Recent posts: accountability
14 April 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 72 of the #OnlyinMiami show featured interviews with Commissioner Xavier Suarez from the Miami-Dade County Board of County Commissioners and journalist Carlos Miller from the Miami-based national news website, photographyisnotacrime.com.
Grant began the show talking about recent discussions to route approximately half Tri-Rail commuter trains into the proposed downtown Miami terminus of the All Aboard Florida intercity train. The trains would travel north using the Florida East Coast right-of-way from downtown through the neighborhoods of Wynwood, Midtown, the Design District, Morningside, and the Upper East Side before turning to the west to join the existing line just south of the Metrorail Transfer station. The move would not only allow commuters from Broward and Palm Beach counties to easily travel into downtown Miami, but would also potentially allow new stations in some of these neighborhoods as well.
Then, Grant was joined by Carlos Miller, a local journalist and photographer who is the founder and publisher of Miami-based national news website, photographyisnotacrime.com. The site focuses on issues of police and government accountability and upholding constitutional rights for photographers and videographers. They talked about the recent police shooting of Walter Scott by a police officer in North Charleston, SC, where a citizen journalist was able to record a video of a police encounter gone wrong. The video shows the suspect fleeing a police officer when he was shot in the back five times by the same officer. The incident has made national news because the video appears to contradict the report made by the officer after the incident. Carlos also talked about another incident out of Oklahoma, where a reserve deputy, intending to discharge his Tazer to subdue a man, ended up using his gun instead, killing the man, Eric Harris.
Grant and Carlos were then joined by Miami-Dade County Commissioner Xavier Suarez. They talked first about the issue of police-worn body cameras and whether footage from these cameras should be available to the public under government sunshine laws and what exceptions are reasonable to expect. They also talked generally about police accountability and how best to achieve it. Then, the conversation moved to Miami-Dade politics and whether or not Commissioner Suarez would seek the Miami-Dade County Mayor’s seat. Commissioner Suarez said that he was considering the possibility, but that he felt that it was too soon to begin campaigning and raising funds with some of the issues and needs facing the city, including the pressing need for transit expansion. Finally, they talked about the need for citizens to be able to hold their government accountable and the methods that should be available for them.
In the second hour, Grant was joined by Annik Adey-Babinsky to talk about the O, Miami poetry festival which will be taking place throughout Miami during the month of April. She talked about some of the upcoming events, including the O, Wolfsonian event, where museum visitors are encouraged to write a poem about one of the pieces in the collection. The event will happen this Friday from 1pm to 9pm. She also shared some poetry from visitors to last year’s festival’s O, Wolfsonian event. For more information about O, Miami festival events, visit their website, omiami.org.
Then, as usual, Grant was joined by Drastic Fanatic and Jose el Rey to talk sports. The NBA regular season is winding down, and the guys talked about the prospects for the Heat to make the postseason. They also talked about their predictions for the NBA’s second season and who might be able to come out of the East and the West. Finally, they spent a few minutes talking about the upcoming NFL Draft and how the Dolphins might approach it.
7 April 2015 Brandon Mowry
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.
29 January 2015 Brandon Mowry
In December, Florida Governor Rick Scott unilaterally demanded the resignation or retirement of Gerald Bailey, the head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose office is tasked with government oversight. The dismissal may have been in retaliation for investigations into the dealings of the Governor’s office that may have broken the law. The position of FDLE reports to the elected cabinet, and this week, the heat on Rick Scott escalated, as some members of the elected cabinet, namely Florida Chief Financial Officer Jeff Atwater and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam began calling for a thorough investigation of the situation. All Florida citizens are urged to contact their government officials and demand transparent government and accountability for Rick Scott
27 January 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 61 of the Only In Miami Show featured a special commentary from Grant Stern on developments in Tallahassee, where Governor Rick Scott unilaterally demanded the resignation of Gerald Bailey, the former head of the Florida Department of Law Enforcement, whose agency is tasked with investigating government dealings to ensure accountability and transparency. Grant urged all Floridians to stand up for good government.
Adam Gersten, the bar barrister from Gramps (@grampswynwood), joined the show to talk about the joys and challenges of being a small business owner in Miami. He also talked about his time as an assistant state attorney in Key West and being involved in the public sector. Additionally, Adam and Grant spent a good deal of time speaking about the state of politics in the city of Miami and about growing up at the New World School of the Arts.
Also in the first hour, Megan Hull called in to discuss the plan to release genetically modified mosquitos into the Keys to combate Dengue Fever, which actually can’t be found in the Keys. The plan is to release sterile males to mate with the native females to produce offspring that will die off. This may endanger the natural balance and have undesired effects up and down the food chain. The Only In Miami Show will stay on top of this story and keep you updated.
In the second hour, Grant was joined by Fabi Patiño of Lanzallamas. The group will be performing at the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival in February, and Fabi talked about their inspirations and influences.
Grand then heard from Steve Roitstein, of the Afro-Cuban Funk Band PALO!, who have been nominated for a Grammy for their album PALO! Live. He talked about the differences between the Latin Grammys (for which the band was nominated in 2014) and the “big” Grammy awards.
Finally, Grant was joined as always by the Drastic Fanatic to discuss the wide world of sports, including a little football game coming up in Phoenix this weekend. They also talked about the goings-on in the NBA, including Cleveland Cavaliers, New York Knicks, and the Miami Heat (can anyone say, “Hassanity?”).
20 January 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 60 of the Only In Miami Show began with host Grant Stern talking about a concerning situation in Tallahassee where Governor Rick Scott, whose administration and agencies (and quite possibly the governor himself) are being investigated by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE), unilaterally forced the head of the FDLE to resign. Conveniently, the only person authorized to investigate this potential abuse of power is Rick Scott, who will likely not spend a great deal of time investigating himself! It is up to us, the citizens of Florida, to demand good government and transparency in its dealings.
Grant was then joined by Yeshi Milner of Miami’s Power U Center, an organization dedicated to organizing community involvement to preserve neighborhoods, fight for reproductive justice, and address a whole host of other social issues facing our community. She spoke at length about the non-indictments of Darren Wilson, who shot and killed unarmed teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, and Daniel Pantaleo, a New York City police officer who performed a non-sanctioned choke hold on Eric Garner on Staten Island, NY, eventually leading to Garner’s death. She also talked about the protests that were organized in Miami during the Art Basel festival in early December and about the recent revelations that the North Miami Beach police department was using mugshots of people they had arrested for target practice in their gun range. A protest at the headquarters of the North Miami Beach police department (16901 NE 19th Avenue, North Miami Beach, FL 33162) will be held on Tuesday, January 20 from 6pm to 9pm.
Grant was also joined by Marta Viciedo, founder of the Transit Action Committee. She spoke about the 2015 Transportation Summit sponsored by the Citizen’s Independent Transportation Trust, which will be held on Thursday, January 22 on Miami-Dade College’s Wolfson Campus in downtown Miami. She also spoke about the purpose of the Transit Action Committee, which advocates for smart growth when it comes to transportation improvements in Miami-Dade County.
The first hour concluded with an interview with Howard Tonkin, a citizen activist who has been opposing national retail giant Walmart’s plans to build a supercenter in North Miami. The problem with their plan is that the land on which they are planning to build is in the middle of a residential area. Building a Walmart there would subject residents to delivery trucks using residential streets to access the store. Not only that, the land in question is notorious for flooding. Walmart plans to elevate their land, meaning that the water will gather in the neighborhood streets, causing more flooding issues for residents.
At the beginning of the second hour, The Time Zookeeper, lead singer for local band Telekinetic Walrus, stopped by the show to talk about the band and about the Virginia Key Grassroots Music Festival, which is coming up on February 19.
Finally, the guys talked sports, including the NFL Conference championship games this past weekend and the upcoming Super Bowl between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots.