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December 2007

Miami New Times continues report of public corruption at MMAP

One secretary attended school and had skin treatments on the taxpayers' dime. Another employee was let out of work for jury duty ... on most Fridays between January 2005 and June 2006. And a third person — also paid by you and me — possibly used publicly funded help to feed clients to her realtor husband.

All of these allegations and more help explain why one of county hall's most long-lived and wily veterans, Metro-Miami Action Plan Trust President Milton Vickers, resigned last week. They give a pretty good idea as to why three prominent MMAP board members have quit in the past two months. And they almost surely had something to do with state prosecutors' December 4 raid of MMAP's offices.

The shenanigans might even shed light on why Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones is facing indictment.

"It's really, really bad over there," says one county employee familiar with the agency, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of losing her job. "MMAP used to be a good agency. Now it's foolishness — they just recycle money to each other and their friends." [Continue reading...]

Edmonson demands County take back land

Frustration over affordable housing behind Edmonson move to kill Sawyer's Walk project

By Risa Polansky
   Fiercely defending what she deems the needs of Overtown, Miami-Dade County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson is demanding the county take back land given to the City of Miami — a move that would effectively halt two pending developments there. [Continue reading...]

Several staffers suspended, quit or are fired at SAO; Judge implicated in verdict deals for donation to charity

4 quit or are fired at Dade state attorney

Posted on Wed, Dec. 26, 2007


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Herbert E. Walker III, shown in this 2006 picture, resigned from the Miami-Dade state attorney's office Friday.

A prosecutor with the Miami-Dade state attorney's office, an intern and a secretary were fired, while another prosecutor resigned -- all within the past week in what officials said Wednesday were unrelated personnel matters. [Continue reading]


Silent March to Stop the Violence, Saturday, Dec. 29

jeba header
We must stop the Violence
(Miami ) On December 29, 2007, the Miami-Dade Branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, (NAACP) under the leadership of Bishop Victor T. Curry, President, People United to Lead the Struggle for Equality, (P.U.L.S.E) along with community leaders, organizations and citizens will lead 1000 Men and Boys in a silent march against the increasing violence and crime that continues to plague South Florida.

On that date, at 9:00am men and boys will gather at Miami Carol City Park , 3201 NW 185th street and march silently through Miami Gardens in reverence and solidarity. They will return to the Park and will be joined by concerned women for a rally and demonstration.

This Event seeks to put public spotlight on the violence that is still taking place in Miami-Dade County . "We must stop the shootings that continue to occur, says Bishop Curry, the visionary for the Event. "We must stop the crimes, particularly those against each other. As men we must take the lead and teach our brothers that there are alternatives to solving differences."

"We are asking fraternities, men's groups and boy's organizations to march," says Bishop Victor T. Curry. "Men, lets take the action that is needed for our families."

Voter Registration, as well as Health, Employment and Restoration of Rights information will be available. This event is free and open to the community. For group participation, call Kevin "Dr. K" Moyd at 305.769.1100. For more information call 305.685.3700.

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is an interracial membership organization, founded in 1909, that is devoted to civil rights and racial justice. The NAACP has been instrumental in improving the legal, educational, and economic lives of people of color. Throughout its existence, it has worked to fulfill its goals to secure full suffrage and other civil rights, with the ultimate goal to end segregation and racial violence.

email: [email protected] phone: (305) 835-0321 web:

Remembering Frankie Bell Payton

Stories of the lives of women such as Frankie Bell Payton are becoming rarer. Mrs. Payton raised 9 children mostly on her own; the most well-known of her offspring is actress JoMarie Payton of television's Family Matters fame.

Mrs. Payton worked for many years as a domestic. She was a loving, proud and dignified woman. Here is an excerpt of the Miami Herald's coverage of Mrs. Payton's life. Please be sure to check out the photos on the slideshow.



Raised 9 children, including actress

Posted on Tue, Dec. 25, 2007


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Frankie Bell Payton reared nine kids on her own. For much of her life, she worked seven days a week, always emphasizing the importance of an education and honest work to her children.

Even after her eldest daughter established a career in television, Payton continued to work, often donating her money to charities.

Frankie Payton died Dec. 16 of a cerebellar hematoma, just hours after the wedding of her daughter JoMarie Payton, who appeared in the TV series Family Matters. Her daughter was married with her mother's ring.

''She was hanging on for something special,'' Payton said. ''And she -- and God -- picked him out for me.'' Payton's new husband was one of the doctors who cared for her mother over the past year. [Continue reading…]


Make It Right Miami: Honor Promise of HOPE VI Housing Plan

Today, Channel 4 News reported a protest of the watered down return of Scott Project Housing in the Liberty City. It seems that 850 units were demolished but only 150 will be returned. Needless to say, many in the community are outraged. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention.

There are billions of dollars available for a tunnel and a baseball stadium but not enough money for blacks who were unnecessarily displaced while millions of dollars for housing were squandered by local government? I don't think so. Hello, black people, get a clue!

Is anyone connecting the dots on how blacks, as a group, are being marginalized more and more in this community? A few blacks in key positions in the community will not compensate for the masses. The revolution may not be televised but we're witnessing the dismantling of Liberty City live and in living color. Blacks are still displaced in New Orleans and they are displaced right here in Liberty City. We just need to think about what happened and is still happening to Overtown.

An excerpt of a news article is usually posted here with a link to the original but this time I'm posting the entire Herald article here. Please read it in its entirety.



Homes for Miami-Dade poor may not be built

An 8-year-old federal grant has only enough money for about 150 homes, not the 850 promised to Liberty City residents.

Posted on Wed, Dec. 19, 2007

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Hundreds of affordable homes promised to urban residents may not be built because Miami-Dade government does not have enough money, federal housing leaders said Tuesday.

The budget to rebuild Liberty City's old Scott and Carver housing projects is big enough for only about 150 to 175 units, according to Donald ''D.J.'' LaVoy, installed this fall by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to run the troubled local agency.

Early this year, Mayor Carlos Alvarez promised to build more than 800 units in and around Scott and Carver, part of a deal with affordable-housing activists to win their support in the unsuccessful fight against HUD's takeover.

''We still stand by it,'' Alvarez told The Miami Herald on Tuesday. ``Some of the comments that were made [by HUD staff] I don't agree with.''

At issue: a $35 million federal grant, known as HOPE VI, which Miami-Dade won in 1999 to replace the 850 units of dilapidated, barracks-style buildings at Scott and Carver. It originally called for 382 single-family and townhomes on the site.

That never sat well with some residents, who were evicted when the old buildings were demolished and believed they were promised a chance to return. They have waited through years of delays, overruns and rewritten plans -- less than $19 million of the grant remains, and not one home has been built. HUD is hoping to hire a developer early next year.

''Those folks are still irate about having to move,'' said County Commissioner Dorrin Rolle, who represents the neighborhood and has met repeatedly with displaced residents. ``Some are still homeless, still transient.''

Protests from residents and activists escalated in 2006, when The Miami Herald's House of Lies series exposed widespread waste and mismanagement of HOPE VI and other affordable-housing programs. But their escalating confrontations with county leaders were almost instantly calmed in February, when Alvarez signed the 850-home pledge with the Miami Workers Center and Low-Income Families Fighting Together.

''Cabrera and U.S. HUD have the power to marshal the necessary resources to ensure this community-led vision is realized,'' said Joseph Phelan, a spokesman for the Workers Center. ``The question is if U.S. HUD will use their power to right the wrong done to the community at Scott Carver.''

LaVoy's boss, HUD Assistant Secretary Orlando Cabrera, said the new units would cost at least $150,000 each to build -- that would leave enough for 126 units. LaVoy did not explain how he arrived at the 150 to 175 estimate, but he said it was not exact.

But Alvarez said he has always intended to leverage the HOPE grant with other money, especially tax credits that are available to private developers who build affordable homes.

''It's premature to say we don't have the money,'' he said. ``We're still very optimistic that what we said we would do, we can do.''


Now don't think that The Miami Herald is considered infallible in its reporting but who's refuting their coverage of this issue? What do the black elected officials have to say about this latest episode? The silence is deafening.

After a few moments of outrage, Liberty City residents, anyone with a history that touches Liberty City and folks who just believe in making things right should draw enough attention to this issue to force a resolution that brings back Scott residents --- and not just 150 – 175 units.

The reality is that $16 million of the federal government was squandered. The federal government should not be expected to just replace those dollars without some folks being held accountable for the original allocation of monies. Miami-Dade County government had fiscal responsibility for that money; that means the County commissioners and the mayor need to make this right.

The Carnival Center should not be bailed out, not a brick should be laid for the new baseball stadium and the tunnel until the HOPE VI residents have their homes returned. Anything less is just plain shameful. It's time to Make It Right Miami.


Related links:

Scott-Carver Low Income Housing Not Realized [Be sure to watch video also.]

HOPE VI Disgrace

Menendez commentary not funny

The recent media coverage of alleged corruption and squandered public dollars is not funny. The Miami Herald developed a series of series of articles on the issues. The latest public officials caught up in the morass, City of Miami Commissioners Michelle Spence Jones and Marc Sarnoff are in a he said-she said battle of which is detailed in a memo written by Sarnoff.

In an attempt at humor, Herald columnist Ana Menendez, essentially marginalizes Sarnoff and his memo. Such is the case with former Miami city manager Joe Arriola and others who dispute the Sarnoff memo.

At least one thing is certain; the folks whose names have crept up in the corruption issues know their actual involvement. Make that two things; someone's lying also---either the Miami Herald investigative reporters or the accused.

Regardless of how this plays out, wasting taxpayer monies is not funny, bribes are not funny and neither is impugning someone's character.

Is Zo’s career over?

Alonzo Mourning may have blown his knee in a game against Atlanta Wednesday night. There are those talking of Zo's retirement but Coach Riley still envisions Mourning playing. Whatever the physician's analysis of his injury, all the best to Alonzo.

Oh yeah, the HEAT lost --- again but I'm still a HEAT fan.

You can’t buy this much publicity coverage: Rapper Pitbull arrested for DUI

Prior to today, I'd never heard of a rapper with the moniker, Pitbull. It seems that Pitbull went and got himself major publicity a la Lindsay Lohan Britney Spears Paris Hilton-style--- he was arrested. Needless to say, while homes were being burglarized, cars stolen and countless other crimes committed in the Miami area, television news viewers were informed of the DUI arrest of Pitbull. Great, just great.

Rapper Pitbull charged with DUI

Posted on Fri, Dec. 21, 2007


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Miami rapper Pitbull was charged with driving under the influence early Friday morning.

Rapper Pitbull laughed at a Miami-Dade police officer who pulled him over for speeding, according to an arrest report released Friday.

''This is a big waste of your time papo,'' he told Officer Mark Slimak.

Slimak didn't think it was funny. He booked him early Friday on a charge of driving under the influence.

Armando C. Pérez, 26, spent the next several hours at Miami-Dade County Jail. He has since posted bond, set at $1,000. [Continue reading…]

Liberty City 7 ex-defendant may be deported despite acquittal


Liberty City 7 ex-defendant in `nightmare'


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Lyglenson Lemorin's mom, Julienne Olibrice, left, and his wife, Charlene, in Miami on Thursday. Lemorin was the only defendant among the so-called Liberty City 7 to be acquitted at the recent terrorism trial in Miami. But he could be deported back to his native country, Haiti.

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Lyglenson Lemorin, acquitted of terrorism charges last week in federal court in Miami, is still a guilty man in the eyes of the U.S. government.

Lemorin, 32, a lawful U.S. resident, remains behind bars -- far from his Miami family -- in the tiny town of Lumpkin, Ga., a deportation center 150 miles south of Atlanta.

On Thursday, Lemorin's wife learned from The Miami Herald that federal authorities have charged her husband with unspecified ''administrative immigration violations'' and that he has been placed in ''removal proceedings'' that could lead to his deportation to his native Haiti. [More]