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May 2011

South Florida Celebrates the Life of Renowned Poet and Spoken Word Artist Will Bell(Will Da Real One)

(For Immediate Release-Miami, FL)-31 May 2011-The South Florida Community will celebrate the life and pay tribute to Will Bell ("Will Da Real One"), one of the foremost spoken word artists of the poetry industry in America. He was killed in the early morning on Sunday, May 29th after closing his cafe (The Literary Cafe in North Miami). His untimely death is a loss for his family, friends and a community of spoken word artists locally and internationally.

The viewing will take place on Friday, June 3, 2011, at Wright and Young Funeral Home (15332 NW 7th Ave, Miami,FL) from Noon-9pm. The funeral will be held on Saturday, June 4, 2011 at Cooper Temple located at 3800 NW 199th Street, Miami Gardens, FL from 1pm-4pm.

Named Best Poet, by the Miami Times in 2005, Liberty City native, Will Da Real One made "freeing minds" his mission. He appeared on HBO's Def Poetry Jam for two seasons. Some of his signature pieces included "Run", "Black Heroes", and "When I Grow Up and Run". He was a dedicated son, devoted brother, driven entrepreneur and determined poet. He will truly be missed but his dedication, devotion, drive and determination will live on through his poetic legacy.

Donations are being accepted to assist with the family's funeral expenses. Please contact: Ingrid Bazin at 305.527.3899 or [email protected]

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Progressive Caucus Mayoral Run-off Forum Cancelled

Due to circumstances beyond control with the selected venue, the Miami-Dade Mayoral Run-off Forum scheduled to be presented by the Progressive Caucus on Wednesday, June 1, 2011 has now been cancelled.

Remember to get out and vote on June 28, 2011 to elect a new mayor for Miami Dade County. For more information about the election, call 305-499-VOTE or visit

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Shooting death of Will "Da Real One" Bell takes toll on community



by Vanessa "Va-Va" Woodard Byers


Willie L. Bell, Jr. BKA Will “Da Real One” Bell, was gunned down early last Sunday morning as he was leaving his North Miami club, The Literary Café and Poetry Lounge. Various news reports describe him as a “poet” but Da Real One was more than that. He was a businessman, poetry guru/advocate and community activist.  

I learned of his death through William “DC” Clark’s Facebook profile page. Clark was in disbelief as were others. I did what I usually do when there is breaking news, jump on Twitter and search for tweets on the topic. Oh yeah, it was true. Another victim of gun violence. When does the madness stop?

Here is but one of the touching tributes to Bell from a friend on Facebook:

Day two without WILL DA REAL ONE !!!

by Errol Bigdee Bryant on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 11:26am

Day two with out WILL DA REAL ONE,still trying to wrap my head around it but cant.thinking back many years ago while talking with him,he said he was going to change the poetry game he was going all in full speed being the negative person i was at the time i said poetry is for "SUCKERS",he just laughed and looked at me and in comedic Will fashion told me then just sit back and watch me "SUCK" the life outta everybody with the words im gonna spit out my mouth.Lesson learned bro,you said it and you did it,and we all love you for that and the person you were to will forever be an iconic figure,not just in the hood but world wide,because you touched lives any and everywhere you graced with your presence.

I only met Bell once several years ago. He was a cool guy. The spoken word community was devastated. Friends and those he mentored poured out their hearts on social media outlets. Mainstream media captured his tragic death from local news to CNN International.

Several fans showed respect for Bell at a candlelight vigil today. Of course there was candlelight, spoken word and tears. Will Bell overcome many obstacles in his life to provide an outlet for poets and, ironically, encourage young people to stop the violence.

There were witnesses to his shooting and it’s likely someone will come forth with information. Will Da Real One was loved by too many for this case to go cold. Anyone with information on this crime should contact the North Miami Police Department 305-891-8111 or Crimestoppers at 305-371-TIPS.

Photo Credit: Will Da Real One Facebook Tribute Page


Related Links:

Readers react: Will “Da Real One” Bell remembered

Local poet Will “Da Real One” gunned down in North Miami

What Will "Da Real One" Bell Sounded Like

Miami-area poet Will Bell gunned down

Miami slam poet killed outside his cafe

Well-known Miami poet shot dead outside his cafe

Friends Pay Tribute to Slain Poet

Poet gunned down outside his business

Miami-Area Poet Gunned Down

Poetry slam champion killed at his North Miami cafe

Poet honored after shooting

Will Bell was shot outside his Literary Cafe and Poetry Lounge early Sunday ...


Miami-based Alters Law Firm was lead counsel on $410 Million settlement with Bank of America

More than one million bank customers will recoup funds lost to overdraft fees

Bank-Of-America-Logo The Miami-based Alters Law Firm served as lead counsel on a groundbreaking $410 million settlement with Bank of America that will allow more than one million consumers nationwide to recoup money lost to overdraft fees.  The settlement won preliminary approval from Judge James Lawrence King of Federal District Court in South Florida. Alters Law Firm attorneys Bruce Rogow and Jeremy Alters, working with more than 7 other leading law firms, are the lead counsel in a nationwide class action lawsuit involving more than 30 banks and dozens of plaintiffs.

“People who have accounts should be treated fairly by their banks,” said Jeremy Alters. “Too many people are being exploited by overdraft practices designed to maximize the profits of big banks by punishing people who are just trying to make ends meet. We hope this settlement deters other big banks from continually preying on consumers.”

Banks nationwide have manipulated the order that debit card transactions are posted to checking accounts to maximize the overdraft fees they can charge consumers. Banks make nearly $40 billion a year from charging consumer with overdraft fees. The median overdraft fee is $35.

The nation’s largest consumer bank, Bank of America was the first bank involved in the national class action to settle. Deposits held by Bank of America are valued at more than $976 billion, the most of any bank. It holds 13.3% of all U.S. deposits, according to data from The Pew Health Group.


Mayoral Candidates on 880 AM, Monday, 5/30, 7p

Listen305 host, Albert Harum-Alvarez , invites Miami-Dade County mayoral candidates Carlos Gimenez and Julio Robaina to another more in-depth talk on Monday, May 30, 2011 at 7pm.

You can join the conversation Monday night by calling (305) 541-2350; by tweeting @Listen305; or by leaving your comments or questions now, at

There are THREE WAYS to listen to Listen305:

1.  Listen Live to Listen305 Monday night at 7, on The Biz 880 AM Radio.

2.  Stream the show live at, at 7 on Monday.

3.  Listen to the podcast recording the day after at You can even listen now to last week's show, at the same site:

You can also check event details on Facebook. Let’s be informed voters. Don’t miss this opportunity to engage in important matters that affect our community. Please spread the word.


Miami Heat one win away from Eastern Conference victory and Charles Barkley gets dissed

by Ahmad Barrington


Congratulations to the Miami Heat who are one victory away from the NBA Eastern Conference championship and five wins away from the NBA championship. While the Heat Trinity, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh, have received the most media coverage, the Heat’s accomplishments in this Eastern Conference Finals are the result of team effort.

The top-rated Chicago Bulls find themselves in an unbelievable position of down by two going into Game 5 in Chicago. It was uncomfortable to watch Derrick Rose so mentally beat down after Game 4. He is absolutely on point that they could have put the game away and the series would be tied right now. The Bulls are a great team but, as we say in Miami, they just need a few more mango seasons. The youth of their bench does not overcome the maturity and experience of the Miami bench. Keeping your head in the game and staying focused help win games.

On a side note, you had to wonder how long Miami Heat fans would wait before retaliating against TNT sports commentator Charles Barkley. Ask a Heat fan and they will tell you that all of the TNT guys are against the Heat with two names popping up most frequently --- Charles Barkley and Reggie Miller. Barkley was most offensive and the Heat fans let him know that in no uncertain terms.

While it seemed as though fans were chanting “Barkley Sucks!” outside the Triple A Sunday evening during the post-game show, they were also chanting “F___ You, Chuck!” Barkley had towels thrown at him. The Miami New Times has raw video of the incident.  TNT moved the post-game show inside last night but that did not stop some fans from letting Barkley know how they feel.

Heat fans are mad crazy after each victory in this Conference Finals. It would be awesome for the Heat to win another NBA championship but I do not want to think that far ahead, I will take victory one game at a time. GO HEAT!


Graphic: The Heat Spot



Robaina and Gimenez in runoff, amendments shot down and who really cares?

by Vanessa "Va-Va" Woodard Byers

OK, Miami-Dade County voters rejected all of the proposed and likely intentionally ambiguous and confusing charter amendments. They also sent Julio Robaina and Carlos Gimenez to the June 28 runoff. There were no real surprises in the results of the mayor's race or the amendments. Get ready for some spirited and nasty campaigning for mayor over this next month.



Robaina proclaimed outright victory before the results were announced but he was denied. A nice chunk of the votes went to Marcelo Llorente, who came in third and is surely someone to watch in local politics. A few folks I know said they voted for him as they viewed him as the only viable candidate that represented change.

A special shout out to Luther Campbell who posted a decent 11% but I'm sure expected to rank in the top three. It will be interesting to see if he jumps in the 2012 race. The rest of the field posted low numbers but that was expected with 11 candidates and many without name recognition.

Now, let me just write the obvious, blacks in Miami-Dade County can wield a lot of power by voting in a bloc for one of these men for mayor. That's not likely to happen as 1. voting strategically will be portrayed as racist, unenlightened or some other negative term and 2. some influential folks in the black community will endorse whoever greases their palm with the most cash. Just follow the money on campaign reports but don't forget about the cash outlays that go unreported. That's the way the game is played and there is no reason to think that will change any time soon. The way to mitigate that is be an informed voter and get out and vote.

The sad reality in all of this is that folks who fully engage in the political game know how to manipulate votes and voters. Too many people really think their vote doesn't matter; find some excuse not to vote or have lost their right to vote.

When I look at the number of votes in this last election as compared to the recall election and the 2008 presidential election, there are two thoughts I can't get out of my head: Marvin Gaye's 1971 hit "Inner City Blues". You know..."Oh, make me wanna holler and throw up both my hands" and that ending scene from Spike Lee's film, "School Daze" with Laurence Fishburne and Giancarlo Esposito, you know the one with Fishburne shouting...all together now...cue the alarm clock..."WAKE UP!".

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by Vanessa "Va-Va" Woodard Byers

Tuesday, May 24, 2011, is a very important day for the people of Miami-Dade County. Foremost, hopefully not first, on the minds of many is Game 4 of the NBA Eastern Conference finals. I'd like to think the athletic competition between the Miami Heat and Chicago Bulls is not a priority over other issues for many people but I'm a realist. Then there's the Special Election for County Mayor, charter amendments and other local seats to be voted on that day.

An important meeting, held that same evening, that we should attend/watch, is the Miami-Dade County Public Schools' Budget Town Hall Meeting. The District's 2011-2012 budget and financial forecast will be discussed and transmitted live on WLRN Channel 17 on Tuesday, May 24 at 6:30 p.m.

While the budget numbers presented will likely be districtwide, "big picture" numbers, keep in mind the possible impact of the increase or decrease of those numbers on schools in your school board district and schools where family and friends attend or work. This was a nasty budget year in the Florida Legislature for public education. To plug deep holes in the MDCPS budget will be accomplished by reducing the District's payroll costs. Translation: School employees will be laid off to help balance the budget. The layoffs are not a surprise as their impending implementation have been on the horizon for quite some time.

The budget town hall meeting will also be webcast on Viewers are encouraged to email their budget questions to [email protected] during the meeting.

Stay alert and stay focused!

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It's election time again!

by Vanessa "Va-Va" Woodard Byers

Because of recent changes to elections law in Florida, Saturday was the last day of Early Voting in our latest local Special Election. Tuesday, May 24, is Election Day in a cycle reportedly very slow when it comes to voter turnout.

Much of the attention has been focused on the mayoral race however the ballot also includes charter amendments and in some voting districts, a state representative seat in District 110 or a County commission seat in Districts 7 and 13.

There have been the usual election accusations of lies about one candidate by another in campaign materials or robo-calls. This campaign also included assertions of exclusion of non-Spanish speaking candidates from campaign forums and that some of the black candidates were paid to enter the race. Such is politics...politricks.

Our polling shows the top three mayoral candidates: Julio Robaina; Carlos Gimenez and Luther Campbell, in that order. It's really hard to say how the charter amendments will pan out. I really think it was too much too quickly for the voters. Most people really had no clue and either voted all "yes" or all "no" (following Norman Braman).

Barring any unforeseen mayhem and foolishness, Tuesday's vote will likely decide most of the ballot items save for a few run-offs. Don't forget we get to do this dance again for several races in 2012.

I predict that all of the charter amendments will fail and the mayoral race will result in a run-off between Robaina and Gimenez. What say You?

Related Link: Voting Rights History: Two Centuries of Struggle

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