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Josie Romero Talks About the M-DCPS Parade of the Stars

5 March 2015

Josie Romero Talks About the M-DCPS Parade of the Stars

Josie Romero stopped by the #OnlyInMiami show to talk about the upcoming Parade of the Stars talent show on Wednesday, March 18 featuring students from Miami-Dade County Public Schools. The application deadline is this coming Monday, March 9, so if you are or know a talented Miami-Dade student, act quickly! For application information, call 305.261.8383 or e-mail

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A Conversation on Race with Yeshi Milner on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

20 January 2015

A Conversation on Race with Yeshi Milner on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

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.

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Miami-Dade Dems compete for Florida Legislature seats

3 November 2014

Miami-Dade Dems compete for Florida Legislature seats

Miami-Dade Democrats field full Florida State House of Representatives Slate for first time since 2008

UPDATE: New Interview below with Daisy J. Baez (D), Florida House of Representatives Candidate in District 114:

We’ve interviewed 5 of the 7 candidates for Florida House of Representatives on the Democratic ticket in Miami-Dade County.

Miami Dade Democrats running for Florida State office

Carlos Periera, Omar Rivero and Juan Cuba are candidates on the 2014 ballot for Florida House of Reps. in Miami-Dade County. Annette Taddeo is running for Florida Lt. Governor with Charlie Crist.

Episode 43 of the Only in Miami Show featured three Candidates for the Florida House of Representatives in Miami-Dade: Omar Rivero (District 118 South Dade), Mariano Corcilli (District 111 Hialeah-Miami Lakes) and Carlos Periera (District 105 Doral).

The three featured studio guests are all members of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party who for the first time fielded challengers in all of the Florida legislature races in this county since 2008.

Florida House District 116 stretches from the southern portion of Doral to Miami-Dade Kendall Campus and is being contested by Juan Cuba. His current position as the Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Democratic party gives him unique insight on local, state and national politics today.

House Candidate Mariano Corcilli is a former Marine sergeant, now attorney practicing in Miami. He’s concerned that fire fighters who have service connected illnesses – as approved in 20 other states – do not have those same protections in Florida.

Omar Rivero grew up in Miami, graduated Cornell and founded the Occupy Democrats movement online. He’s concerned that Florida’s education funding is 49th out of 50 states and wants to do something about it.

Carlos Periera lives in “Doralezuela” and is concerned about state policies enacted by Governor Rick Scott to create 169 miles of “Lexus Lanes” as well as the effect of rising tolls on drivers throughout Miami-Dade County on roads that were once freeways.

Oct. 2014

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Miami’s Wynwood Middle School getting Arts intervention

27 October 2014

Miami’s Wynwood Middle School getting Arts intervention

Story by J.J. Colagrande republished from Huffington Post with author’s permission. Edited by Grant Stern

It starts with this irony: Wynwood’s middle school doesn’t have an art department.

Due to budget restraints the Art’s Program was eliminated.

Jose De Diego Middle School is located on the cusp, but basically in Wynwood atat 3100 NW 5th Ave in Miami.

This public middle school in the Wynwood Arts District not only lacks arts programs, it’s bare white walls betray the lack of funding for even a coat of paint.

Over 600 kids, grade 6-8, ages 11-14, are being denied access to the arts because there’s no money to hire a teacher.

For that matter, there’s no music program either.

It wasn’t always like this.

There’s a room at the school filled with 20 Kawasaki keyboards and grand pianos collecting dust.

There are closets filled with art supplies.

How can the most burgeoning art neighborhood on the planet have public schools that don’t teach art or music?

This is the question Patrick Walsh and Robert de los Rios asked themselves.  If Wynwood is truly an outdoor museum, these two dudes are its greatest docents.

Mr. Walsh is the director of WADA, the Wynwood Art District Association, and Mr. de los Rios operates Wynwood Map, a website and app chronicling the ever-changing art in the area.

They do things not for money but because they care about the hood.

They understand the tragic irony.

Imagine you’re a student at JDD Middle; you’re surrounded by warehouses and walls painted in the most vivid ways imaginable, constructed by the world’s most treasured and talented artists.

Your schoolyard is literally in the world’s largest outdoor museum yet you can’t learn how to paint or draw in school.

Talk about being on the outside looking in. Talk about the gentrification of the future. It’s not acceptable.

It’s a crime that an art neighborhood has public schools without art departments.

What needs remembering, almost constantly, is that the residents of Wynwood and its surrounding neighborhoods — Edgewater, Allapattah, Brownsville, Overtown — are poor minorities.

Eighty-nine percent of students at JDD Middle are eligible for free meals. In 2014, a family of two needs to make an annual income below $20,449 to be eligible for free meals.

Fifty-three percent are Hispanic, and 46 percent are black; these students and their families need to feel included in their own neighborhood.

They need to be a part of what’s going on and they need access to an education.

There is a Special Event being planned for JDD Middle during Art Basel, it will be big and very inclusive.

It starts, of course, with art. The school itself will be used as a venue.

Starting around November 25, the walls of the school will be painted by an army of international and local artists. We’re talking big name artists like David Walker, Pixelpancho, Anthony Lister, RYCA, D*Face and over 30 more confirmed.

There will be a concert on December 6 featuring an internationally popular musician.

There will be a raffle for a chance to win art and merchandise.

Other artists may donate pieces and if they do they will be sold privately. It only takes one or two pieces from some of these guys to generate hundreds of thousands (buzz is some big dogs know about this project and approve).

The rest of the community is lending a hand.

Gallery owners like Robert Fontaine, Gregg Sheinbaum and Anthony Spinello are paying for the lifts so their artists can work. Liquitex is donating the paint.

This is the beginning. It’s just coming together.

The goal is to raise $500,000 with all proceeds going to the school to hire teachers. Their vision goes beyond this school with the premise that this “template” could potentially be applied at other schools.

I wish this project the best.

This is awesome and it’s totally grassroots community engagement.

Coming soon, students at JDD will be bragging because their facilities are getting a serious makeover that might just make them the coolest looking middle school on the planet.

Just imagine how those barren white walls will look after Art Basel, only a few short weeks away.

Keep your eyes peeled for major upcoming announcements by the Wynwood Arts District Association (WADA)

Keep your eyes peeled for major upcoming announcements by the Wynwood Arts District Association (WADA)

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Democracy belongs to those who show up

8 October 2014

Democracy belongs to those who show up

The below column was contributed by Juan Cuba, also featured in the below podcast from episode 44 of the Only in Miami Show.

The millennial generation is fed up with politics.

We came of voting age during the Iraq war, Great Recession, Tea Party, Occupy movement, and we have seen our hopes held hostage by hyper-partisan politics.

If our generation could speak, it would let out a collective sigh.

So why even bother voting?


Miami Dade Democrats running for Florida State office

Carlos Periera, Omar Rivero and Juan Cuba are all candidates on the 2014 ballot for Florida House of Representatives in Miami-Dade County. Annette Taddeo is running for Florida Lt. Governor with Charlie Crist.

Democracy belongs to those who show up.

Changing our politics will be difficult and often frustrating, but it is absolutely necessary. And it starts with showing up for every election, and this year we have the opportunity to get rid of one of the worst Governor’s in Florida’s history.

This is what’s at stake:

  1. Higher Education

Even though Florida had a $1.2 billion budget surplus this year, Rick Scott still cut Bright Futures, a scholarship program funded by the Florida Lottery. The program helps thousands of hard working high school students afford college every year. Under Rick Scott, the program has been gutted.

Sixty percent of incoming freshman at Florida International University would have qualified for Bright Futures but now under Scott’s new rules they will not receive the scholarship.

If Germany just made college tuition-free for the entire country, why can’t we at least make it affordable here? We can do this.

  1. Sea Level Rise

Rick Scott famously responded to a question on climate change by saying “I’m not a scientist”. Well, I’m not either, but I’m going to agree with the 98% of scientists who are urging our leaders pull their heads out of the sand.

As I write, Miami Beach is on high alert because of the incoming “King Tide” that is expected to add a foot of water on the streets. We must start mitigating the threat of sea level rise today and confront the problem not with skepticism, but with the full force of our ingenuity.


  1. Minimum wage

In Florida, a person working full-time year round on the minimum wage still lives in poverty. Yet, Rick Scott says the very idea of raising the minimum wage “makes him cringe”.

Republicans think that raising the wage will collapse the economy. Fortunately, some states have already takes steps toward a living wage of $10.10 and job growth didn’t implode. In fact, they’re experiencing above average job growth. That’s because when working people have more money in their pockets they inject back into the local economy.

  1. Women’s Health

This is very straightforward. Politicians should never make decisions about a woman’s body, yet they claim to have the moral authority to do so. Extreme politicians have even waged war on most forms of birth control, limiting women’s access every chance they get. Millennials know there is no place for politics in the medical decisions a woman makes for herself.

  1. Love is Love

It’s 2014. Yet, Attorney General Pam Bondi and Rick Scott contend that allowing same-sex couples to marry would ruin the sanctity of marriage. Millennials know love is love, and that this should be a non-issue. Fortunately, the ACLU and LGBT advocacy community have sued the state of Florida and they are winning this fight through the court system.

  1. Health Care

Right now, Republicans in Tallahassee are holding hostage $51 billion in federal funding that would expand the Medicaid program and help one million Floridians get health insurance. The federal government would pay 100% of this expansion for the first three years, and then pay no less than 90% of the expansion afterward. That sounds like a pretty good deal.

Not expanding Medicaid is not only immoral, but also a missed economic opportunity since the extra cash flow into health care is expected to create 70,000 well-paid jobs.

  1. Right to vote

Republicans have made a national effort to make it harder for young people, African Americans and Latinos to vote. In Florida, not only has Rick Scott purged voter rolls on multiple occasions, mostly targeting urban centers, but he also implemented one of the most restrictive voter registration laws in the entire country.

Check out Florida Lt. Governor candidate Annette Taddeo’s comments on voting in minute 10 of this podcast:

In 2012, Republicans decided to propose 11 lengthy constitutional amendments to put on the ballot and simultaneously slashed early voting hours leading to the longest-ever lines during Early Vote and on Election Day. What are they afraid of?

We are a generation of doers, makers, problem solvers. We are fed up, and that’s exactly why we must show up this November 4th

We urge you to make sure your voice heard and share the reasons you support Democrats this Fall with the hashtag #BluePartyVote. For those of you in Miami, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party is hosting a get-out-the-vote rally at Grand Central on Monday, November 3rd at 6pm. The event is free, but RSVP is required.


Written by Juan Cuba, Executive Director of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.


Voting information:

Early Voting starts as early as Monday, October 20th. Check with your supervisor of election on dates, times, and locations. You can also vote-by-mail by requesting a ballot from your supervisor. Election Day is on November 4th and polls are open from 7am to 7pm. If you have questions about voting, please call the voter action hotline at 844-FL-VOTES (844-358-6837)

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