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May 2009

City of Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones reacts to being cleared of corruption charges


Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones says she is "extremely thankful" that state prosecutors decided last week not to file corruption charges against her.  She said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle was "not persuaded by gossip, rumor or innuendo, or influenced by political agendas" and she said prosecutors based their investigation on "truthful facts." [More]

Remembering Father Gerard Jean-Juste

The Miami Herald reports that Fr. Gerard Jean-Juste has passed away. Details forthcoming.

Fr. Jean-Juste was a tireless advocate for human rights for Haitian people. I remember because my mother and I frequently participated in protest marches he lead back in the 70's.

Fr. Jean-Juste had energy and passion like I've never seen before. I can't tell you I understood everything that was going on in Haiti back then but I do remember people were dying in the ocean trying to get to the United States and they were being sent back to the island. That was more than 30 years ago. Little has changed as far as this country's disparate treatment of Haitian immigrants.

One of my most vivid memories is standing in front of the Historic Mt. Zion Church in Overtown and watching the funeral procession for little Haitian children who had drowned at sea. Rev. Winston Rudolph was the pastor of the church at the time and active in civil rights issues in the community. The Rev. Jesse Jackson was there with Fr. Jean-Juste and other dignitaries yet my heart was breaking at the sight of such small coffins. It just wasn't right. It's still not right.

I also remember Fr. Jean-Juste leading the chant "Human rights for Haitians! Human rights for Haitians!" More than thirty years later and Haitian immigrants are still being turned away? In spite of the devastation to their island we're sending them back to starvation, sickness and death.

I'm not Haitian but I am human. In the name of Jesus Christ and in memory of Fr. Jean-Juste and all of the people who lost their lives fleeing to this country for freedom and justice --- enough is enough. It's time for our government to grant temporary protective status to Haitian immigrants. A feel good trip by President Bill Clinton is not enough. It's time for this country to do the right thing. Human rights for Haitians!

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Miami Herald Covers Miami Central Students

Check out this article on the trials, tribulations and resilience of students at Miami Central High School. A glimpse into their lives shows the that these students have the potential to be successful adults as they have already overcome tremendous odds.


The soul of Central High Teens at the school with the worst academic standing in Florida are changing their school's image in their own special ways.

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Senator Wilson holds more town hall meetings on federal stimulus dollars

Miami – Due to the overwhelming outcry from the community State Senator Frederica Wilson. (D-Miami Gardens) will hold three additional Town Hall Meetings on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to show how Florida businesses, employers and citizens can access Federal Stimulus dollars.  Representatives confirmed to make presentations include the offices of Senators Bill Nelson and Mel Martinez, Governor Crist, Mayor Alvarez, and the Florida Legislative Committee on Intergovernmental Relations. 


 “People are struggling,” said Senator Wilson, “and they have a right to know what monies we are receiving and how it will be used in our communities.”


With approximately 83,000 workers expected to run out of benefits between March and July and 900,000 unemployed in the state, speakers will explain how Florida can extend benefits for unemployed workers in the private sector for an additional 20 weeks. They will also discuss  small business grants, Medicaid, replacing stimulus dollars and the weatherization program.

WHO:             Senator Wilson, Federal, State and County government representatives

 WHERE/WHEN:         Wednesday, May 27th  5:30 -7:30 PM

                                         NORTH MIAMI SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

                                         800 NE 137TH STREET

                                         NORTH MIAMI, FL 33161

                                         Thursday, May 28th   5: 30 -7:30 PM

                                         MIAMI NORLAND SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL

                                         1050 NW 195TH STREET

                                         MIAMI, FL 33169

                                         Thursday, June 4th 5:30 – 7:30 PM

                                         MIAMI EDISON MS

                                         6101 NW 2ND AVENUE

                                   MIAMI, FLORIDA  33127

Foolishness and Mayhem on SoBe: What was Randy Starks thinking?

Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks was arrested early Sunday according to police.MIAMI, Florida (CNN) -- Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks was arrested early Sunday after police said he struck an officer with a slow-moving Freightliner truck, according to a police report.

Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks was arrested early Sunday according to police.

Starks, 25, faces a charge of aggravated battery, according to the report.

The arrest took place about 12:20 a.m. in Miami's South Beach area. Officers said they saw the Freightliner truck in bumper-to-bumper traffic on South Beach's Ocean Drive with some 13 people inside, including a woman sitting on the lap of Starks, who was driving. [More]



VIRGINIA BEACH, VA., May 22, 2009 - The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) announces the 2009 Commissioner’s All-Academic Team, recognizing 593 student-athletes from the conference’s 12 member institutions who achieved academic success during the 2008-09 academic school year.  The team honors student-athletes, including sophomores to seniors, with a cumulative grade point average of 3.0 or better.

“I congratulate and commend the student-athletes who have achieved academic success by maintaining a 3.0 or better grade point average during the 2008-09 school year,” said Commissioner Dennis E. Thomas.  “I would further like to congratulate the coaches, institutions, and parents of these academic achievers for their contributions to the student-athletes success.” [More]

Miami Herald: Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones of the hook in corruption probe

Posted on Saturday, May. 23, 2009

Miami City Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones off hook in corruption probe

Prosecutors will not charge Miami Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones in four investigations involving allegations of bribery, illegal kickbacks and inappropriate influencing of personnel decisions.

The probe -- in which investigators interviewed a slew of top Miami city officials, lobbyists and consultants -- found ''insufficient evidence upon which to base a criminal charge,'' Miami-Dade prosecutor Joseph Centorino, chief of the public corruption unit, wrote in a final memo released Friday.

Spence-Jones' civil attorney Richard Alayon said the commissioner was instructed not to speak with the media as he explores potential slander or character defamation lawsuits.


DeFede hates Miami-Dade County 311

Popular journalist Jim DeFede writes about why he hates Miami-Dade County government's 311 system. It's so funny that he couldn't have made it up; it must be true. It's not that he doesn't have a sense of humor but this is priceless!

DeFede: Why I Hate Miami-Dade 311

Defedecolblue Who do I see to get back the 45 minutes of my life I just wasted dealing with Miami-Dade's 311 system?

I hate 311. I've hated it from the moment it was put into existence several years ago. It is bureaucracy run amok. If Dante added a tenth Circle of Hell to his Divine Comedy it would involve calling the county's 311 system.

In case you are not familiar with 311, let me explain. The idea is not without merit: Have one number that anyone can call to find what he or she needs in the county. The problem is 311 operators are just middlemen. Their job is to route you to the folks who can help you.

So even if you know the department you need, and you dial that county department directly, chances are your call is going to be bounced back to the 311 operator who will then try to find you a new number for the same department you were calling to begin with.

Let me explain by using my own experience. [More]

Parties aplenty this weekend

The Sun-Sentinel published a rather comprehensive line-up of parties that started on Thursday and ends with Uncle Luke's Freakfeast Finale on Monday. No comment.

Check out the schedule of events and get in where you fit in.

What Recession? It’s Urban Beach Week!

South beach

Urban Beach Weekend…Black Beach Weekend…Hip Hop Weekend…Memorial Day Weekend. Call it what you like; there are hundreds of thousands of young black people on South Beach this weekend. That translates to millions of dollars spent for an unofficial festival not really welcomed by Miami Beach officials. Hmmm….

It also translates to lots of scantily clad females, guys with cameras and styling and profiling in customized vehicles. I don't begrudge any of that because it's all a part of being young during these days and times. The paint jobs on those vehicles are sometimes mind-blowingly creative and let's not talk about the hydraulics --- awesome! Some of my young sisters could show a little more class in their attire though. There is a difference between sexy and skanky. I'm just saying.

Some Miami Beach residents and businesses vacate the place during this weekend. Too many people…way too much traffic. Of course, law enforcement will be on the scene. Let's hope everyone behaves themselves and stays safe. Leave the guns and Jerry Springer Show fights at home, please.

Of course, the visitors will be on the lookout for celebrities that we see here all the time. Whatever the reason, news reports indicate hotels are booked at 92%; that's definitely welcome during this…uh…recession. What recession?

One more thing, can we try to remember the reason for this weekend and honor the service men and women who served this nation and gave their lives? Peace - Light- Love.