14 July 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 85 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured interviews with Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Jimenez, Basil Binns and Robin Porter, and Morris Broad.
3:24 – Grant talked about the need for services like Uber and Lyft, who have both recently announced that they will be ending their operations in Broward County. He said that there is a need for innovative and cost-effective solutions in the transportation marketplace. Read Grant’s article on Uber on onlyinmiami.co for more information.
10:32 – Grant spoke with Miami-Dade mayor Carlos Gimenez about many issues facing the county. They talked about the county budget, the recently christened Dan Paul Park, the proposed Miami Innovation Tower (which would basically be a tall LED billboard), public subsidies for private development, and many other issues.
30:53 – Basil Binns and Robin Porter joined Grant to talk about the proposal to construct the Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA) in the historic Buena Vista neighborhood just north of the Design District. The project would include indoor gallery space and an outdoor sculpture garden. However, local residents are fighting the proposal because they feel that there will not be a significant benefit to the community. They also want to preserve the historic character of their neighborhood.
43:46 – Morris Broad and Paul C. Savage joined the show to talk about the debate over the Bay Harbor Continental Co-op and whether it should be designated as historic. Part of the issue concerns whether or not an historical designation can be reversed. Morris and Paul talked with Grant about balancing the needs for preservation with progress. Morris believes that the Continental should not be designated historic to allow for future redevelopment.
56:11 – Daniel Ciraldo joined the show to talk about historic preservation. He advocated maintaining the historic buildings in our community, including the Continental. His organization advocated preserving the Miami Modern architecture found on the Bay Harbor Islands in the zoning appeal. UPDATE: The appeal to overturn the historic designation for the Continental was granted.
1:06:50 – Grant was joined by J. J. Colagrande, Brandon Mowry, and Darren Bentley to talk sports. They talked about NBA free agency and about the Miami Heat’s moves to acquire Gerald Green and Amar’e Stoudamire. They also talked about the free agent situation with the rest of the NBA as well.
1:26:22 – J. J. Colagrande spoke with local photographer and filmmaker Tabatha Mudra who talked about the Miami 48 Hour Film Festival and her team’s film, Souvenir, which won Best Film of 2015, qualifying it for the international festival. They talked about the process of the festival and specifically about the film.
1:39:16 – J. J. spoke with comedian and Miami-native J. C. Currais who will be recording a live album at the Comedy Inn this coming Friday night at 9:30. For more information, visit comedyinn.com.
7 July 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 83 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.
3:05 – Grant talked about recent comments by real estate developer and presidential candidate Donald Trump that led to NBC Universal severing ties with him. He read from a recent article he penned on OnlyinMiami.co commenting on the top three reasons why NBC fired the Donald.
9:11 – Grant was joined by Alex Fiallo, who shared his #OnlyinMiami story of becoming homeless and living on the streets of Miami. He also talked about how he was able to turn his life around through the help of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. Through their assistance, he was able to get treatment for his drug addiction and find employment. Today, he supervises almost 90 employees and has been able to rebuild his life.
17:55 – Grant was joined by Ron Book, the chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust. He talked about how, due to the efforts of the Homeless Trust, the homeless population in the county has experienced a 90% decrease, from over 10,000 in 1994 to just over 1,000 today. In fact, the Miami-Dade model has been labelled a best practice by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
23:09– Grant continued his conversation with Ron Book, who talked about how the Trust is funded. The Trust receives approximately $20 million annually from a 1% food and beverage tax, and the federal government kicks in about $35 million annually. Ron also talked about the plan put forward by the Downtown Development Agency (DDA) to shelter some of the homeless. He fears that such a program will simply be an arrest and release program, as police will end up traversing the downtown area, offering homeless persons a bed, and arresting them if they refuse. He feels that it will undermine a proven system to address the root causes of homelessness rather than just the symptoms and that it will merely put a bandaid on the problem instead of working with homeless persons to move them into a permanent housing solution.
34:47 – Grant and Ron spoke about the Housing First model, which has reached national attention recently. The concept is basically a homeless person is first given an apartment and assigned a case manager who will work with him or her to get them the medical and psychological treatments they need. They will also work to provide skills training for stable employment.
42:50 – Grant and Ron continued their conversation about the Homeless Trust budget and about what kind of partnerships the trust works with to do its work. They talked about how it is more cost effective to provide housing than to arrest or to treat in an emergency room. They also talked about the need for mental health services for the homeless as opposed to just treating the symptom.
55:47 – Grant talked with Evelina Galang and Faith Adiele from VONA/Voices, which is a summer workshop for emerging voices of color in all genres. They talked about why they chose to host the event in Miami. They also talked about what the workshop does and how the esteemed faculty will work with the attendees to refine their personal writing style. For updates, follow them on Twitter: @VoicesatVONA
1:09:01 – Grant was joined by the Drastic Fanatic and by Surya Fernandez of Hot Hot Hoops to talk about sports and more specifically about the NBA offseason, including the draft and the free agency period. They discussed the Heat’s acquisition of Justise Winslow and about the status of the negotiations with All-Star guard Dwyane Wade. They also talked about a number of other teams’ selections in the draft.
23 June 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 82 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with J. J. Colagrande talking with Grant Stern about the launch of the new OnlyinMiami.co news website.
2:51 – Grant began the show by talking with local activist Peter Ehrlich of Scenic Miami about the proposal as part of the Miami Innovation District to construct a 600 foot tall tower whose sole purpose would be displaying advertisements on LED screens. Peter talked about his group and their opposition to the visual pollution that billboards and especially LED billboards provide. He talked about three upcoming meetings about the tower. First, a meeting will be held on June 23 at the Planning, Zoning, and Appeals Board at City Hall. Another meeting, this time with the City of Miami Commission, is scheduled for June 25. A final meeting is scheduled for Monday, June 29 with the Southwest Overtown Park West Community Redevelopment Agency board. For more information, visit Scenic Miami’s website (scenicmiami.org) or find them on Facebook (facebook.com/ScenicMiami).
9:17 – Grant was joined by local writer J. J. Colagrande. They talked about the new OnlyinMiami.co which will launch June 1. It will feature daily Miami-specific news stories, a feature lacking in many local news outlets who have moved operations to Doral or Miramar, despite the center of the South Florida metroplex being the City of Miami.
15:11 – Diana Umpierre from the South Florida chapter of the International Dark Sky Association joined the show to talk about the LED tower that Grant and Peter spoke about and the light pollution it would create. She talked about the impact of light pollution on resident’s quality of life and also on the environment. For more information about the International Dark Sky Association, visit darksky.org. To find out more about the local chapter, visit their website at idasouthflorida.org or find them on Facebook at facebook.com/IDASouthFlorida.
23:30 – J. J. Colagrande and Grant Stern talked about local Miami politics, including the hotly contested campaign for the District 2 seat on the City of Miami Commission. They talked about the upcoming virtual debate between the candidates and about what issues are the most pressing facing Miami. They spent some time talking about the issue of homelessness and what can be done to address the 1,000 homeless persons living in downtown Miami. They also talked about the SkyRise Miami project and what it might mean for the city.
40:36 – J. J. Colagrande talked about what topics the new OnlyinMiami.co will be covering. The big areas will be News, Culture, Sports, People, and Events. He talked about the voice that the site will use, which will not be sarcastic, but a serious but still fun look at Miami from the perspective of Miamians. The website will include a number of writers and a number of different formats, seeking to tie together many different forms of media, like podcast, film, and the written word, into one site.
55:41 – Taylor Hardy, a correspondent with PhotographyIsNotACrime.com, joined the show to talk about his experiences with PINAC, including being charged for wiretapping violations simply for calling a Massachusetts Public Information Officer about an incident. He also talked about a recent case in Miami Gardens where a man was arrested more than 150 times for trespassing at his place of employment. Police needed to fill certain quotas (which are illegal) to achieve funding levels, so they would arrest this man simply for statistics purposes.
1:08:00 – J. J. Colagrande, Grant Stern, Darrin Bentley, and the Drastic Fanatic talked local sports. J. J. offered a wrap-up of the NBA Finals and talked about how Miami Heat fans should have supported LeBron James as a thank you for his four years in Miami. They also talked about NBA free agency and the drama surrounding the contract negotiations between the Heat and Dwyane Wade.
18 June 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 81 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with local film director Joe Cardona.
Grant Stern began the show with an editorial comment talking about the newly christened (albeit unofficially) Dan Paul Park and the event that was hosted this past Saturday by Emerge Miami and the Urban Environment League of Greater Miami. The park is commonly known as Parcel B, a four acre tract of land between the AmericanAirlines Arena and Biscayne Bay. It was supposed to be developed into a public park by the arena’s main tenant, the Miami Heat, but still remains undeveloped more than a decade after the completion of the AAA. Grant talked about the park’s namesake, a lawyer and civic philanthropist who fought for public green space. He also thanked the many organizers who contributed to the event.
Grant was then joined by local documentary film director Joe Cardona, whose films, including Miami Boheme and The Day It Snowed in Miami, have won several awards. He began by talking about his childhood (during which the day it snow occurred) and about what Miami was like back then. He talked about how the issue of gay rights was very much a hot-button issue, where non-discrimination ordinances were passed, then repealed and not adopted again until twenty years later. Joe and Grant also spoke about how some areas of Miami-Dade (notably, Miami Beach and Coconut Grove) are have lost some of their unique character and charm due to small local businesses being pushed aside in favor of national chains.
Grant was then joined by Dave McDougall and Justin Wales of Emerge Miami who talked about the weekend’s event at Dan Paul Park. They talked briefly about the history of the parcel and how it was supposed to be developed by the Heat to be a park but is now being used as a valet parking lot. They also talked about the conversations they have had with city leaders about how to develop it as a true public space. For more information about Emerge Miami, visit their website at emergemiami.com or follow them on Twitter at @EmergeMiami.
Grant and Joe then continued their conversation, focusing on the Dan Paul Park site and the plan for a Cuban-American history museum for the site. They also talked about his views on the future of the Cuban-American community in Miami and the Little Havana neighborhood.
At the beginning of the second hour, Grant was joined by Bruce Wayne Stanley of the Miami-Dade Green Party who talked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) which, if ratified, would be the largest international free trade agreement. He said that the TPP would harm workers in this country by making it easier to move their jobs overseas and it could also provide a much greater degree of corporate immunity, making it harder to average citizens to effect change to the regulation of business. The discussions of the terms of the agreement have been so secretive that even some members of Congress do not know the full details of the treaty. For more information, visit stopfasttrack.org or search Twitter using the hashtag #TPPFastTrack
Grant was then joined by the Drastic Fanatic and Darrin Bentley talking about sports. They talked about the Marlins and the return of Jose Fernandez as well as the NBA Finals. They talked about whether the Cavs had reached the end of the road. They also talked about the impending NBA offseason and what moves might be made and what they would mean.
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.
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.