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Ron Book Shares Good News About Homelessness in Miami – OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 83 – 6/29/15

7 July 2015

Ron Book Shares Good News About Homelessness in Miami – OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 83 – 6/29/15

Episode 83 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Ron Book, chairman of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust.

Hour 1

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.

Hour 2

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.

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J. J. Colagrande talks about OnlyinMiami.co – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 82

23 June 2015

J. J. Colagrande talks about OnlyinMiami.co – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 82


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.

Hour 1

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.

Hour 2

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.

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Wyncode Academy and #MiamiTech – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 80

9 June 2015

Wyncode Academy and #MiamiTech – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 80

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 was then joined by members of Outnix, a cadre of developers from WynCode Academy who won the recent Cincode pitch night. They are building an app that will allow local bars to post the games they will be showing so that sports fans can find the game they want to see at the bar they want to go to. The team talked about how they came together and about the WynCode Academy, a nine-week intensive bootcamp that teaches people from all experience levels how to code using current technology like Javascript and Ruby on Rails. For more information on WynCode Academy, visit their website at http://wyncode.co/ or follow them on Twitter at @wyncode.

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.

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Rebekah Monson Wrote Miami Open Data Policy and JennyLee Molina Talks #HialeahNOW

13 May 2015

Rebekah Monson Wrote  Miami Open Data Policy and JennyLee Molina Talks #HialeahNOW

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.

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Paul B. Hernandez Talks About the Leah Arts District – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 74 – 04/27/2015

28 April 2015

Paul B. Hernandez Talks About the Leah Arts District – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 74 – 04/27/2015

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. KazillaMural

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.

For more information, visit the event website at http://emergeamericas.org/ or follow @emergeamericas on Twitter or Instagram.

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.

For more information about the festival, visit omiami.org or follow them on Twitter at @omiamifestival.

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.

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Discussing Medical Marijuana, TPP, and Civil Forteiture – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 73

21 April 2015

Discussing Medical Marijuana, TPP, and Civil Forteiture – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 73

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.

TPP CountriesThen, 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.

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Activist Roger Craver Talks About Preventing Causeway Chaos – Only In Miami, Episode 71

7 April 2015

Activist Roger Craver Talks About Preventing Causeway Chaos – Only In Miami, Episode 71

Episode 71 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with blogger Roger Craver, an activist whom the Wall Street Journal called “a assassin of all things right-wing.”

The show began with Grant’s rant on the recent tactic employed by the city of Miami to combat citizens seeking good government who have challenged the city’s actions in court. The City of Miami is fighting numerous court cases challenging it actions by arguing that these citizens who are suing the city lack the standing to do so; in other words, because they are not personally harmed any more than any other citizen, they need to express their discontent at the ballot box, not in court.

For the balance of the first hour, blogger Roger Craver joined host Grant Stern to talk about his background in helping create citizens’ action groups such as Common Cause, the National Organization for Women, the Environmental Defense Fund, and Greenpeace. They also talked about the issues currently facing the city of Miami, including the need for transparency in city government dealings. Roger spent some time talking about how average citizens can get involved in government and become active in achieving change. He also talked about the upcoming elections for the city of Miami commission, primarily the race to replace District 2 Commissioner Mark Sarnoff. Finally, Roger and Grant talked about one of Roger’s newest projects, the Coalition Against Causeway Chaos, which, among other things, is challenging the proposed Watson Island Flagstone development, where developers received a below-market rent for city-owned waterfront property to construct a shopping center, hotel, and marina. However, citizens are questioning the value of the project and the potential traffic impact to the MacArthur Causeway.

In the beginning of the second hour, Grant talked with Ashley M. Jones from the O, Miami poetry festival which will be happening throughout the month of April in various places around Miami. She shared her own poem, Letter to Miami (Using Lyrics from the Golden Girls Miami Jingle). The first big event of the festival happens at the Soundscape Park on Sunday, April 12 from 4pm to 9pm. For more information about all of the events of the O, Miami festival, visit their website at http://www.omiami.org/. You can also follow them on Twitter (@omiamifestival).

Finally, Grant talked about the Marlin’s Opening Day, which included perhaps the first rain delay in a stadium equipped with a roof. He also talked about the Heat, who are in serious jeopardy of missing the playoffs for the first time in five years because of numerous injuries.

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Big Weekend #OnlyInMiami: ePrix, Medical Marijuana Benefit, and Calle Ocho

13 March 2015

Big Weekend #OnlyInMiami: ePrix, Medical Marijuana Benefit, and Calle Ocho

It’s a big weekend of events in Miami. Here are some highlights:

Miami ePrix

In the 1980s, the city streets of Miami hosted a number of auto races. However, with the construction of the Homestead Miami Speedway, the races travelled south out of the city of Miami.  However, auto racing is returning to the streets of downtown Miami on Saturday, March 14 with the inaugural presentation of the Miami ePrix, a motorsports race featuring Indy-style race cars. The twist is that the cars are powered by electricity instead of gasoline. Bea Garcia of race-sponsor DHL stopped by the show to talk about the race and how it works. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit miami.fiaformulae.com/

17th Annual Medical Marijuana Benefit at Grand Central

In the past election, Amendment 2 would have amended the Florida Constitution to legalize marijuana use for medicinal purposes. While it received 58% of the vote, it failed to reach to 60% needed to pass. However, the push to legalize medical marijuana continues. Flash from Ploppy Palace Productions stopped by the show to talk about the 17th Annual Medical Marijuana Benefit event taking place Saturday, March 14. The event will feature live music, special speakers, and live art demonstrations. There will also be political action activities, including a signature drive for the petition to include a referendum on the 2016 ballot that would legalize the use of marijuana for medical purposes. There will be a voter registration drive as well. For more information and to purchase discounted advance tickets, visit www.ploppypalace.com.

Calle Ocho Festival

The largest block party in Miami (and maybe the country), the Calle Ocho festival, happens this Sunday in Little Havana. In this clip from the #OnlyInMiami show, Tony Lorenzo talks about the festival sponsored by the Kiwanis of Little Havana. The event features music and food, and is a fundraiser for the year-round activities of the Kiwanis, which include full scholarships for deserving college students and summer camps for children, among others. For more information about the #CalleOcho2015 festival, visit http://www.carnavalmiami.com. You can also download the Calle Ocho app from Apple’s App Store or the Google Play store. Finally, you can follow @Carnaval_Miami on Twitter for festival updates.

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