Posts Tagged ‘Carlos Gimenez’

Cuban exile museum touts booster’s lawyerly credentials despite Bar suspension

Wednesday, June 20th, 2018

By Francisco Alvarado
Amid the brouhaha over a controversial effort to place a $77-million museum honoring Cuban exiles on a swath of public waterfront land, some troubling details about one of the museum’s primary boosters has surfaced.
The post Cuban exile museum touts booster’s lawyerly credentials despite Bar suspension appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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After cruise line gripes, Miami-Dade scraps terminal bids – and $19 million in savings

Wednesday, December 27th, 2017

By Francisco Alvarado
A major cruise line strong-armed Miami-Dade County officials into killing the winning bid for a new terminal at PortMiami that would have saved $19 million in development costs so that the company could pick its own design and construction firms.
The post After cruise line gripes, Miami-Dade scraps terminal bids – and $19 million in savings appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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Bill to make Miami-Dade County Sheriff an elected position advances in Florida Senate

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

A bill sponsored by Miami Republican Frank Artilles that would bring back the position of an elected mayor position in Miami-Dade County advanced in a Florida Senate Committee on Tuesday.
The Florida Constitution requires each county to elect a county sheriff, property appraiser, supervisor of elections, tax collector, and clerk of circuit courts. However, the constitution also allowed individual counties to change the way those positions (or equivalent positions) are filled either by special vote or in the county charter. Miami-Dade is the only county out of the 67 in the state that does not elect their sheriff. In their current system of governance, Miami-Dade has an appointed chief law-enforcement officer whose title is Director of the Miami-Dade Police Department.
Officially, the county government wants to keep things just the way they are.
“We’re opposed most significantly to the state deciding for Miami-Dade County, because even if Dade had voted against an elected sheriff, the rest of the state could impose that elected sheriff on Miami Dade County,” said Jess McCarty, a lobbyist for the Miami-Dade County government. “And I would ask each of you to think of your own communities, whether that’s what you would like – the state voting on local affairs?”
Fellow Miami resident Jose Javier Rodriguez, a Democrat, also opposes the proposal. “I don’t think that a very, very blunt instrument going statewide is the way to resolve this.”
Others disagreed.
“We need autonomy. We need some separation of power. Otherwise you have absolute power and absolute corruption,” said John Rivera the president of both the statewide and Miami-Dade County chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association. He said that Carlos Gimenez, the current Miami-Dade County Mayor, prefers the status quo.
“The Mayor has too much power,” complained North Miami Beach Senate Democrat Daphne Campbell. “This is why Miami did have so much corruption going on,” she said. “Once you’re elected, you

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Immigrant-rich Miami-Dade split over sanctuary city order

Friday, February 17th, 2017

The mayor is an immigrant, and more than half its residents are foreign born.
But unlike many cities with large numbers of immigrants, there’s no sanctuary for people living illegally in Miami-Dade County, Florida. A recent decision by Mayor Carlos Gimenez requires local authorities to cooperate with federal officials to enforce immigration law.
The decree by Cuban-born Gimenez has roiled the area, drawing criticism from the mayors of the cities of Miami and Miami Beach. The county’s commissioners have called for a special meeting Friday to confront the mayor on the issue.
They’re not the only ones who are unhappy with the mayor. Immigration advocates and others opposed to the shift have filled the streets in protest, and a long-standing divide between Cuban-Americans and other Latinos has reappeared. Meanwhile, farmworkers who have lived in the area for years to plant and harvest vegetables on vast commercial farms fear they’ll be deported.
“I have four children. To get picked up like that would break me,” said Itzel, 23, who arrived as a baby from Mexico, works in nurseries near the city of Homestead and whose children were born in this country. She spoke on condition that her surname not be used because she fears deportation.
“I would be lost in Mexico. I’ve never been there. I’ve never traveled out of here,” she said.
Gimenez says his order to end Miami-Dade’s status as a sanctuary city, where policy forbids local police from enforcing federal immigration laws, was a financial decision. President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order that would cut federal funds to local governments that did not fully cooperate on immigration enforcement. But immigration advocates say Gimenez’s decision sends the wrong message at a delicate time.
“To be fair, in a community where 50 percent were not born here it sends an erroneous and a somewhat negative

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FAU online poll shows Floridians support sanctuary cities

Monday, February 6th, 2017

An online poll of 600 Florida residents conducted by Florida Atlantic University and Economics Polling Initiative shows that by a 52-36 percent margin, Floridians do not want the Trump administration to cut off funding to sanctuary cities. And a plurality – 46-38 percent – don’t want the U.S. Justice Dept. to take any legal action against sanctuary cities.
However, the same poll also shows that only a slight majority (fifty-five percent) have ever heard of the term ‘sanctuary city,’ before being polled to opine on it. Sanctuary cities are generally defined as localities that help shield undocumented residents from deportation by refusing to fully cooperate with detention requests from federal immigration authorities.
After President Trump signed an executive order threatening to pull federal funding from sanctuary cities, Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez announced that his county would abandon the practice of being a sanctuary city. That decision by itself could affect the fate of more than one million undocumented immigrants. By a 62%-39% majority, those surveyed said that Miami-Dade County shouldn’t end the practice of being a sanctuary county.
Interestingly, the poll also asked if Tampa should become a sanctuary city (the question posed said that it is considering becoming one). By a margin of a 61%-39%, those surveyed said Tampa should designate itself as such.
Mayor Bob Buckhorn has said that officially Tampa is not a sanctuary city and would not become one, but that he won’t be directing Tampa Police Officers to act as immigration agents anytime soon. Those responsibilities are actually handled by Hillsborough County. Last week, the Hillsborough County Diversity Council voted 8-1 to recommend that county commissioners look into becoming a sanctuary county, However, County Commission Chair Stacy White says that won’t be happening.
St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman has essentially said the same thing, though he confused some people over the weekend by issuing a statement

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Rick Kriseman declares St. Petersburg a ‘sanctuary from harmful immigration laws’

Saturday, February 4th, 2017

Although St. Petersburg isn’t officially classified as a sanctuary city, Mayor Rick Kriseman all but declared that’s exactly what his town is on Saturday. And if the Trump administration wants to deny the city federal funds because of that stance, the mayor’s response is essentially, ‘We’ll see you in court.’
“While our county sheriff’s office is ultimately responsible for notifying the federal government about individuals who are here illegally, I have no hesitation in declaring St. Petersburg a sanctuary from harmful federal immigration laws,” Kriseman wrote on Medium on Saturday.
“We will not expend resources to help enforce such laws, nor will our police officers stop, question or arrest an individual solely on the basis that they may have unlawfully entered the United States,” the mayor added. “Should our solidarity with ‘Sanctuary Cities’ put in peril the millions of dollars we receive each year from the federal government or via pass-through grants, we will then challenge that decision in court. Win or lose, we will have upheld our values.”
In general, sanctuary cities are defined as localities that help shield undocumented residents from deportation by refusing to fully cooperate with detention requests from federal immigration authorities. The right-leaning Center for Immigration Studies listed Pinellas (as well as Hillsborough, Pasco and Hernando) as sanctuary counties in a 2015 report, but that classification has been strongly disputed by Sheriff Bob Gualtieri.
“When they ask us to do things within the law, we operate with them and their programs to help them take those that are illegal who have committed crimes . . . and get them out of here,”” Gualtieri told the Tampa Bay Times’ Laura Morel last week.
Although sanctuary cities and counties have existed in some form since the 1980’s, they became a much more potent political flash point in the summer of 2015, after 32-year-old Kate Steinle was fatally shot while walking on San Francisco’s Embarcadero by a

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A curious search for justice amid Miami-Dade judges’ desire for new civil courthouse

Friday, January 13th, 2017

By Francisco Alvarado
The effort to build a new civil court building to replace the historic, but crumbling, Dade County Courthouse in downtown Miami recently took a bizarre turn that prompted a local judge to remove herself from a high-profile case involving prominent developer Russell Galbut and another local landmark, the Shelborne Hotel in Miami Beach.
The post A curious search for justice amid Miami-Dade judges’ desire for new civil courthouse appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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More than just the presidency: 10 down ballot races in Florida to watch on Election Day

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

Presidential races get all the attention, but it’s the folks down ballot that make the real decisions.
In the Sunshine State, there’s no shortage of high intensity — and sometimes high drama — battles for office.
And we aren’t talking about the races for state House and Senate. There have been allegations of election fraud in a mayor’s race, dirty tricks in a superintendent battle, and fights over genetically modified mosquitoes.
Here are 10 down ballot races and referendums we think you should be paying attention when the polls close on Tuesday
Miami-Dade County Mayoral
Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez thought he had it in the bag.
Going into the Aug. 30 primary, Gimenez was believed to have a leg up on his competitors. Internal polls showed him ahead of the Raquel Regalado and five other competitors, enough to avoid a run-off.
Then the results came in: Gimenez got 48 percent of the vote; Regalado came in with 32 percent. That wasn’t enough to secure the win, and set the mayoral hopefuls up for a rumble in November.
And what a fight it has been. Regalado filed a lawsuit to disqualify Gimenez because a technicality. The lawsuit, according to WPLG in Miami, claimed the Miami-Dade election office received a qualifying check, which was rejected by the bank.
A Miami-Dade County dismissed the suit during a hearing last week.
The lawsuit wasn’t the only thing hanging over the election. In October, a 74-year-old woman was charged with two felony counts of marking another person’s ballot. The Miami Herald reported the woman’s coworkers caught her illegally marking ballots for Regalado.
Regalado told the Miami Herald that she didn’t know the person and it had “nothing to do with” her.
An October poll, according to the Miami Herald, showed Gimenez beating Regalado by 22 percentage points.
Kissimmee Mayoral
A bloody primary between hopefuls Jose Alvarez, Art Otero and Freddy

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Developer’s trail of fraud lawsuits backdrop claim of illegal campaign contributions

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

By Francisco Alvarado
Arthur Falcone, a Boca Raton-based developer behind a downtown Miami project at the center of illegal campaign contribution allegations, has blazed a trail of lawsuits accusing him of swindling business associates and creditors out of tens of millions of dollars during the height of the real estate market crash.
The post Developer’s trail of fraud lawsuits backdrop claim of illegal campaign contributions appeared first on Florida Bulldog.

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