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Marc Caputo and Elaine de Valle Talk Florida Politics – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 87

29 July 2015

Marc Caputo and Elaine de Valle Talk Florida Politics – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 87

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.

Hour 1

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.

Hour 2

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.

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J. J. Colagrande talks about OnlyinMiami.co – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 82

23 June 2015

J. J. Colagrande talks about OnlyinMiami.co – #OnlyinMiami Show, Ep. 82


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.

Hour 1

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.

Hour 2

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.

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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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Interview with Yeshi Milner of Power U Miami about Civil Rights

22 January 2015

Interview with Yeshi Milner of Power U Miami about Civil Rights

The Power U Center Miami is a community advocacy and organizing group that seeks to work for social equity and justice for all. It was founded to advocate for the residents of Miami’s historic Overtown neighborhood and to help prevent developers from pushing residents from their homes. Recently, they have been involved in reproductive rights and the #blacklivesmatter movement as well. Yeshi Milner stopped by the show to talk about the organization and their work. She opined on the recent discovery of the North Miami Beach Police Department using arrest photos as targets during firearms training, as well as the recent police violence against unarmed black citizens Michael Brown and Eric Garner.

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Protest the North Miami Beach Police Department for Using Mugshots for Target Practice

20 January 2015

Protest the North Miami Beach Police Department for Using Mugshots for Target Practice

Last week, it came to light that snipers from the North Miami Beach Police Department were using arrest photographs for target practice at the Medley Firearms Training Center. Police chief J. Scott Dennis defended the practice, stating that the officers involved were being trained in facial recognition and that the practice is widely used in law enforcement. He further said that there were minority officers who were involved in the training. Nevertheless, community reaction has been swift and negative.. Power U and the Miami Committee on State Violence have organized a protest that will be held on January 20 at 6pm at the North Miami Beach Police Headquarters located at 16901 NE 19th Avenue, North Miami Beach, FL 33162. For more information about this story and for ongoing coverage, visit our partners at Photography is Not a Crime.

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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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