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State Rep Jose Javier Rodriguez Talks About Tallahassee Dysfunction – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 75 – 5/4/2015

5 May 2015

State Rep Jose Javier Rodriguez Talks About Tallahassee Dysfunction – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 75 – 5/4/2015

Episode 75 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Florida state representative Jose Javier Rodriguez who talked about the legislative session that just concluded in Tallahassee.

Host Grant Stern started off the show by talking about the plan negotiated by then-Governer Charlie Crist to purchase certain agricultural land from U.S. Sugar to be used for Everglades restoration. The purchase of the lands would allow the water flowing into the Everglades to be purified of pesticides and other pollutants. Funding for the purchase was provided for in a constitutional ballot initiative this past November; however, Governor Rick Scott and the Florida legislature are so far refusing to finalize this transaction. All concerned citizens are urged to contact their state representatives and senators to let them know there is broad support for this purchase.

State representative Jose Javier Rodriguez then joined the show to talk about the legislative session that ended recently. He started by talking about the discussion surrounding healthcare funding. The federal government has authorized funds to expand Medicaid programs for low-income residents. However, certain Republican leaders in Tallahassee are refusing to accept the federal money. In fact, due to an impasse between the House and Senate, the House adjourned several days earlier than planned in order to avoid some of these difficult decisions. Representative Rodriguez then talked about Florida Power and Light. FPL is looking to expand the nuclear power generating facility at Turkey Point, adding two new reactors. However, they have not yet received approval from federal regulators. The expansion plan also includes a component that would construct transmission lines along US-1 through the communities of Pinecrest, South Miami, Coral Gables, and Brickell. The 100-foot tall towers would bisect these neighborhoods and create not only an eyesore, but also potentially lower the property values surrounding the corridor. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission is accepting public comments about the expansion plan until May 22; for help submitting comments, please call Representative Rodriguez’s office at 305.854.0365.

Representative Rodriguez also spoke about how FPL has been rigging the game against distributed power generation. In essence, companies who own property and would like to install solar panels for their own needs and to sell excess power to the grid are forced to sell any excess power well below the market rate. In fact, it is so low that investors and developers have agreed that it will not pay enough to make it worthwhile. A new coalition of citizen activists, Floridians for Solar Choice, will be advocating for changes in the regulations to make it possible for individuals and businesses to create a distributed solar power generation network. He also spent a few minutes discussing fair districting which would seek to eliminate some of the more egregious gerrymandered districts statewide. To connect with Representative Rodriguez, follow him on Twitter at @josejavierjjr.

Then, Omar Rivero of Occupy Democrats joined the show. He talked about the history of the site and their mission. He gave his thoughts on the issue of the pending purchase of big sugar land to aid in Everglades restoration and how citizens might get involved in the political process to encourage Florida lawmakers to appropriate the funds. He also talked about the recent issues of police brutality that have come to light in Baltimore, Ferguson, and elsewhere, and how addressing economic inequality might be able to curtail some of the illegal activities that occur among inner city youth.

Omar also spent some time talking about the upcoming 2016 presidential election and the two Democratic candidates who have announced their candidacy, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. He talked about the positions, sometimes surprising, that the two candidates have espoused in the first few weeks of the campaign. He also talked about the difficulties surrounding campaign finance due to the Citizens United ruling that allows virtually unlimited funds to flow to candidates and political action committees. For continuing coverage of the 2016 presidential campaign, visit occupydemocrats.com or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/occupydemocrats.

At the beginning of the second hour, Casey Rodriguez joined the show to talk about the upcoming Spring Ballet Gala presented by the Arts Ballet Theatre of Florida, which will feature the Shostakovich Suites and Pentimento. For more information, visit http://www.artsballettheatre.org/p4.html or for tickets, visit aventuracenter.org (for the May 9 performance) or browardcenter.org (for the May 10 performance).

Finally, Grant was joined by producer Brandon Mowry and Daren Bentley to talk about sports, including the NBA playoffs and a recap of the Dolphins draft.

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Paul B. Hernandez Talks About the Leah Arts District – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 74 – 04/27/2015

28 April 2015

Paul B. Hernandez Talks About the Leah Arts District – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 74 – 04/27/2015

Episode 74 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured an interview with Hialeah City Commissioner Paul B. Hernandez.

Grant began by talking about a new development project in Overtown, the “Miami Innovation Tower”.  While the project might possibly be worthwhile, special attention needs to be paid to the visual elements on the building exterior to ensure that visual pollution from extensive advertisements does not occur.

Then, Paul B. Hernandez joined the show to talk about the current happenings in the Miami-Dade County’s second-largest municipality, the City of Hialeah. He talked about the governmental structure of Hialeah, where every commissioner is at-large and represents the entire city.

He also talked about how Hialeah is looking to become a new haven for artists in Miami-Dade County by creating a new arts district within the city boundaries. The new arts district will extend along East 10th Ave from 9th Street (NW 62nd St in the county numbering system) to 17th Street (NW 71st St). It will be a place where artists can live, work, and display their art. KazillaMural

Grant Stern and Commissioner Hernandez also gave a brief history of Hialeah. They talked about the financial demographics of the area and the dynamics of real estate within the city.

Finally, Commissioner Hernandez talked about a kickoff event that will happen on May 17. For more information and updates, search the hashtag #HialeahNow or follow @LeahArtsDistrict on Instagram.

Later, Xavier Gonzalez joined the show to talk about the second annual eMerge Americas convention at the Miami Beach Convention Center. The main event will be Monday, May 4 and Tuesday, May 5. It’s a chance for executives to network and talk about technology.

Special guest presenters include the Small Business Administration head Maria Contreras and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development chief Julian Castro.

For more information, visit the event website at http://emergeamericas.org/ or follow @emergeamericas on Twitter or Instagram.

At the beginning of the second hour, Grant was joined by local poet Antonia Wright. She talked about her start in poetry and the closing events for the O, Miami poetry festival that has been running throughout the month of April in various places around Miami-Dade. Antonia also shared an original poem, You Must Be An Artist.

For more information about the festival, visit omiami.org or follow them on Twitter at @omiamifestival.

Finally, Grant was joined by the Drastic Fanatic and Jose El Rey to talk sports. They spoke about the upcoming NFL draft and whether the top draft pick will be Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariotta, or a dark horse. They also talked about what teams might be trying to move up or down in the draft. They gave their opinions on what approach the Dolphins should take and what holes need to be filled. They guys also talked about the Marlins turnaround and the NBA playoffs.

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County Commissioner Xavier Suarez Talks About Issues Facing Miami – #OnlyInMiami Show, Ep. 72

14 April 2015

County Commissioner Xavier Suarez Talks About Issues Facing Miami – #OnlyInMiami Show, Ep. 72

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.

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Talking With the Women of StartUp Miami – Episode 70

31 March 2015

Talking With the Women of StartUp Miami – Episode 70

Episode 70 featured interviews with a few of the presenters from the StartUp Miami  conference sponsored by The Atlantic.

Grant Stern started the show by talking about local efforts opposing Walmart development in the Richmond pine rocklands and in Midtown Miami. He indicated that there are several reports that are forthcoming that will detail that the University of Miami was using a portion of its south campus as a nuclear waste dump. The university reached a settlement with the Environmental Protection Agency that was kept quiet. Grant also updated everyone on the status of the Midtown Walmart project. It came to light on Monday that Walmart has asked the appeals court for a speedy resolution of the issues, because if they don’t begin construction very soon, the property will revert back to DDR, who is the mall development company responsible for the Midtown development. Grant also filed an amicus curae brief summarizing the problems with Walmart’s permit. For more information and to receive updates as they become available, visit facebook.com/nowalmartinmidtown.

Grant was then joined by Natalia Napoleon de Bens and Lauren Fernandez. They talked about the StartUp Miami conference sponsored by The Atlantic. They also talked about their own startup, Lemon City Teas, which started last year and produces Miami-inspired tea blends. They talked about how they started their company and some of the things that make them unique, such as the fact that they were founded by four first-generation American women. They also spoke about how they have expanded their market by working with local bars to create tea-infused cocktails. For more information about Lemon City Teas, visit their website at lemoncitytea.com, connect with them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter at @LemonCityTeas, or check out their pictures on Instagram at @LemonCityTea.

Later, Tamara Wendt, Executive Director for The Lab Miami, stopped by the show to talk about some of the startups that have launched from that space in Wynwood. The Lab is a co-working site where members can use the office facilities and resources to create their own companies. It is currently host to a diverse group of professionals, including lawyers, software developers, designers, and others. She also talked about the neighborhood of Wynwood and what it is like to work there. For more information about The Lab Miami, visit their website: http://thelabmiami.com/, follow them on Twitter at @thelabmiami or on Instagram at @thelabmiami.

In the second hour, Mia Vassilev and Georgi Danchev from the Miami Piano Circle stopped by the studio to talk about their upcoming concert presentation, American Grands, which will be held at the New World Center on Saturday, May 9, 2015 at 8:00pm. It will feature ten grand pianos playing arrangements of composers such as Scott Joplin, John Phillip Sousa, and many more. Mia and Georgi talked about how they came up with the concept for the show and shared some music from a show from last year entitled Miami Grands. For more information, visit their website at www.miamipianocircle.com or connect with them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/miamipianocircle

Finally, as usual, Drastic Fanatic joined the show to talk sports, including many NBA teams’ push to to the playoffs (or a great quantity of ping pong balls if you’re the New York Knicks). They talked about the Heat’s prospects looking to the postseason and looked at the the other teams in the race, including the Indiana Pacers, the Brooklyn Nets, and the Boston Celtics. They also talked about the offseason pickups in the NFL, particularly the AFC East’s New England Patriots and Miami Dolphins.

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Mike B. Fernandez discusses memoir Humbled by the Journey – Only In Miami Show Ep. 62 – 2/2/15

4 February 2015

Mike B. Fernandez discusses memoir Humbled by the Journey – Only In Miami Show Ep. 62 – 2/2/15


Episode 62 of the Only In Miami Show began with a remembrance of Jackie Jimenez – who ran #WPMIA and was very involved in building the Miami social media community. Jackie passed away unexpectedly this past week at the age of 28.

This episode features an interview with Mike B. Fernandez, local entrepreneur who discussed his recent memoir, Humbled By the Journey, and his personal #OnlyInMiami story.

Mike arrived in the United States from Cuba in the early 70s as a penniless immigrant to a philanthropic business mogul.  Since then he’s bought, built and/or sold 25 local companies, the most recent of which being the Navarro Pharmacy chain.

Find the memoir at Books & Book or online here: http://www.booksandbooks.com/book/9780990520528

We also interviewed recording artist Chantil Dukart, who’s performing on Sunday, Feb. 22nd at the Virginia Key Grassroots Festival.  You can find out more about her music, featured throughout the episode at www.chantilmusic.com and more about the festival at virginiakeygrassroots.org

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Adam Gersten, Lanzallamas, GMO Mosquitos, and More – Only In Miami Show, Ep. 61

27 January 2015

Adam Gersten, Lanzallamas, GMO Mosquitos, and More – Only In Miami Show, Ep. 61

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?”).

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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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