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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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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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