Thursday, October 8, 2015

My Story About Miami Politics

When a political consultant becomes an activist: A Perspective

I am often referred to as a "political consultant" and to some extent that's true. But when it comes to the city of Miami, particularly the District 2 election, I am mostly wearing my cap as an activist and a voter.

Tonight at 10pm is the final broadcast of Miami's District 2 commission candidate interviews for Miami After Dark radio. Recall, this program was given birth by Rosy Palomino, now a candidate for Miami commission herself, which I was brought on to produce. I'm a voter, an activist, and I've been involved for awhile in city of Miami politics - I have a unique perspective. So I thought I should share my thoughts with readers about what I've done and why things are working out the way they are in the D2 Election.

First a quick reminder: I am a libertarian, free marketeer. I believe that the nature of a conservative is to conserve which means the quality of life and dignity of humanity and the advocacy for nature and its limited resources. That means I advocate for social and economic justice (read more below).

Here's a quick list of what I've been involved in the city of Miami:
2009 - City of Miami Commission Election for District 3 (I was helping former Secretary for Elderly Affairs and State Representative Luis Morse). I was one of those people listening to debates about Miami 21 and wondering how the hell no one was addressing the concerns being made on talk radio. Today, the lack of revitalization because Miami 21 doesn't allow it has led to the destruction of many neighborhoods which have not been permitted to rebuild (i.e. Little Havana).
2011 - City of Miami Commission Election for District 2 (I was helping builder Donna Milo). My first serious lesson in local politics is that most candidates disappear after running to represent the community - none of those candidates ever participated in community life again. Knowing how toxic Miami's political climate is, I don't know if I can blame them.
2012 - I was recruited by Rosy Palomino into local activism with Miami Neighborhoods United (MNU) and the Golden Pines Neighborhood Association (GPNA). These are community groups that are supposed to represent communities but instead are a collection of paid political operatives, many of the real activists don't stick around long in such organizations.
2013 - My first involvement in discussion regarding a developer's re-zoning application. The discussion of parks was the first I had ever heard too. There was a lot of learning there. And it was the first time I'd seen politicians use community groups to force developers to sell their properties to people they are more friendly with (I've since determined this a common practice).
2013 - There was a debate about campaign finance reform discussion that was rejected among members of MNU. The excuse back when was that the US Supreme Court decisions would invalidate local campaign finance rules. I have since determined that the excuse was utter bunk since states run their own elections regardless of federal election rules. I also learned how much developer business was represented in that excuse (which is why Rosy Palomino supports campaign finance reform now as a candidate).

2013 - City of Miami Commission Election for District 5 (Dr. Robert Malone). I was recruited by MNU to run that campaign. I also worked with the anti-Grove Harbour group in Coconut Grove at the last minute (Coconut Grove voted 60/40 against Grove Harbour but the rest of the city voted for it by the same margin).
2013 - Rosy Palomino started the Miami Parks Foundation and organized land purchases for parks by the city of Miami. The insiders in the city took hold of the work, documentation and money and made it go *poof*. Now a single landowner with ties to the city owns all the properties that were brought forward.

2014 - I worked with Grant Stern on the Only in Miami Show and its special video broadcasts like #SOSVenezuela which created the first media review of the Venezuela riots that was generally used by media throughout the US.

2014 - The city of Miami was destroying much of the Brickell tree canopy and I helped put out press releases for the community group protecting the old growth parkway.

2014 - Rosy Palomino recruited me in to the fight to keep the Beckham Group from turning the FEC slip (Museum Park) into a soccer stadium. We lobbied elected officials, coordinated media outreach and organized local residents. Ultimately, that fight was won.
2014 - The creation of Miami After Dark radio. Rosy Palomino tells me one day, let's do our own radio program that talks about real issues without a filter. Bob Powers is recruited as host (he's bombastic and incredibly knowledgeable).

2014 - I discussed the 2015 Miami commission election with many of the would-be D2 candidates and personalities, well before anyone had filed, including Grace Solares, Michelle Neimeyer, Javier Gonzalez, Ken Russell, and many others. None of those candidates impressed me and Rosy Palomino decided to run herself.

2015 - Rosy Palomino declares her candidacy for city of Miami District 2. Her first poll shows her nearly tied for 1st place against the outgoing commissioner's wife.
2015 - Rosy Palomino takes on the fight to defend natural grass parks (particularly in dog parks) from being replaced with artificial turf. Meetings with county commissioners. ASPCA. Discussions with veterinarians. Turns out, artificial turf is bad stuff for puppies.

2015 - Rosy Palomino made a presentation to Emerge Miami to protect Parcel B ("Dan Paul Park" behind the American Airlines Arena) with an "art in public places" strategy. The presentation was for a record breaking chalk art project on the Parcel B asphalt. Unfortunately, Emerge Miami turned her down but immediately after decided to "appropriate" the plan as Chalktackular and sold it as their idea.
2015 - By now, helping Rosy Palomino I've even been told by builders to why bother and go ahead leave town (they support the commissioner's wife) and threatened by other bloggers because I'm not supporting their candidate of choice.
This is what activism looks like. It's messy, but full of promise and fulfilling. It's easy to improve a community's quality of life if you try - the only resistance you'll meet is when others want to make money by diluting people's quality of life. I can count on two hands the number of activists that really work for the community without being paid to attend meetings.

Effectively, the D2 election has become about restoring a sense of truth and honesty in Miami, definitely a promotion of the free market and a denouncement of nepotism and cronyism that exists in a virtual fascistic system at city hall. Miami is incredibly anti-worker and anti-capitalist at the same time because of the amount of nepotism and cronyism involved.

If you are reading this, believe me when I say that Rosy Palomino (Punch #72) is the hope this election for reforming city of Miami politics. She has the street cred that you can trust to get things done in city hall. We just need new leaders.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

When 'Print News' Talks About A Blog: Pay Attentiion ( and

Why blogging is important: Traditionally speaking most societies around the world revolve around some sort of caste system or in the West historically described as the Estates of the Realm referring to the Three Estates: the clergy (1st), the nobility (2nd), and commoners (3rd). This socio-economic relationship is shaped like a pyramid and for the most part continues uninterrupted despite centuries of political and economic revolution.

The political and economic revolutions that have shaped the Western World occurred as new powers and civic institutions arose to compete with the dominant Three Estates: The "4th Estate" and most recently the "5th Estate".

The 4th Estate refers to the "Press" defined by traditional outlets of TV, radio and print journalism. The rise of Democratic governments since the 18th century were the result of the ability to disseminate information (and propaganda) to shape thoughts independent of the hierarchy of the Three Estates.

Unfortunately, over time economic and political powers have subsumed traditional news media into the advertising arm of these various conglomerates of power. Very few news outlets remain independent and reporting verified, timely and relevant information that assists the public in making every day and long-term decisions.

So in comes, the necessity of a new "5th Estate" which Wikipedia defines as the "socio-cultural reference to groupings of outlier viewpoints in contemporary society, and is most associated with bloggers, journalists, and non-mainstream media outlets". In other words, the 5th Estate came into being with the advent of the Internet and the ability of individuals to report facts and opinions to a wide audience in an inexpensive and instantaneous method.

In Miami, we have a number of citizen bloggers that serve as voluntary watchdogs on the activities of public officials. Most are never paid a dime for their work while some were genuine, award-winning journalists long before publishing their writings digitally. Personally, I believe that the highest praise a blog can receive is when they are the center of a story by a print news platform.

Which leads me to celebrate the write-up by the Biscayne Times on Stephanie Kienzle, the watchdog blogger of We consider her a friend and important member of watchdog even if we don't agree on every issue.
Read about Stephanie and her coverage of the North Dade political scene:

A Fish-Eye and a Shark’s Bite Written by Mark Sell for the Biscayne Time

The singular work of watching over the City of Miami these past 5 years has gone to Al Crespo, the publisher of the Crespo Gram Report. This tell-it-how-it-is, no-holds-barred telling of the missteps by public officials at the outright villainy of the elected representatives gives hope that maybe if enough people are paying attention then those people can change their government.

This week the is celebrating its 5-year birthday. Happy Birthday!

Monday, January 26, 2015

Who is Rosa Palomino?

Rosa "Rosy" Palomino
Candidate for City of Miami commission
Rosy Palomino always taught me that local politics defines our everyday quality of life. So when we complain about why government sucks, you have to look at local government first and ask why is it not working?

I first began my political involvement with national politics. It was Rosy who convinced me I was wasting my time and that if I really wanted to help change policy I would do it by affecting change at the local level.

Since then we have worked on City of Miami issues from zoning, police, street repair, parks and more. I have learned through her and many other people I have met along the way about how a city should work. This is not the stuff of graduate studies but the simple, honest America that we were all told exists... somewhere. This is where America happens, every great tradition, every value elevated but also where every wrong headed social engineer gets their start.

On ongoing project I have combines the talents and knowledge of Bob Powers (he deserves a post of his own) and the business sense of Rosy Palomino in a weekly radio program "Miami After Dark" where we discuss current events, politics, and urban living. We host politicians, market makers and entertainers. We focus on how solutions that make Miami better.

For instance, on the last episode of Miami After Dark radio, we discussed with Sarah Schacht, a Seattle-based ‪#‎OpenGov‬ consultant about why governments go bad. The reason is very common and happens everywhere across the world. And the solution is also simple and easy (and cheap!) to implement with plenty of examples to follow. As Sarah said: "Governments are more alike than different".

Listen to our discussion with Sarah so you can get an idea why Rosa's perspective on how a city should work is the key to creating a freer and better society starting here in our own backyard.

Listen here:…/miami-after-dark-ep-023

 But wait there's more about Rosy!

Rosy knows that if you really want to change your community you need to put yourself in positions where you can not only be heard. So she decided to run for office and I applaud her for it. She has the guts, the brains and the joie de vivre to tackle the challenges that will come her way.

Rosy filed to run for the City of Miami's District 2 commission seat since the current commissioner guy is term-limited (more on him another time). The commission district represents all the waterfront areas of the City of Miami: Coconut Grove, Brickell, Downtown, Edgewater, Midtown, Baypoint and Morningside.

Her campaign launch party is tomorrow night at The Grove Spot after 6pm. The invitation is below. If you are interested in what could be accomplished to make life, business and civics better than come by and meet Rosy. You won't go disappointed.