29 July 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 87 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured interviews with Marc Caputo, Elaine de Valle, and Subhash Kateel talking about local, state, and national politics and issues.
2:54 – Grant spoke about Fox’s Sherron Inn, a South Miami landmark that is closing it’s doors after almost 70 years in business. The current owner, who bought the property about five years ago, is planning to raze the building and construct a mixed-use commercial and residential structure. Grant lamented the “sanitizing” of the US-1 corridor and urged local activists to consider pursuing a historic designation for Fox’s.
8:49 – Marc Caputo, political writer for Politico Florida, joined the show to talk about several key races and issues statewide. Marc writes a daily newsletter on Florida politics, the Florida Playbook. To subscribe, visit politico.com/floridaplaybook. Grant and Marc discussed the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio. Two Democrats, Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson have declared their candidacies, and a recent poll by Mason-Dixon shows them fairly even. Alan Grayson is the more outspoken progressive of the two and is gaining some traction, showing a 19% improvement from the last poll. A third candidate, Pam Keith, has also announced, but her lack of political experience and funding mean that she will have a very tough time against more experienced and monied opponents. On the Republican side, the story is much the same. There are a greater number of candidates, and while David Jolly is leading with 16%, there is certainly no consensus within the Republican ranks either. Marc talked about how while the conventional wisdom in Democratic circles believes that hotly contested primaries are bad, the Republicans have had fairly contentious primaries and still end up being very competitive and oftentimes winning the election.
23:09 – Marc and Grant continued discussing politics, turning their attention to the Republican presidential race. Two Floridians, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, have declared their candidacies for the Republican nomination. A poll out recently indicates that Bush is leading Miami-Dade Republicans by 10 points. More interestingly, however, is that Jeb improved his numbers among Cuban-Americans, now leading Cuban-born Marco Rubio by 12 points. Marc and Grant then spoke about education policy, noting that during Jeb’s tenure as governor, one of his signature actions was taking the FCAT that Lawton Chiles had introduced as a statewide education diagnostic tool and making it into a high-stakes school accountability vehicle. Currently, Jeb’s stance in support of the Common Core curriculum, which seeks to standardize education on a more national basis as well as cut back on the high-stakes testing environment is putting him at odds with many factions within the Republican party.
29:02 – Marc and Grant were joined by Elaine de Valle, a local political writer who can be found writing for the Political Cortadito. They talked about the immigration issue that has largely defined the Republican primary to date and how the rank-and-file’s support for the deportation of undocumented immigrants may affect their outreach to Hispanic voters. Elaine believed that part of the Republican’s desire to not offer amnesty is driven by the fact that the vast majority of those undocumented immigrants will end up voting Democratic in future elections.
40:40 – Grant spoke with Elaine de Valle about issues facing Miami-Dade County, beginning with the proposed SkyRise tower adjacent to Bayside Marketplace. The project has come under fire for applying for public funds for infrastructure improvements while claiming that no public funds would be used for its construction. A lawsuit filed by school board member and mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado would seek for the subsidies to be eliminated or a new referendum held, since the original referendum stated that no public money would be used for construction. The SkyRise project may face another hurdle, as funding may be more scarce than first thought. They also may face stricter FAA limits on the overall height due to a change in regulations.
56:00 – Grant spoke with Subhash Kateel about two issues facing the county, namely, the changes to historic neighborhoods and police brutality. As to the first issue, the historic Overtown neighborhood, which was traditionally populated with African-Americans, has often been the target of projects that have pushed out residents. The construction of I-95 right through the heart of the neighborhood served to separate the two sides of the neighborhood. Today, the Miami WorldCenter project looks to take over a large portion of the Park West and Overtown neighborhoods with little if any benefit to local residents. This will result in more forced emigration among long-time residents of Overtown. Fortunately, local activists have won some concessions that will provide training and potentially jobs for residents. However, locals need to remain vigilant, as some of these concessions could be easily revoked. Subhash also spoke about the state violence by the Miami Beach Police Department against Israel Hernandez, a Colombian-born street artist. Israel was killed when Jorge Mercado fired his Tazer at him after he was approached by police for tagging a shuttered McDonald’s on the beach. Last Thursday, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle declined to indict the officer for misconduct. In fact, it has been more than 25 years since a police officer in the county has been prosecuted for misconduct. Subhash argued that, legally speaking, there is no difference between the officer who loves his job and his community and an officer who commits official misconduct, since neither will be prosecuted (the first shouldn’t be, but as to the second, we’ll let you be the judge).
1:18:43 – Grant was joined by the Drastic Fanatic, Brandon Mowry and Darrin Bentley to talk sports. The guys talked about the Heat’s most recent offseason moves, including waiving Henry Walker, sending Shabazz Napier to the Magic, and sending Zoran Dragic to the Celtics. They also talked free agency around the rest of the NBA.
1:40:47 – Football season is right around the corner, and teams have begun reporting this week for training camp. The guys talked about the upcoming NFL season and expectations for the Miami Dolphins. They also talked about fantasy sports and the upcoming drafts for leagues throughout the country.
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.
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.