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February 2009

Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones speaks on Marlins Stadium deal

Channel 10's Michael Putney interviewed City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence- Jones today about the Marlins Stadium deal which is up for a vote next week.

Spence-Jones is largely seen as the City of Miami Commission swing vote on the deal and can make or break the plans for the Marlins and the slew of folks on the periphery who will benefit from the construction of the stadium.

Although she voted for the stadium earlier, she has indicated she's not so inclined unless the Marlins do three things:

1. Expedite the expansion and extension of the Overtown-Park West community redevelopment agency;

2. Prevent the city, county or Marlins from taking tax increment dollars generated by the CRA; and

3. Authorize a $500 million bond to pay for redevelopment of Overtown's historic areas.

Conventional wisdom dictates that the Marlins Stadium plan will pass. Why? Well, the Marlins are not the body to decide on the conditions imposed by Spence-Jones. Her fellow City and County Commissioners can make those decisions. Surely, you see the chess move that's coming before it's actually made.

What's missing from Spence-Jones' demands are opportunities for long-term revenue benefits to the black community and guarantees of vending and jobs at all organizational levels of the Marlins stadium operations.

Even with conditions imposed by Spence-Jones or any other City commissioner or Miami-Dade County commissioner, it's important not to lose sight of the improbability of the stadium realizing the revenues projected by County and City officials.

The bottomline is that the Marlins stadium is a bad long-term deal for the people. Sure, the Stadium might provide some jobs initially but when push comes to shove, it will be another failed project. That's not to wish anything bad on the Marlins and the community; it's just using logic.

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Rupert Murdoch’s Apology

OK, media mogul Rupert Murdoch apologized for the New York Post chimpanzee editorial cartoon. Since Murdoch is infamously known for NOT apologizing and NOT succumbing to external pressure, the apology is a major coup.

I respect Murdoch for making the public apology but some civil rights activists are still keeping the pressure on Murdoch and the New York Post. 

You see, the Murdoch apology, when finally made, was several days late. It would have been more effective and better received had he apologized right away. Instead, the insulting comments by Post editor Col Allan fueled the protest fire while Murdoch did nothing to stop it.

Speaking of Allan, if Murdoch really wanted to make a statement about racial sensitivity, he’d fire Allan with the quickness but he hasn't.

Since the Murdoch apology came days after the Post’s media drubbing and their parent company’s stock dropped, perhaps the apology was empty and only driven by economics.


© 2009, Vanessa: Unplugged!,

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Commissioners vote on Marlins Stadium March 4 and March 5

Commission votes on probably one of the most important and closely watched local political issues were moved up a week earlier.

City commissioners will vote on March 4 and County commissioners on March 5. Maybe. One never knows what may actually happen in politics.

For sure, the pressure is still on City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones who is on maternity leave. This Week In South Florida with Michael Putney was again critical of Spence-Jones and cast her as somewhat derelict in her duties.

Conventional wisdom sides with a Yes vote from Spence-Jones because she won't vote against political mentor, Mayor Manny Diaz, who supports the stadium plan.

Marlins leaders are putting the hard sell on the black community. There are reports of their attempts to meet with folks at The Miami Times, one of the most popular newspapers in Miami that targets the black community.

Who's kidding whom? Surely, there are some palms being greased or at least attempted because of this proposed stadium project. Folks who have very little to do with the black community outside of maybe throwing pennies at a small fundraising event here and there are now pressing the flesh to get this deal passed? Hmmm....

It's likely a win-win situation has been crafted and a few jobs will be promised to blacks to squash opposition to the project. It's also a shame that the community is being strong-armed into this project which is not fiscally sound.

If it's built, they still won't come.

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Make Every Penny Count

Lisa's headshot

Lisa Rogers Cherry

As a debt counselor, my telephone rings continuously with calls from people who are in dire need of financial help. Recently I met with one client who told me that she and her husband have allowed three grown children and two grandchildren to move back home. 

Her grocery bill has increased from about $250 to more than $600 per month. Her light bill increased from $150 to more than $500 per month. Her husband insists that they help their kids, but she said that on a fixed income, it was killing her.  For the first time ever, she is more than two months late paying her mortgage.

When she asked me what she could do to make ends meet while helping her children, I told her that she had to make some tough decisions. Although she felt obligated to help her children, they had to help by pitching in.  None of them, all grown and working, were paying her any rent or contributing anything toward the household expenses.

I suggested that she meet with each child and find out how much money he/she was making. Second, she must establish what their expenses were. Third, she must ask what each child could afford to contribute. I told her that if each child could pay at least $200 each month, then that would give her $600 to use toward payment of household expenses.

I recommended that she shop differently by picking up the Sunday newspaper and clipping coupons. The Sunday newspaper is the first place that I usually look for coupons.  Then I look at various websites such as,,,, to get the best deals on the food, household and personal items that I purchase for my family. 

In some stores, if you purchase an item that is buy one, get one free, you can use two coupons for those items. If an item is not on sale or if I don’t have a coupon for an item, I generally leave that item in the store. If I don’t save a minimum of 30-40 percent on each grocery bill, I know that I am leaving too much money at the grocery store.

Not only does the Sunday paper have coupons, but it usually has a variety of circulars from stores with items that they are advertising. After clipping and organizing your coupons, put them in your purse or car so that you don’t forget them when you go to the store.  Don’t be afraid to comparison shop.  See which store has what you need for the best price.  Try to be flexible about buying store brands or trying a new item that is either on sale or free.   Sometimes the store will offer you a sample of an item as well as a coupon on that item. If a sign says 10 items for $10, generally you don’t have to buy all ten items to get the discount.

Pay close attention on the size of the container for many items. A loaf of bread now has less slices, the cereal box is smaller, even snacks like chips and cookies are packaged in smaller containers with less product inside.  I like to shop at discount stores. However, I make sure not to get so distracted by the lower price that I miss the fact that the box or carton is smaller, which actually means that I am paying more per ounce or per pound than I normally would on that particular item.

Two suggestions – Don’t take your children to the store with you. Take a list with you. When you shop with a list and are disciplined enough to stick strictly to the list, you avoid spending on the unplanned and unnecessary extras.  If you have a list, you can find the coupons that you will need prior to going to the store.   I often find in-store coupons on the particular items on my list. Sometimes I will switch from my preferred brand to get a brand that I have a coupon for. 

Purchase generic items.  Many items contain the same ingredients. Frequently you are paying extra for the name brand.  However, there are some items that you can’t skimp on. My mom is quick to tell you that you can’t use just any brand of bleach and expect good results.

Even if you save only $5, each time you shop, that’s $5 more that you can put in your pocket or into your savings account. Make every penny count.  Let’s stop giving away so much of our money and let’s start paying more attention to where each dime is being spent.

Lisa Rogers-Cherry is the author of Lifting the Burdens of Debt:  A Helpful Guide to Getting Your Debts Paid and Your Life Back on Track (2005; $14.95).  If you have a question or for more information, go to, e-mail her at [email protected], or write Lisa Rogers-Cherry, Red Pen Press, P. O. Box 1196, Dania Beach, FL 33004.

Don't miss LIBERTY CITY @ The Arsht

If you don't do anything else over the next two weeks, head over to The Arsht Center to see the play, Liberty City.

It is a one-woman play starring Miami native, April Yvette Thompson. She has made a name for herself in the New York theater circuit. Check out her site at

The play provides a perspective of black life in Miami rarely seen by outsiders. Thompson's family mix of African-American, Bahamian and Cuban heritage should prove interesting and eye-opening also.

Thompson and co-writer/friend Jessica Blank were on This Week in South Florida with Michael Putney this past Sunday. Their description of the play and responses to Putney's questions were engaging and intriguing.

Thompson plays several characters and the McDuffie riots serve as the backdrop for the storyline. As one who was at the Justice Building (with my Mom) when the rioting started, I'm looking forward to this performance.

If You Go: Carnival Studio Theater at the Adrienne Arsht Center for the Performing Arts 1300 Biscayne Blvd Miami $40 305-949-6722 or

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Burris Under Fire

Freshman Illinois Senator Roland Burris is trying to clean up the mess he's created by omitting/lying about being hit up to raise funds for then Gov. Rod Blagojevich by the governor's brother, Robert.

The GOP has jumped on this and demanded Burris' resignation. The Dems are embarrassed; especially the Congressional Black Caucus and the ringmaster of this circus, ex-governor G-Rod must be somewhere laughing his butt off. The circus continues.

Will Burris be removed from office for perjury, resign or complete his term? What say You?

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B-3 Organist Bobby Floyd Performs in Next Installment of Jazz at Wolfson Presents

MIAMI, Feb. 16, 2009The passion with which musician Bobby Floyd plays the B-3 organ is the result of a natural ability that has been nurtured since he was two years old. Floyd will bring this passion and gift of music to Miami Dade College’s (MDC) Jazz at Wolfson Presents Concert at noon, Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009 at Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Avenue, downtown Miami.

Floyd has toured throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe and Japan, performing at countless venues with Ray Charles, Jeff Tyzik, Chris Howes and Sarah Morrow. The prestige associated with Floyd’s international appearances can also be witnessed at home. Throughout the years, Floyd has opened for Spyro Gyra, Smokey Robinson, Stanley Clark and George Duke, and accompanied the likes of David “Fathead” Newman, Bobby Watson, Greg Osby and Billy Hart.

Floyd has released three compilations: Interpretations, Setting the Standards and Floyd’s Finest Gift. His next project, soon to be released, is a live performance recorded in Spain. Floyd currently performs with Derek DiCenzo (bass/lead guitar) and Reggie Jackson (drums).

Jazz at Wolfson Presents is the only continuously running jazz series in Miami-Dade County, offering a free, year-long jazz recital and concert series to residents, students and music lovers of all ages. The series was founded by jazz studies professor Dr. Michael Di Liddo and inspired by MDC’s Lunchtime Lively Arts concert series of the 1970s.

Running from September through April, Jazz at Wolfson Presents has featured live performances from world-renowned jazz artists such as bassist and Jazz Humanitarian Award winner Rufus Reid; saxophonist and educator Jamey Aebersold, an inductee into the International Association for Jazz Education’s Jazz Hall of Fame; four-time Grammy-nominated guitarist Mike Stern; and saxophonist James Moody, a National Endowment for the Arts jazz master.

Visiting jazz artists also conduct workshops and master classes for MDC music students, thus voluntarily investing their expertise and inspiration in the present and future cultural life of Miami-Dade County.

WHAT:           Jazz at Wolfson Presents B-3 Organist Bobby Floyd

WHEN:           Wednesday, Feb. 25, 12:00 PM - 1:15 PM

WHERE:         Miami Dade College Wolfson Campus, 300 N.E. Second Ave., Building 3, Room 3210, downtown Miami

COST:            Free



Happy Valentine's Day!


Happy Valentine's Day to everyone! May this day and every day overflow with Love,Peace and Happiness!


The Obamas: Bringing Love Back!

"I love you, not only for what you are, But for what I am when I am with you." --Roy Croft

"Sometimes your nearness takes my breath away; and all the things I want to say can find no voice. Then, in silence, I can only hope my eyes will speak my heart."--Robert Sexton

"You come to love not by finding the perfect person, but by seeing an imperfect person perfectly."--Sam Keen

Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep... wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you' re just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky he is to have YOU... The one who turns to his friends and says, thats her...UNKNOWN