May 26, 2016
Many if not most of you from previous emails and my blog posts that I have cheered many of the reforms that new City of Miami Commissioner Ken Russell has called for and pushed since he got into office.
In District 2, he replaced ethically-challenged Marc Sarnoff, himself a one-time reformer who, predictably, like so many other "reform" candidates in South Florida I could name who got elected, eventually went the way of the "Dark Side," with a CRA playing a co-starring role.
I've applauded Russell's efforts to infuse more genuine transparency and a sense of accountability in the way Miami govt. works and its employees actually do their jobs and interact with citizens, long a very sore point with taxpayers and South Florida observers with any sense of history.
That change in attitude has been especially noteworthy with respect to his positive votes and public comments regarding the City of Miami's sports authorities, and specifically, that it's the public and taxpayers to whom they will faithfully strive to best serve now, not the powerful, deep-pocked private interests that routinely seek to gain their favor.
Things were out of whack there for a LONG TIME, which explains a lot about why the local sports scene is the way it is.
Screwed-up but good.
Here's what I wrote about Comm. Russell and this matter on February 28, 2016, in a blog post titled,
After DECADES of #SoFL sports fans & taxpayers getting the shaft, City of Miami Comm. Ken Russell demands MORE reform, transparency and oversight over #SoFL's crony-laden sports Establishment: Is #Broward next? Let's hope so for taxpayers' wallets and sports fans' best long-term interests, after YEARS of Broward Commission caving-in to powerful special interests -read Florida Panthers!
Still, all that said, since I returned to South Florida from DC, I've come to know from experience and results that Al Crespo is someone who is not just a very savvy and well-informed person, a true South Florida resource, but also someone who takes public accountability of public officials and old-fashioned notions of civic engagement as seriously as I do.
There aren't a lot of us.
Plus, like me, he truly appreciates elected officials and govt. employees who are willing to honestly engage with the public, to to do the hard work necessary to be properly prepared before meetings start to actually demonstrate some oversight, not just faking it, and using staff as a crutch.
I hardly need remind most of you that has been a longstanding problem in Hallandale Beach, and South Florida in general.
Everyone wants to glad-hand, but far fewer people want to stay up late reading binders and trying to master often obtuse material. You know, to properly do the job they ran for?
Certainly Al Crespo is in a far better position to know what's really going at Dinner Key and environs, and at the Miami CRAs, than I am, so I'm sharing a recent column of his with you today, below, so that you can read it and gain something from his perspective on what's what.
This morning I filed an ethics complaint against Commissioner Ken Russell https://t.co/yjuiacM8CE #miami #ethics pic.twitter.com/tL02ushkC6— al crespo (@crespogram) May 25, 2016
@kenrussellmiami While disclosure is important - although doubtful it will be full - loss of file is something that even Sarnoff never did— al crespo (@crespogram) May 25, 2016
index_public_html/THE_THRILL_ IS_GONE_-_MY_ETHICS_COMPLAINT_ AGAINST_COMMISSIONER_RUSSELL. html
An ethics complaint filed against Commissioner Ken Russell for a failure to provide a public document.
For the record, I follow both Al Crespo and Comm. Russell on Twitter, and they follow me as well.
This story about disclosures and the need for them to be both timely and accurate, not surprisingly, reminds me of yet another Hallandale Beach City Hall ethics story, where, typically, Mayor Joy Cooper, exercising power and discretion she did not actually have, seems to have decided that she alone got to decide who got what gifts and freebies deposited upon City Hall
by contractors and lobbyists, or, if food or drink, who got what portion of them -or the best quality.
As IF anyone who has any experience with HB City Hall and the people who run it could ever have any faith that any FORM 9's filed would be either accurate or timely!
This in a city like Hallandale Beach where a city commissioner like Anthony A. Sanders voted to have the city/CRA buy his property -for more than it was worth- despite the fact that:
a.) the city had no written or commission-approved plans as to what they would do with the property once they took possession of it, and
b.) Sanders didn't have the good sense or ethical duty to recuse himself from voting on the issue.
(Not that local South Florida newspaper Editorial Boards have ever asked about these matters that Sanders still can't explain years later!)
Not that the go-along-to-get-along City Attorney at the time, David Jove, even thought to publicly suggest Sanders' recusal -he didn't!