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CRESPOGRAM REPORT

MARCH 9, 2012

THE VOTE WAS 3 -2 IN FAVOR
SOMETIMES THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IS 
JUST TO SHOW UP

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There was never any surprise that the vote to support the Friends Of The Marine Stadium getting a green light would occur, and it did, just as the insiders predicted that it would.


But that doesn’t mean that this is a done deal, although given the collusion between the Regalado administration and the  “Friends,” you can expect that they will take the ball and start running for the end zone just as fast as they can run, with the expectation that the City will run interference for them.


A number of interesting and potentially deal breaking issues were raised during yesterday’s hearing, and here are some random observations.


Among the most important presentations against going forward with this scheme was the one that Grace Solares from Neighborhoods United made.


In fact, it was so stunning that the Commissioners and the City Attorney couldn’t wait until she finished and then pretend that what she told them, she really hadn’t.


Here is the text of the document that she read into the record. Keep in mind that Grace Solares is no slouch when it comes to legal research - she works for a law firm - and that her facts, and her reasoning based on those facts are spot on.


GRACE SOLARES’ PRESENTATION

You can appreciate, that unlike her efforts to get the Florida Attorney General to issue an opinion on my being denied access to the DDA’s Absentee Ballot postcards, the last thing that Julie Bru will do on this earth is write a letter asking the Florida Attorney General whether the Mayor and the Commissioners need to resign from office if they want to continue serving on the MESA Board.  Bt, I think it’s worth a lawsuit.


IT’S ALWAYS ABOUT THE MONEY


For those who watched the Commission meeting, the best part of the show was off camera when Commissioner Spence-Jones started talking about the city having some control over the money that the “Friends” raised as a precaution against something untoward happening. When she raised the possibility of the money going into an escrow account, Lynn Lewis, the “volunteer” lawyer for the “Friends” and Don Worth started acting like bees in a hive that had just had a big stick poked through the wall.


They were frantic whispers, going back and forth to their accountant, talking to other members of the team, and even at one point having a professional fundraiser try to minimize the amount of money that the “Friends” might actually spend on expenses as part of their effort to raise upwards of $30 million.


What no one seemed eager to talk about was how much money one or more professional fund raisers would charge to raise $30 million or more; or just what $300,000.00 - the 1% the fund raiser claimed would be the average expenses for marketing and promotion - would cover in airfare/hotel/restaurant and associated expenses during this period for flying to wine  and dine, or bringing in those elusive “money” people to Miami to wine and dine interested in ponying up millions. 


There’s a sub-class of artsy-fartsy/preservationist/NGO folks who have become so conditioned to the notion that wining and dining on someone else’s money is just one of the benefits of their exalted status as society’s protectors that they get all bent out of shape when someone comes along and tries to limit their access to the credit card.


Contrary to the claims made about no one taking a paycheck, the fact is that you don’t have to take a paycheck to screw the pooch.


Commissioner Spence-Jones was right to be concerned about any group using the imprimatur of the City of Miami to raise money having free reign to do with that money what they wish without any oversight from the city.


What the “Friends” do with money that they raise on their own is their business.  What they do with money raised on the coattails of the City of Miami is definitely something that the City of Miami has every right to demand being a party to before the fact, and not after the money has been spent, and I do not believe that it was a proud moment for the 3 members of the City Commission who voted to support this process going forward for not agreeing to her request that some precautions be instituted at the beginning of this process over controlling these supposed millions of dollars that this group intended to raise.


THE HYPERBOLE OF THE HUSTLE


In a world where people are being slaughtered in a half dozen countries, where the top viewing You Tube video of all time is about an African War Criminal, where the craziness surrounding the upcoming presidential election has unleashed some vile, misogynist rhetoric that makes you wonder  how thin the veneer of civility and belief in rights of women to have a say in their own health needs really is in this country, you got to love it when a handful of preservationist minded folks get up and start talking about the “whole world is watching Miami!,” as if the future of mankind was in the balance.


Yes, the Marine Stadium is an interesting architectural building, and I can certainly appreciate why the original architect is so involved in trying to save it, but  the reality is that this is a building that sat empty for over 20 years because people really didn’t give a fuck about it. 


And all the invoking of nostalgia doesn’t remove the fact that it’s a 7000 seat facility, with limited uses, that even Commissioner Sarnoff acknowledged will never be able to cover its operating costs. In order to generate enough money to finance it’s operation public land will have to be converted to some sort of retail venture capable of generating those funds - land that will generate revenue that the “Friends” will fight tooth and nail NOT to share with the city - and then to have somebody stand up and talk about “the whole world is watching Miami,” is just so much bullshit!


Their fellow artsy-fartsy preservationists might be watching, or the people that these preservationists want to cosy up to might be watching, but not even the people in Miami are really watching.


Their view of the world, nor mine for that matter, really represent the whole view of the world, or anything close to it.  All the drama and breathless proclamations about this being a symbol for the salvation of Miami’s history ignores the fact that many of these very same people, who now claim that the stadium is the victim of “demolition by neglect,” are the same people who stood around for decades with their little white fingers stuck up their asses as the destruction of much of Overtown slid into a real “demolition by neglect.”


None of them stood up then to claim that the “whole world was watching Miami!” then!


A CORRECTION


I end with something I hate to do bu do when I’m wrong, which is acknowledge that I fucked up.  In my last story about the Marine Stadium I cited the amount of $839,408.16, in Capital Improvement money that I said was being transferred to the repair of the Marine Stadium seawall.  In fact that money is going to repair the Marine Stadium MARINA seawall, nect door.


My implication was that this was money that the regalado administration was transferring to the Stadium in contradiction of the claim that the city would not be providing this group any public money.


I still believe that that will happen, but this money was not part of that belief.

This matter is before you based on  the premise that MSEA is an independent and autonomous agency and instrumentality of the city, and that MSEA voted to approve the Resolution before you today, in January 2012.   I suggest that the MSEA vote is a nullity and that MSEA is not an independent and autonomous agency and instrumentality of the City.  Why? Because of the following:


The City consistently takes the position that MSEA is an “independent and autonomous agency and instrumentality of the city.”  This is what Section 2-2011 of the city code says.   The label “independent and autonomous agency and instrumentality” does not control the nature of the MSEA Board.


MSEA’s present governing body at least as of the January 2012 meeting that I attended, included the Mayor and three commissioners, and perhaps the other two commissioners have also been appointed to the MSEA board, not certain about that.  These appointments are allowed under Section 2-1013.   However, Section 2-1013 further states that membership by the Mayor or any sitting commissioner on the MSEA board is in an “ex-officio” capacity.   This means that their appointment is deemed to be a continuation of their duties as either Mayor or City Commissioners.   If the Mayor or any City commissioner is truly acting and participating in an ex officio capacity, then that belies or destroys the label  “independent and autonomous agency and instrumentality.”


If the City desires to retain MSEA’s independent and autonomous status then the Mayor and the Commissioners cannot remain on the MSEA Board in an ex officio status but must resign.  If you remain on the MSEA Board in a status other than “ex officio”, you will then be in violation of Art. II, §5(a) of the Florida Constitution which states: “No person shall hold at the same time more than one office under the government of the state and the county and municipalities therein....” 


This prohibition applies to elected and appointed offices.  Moreover, in a 1970 decision, the Florida Supreme Court set forth a general rule that “the acceptance of an incompatible office by one already holding office operates as a resignation of the first.”  Under the rationale of the Supreme Court decision the action of an officer accepting another office in violation of the dual office holding prohibition creates a vacancy in the first office.”  Holley v. Adams, 238 So.2d 401, 407 (Fla. 1970).


Commissioners,  MSEA is not independent because your participation is in an ex-officio capacity.  If the City wishes MSEA to be an independent and autonomous agency and instrumentality then you cannot be members of the MSEA Board and a Commissioners at the same time.  Therefore, the MSEA vote of January 2012 regarding the resolution before you today is a nullity. 


I suggest that this matter be deferred or continued so that your City Attorney has an opportunity to make an urgent request for a legal opinion from the Attorney General of the State of Florida as to the issues that I have just brought to your attention because your status as Mayor and Commissioners could be also at peril.


Please do not hear this matter until the issue of your dual office is resolved and until all the issues mentioned in my email to you of yesterday, March 7, 2012 regarding the violations of the Charter are resolved as well.


Grace Solares