CRESPOGRAM REPORT
MAY 27, 2014
BARRED FROM NUMEROUS GOVERNMENTAL COMPUTER NETWORKS FOR TELLING THE TRUTH
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DON’T GET CAUGHT UP IN THE MOMENT
IT’S GOOD TO PROTEST, BUT THE REAL FIGHT IS GOING TO REQUIRE PAYING CLOSE ATTENTION TO WHAT GOES ON AT MIAMI CITY HALL

For the last several years I’ve issued a caution at this time of year that the time had come to pay double close attention to the actions of the Miami City Commission because the two Commission meetings in July have traditionally been the meetings where the sneakiest and nastiest deals get done.


It looks like this year will be no different because it now appears that the vote on whether to put the David Beckham soccer stadium deal on the ballot in November will happen at the July meetings.


I’ve posted below the interview that Helen Ferre did with Mayor Tomas Regalado did on Channel 2 last Friday that I think folks should pay close attention to.


The first item of interest that struck me from watching this interview is that now that the Mayor has become involved, I think all of those who oppose this deal going through should want to really pay attention to what Regalado says and does, and to try and find out who he delegates to be his personal representative in these discussions with the Beckham group.


Regalado, came into office as Mayor decrying the actions of his predecessor “Concrete Manny” Diaz’s pro-development efforts to let developers pour concrete on every empty lot they could get their hands on, and now after 5 years in office, Regalado instead of supporting a balanced approach to downtown development, has outdone Manny Diaz, championing every single project that’s come before the Commission, and has even gone so far as to go to Argentina to shill for Tibor Hollo’s latest entry in the whose high-rise condo is going to be the tallest in Miami competition.

Regalado stated on Channel 10, Sunday that the City Manager has hired “consultants” to sort out the value of the FEC slip.  However, the final decision will not be made by professional staff, but by politicians, and unfortunately Regalado’s track record of using private individuals to meddle in some of these negotiations has resulted in bad consequences for the city..


On more thasn one occasion he’s relied on convicted swindler and tax cheat Stephen Kneapler, who among other deals he had appointed to the Selection Committee reviewing the RFP for the Grove Key Marina/Scotty’s Landing/Chart House restaurant redevelopment project. (See the other story posted today about Regalado’s latest “fixer.”)


After the Committee reached it’s conclusion - a conclusion that was limited to a single applicant after the other group that bid on the project withdrew; a group that Kneapler was alleged to have ties to - Kneapler filed a lawsuit against the City.  (Click to above link to find out more.)


Former City Manager Johnny Martinez called Kneapler’s appointment to that committee one of the worst decisions he made as City Manager, and that’s saying a whole lot given the evidence that’s now beginning to surface of some of the other bad decisions he made while he was the Manager.


I raise this issue because Regalado has made much in recent days about having this process be transparent, and the one thing that anyone who pays attention to the goings on at Miami City Hall knows is that what goes on there is seldom transparent, and often so opaque that you might as well be looking at a Black Hole in space.


WHAT WILL SARNOFF WANT


Another thing to pay close attention to in this deal is the involvement of Miami City Commissioner Marc Sarnoff, in his role as Chairman of the OMNI CRA. 


For all intents and purposes the need for an OMNI CRA - other than to service the existing transfer payments to the Arsht Center and the Port of Miami bonds - no longer exists.  Just about all of the poor people have been forced out of the OMNI CRA District as a result of changing economics, and the few remaining vacant pieces of land within the District are on their way to being developed. 


While small parts of the District still remain shabby, none of them come close to the definition of  “slum and blight” required as a justification for the continued existence for the CRA.


Regalado’s claim in the video that ALL of the tax revenue generated by any stadium being built atop the FEC slip would go to the OMNI CRA, and his desire that the money go instead to the City raises interesting and intriguing possibilities.


The Commission could do a deal where instead of the Beckham people paying property taxes, they could pay “rent” thereby circumventing the requirement that the portion of the taxes collected for the City go to the OMNI CRA as Tax Increment Funds, but Sarnoff would never agree to that without some sort of Quid Pro Quo.


The $64,000 question is what would that Quid Pro Quo be?  It’s a little too early to speculate, but this is definitely something to keep a very close eye on because it won’t be cheap and because it would have to benefit Sarnoff in some way in the future given that he is term limited in less than 2 years.


Like all the bad deals that have gone before, what is important this time is to discover is what is going on behind the scenes BEFORE it reaches the City Commission for a vote.


For reference, remember that it took 2 years AFTER the Marlin’s Stadium was built before the Mayor and the nitwits on the City Commission found out that the City was on the hook to pay property taxes on the parking garages because the lawyers for the Marlin’s had snookered the lawyers representing the City, and then the City Commission had not paid attention to the fine print.  ( I wrote about it and channeled the News Of The World to come up with my favorite headline to date: WHEN THE ALIENS COME, TELL THEM SOME OF THE PEOPLE IN THIS BUILDING ARE REALLY STUPID, BUT TASTE GOOD. It’s the 2nd story down.)


That can’t be allowed to happen this time.


A BAD DEAL SHOULDN’T BE ALLOWED TO GO TO THE VOTERS


The biggest fiction to date is that this HAS to go to the voters!  It does not! 

The last thing that needs to go to the voters is a bad deal, and Regalado’s current media campaign where he makes this claim is disingenuous at best.


This deal only needs 3 votes to die at the City Commission. 


Of course, none of Miami’s City Commissioners are known for demonstrating courage when it comes to making decisions, but one way to help them along is to be fully versed on the process leading to whatever proposal comes before them.  This is where one should come to value and appreciate Florida’s Public Records Law.


All of the various groups now starting to focus on this issue need to be aggressive in pursuing every document they can get their hands on, and to exercise their rights to demand that the City to turn them over in a timely manner.


I am today creating a page that will be accessible from the front page of this website as a repository for all the documents I can obtain.  I would ask the folks at EYE ON MIAMI and the COCONUT GROVE GRAPEVINE to see if they can do so as well, so that all of these documents can be shared and available to the readers of each of our sites, and that all the documents obtained by others be provided for inclusion.

In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king!


Everyone also needs to be aware that besides the large Latin community that would supposedly be in favor of a soccer stadium - and no one seems be be opposed to the stadium but only it’s location - Miami has a large and vocal British community that has gotten fired up in supporting whatever David beckham wants.  Here is a link to their website.


The time of bad deals for the City of Miami needs to end, and the only way that can happen is if folks really stay on top of this and pay attention to the fine print before it gets to a vote, and not afterwards, when it’s too late!


MAYOR TOMAS REGALADO WITH HELEN FERRE


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