Miami Politics

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

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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… 

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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.

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

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–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.

Kids Are Suing Rick Scott So Florida Will Act On Climate Change

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–A group of Florida young people are suing the Governor and other state wide officials over what they say is government inaction over climate change. 

-The suit, which was filed in a Tallahassee court on Monday, seeks to require the state to “adhere to its legal and moral obligation to protect current and future generations from the intensifying impacts of climate change…” 

-Florida Governor Rick Scott does not believe in man-made climate change

-The eight young people are between the ages of 10 to 20 and they come from various parts of the state.

-There is a nine member legal team that is backing up the suit on behalf of the kids and “Our Children’s Trust”, a group that has helped young people sue their state governments around the country. 

-Fort Lauderdale attorney Mitchell Chester is part of the legal team. 

-“We can’t delay anymore because climate change is a huge problem,” Levi Draheim, a 10-year-old plaintiff in the suit said. “We must deal with it right now and start reducing the emissions that are causing it.” 

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

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

 

Students Walk Out Of Miami Northwestern High To Draw Attention To Gun Violence

What’s News In This Story?


 

-The entire student body at Miami Northwestern High School in Liberty City walked out of class Tuesday morning to protest gun violence in their community.

-Students said that they walked out in order to bring the world’s attention to the deaths of young people in Miami’s inner city.  

-Kimson Green, a student at the school, was shot dead over the weekend during an outbreak of violence. 

-The students say that they want the world to give as much attention to violence in inner cities as it has to what happened in Parkland.

-The walkout was spontaneous, and occurred after the school organized a ceremony to honor Green. 

-Student leaders say that they plan on walking out again tomorrow.

—-

Watch Another Story: Meet Miami’s Queen Bee And Her Backyard Insect Revolution

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.

Hundreds Of South Florida Students Expected To Attend Young Leaders Summit

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-Over 500 South Florida high school and college students are expected to attend a summit for young leaders on Saturday.  

-Organized by young people, the day-long event will serve as a crash-course in politics for a generation deeply affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 

-The event will take place at two separate locations- one in Miami-Dade and another in Broward and will feature speakers involved in community organizations and political activism. 

-Representatives from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government will be on hand to teach organizing techniques and Jaclyn Corin, a prominent survivor of the MSD shooting and activist in the Never Again movement will give the keynote speech. 

-Event organizer Lina Fernandez said that she hopes the event will serve as a starting point for a “lifetime of activism” for those who attend. 

-Organized by young people, the day-long event will serve as a crash-course in politics for a generation deeply affected by the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. 

 

Miami Mayor Francis Suarez (C) poses with South Florida students during a March For Our Lives protest. Photo Credit: Nikita Leus, Coral Gables Senior High

In the aftermath of the shooting at Stoneman Douglas high school in Parkland on Feb. 14, many wondered whether this time would be different.

It seems like it is.

Nearly two months on from that tragedy, the Never Again movement shows no signs of stopping, especially in South Florida.

A event planned for Saturday hopes to take the energy and anger seen throughout the country and turn it into real political power.

An all day “Young Leaders Summit” will be held at Miami-Dade College’s Kendall campus and at Atlantic Technical College in Coconut Creek.

The identical events are meant to be a crash course for young people who want to get engaged in political activism and will feature representatives from prominent local political organizing groups and others like Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

“Young people everywhere want to do something about the pervasiveness of gun violence and our culture of gun use but do not know where to begin,” event organizer Lina Fernandez said in an interview with RISE NEWS. “The Summit acts as an education in movement building, an opportunity to learn about the difficult, important work that happens behind the scenes and empower students to create spaces and events of their own.”

The organizers think that at least 500 young people will attend.

Photo Credit: Juliana Carrasco, New World School of the Arts

Only high school and college students can go.

Representatives from various political groups and candidates for political office will also be there so young people can sign up to volunteer for campaigns.

Helping support the summit are groups like: Defeat the NRA, The Resistance School, Harvard Kennedy School, Students Demand Action, Women’s March Miami, League of Women Voters of Miami-Dade, Dream Defenders, Indivisible, the Giffords Center, Moms Demand Action, and the Center for American Progress.

While the motivating factor behind the conference is gun control, the skills that students will learn there can be applied to other struggles.

“We want more than anything else for the students to spend the day Saturday learning about how to get engaged, how to use their voice, how to organize, and take those skills and apply them to whatever movement they are passionate about, not just today’s gun reform battle,” Will Breslin, an organizer for the event said.

According to the organizers, the summit will feature various breakout sessions led by famed political organizer “Marshall Ganz from the Harvard Kennedy School, Indivisible southern regional organizer Whitney Roberts, Maggie Thompson from Generation Progress Action, Katherine Philips and Chase Hardin from Giffords, MJ Wright from Moms Demand Action, Ricky Junquera from Sierra Club, Philip Agnew from Dream Defenders, and more.”

While the event only lasts one day, the hope from the young people putting it together that it will create something long lasting.

“I hope the conference helps create a culture of activism and civic engagement in Miami and in Miami-Dade Schools,” Fernandez said. “I want the students who planned walkouts all across Miami-Dade county last month, and the thousands that attended these events, to continue in their work. I hope the Summit provides a clear next step for student leaders who participated in the national walkout and March For Our Lives but don’t know where to go from there.”

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WANT TO GO?: 

Young Leaders Summit
Saturday April 7, 2018 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

Miami Dade Location

Miami Dade College – Kendall Campus

11011 Southwest 104th Street, Miami, FL 33176

Broward Location

Atlantic Technical College

4700 Coconut Creek ParkwayCoconut Creek, FL 33063

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Who Will Be There?: 

Speakers During Opening Ceremony:
MJ Wright, mother of a pulse victim
Jaclyn Corin- survivor of MSD shooting, student activist in the Never Again movement

Breakout Session Leaders/ Other Speakers:
Ricky Junquera- Sierra Club
Claris Chang- Harvard Kennedy School
Benjamin Clayton- Harvard Kennedy School
Marshall Ganz- Harvard Kennedy School
Anjali Rodrigues- Harvard Kennedy School
Anna Doty- Harvard Kennedy School
Kate O’Gorman- Harvard Kennedy School
Katherine Phillips- Giffords Center
Chase Hardin- Giffords Center
MJ Wright- Moms Demand Action
Whitney Roberts- Indivisible
Maggie Thompson- Generation Progress
Christian Smith- Generation Progress
Charlene Mack- Leadership for Educational Equity
Phil Agnew- Dream Defenders
Mike Hill- Unite Here

Candidates/ Campaigns In Attendance: 
CD-26- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell
CD-27- Ken Russel
CD-27- Jose Javier Rodriguez
CD-27- David Richardson
CD-27- Kristen Rosen Gonzales
CD-27- Matt Haggman
CD-27- Mary Barzee Flores
SH-105 – Javier Esteves
SD-38 – Jason Pizzo
Gov – Andrew Gillum
Gov – Gwen Graham
SH-113 – Kubs Lalchandani
CD-26 – Demetries Grimes
SH – 103 – Cindy Polo
SH – 112 – Nick Duran
SD-40 – Annette Taddeo

 

WATCH ANOTHER STORY- Is This The Happiest Place In Miami?

 

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. 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.

 

Cover Photo Credit:  Nikita Leus, Coral Gables Senior High.

FIU Cancels Meeting With North Miami Councilman So Lawyers Can Attend

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-A meeting between a North Miami City Councilman and a high ranking FIU official was canceled after the university requested that lawyers be present to prevent “misunderstandings” between the two sides. 

-Councilman Scott Galvin and FIU Vice President for Government Affairs Michelle Palacio planned to meet at Galvin’s work office in Overtown to discuss the Arch Creek East Environment Preserve situation. 

-Palacio canceled the meeting in a email to Galvin on late Tuesday night.

From Palacio’s email to Galvin:

“…you have stated publicly that you are exploring legal options against FIU. To avoid any further misunderstandings, I would like to postpone tomorrow’s meeting and ask that it be rescheduled to a future date, in City Hall, and that the City Manager, the City Attorney and an FIU attorney attend as well.  As always, we’ll be glad to meet with you and your fellow City officials.”

-Galvin said during a protest last Saturday that North Miami was actively at looking at legal remedies to stop FIU from building a road through the preserve.

North Miami Councilman Scott Galvin speaks to gathered protestors during an anti-FIU event on Saturday. Photo: RISE NEWS

-Galvin told RISE NEWS that he thought the meeting was going to be an informal way to air out differences between the city and FIU. Now, he doesn’t think the meeting will happen. 

Galvin also told RISE NEWS:

“…having attorneys present turns it into a deposition and ruins much chance for progress. Putting a caveat like that on a meeting probably means it won’t happen. Even our respective attorneys would likely advise we not attend it.”

-Galvin has been the most vocal city leader in opposition to FIU’s plan to reopen a road through the preserve. 

-FIU claims that the road, which will open a second entrance to their North Campus via 135th St, is needed for student safety. 

The city of North Miami has opposed the plan for years because they say it would damage the preserve.

FIU spokesperson Maydel Santana said that the university intends to meet with the appropriate North Miami city officials and “will reach out to the residents at the appropriate time.”

—-

WATCH ANOTHER STORY- Is This The Happiest Place In Miami?

 

RISE NEWS is South Florida’s digital news magazine. 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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