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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.
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.