MARCH 7, 2014


In May of 2012, I took Michael Putney, the “Dean” of local TV broadcasters to task for a sloppy bit of commentary that he did about a $50 million bond issue that the SEOPW CRA, then under the control of City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones, was trying to get approved. 

It might behoove Putney and others in the local news media to revisit that issue since Mayor Carlos Gimenez has recently decided that because the county is in desperate need of money, he and Commissioner Audrey Edmonson are now working together in an attempt to take away a sizable portion the TIFF Funds that the SEOPW CRA planned to use to cover the repayment of those bonds, thereby putting most of the Overtown Redevelopments Plans on hold, if not in the grave.

But that’s old news. Just a couple days ago Putney published one of his Opinion pieces in the Miami Herald where he touted the plans for All Aboard Florida. “I’m on board,” Putney ended his piece, “How about you?”

What convinced Putney to jump on board this train?  He seems to have answered that question in this paragraph from his piece.

        “All Aboard Florida is thinking big and acting that way, too. Don Robinson, president and COO of AAF, and Cumber, executive VP for corporate development of Florida East Coast Industries, threw a small dinner party the other night to bring an eclectic group of civic and business leaders up to date on the project. We saw an impressive array of charts and graphs and schematics of where the new stations will go.”

Real reporters don’t gush over “impressive array(s) of charts and graphs and schematics,” Michael, without doing some independent analysis.  Did you do that Michael?  Did you spend any time to do some critical review of how accurate those representations are, and how they will really impact the communities, including the impact on traffic?

Did you question whether this a transportation deal, or a real estate development deal?  Or how about your claim that “the trains will run without government grants or gifts?”  Perhaps in the most narrow sense that might be true today, but what about the $10 million dollar piece of property that All Aboard is getting in Overtown for less than $3 million?  That’s a really big gift, and it’s coming from a government agency!

But most importantly, real reporters would never include themselves - much less describe themselves - as part of “an eclectic group of civic and business leaders.”

If you’re going to be a shill for the establishment Michael, then you got to quit showing up with your little reporter’s notebook pretending you’re a reporter.  Being a shill doesn’t make you a bad guy, but continuing to represent yourself as a reporter, when in fact what you’re doing is not reporting but being a mouthpiece for corporate interests is definitely bad form, and given how piss-poor local news reporting already is, you’re just setting a very bad example by trying to pretend that what you’ve been drinking out of your reporter’s flask for a while now isn’t Kool Aid.



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