval have been set for August 20 at the Richard Gerstein Justice Center. Stay tuned to the #OnlyinMiami Show for updates.
Local activist Juan Cuba then joined the show to talk about the proposed Miami WorldCenter project. The project will be the second-largest development project in the country and has sought public funding from the Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency to the tune of $108 million dollars. The City of Miami Commission has voted to approve the funding, but local activists are pressuring the Miami-Dade County Commission to review the plan and see if there is a better deal that can be negotiated to ensure local residents are given priority in hiring. The County Commission will be holding a meeting and a vote on the project on Tuesday morning, June 2 in the commission chambers.
We then heard from Pastor Rhonda Thomas of New Generation Missionary Baptist Church. In addition to being a member of the clergy, she is a community organizer with ties to the historic Overtown neighborhood. She is not necessarily against the project, but expressed her desire that the project would mean a better life for the local community in terms of increased employment opportunities and a better quality of life.
Henry Brown of E-STOPP (Eradicating the School-to-Prison Pipeline) then joined the program to talk about the WorldCenter project. He believes that some of the issues facing the African-American communities today stem from unemployment or underemployment. He cited his background and work that showed that children from families where the parents worked were far more likely to succeed in school. He hopes that guarantees can be secured from the developers that will ensure certain percentages of those employed in the new project will be from the surrounding zip codes.
The three guests then discussed how to address the needs of the Overtown community and how to encourage the residents to return once they have been able to get an education. The group discussed the need for residents of Overtown to receive adequate training to be able to fill the jobs created by the WorldCenter project.
At the beginning of the second hour, Peter Ehrlich talked about the current happenings in the Lemon City neighborhood. He is hoping that the history of the neighborhood, which actually predates the City of Miami, is preserved and passed on to future generations.
Finally, the Drastic Fanatic joined Grant to talk sports, primarily the NBA. They talked about the upcoming NBA Finals featuring the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They also talked about the local sports news from the weekend involving the contract negotiations between the Heat and its star guard, Dwyane Wade.
26 May 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 78 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured the best clips from interviews from the beginning of the year.
Grant began this special Memorial Day show by talking about the only U.S. Navy airman stationed at the Richmond Naval Air Station to die during World War II. The airship, on patrol with a crew of 10, encountered and was shot down by a German U-boat submarine. While 9 of the crew were rescued, bombardier Isadore Stessel was attacked by a shark moments before rescue.
The remainder of the show featured clips from the first part of 2015.
- Al Sunshine spoke about a lead early in his career that led to a big story, exposing ties between the CIA and the Mafia.
- School board member and local activist Raquel Regalado spoke about the proposed SkyRise Miami project adjacent to Bayfront and their application, despite their assurances to the contrary, for public funding for infrastructure improvements.
- Yeshi Milner from the Power U Center in Miami spoke about the #BlackLivesMatter campaign and the protests held in Miami during Art Basel following the non-indictments of the police officers involved in the deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO and Eric Garner in Staten Island, NY.
- Jag Davies from the Drug Policy Alliance spoke about civil asset forfeiture, an enforcement tool that law enforcement agencies have been abusing, confiscating billions of dollars in money and assets with little oversight.
- DJ Andres Fresko talked about getting his start in electronic music and about life on tour.
- Local poet Antonia Wright talked about some events of the O, Miami poetry festival that was held this past April. She shared some of her original poetry as well.
- Philip Stoddart, mayor of South Miami, spoke about FPL and their plans to expand the nuclear power generation facilities at Turkey Point and about their plan to construct transmission lines along US-1 through Cutler Bay, Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables, and into Brickell.
- Cindy Lerner, mayor of Pinecrest, spoke about the need to protect the endangered pine rockland habitat adjacent to Zoo Miami and lamented plans by developers to raze a significant portion to construct housing and retail spaces.
- Finally, in a clip from May 2014, several members of the Miami Heat Wheels organization joined the show for an extended feature on their wheelchair basketball team. The team was recently crowned champions of their competitive division, beating a team sponsored by the San Antonio Spurs.
19 May 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 77 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured interviews with Andrea Cuccaro, Art Herrera, and Pam Larry, all of whom talked about genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and how they are affecting our food supply.
Grant began the show by talking about the proposed development in the pine rocklands adjacent to Zoo Miami. The developer, Ram Realty, submitted a 500-page habitat conservation plan to the federal government; however, it has come to light that the developers, in conjunction with the University of Miami, conspired to degrade the site and eliminate some of the protected species. Concerned citizens are urged to write to their county, state, and federal representatives encouraging them to act to preserve this very endangered natural habitat.
Andrea Cuccaro then joined the show to talk about genetically modified organisms (GMOs), particularly in terms of how they relate to our food supply. Andrea is one of the organizers of the March Against Monsanto, which will occur this Saturday, May 23 at 2pm. The march will begin at the Adrienne Arsht Center MetroMover station, then march north along Biscayne Boulevard. Featured speakers include Jill Stein, the 2012 (and potential 2016) presidential nominee from the Green Party, Trish Sheldon from GMO Free Florida, Sam Van Leer from the Urban Paradise Guild, and others. For more information about the march, visit their event on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/847841778587193/. She also talked about what GMOs are and why they are an issue. She stated that several diseases have been linked to GMOs, but as of right now, food manufacturers are not required to indicate their presence on the label.
Art Hererra then called in to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), an international trade agreement currently being negotiated, and how it would affect GMO production and labelling. For example, the agreements in this pact would supersede any existing federal or state law regarding labelling of GMOs. For more information and ongoing updates, follow the GMO Free Florida page on Facebook.
Andrea then spoke about certain bills that have been proposed in the Florida legislature relating to GMOs. HB 351 would require accurate labelling of food products as to whether they contain GMOs. It was sponsored by Michelle Vasilinda, a Democratic state representative from Tallahassee. Unfortunately, the bill died in subcommittee at the end of the legislative session.
Pam Larry, the self-described initial instigator of California’s Prop 37 which would have required GMO labelling, joined the show to talk about her push to limit GMOs. She talked about the state of the debate in Congress, where certain bills like H.R.1599 would seek to limit the ability of states to require GMO labelling. She also talked about the Boxer-DeFasio (H.R.913 and S.511) bill which is much more favorable to the notion of standardized GMO labelling. For more information and to connect with like-minded activists, visit www.gmoactionalliance.org.
In the second hour, Grant returned to the idea of conservation and how it affects the GMO labelling movement. Producer Brandon Mowry talked about the news from last week where the South Florida Water Management District voted to kill the deal to purchase agriculture land owned by U.S. Sugar. The land would have been used to clean water headed for the Everglades from pollutants. This will be an ongoing issue, and concerned citizens should contact their representatives to let them know their feelings on this important conservation issue.
Finally, the guys talked sports, including the NBA Playoffs that are now down to the conference finals, the firing of Marlins manager Mike Redmon and subsequent hiring of Dan Jennings, and the signing of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill to a long-term deal.
13 May 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 76 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured interviews with Rebekah Monson and JennyLee Molina.
Grant began the show by updating the audiences on two ongoing projects involving proposed Walmart developments. First, regarding Walmart’s Midtown proposal, lawyers for the company have filed a motion to exclude a citizen’s amicus curae brief, claiming that the brief was not submitted in a timely manner. The brief argues that the City of Miami did not give a proper hearing on the updated Walmart permit petition after an appeals court quashed the original permit. Secondly, in the battle over the pine rocklands in South Dade, Ram Realty, the developer looking to create Coral Reef Commons on environmentally sensitive land has submitted new plans to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The plans will be made public soon; however, it is likely that there will be few changes from the original plans.
Then, Rebekah Monson (@rsm) of Code for America and The New Tropic joined the show. She talked about her background and how she got involve with these groups. She also talked about her group’s biggest project in Miami-Dade, the Miami Open Data project. The project seeks to develop a policy that would consolidate public data in usable formats online. Currently, a citizen must request a document, wait for a response, and sometimes pay a research fee before receiving the information they need. A better policy might be to have data available online, allowing businesses or individuals to access the public data they need quickly and easily. This could include real estate data, demographic data, transit data, and more. The group is advocating for a much larger quantity of data to be made available, in formats that are machine-readable (no need to copy and paste), and in bulk (no need to download individual records one by one). For more information about the Miami Open Data project, visit their website at miamiopendata.org.
Afterwards, JennyLee Molina (@jennyleeisme) joined the show. She talked about her company, JLPR (@JLPR), and about an upcoming event she is involved with which will launch the ‘Leah Arts District. The district will feature spaces for artists and creative professionals to live and work. The kickoff event occurs this Sunday, May 17 from 4pm-8pm. It will feature food trucks, live art demonstrations, live music, and more. For more information, follow @leahartsdistrict on Instagram or the hashtag #HialeahNOW.
Finally, Drastic Fanatic and Brandon Mowry joined the show for a wide-ranging discussion on sports. They talked about the NBA Playoffs and about #DeflateGate, as well as touching on the Marlins.
State Rep Jose Javier Rodriguez Talks About Tallahassee Dysfunction – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 75 – 5/4/2015
5 May 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 75 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Florida state representative Jose Javier Rodriguez who talked about the legislative session that just concluded in Tallahassee.
Host Grant Stern started off the show by talking about the plan negotiated by then-Governer Charlie Crist to purchase certain agricultural land from U.S. Sugar to be used for Everglades restoration. The purchase of the lands would allow the water flowing into the Everglades to be purified of pesticides and other pollutants. Funding for the purchase was provided for in a constitutional ballot initiative this past November; however, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida legislature are so far refusing to finalize this transaction. All concerned citizens are urged to contact their state representatives and senators to let them know there is broad support for this purchase.
State representative Jose Javier Rodriguez then joined the show to talk about the legislative session that ended recently. He started by talking about the discussion surrounding healthcare funding. The federal government has authorized funds to expand Medicaid programs for low-income residents. However, certain Republican leaders in Tallahassee are refusing to accept the federal money. In fact, due to an impasse between the House and Senate, the House adjourned several days earlier than planned in order to avoid some of these difficult decisions. Representative Rodriguez then talked about Florida Power and Light. FPL is looking to expand the nuclear power generating facility at Turkey Point, adding two new reactors. However, they have not yet received approval from federal regulators. The expansion plan also includes a component that would construct transmission lines along US-1 through the communities of Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables, and Brickell. The 100-foot tall towers would bisect these neighborhoods and create not only an eyesore, but also potentially lower the property values surrounding the corridor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is accepting public comments about the expansion plan until May 22; for help submitting comments, please call Representative Rodriguez’s office at 305.854.0365.
Representative Rodriguez also spoke about how FPL has been rigging the game against distributed power generation. In essence, companies who own property and would like to install solar panels for their own needs and to sell excess power to the grid are forced to sell any excess power well below the market rate. In fact, it is so low that investors and developers have agreed that it will not pay enough to make it worthwhile. A new coalition of citizen activists, Floridians for Solar Choice, will be advocating for changes in the regulations to make it possible for individuals and businesses to create a distributed solar power generation network. He also spent a few minutes discussing fair districting which would seek to eliminate some of the more egregious gerrymandered districts statewide. To connect with Representative Rodriguez, follow him on Twitter at @josejavierjjr.
Then, Omar Rivero of Occupy Democrats joined the show. He talked about the history of the site and their mission. He gave his thoughts on the issue of the pending purchase of big sugar land to aid in Everglades restoration and how citizens might get involved in the political process to encourage Florida lawmakers to appropriate the funds. He also talked about the recent issues of police brutality that have come to light in Baltimore, Ferguson, and elsewhere, and how addressing economic inequality might be able to curtail some of the illegal activities that occur among inner city youth.
Omar also spent some time talking about the upcoming 2016 presidential election and the two Democratic candidates who have announced their candidacy, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. He talked about the positions, sometimes surprising, that the two candidates have espoused in the first few weeks of the campaign. He also talked about the difficulties surrounding campaign finance due to the Citizens United ruling that allows virtually unlimited funds to flow to candidates and political action committees. For continuing coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, visit occupydemocrats.com or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/occupydemocrats.
At the beginning of the second hour, Casey Rodriguez joined the show to talk about the upcoming Spring Ballet Gala presented by the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, which will feature the Shostakovich Suites and Pentimento. For more information, visit http://www.artsballettheatre.org/p4.html or for tickets, visit aventuracenter.org (for the May 9 performance) or browardcenter.org (for the May 10 performance).
Finally, Grant was joined by producer Brandon Mowry and Daren Bentley to talk about sports, including the NBA playoffs and a recap of the Dolphins draft.
28 April 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 74 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Hialeah City Commissioner Paul B. Hernandez.
Grant began by talking about a new development project in Overtown, the “Miami Innovation Tower”. While the project might possibly be worthwhile, special attention needs to be paid to the visual elements on the building exterior to ensure that visual pollution from extensive advertisements does not occur.
Then, Paul B. Hernandez joined the show to talk about the current happenings in the Miami-Dade County’s second-largest municipality, the City of Hialeah. He talked about the governmental structure of Hialeah, where every commissioner is at-large and represents the entire city.
He also talked about how Hialeah is looking to become a new haven for artists in Miami-Dade County by creating a new arts district within the city boundaries. The new arts district will extend along East 10th Ave from 9th Street (NW 62nd St in the county numbering system) to 17th Street (NW 71st St). It will be a place where artists can live, work, and display their art.
Grant Stern and Commissioner Hernandez also gave a brief history of Hialeah. They talked about the financial demographics of the area and the dynamics of real estate within the city.
Finally, Commissioner Hernandez talked about a kickoff event that will happen on May 17. For more information and updates, search the hashtag #HialeahNow or follow @LeahArtsDistrict on Instagram.
Later, Xavier Gonzalez joined the show to talk about the second annual eMerge Americas convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The main event will be Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 5. It’s a chance for executives to network and talk about technology.
Special guest presenters include the Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development chief Julian Castro.
At the beginning of the second hour, Grant was joined by local poet Antonia Wright. She talked about her start in poetry and the closing events for the O, Miami poetry festival that has been running throughout the month of April in various places around Miami-Dade. Antonia also shared an original poem, You Must Be An Artist.
Finally, Grant was joined by the Drastic Fanatic and Jose El Rey to talk sports. They spoke about the upcoming NFL draft and whether the top draft pick will be Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariotta, or a dark horse. They also talked about what teams might be trying to move up or down in the draft. They gave their opinions on what approach the Dolphins should take and what holes need to be filled. They guys also talked about the Marlins turnaround and the NBA playoffs.
21 April 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 73 of the #OnlyInMiami Show featured interviews with Steve Janowicz of Patients Out Of Time, Fred Frost of Stop the TPP, and Jag Davies from the Drug Policy Alliance.
The show began with Grant Stern talking about the initiative to legalize marijuana for medical use in Florida. He stressed the need to be properly registered to vote and to do so when issues like this arise.
Grant was then joined by Steve Janowicz from Patients Out Of Time, who talked about the upcoming conference on medical marijuana that will be held in West Palm Beach from May 21 to 23. For more information about the conference, visit patientsoutoftime.org.
Then, Fred Frost joined the show to talk about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), which is a trade agreement involving twelve different countries bordering the Pacific Ocean. This agreement has been kept mostly quiet from the public, but deserves attention due to the devastating effects it could have for the American worker. In essence, it would easily allow American companies to outsource certain labor to countries like Vietnam, where workers are paid only 70¢ per hour. This could result in a vast quantity of American manufacturing jobs being moved overseas, since labor costs would be significantly reduced. For more information and updates, visit cwa-union.org or search Twitter using the hashtag #StopTheTPP.
Steve Janowicz then talked about in more detail about Amendment 2 in the 2014 election which would have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes. The amendment received almost 58% of the vote, yet failed because it required to be passed by a supermajority of 60%. Steve detailed that turnout and undervotes in the populous counties like Miami-Dade contributed to the amendment not being adopted. He also talked about the disparity in advertising in the closing weeks before the election as another reason why the initiative failed. Finally, Steve and Grant talked about the differences between competing legalization plans, including limits for medical use only to full legalization for anyone.
At the bottom of the hour, Jag Davies from the Drug Policy Alliance joined the show to talk about civil asset forfeiture laws, which basically allow law enforcement agencies to confiscate personal property and/or money if certain criteria are met. Jag related that approximately 75% of people who have had property seized are never convicted of a crime. It has become a four billion dollar industry for police departments across the country. The Drug Policy Alliance issued a report in the Los Angeles Times in which they report on the actions of a number of small municipalities in Los Angeles County who are illegally creating department budgets based on future civil forfeitures. They tend to prey on lower income minorities who have a hard time fighting to have their things returned because of the time and money required. It seems as though police are using these laws as a legal means to steal. For more information about civil forfeiture, read the L.A. Times here. For more information about the Drug Policy Alliance, visit drugpolicy.org or follow them on Twitter at @DrugPolicyOrg.
At the beginning of the second hour, Grant spoke with Sarah Trudgeon (@SarahTrudge) from the O, Miami poetry festival happening throughout April. She talked about how she got her start in poetry and read a poem called 2006. For more information about Sarah, visit saratrudgeon.wordpress.com, and for more information about the O, Miami festival, visit omiami.org.
Then, Grant was joined by Shayne Leighton (@shayneleighton), a South Florida musician whose first recording, Invincible, was just released. She is also about to start out on her Rock It Like a Redhead Beauty Tour. She talked about her musical inspirations and shared a few tracks from her EP. For more information about Shayne or her tour information, visit shayneleighton.com or follow her on Twitter at @shayneleighton.
Finally, Grant was joined by Drastic Fanatic to talk sports. They started out talking Marlins and Mets baseball and how the Marlins can’t wait to get Jose Fernandez back in the starting rotation. They were then joined by Surya Fernandez of Hot Hot Hoops (@hothothoops) to talk about the Heat who have now begun their longest off-season in a long time. They talked about the team’s chances in the lottery and the offseason dealings that the Heat could engage in.