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La Gringa For Miami: How A Special Election Is Changing Politics In South Florida

What’s News In This Story?


Eileen Higgins has a good chance to win an open seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission Tuesday. 

Higgins is a Democrat. If she wins the election, then Democrats would have 7 of the 13 seats on the Commission.  

-Despite being technically non-partisan, the race has become politicized by both the local Democratic and Republican parties. 

-Bruno Barreiro represented the 5th district (which stretches from Miami Beach to Little Havana and includes much of Downtown Miami) for 20 years. He was forced to step down in order to run for Congress due to a new state “resign to run” law. 

Zoraida Barreiro has benefited from the support of the Miami-Dade Republican Party.

-Barreiro’s wife, Zoraida is running to succeed him in the seat. She was born in Cuba and helps run her family’s home healthcare business in Miami. 

-Higgins was born in Ohio and raised in New Mexico. She also spent time in Latin America running Peace Corps operations and in Washington, D.C. where she worked for the State Department. She now runs a marketing company. 

Eileen Higgins has motivated Democrats and inspired the Miami-Dade Democratic Party to back her. Will it be enough?

-A white woman (hence the “la gringa” nickname)  probably wouldn’t have stood a chance in this district in recent decades. But Higgins has run a smart campaign that has motivated Democrats to get off the sidelines and commit resources to getting her elected.

-Higgins also speaks close to fluent Spanish, which has helped her while campaigning in the nearly 63% Hispanic district. 

-If Higgins can win, experts think that Democrats will copy her campaign and make other local races like the upcoming 2020 Mayor race a partisan affair. 

Higgins and Patrick Hidalgo look at a canvassing list on an iPhone.

***”Why Does Any Of This Matter?”***: Because local elections in Miami have historically been non-partisan and that is about to change, probably to the benefit of Democrats. 

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

 

Miami Shores Vice Mayor Puts His Money Where His Mouth Is On Solar Energy

What’s News In This Story?


-Miami Shores Vice Mayor Sean Brady has installed a solar panel system on his roof, a step that he hopes encourages others to get on board with the technology. 

-When he was elected to the village council in 2017 Brady said that he was challenged by a resident about what he had actually done on climate change. 

-The resident said to Brady: “I really don’t want you doing this pie in the sky stuff, what have you personally done to be able to reduce your carbon footprint?”

-Brady said that he was glad he was able to tell the resident that he was pursuing a solar panel system at his home. 

Some of the solar panels on Miami Shores Vice Mayor Sean Brady’s house.

-Brady said that the system has been running since the end of April and that it usually generates more power than he uses on a typical sunny day. 

-Brady should make up for the price of the system in 7 years time due to his lower monthly electric bill. He eventually wants to be off of the FPL grid entirely. 

-Brady said that Florida’s regulatory environment is not conducive for consumers who are interested in going solar. 

Brady shows off his solar panel system. He said that the system should be pay for itself in 7 years due to energy savings.

-As a result, Brady said that he wants Miami Shores to lead the way by making things easier for residents to install solar units.

-An example of this is the fact that the village has waived permitting fees for panels for the next year. 

-There is also a local Northern Miami-Dade Solar Co-op that Brady hopes can build enough scale to make a difference. Miami Shores has signed on as a partner with the co-op. 

Brady in front of his Miami Shores home.

-Brady said that he wants Miami Shores to eventually put solar panels on all of the village’s municipal buildings and he hopes to see change in state laws so that homeowners can have more choices on the issue. 

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

Haitian Radio Host Called A Race Baiter By NoMi Councilman, After Controversial Rant The City May Have Paid For

What’s News In This Story?


–North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin called popular Haitian radio host Rotschill Anderson a race baiter after the media personality went on a controversial on-air racial rant. 

-Galvin claims that the city has paid Anderson in the past to allow North Miami staff to promote the city on air. Galvin also said that it was his understanding that the city had paid for a May 1 appearance by Assistant City Manager Arthur H. Sorey III.

-Sorey was on the show to encourage residents to vote for a $120 million bond measure. But he also sat through a rant from Anderson that some found to be racist.

-Anderson strongly supported the bond and asked his listeners to vote for it because he felt it would improve the city’s heavily Haitian western section. 

-But it was the language that Anderson used that has gotten attention: “The big white guy, the big jewish guy- they are going to come into your community, says that your community is ugly and its nasty… gentrification will kick in.” 

-A quick public records search finds that North Miami has paid Anderson’s radio station at least $1,800 so far in 2018 for “public relations.” 

-But city manager Larry Spring told RISE NEWS that Galvin is wrong and that the city did not pay Anderson for the May 1 show.

-The city council has temporally suspended all payments to media outlets until they can craft a new policy to prevent a future incident. 

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

Senator Lied About Her Mother Being Dead During Irma To Skip Power Outage Line

What’s News In This Story?


–State Senator Daphne Campbell lied about her mother being ill in the aftermath of Hurricane Irma. Her mother had been dead for at least a year by that time. 

RISE NEWS was the first to expose text messages Campbell sent to a FPL lobbyist one day after Hurricane Irma impacted South Florida. 

–The messages revealed that Campbell tried to use her status as a State Senator to get FPL to turn on electricity at her home.

–Her reasoning for the abuse of power? She had a sick mother at home who needed electricity to run an oxygen machine. 

–Campbell texted: “Can someone helps [sic] me with the power. I do have a sick person in my house and she’s using oxygen. The address is… [address redacted]. Same than my children’s house…[address redacted]. Thanks Senator Campbell.”

–The problem (one of many with that rationale) is that Campbell’s mother was dead at the time, according to Campbell’s own words. 

–Campbell was caught by the Miami New Times in the latest lie after reporter Jerry Iannelli came across a Youtube video from 2016, where Campbell talked about her dead mother. 

“My father and my mother died,” she says around the 2:20 mark of a video posted to Youtube in 2016

-A Campbell staffer tried to defend his boss to the New Times by saying that she wasn’t actually talking about her biological mother. “Instead, Campbell was referring to a long-standing family friend whom she allegedly refers to as ‘mom.'” The staffer did confirm that Campbell’s biological mother was dead. 

–Campbell called the original RISE NEWS report “fake news”. About that… 

——–

Read More: State Senator Claimed She Had a “Sick Mom” During Irma Despite Her Mom Being Dead (Miami New Times

Original RISE NEWS story from 9/17/17: EXCLUSIVE: Senator Tried To Use Connection To FPL Lobbyist To Get Power On For Her Family Post Irma

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Shores Chamber Of Commerce Moves To New Location On NE 2nd Ave

What’s News In This Story?


 

The Greater Miami Shores Chamber Of Commerce has moved from its longtime office on a prime corner of NE 2nd Ave. 

–The new location for the office is only 50 yards away, on the second floor of the Chase Bank building (9620 NE 2nd Ave, Ste. 201).

–The entrance is the glass door directly across the street from the Expresso Mart gas station (Chevron). 

The building where the Greater Miami Shores Chamber Of Commerce is now based.

–Why did they move? Here’s the word from Chamber Executive Director Megan Gerstel:

“After many years on that happy corner, we chose to move to a smaller, second floor office because we didn’t utilize most of the old space. We were occupying a prime corner, which we wanted to free up for a potential restaurant or retail business. All in all, it was a great decision for everyone, we love our new office, and we’re excited to see who moves into our old space!”

–The Chamber represents business interests in Miami Shores, El Portal and Biscayne Park and has been in operation since 1949. 

–The Chamber’s 2015 annual budget was $280,000. They put on regular member breakfasts and lunch events and are behind the popular “Green Day” street fair that happens every fall on NE 2nd Ave. 

***Miami Landmark Football Sandwich Shop Will “Reopen Soon”***

——Here’s Something Completely Different: ——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it to editor@risenews.net.

 

Little Haiti Gentrification War: Business Owners Cry Racism As New Landlord Allegedly Forces Out Haitians

What’s News In This Story?


–A developer is forcing out Haitian owned businesses from two commercial strips that he recently bought near the intersection of NE 2nd Ave and 82 St in Miami.

–The developer, Thomas Conway has been accused of unfairly targeting Haitians and treating non-Haitians better. 

–Most of the businesses are on month-to-month leases and Florida law allows for landlords to end those type leases with 15 days notices.

–Some of the businesses have been open for decades, including a Haitian owned tuxedo store that has been in operation for 32 years. 

-Chronic road construction has also caused severe hardships for the businesses. One barbershop says that they have lost 60% of their customers over the last year due to the construction. 

–Haitian community activists are calling for public officials to intervene and provide support to the affected businesses. 


Little Haiti is about to get a whole lot whiter.

That’s if you believe dozens of Little Haiti business owners and community activists who are claiming that a real estate developer is forcing Haitians out of two commercial strips in a fast gentrifying area of Miami, while giving white owners better treatment.

The business strips are on the East and West side of NE 2nd Ave near the 82nd St intersection.

The buildings were recently purchased by Thomas Conway, a young real estate entrepreneur who has been active in the northern section of Little Haiti.

The buildings are full of dozens of business, ranging from a travel agency, to a bakery and a Metro PCS.

Most of the businesses are run by Haitians.

Over the past two months, local shop owners say that Conway has been trying to force them out.

Multiple owners claim that Conway has refused to accept their rent checks so he can get rid of them and court records obtained by the Miami Herald show that the new landlord has already started eviction proceedings on 13 of the 15 businesses at 8200 NE Second Ave. and 201 NE 82nd St.

Most of the businesses are on month to month leases and Florida law allows for landlords to end leases with only 15 days notice.

The situation has become so untenable that many of the business owners called a press conference on Thursday with the Haitian rights group Family Action Network Movement (FANM).

To add to to their misery, an ongoing construction project has ripped up parts of NE 2nd Ave for nearly a year and dramatically hurt business in the area.

The iconic Miami restaurant, Football Sandwich Shop has been closed for multiple months due to the same construction.

Marleine Bastien, the leader of FANM said that many business owners were angry that local authorities have not offered financial assistance to their struggling businesses.

“Some of them wonder, is this a way to get them out?,” Bastien asked during the press conference. “Because usually when businesses are impacted, they get some type of relief. But not these Haitian businesses.”

Bastien also said that Haitian businesses are facing discrimination because they were the only ones asked to leave by Conway.

Ramon Alvarez owns a barbershop on the strip of the westside of NE 2nd Ave.

Alvarez said that Conway lied to his face about what his intentions were about the future of the building and that the decision to force out his barbershop was racially motivated because of the Haitian staff he has.

“They see this as a black business,” Alvarez told RISE NEWS. “Everybody out. I don’t know, it’s scary.”

Alvarez said that Conway seemed very reasonable when the new landlord first approached him a few months ago after buying the property.

Alvarez said that Conway told him the plan was to fix up the building and put on a new roof.

Alvarez also said that Conway told him that the rent would gradually go up from the current $1,400 a month to $3,500 a month.

Alvarez said that he was ok with this new arrangement.

“I can manage it and If I can’t afford it one day I’m going to say, ‘Mr. Thomas, I got to go.'”

But Alvarez said that Conway changed his tune and even refused to accept a rent check.

Now, Alvarez said that he’s been told he is going to be evicted.

He’s not the only one.

“I’ve been eight years here,” Pierre Richard Maximillien, the owner of a travel agency said.  “The guy next door to me who sells tuxedos and marriage dresses has been there 32 years. It’s a lifetime.”

A few doors down from Alvarez’s barber shop, Lucia Garcia runs The Furtnitue Store.

Garcia attended the press conference in support of the Haitian owners and said that she felt like Conway was treating her business differently than the others.

Garcia is Hispanic.

“We have not received any threats,” Garcia told RISE NEWS. “We have not received any eviction notices. We have been given until June to leave, supposedly due to construction. But we have received very different treatment.”

Lina Hargrett, the owner of the Empty Apartment said that she just recently signed a year lease to stay in the same building where Alvarez and Garcia have their businesses.

Hargrett said that she had not been asked to leave the building and seemed unaware of the controversy that was swirling.

Hargrett has a light complexion.

Hargrett’s store and the Metro PCS are the only two businesses that seem unaffected by the moves.

Both have two year leases.

Conway refused to speak to a reporter from RISE NEWS when reached via phone on Thursday, and hung up.

“Unfortunately, I can’t take this call at the moment,” Conway said before hanging up. “I appreciate it.”

In 2015, Conway opened MADE At The Citadel, a well-known co-working space on NE 2nd Ave and 83rd St.

It was reported in 2017 that he intends to turn the building across the street from MADE At The Citadel into a food hall.

A rendering for that building, which is called The Citadel, is available online.

The Citadel used to house the Federal Reserve in Miami and got its name from, wait for it, an historic fort in Haiti.

Gary Louis has worked as a barber for over 15 years at the shop that Alvarez now owns.

He has to pay to keep his chair there and has stayed despite losing 60% of his business due to the road construction.

Louis said that he’s stayed because he was excited about the changes in the neighborhood and thought that he would prosper from them.

“The city hasn’t done anything for the Haitian community at all,” Louis said. “So now, something is brought to life where we’ve seen the city has finally taken care of the community. But now as I’m seeing it, it’s not being cleaned up for primarily the Haitian community. It’s just mainly for a new form of business that does not include the Haitian community at all.”

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Country Day Student Wins $20,000 Scholarship From Foot Locker

What’s News In This Story?


–Foot Locker surprised Miami Country Day School (MCDS) student Danielle Geathers with a $20,000 college scholarship Wednesday. 

–Geathers grew up in El Portal with her mom Marva Wiley. 

–Geathers is the captain of the MCDS soccer team and has a 3.9 GPA. 

–She also wrote a children’s book geared towards girls of color. The book is titled “Don’t Touch My Hair!” and reflects the common struggle found by young girls of color who go to schools where they are in the minority. 

–Geathers was one of only 20 people in the US to receive the prize from Foot Locker, which seeks to reward outstanding student athletes who demonstrates “academic excellence and exemplifying strong leadership skills both in sports and within their communities.”

–Geathers will attend MIT in the fall and will study biomedical engineering. 

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

 

Miami Beach’s First Medical Marijuana Dispensary Has Opened

What’s News In This Story?


Surterra Wellness opened their storefront Monday at 1523 Alton Road after a “big effort” to get it opened. 

It is the company’s first South Florida dispensary and one of only a handful in the region. 

–The shop technically opened on April 20 (4/20, duh)- but was forced to relaunch on April 23. 

–Florida is one of 29 states have legalized medicinal marijuana. 

–A petition drive to get a measure to fully legalize marijuana for recreational use on the November ballot failed earlier this year. 

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Has A Think Tank Now. Can It Save The City?

What’s News In This Story?


 

–The Miami Urban Future Initiative is a think tank that is 100% devoted to researching how to make South Florida better. 

A joint venture between FIU, the Knight Foundation and the Creative Class Group, it is connected to well known urbanist Richard Florida

–The group produces white papers on topics relating to growth and development in the region. 

–They consider “Miami” to be Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties. 

–Operating under the theory that politicians don’t have a longterm view of the future, the group is trying to create data that can lead to better policy outcomes. 

–It is run by Chris Caines- a former interim director of the Knight Foundation’s Miami Program and Michael Aquino, a Miami native who grew up in Wynwood before it was gentrified. 

–The group hosts live events that are free to attend. 

——

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

Miami Landmark Football Sandwich Shop Will “Reopen Soon”

What’s News In This Story?


–There is literally a sign of life at one of Miami’s best loved sandwich joints. 

-Football Sandwich Shop (8484 NE 2nd Ave, Miami) has been closed for months for an unknown reason.

-But a new sign placed on the inside of the door at the shop is raising hope that it may open again. 

–The sign reads: “Closed due to construction. Will reopen soon.” It also says to send emails to an address that bounces.

RISE NEWS first noticed the sign on April 13 and sent multiple messages to a working email for the shop over the course of a week- but no one responded. 

–Yelp and Google have listed the restaurant as closed. –And there were rumors that the owner was trying to offload the property. 

-Football Sandwich Shop has operated in Miami’s Little River area since 1972 and is well known for its ties to Miami Dolphins history.  

-The shop is covered with drawings of former Dolphins greats and sandwiches are named after legendary players like Mercury Morris and Larry Csonka. 

-There has been significant construction along NE 2nd Ave for months. 

 


 

There’s A Secret Buddhist Temple In This El Portal House

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news network. Follow us on Facebook to make sure you never miss a story!

Have a news tip about this topic or something completely different? Send it on in to editor@risenews.net.

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