Recent posts: free agency
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.
9 July 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 84 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Carlos Miller, founder and publisher of PhotographyIsNotACrime.com.
3:27 – Grant expressed his support for the recent resolution passed by the Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners condemning Donald Trump’s recent comments on immigration. Trump’s comments created outrage in the Latin American community and have cost him business relationships with Univision, NBC, and Macy’s.
8:35 – Grant welcomed Carlos Miller, founder and publisher of PhotographyIsNotACrime.com to the show. They spoke about a situation in Jacksonville where the acting chief judge for the Jacksonville County Court has issued an order that disallows any protests that are critical of the court or its judges on the courthouse grounds. The order is being challenged by PINAC as being a violation of the First Amendment to the Constitution. UPDATE: The day after the show aired, the judge reconsidered his order and has scaled it back significantly. For ongoing coverage of this situation and other First Amendment violations, visit photographyisnotacrime.com.
12:41 – Local attorney Thomas Cobitz called into the show. He and Grant began by talking about the push to equip Miami-Dade police officers with body-worn cameras. They talked about Sunshine Law requirements for the video footage from these cameras. Thomas expressed concern for tipsters because of the likelihood for retaliation based on those they accused being able to request the footage to know who turned them in. Likewise, concern was expressed for making the inside of a private residence public record. Carlos Miller joined the conversation and talked about the length of time that videos should be preserved. Current legislation indicates that they would be preserved for 90 days. However, some defendants are held for that long or longer and may not be able to submit a records request until after the footage has been deleted. Cobitz argued that a fairer solution might be to preserve the footage until the statute of limitations for the crime has expired.
25:54 – Grant and Carlos were joined by PINAC’s Jacksonville-based reporter Jeffrey Gray, who talked about what he does for the website. He talked about his experience filming the courthouse in Jacksonville from a sidewalk that was not covered in the judge’s order and how he was approached by law enforcement and harassed anyway. Carlos talked about how PINAC will respond, since credentialed media are exempted from the order, but the judge reserves the right to determine who is or is not credentialed media.
41:49 – Grant was joined by Timothy Canova, who talked about the Trans-Pacific Partnership – a trade agreement that many are troubled by. One such aspect is that businesses could challenge U.S. law and have their case decided by a trade arbitrators. This could have implications for environmental law, as corporations could potentially appeal such laws to an arbitrator to avoid compliance or to receive compensation. For more information about this ongoing debate, visit isdscorporateattacks.org or search Twitter for the hashtag #stopTPP.
47:14 – Grant continued his conversation with Carlos Miller talking about a civil action in Jacksonville to protest Chief Judge Mahon’s order. PINAC is sponsoring a meet-up and protest at the Duval County Courthouse on July 20. They also talked about the case of Michale Hoffman, who was arrested for holding a sign critical of the Transportation Security Administration at the Jacksonville airport.
56:15 – Grant welcomed local composer Jim Camacho to the show. He talked about his upcoming show on Saturday, July 11 at 8:30pm at the South Miami-Dade Cultural Arts Center that will feature his compositions, including a world premiere. For more information or tickets, visit smdcac.org. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 at the door.
1:08:02 – Grant, J.J. Colagrande, and Brandon Mowry talked sports, reveling in the fact that the Heat and Dwyane Wade have come to terms and looking forward to the coming Heat season. They also talked about free agency for the rest of the league, including admiration for what the Spurs were able to achieve in free agency.
1:28:20 – J.J. Colagrande interviewed Forrest Shaw, a comedian in L.A. who grew up here in Miami. They talked about his career and his upcoming show at Gramps in Wynwood. He will be appearing on July 15 with a few other comedians. For more information, follow Forrest on Twitter (@forrestshaw) for information on upcoming shows and links to purchase tickets.
1:39:31 – Grant, J.J., and Brandon continued talking sports. They talked about the U.S. Women’s National Team and their big Women’s World Cup victory this past Sunday. They also lamented losing Giancarlo Stanton for a couple weeks due to his hand injury.
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.