Sunday, November 17, 2013

the 17 million dollar tracking system

Slowly working my way through my RSS feeds I came across (perhaps too late) this note on Miami Today about the Citizen's Independent Transportation Trust group approving a 17+ million dollar contract for a GPS tracking system on Miami-Dade Transit's buses.
This is something worth looking in to.

Here are links I've compiled so far, hopefully more to come once I've gotten back my public records requests.

http://www.miamidade.gov/citt/home.asp

Friday, November 1, 2013

the illustrious Faustin Denis

A quick write up requiring some follow up regarding Biscayne Landing, North Miami, and someone I have written about previously, Faustin Denis. The blog I wrote was later and much more recently featured in Voters Opinion, in part of a series on corruption in North Miami. In that particularly series my own investigations and analysis of bids made for a work contract led me to believe Faustin Denis is engaged in some kind of bid-rigging.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

The rich want to pay for it, but why should they?

In this Miami New Times article, it is claimed by Neisen Kasden of the Downtown Development Authority that the filthy rich tenants of Brickell ave are "willing to tax themselves to pay for part of the improvements." Notice that there is no exploration of how much of these improvements they would be willing to pay, but given the project is estimated at only a measly $5-10 million, maybe they should just pay for the whole thing? They can call it giving back to the community, right?
One comment on the article by Esperanza Suarez Kelly notes, "My friends at Curtis + Rogers have been working on this for a very long time."

And so there is part of the story. You've got a design group whose been working on a project for some period of time despite their not being any money reserved for the project to begin with.
Who wants this project done?

I'm certainly very concerned with safety issues in the area, particularly Brickell which is notoriously anti-pedestrian, despite being one of the densest areas in Miami. However I am always skeptical of any plans that begin to hatch before they are laid.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Follow Up

One hopes it doesn't get out of hand, but I want to start a follow up-pile. Essentially, as I'ev done in the lst two days, I will post tidbits to be looked in to for further understanding.

Consider this piece on Curbed Miami:

Unbuilt SoBe Park/500/600 Alton Project Put Up For Sale.


It's got so few comments but they are so poignant that I copied most of them here. The story here is rather obvious from the comments. How common is it for flippers to get special ordinances given to their projects so they can increase their profitability?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Government, get out of our way

Given that All Aboard Florida recently won part of a process to acquire land in downtown Miami from a city agency to build a passenger train station, this comment from FEC vice president is a bit ironic: We just ask that government get out of the way.

Seems that they don't mind dealing with government when it gives them sweetheart deals on prime land.

does anyone live there? / how cold does it get?

One blog i follow is exmiami, which covers development/architecture in Miami. Mostly just a bulletin board, it reports of events in those areas with a coldness reserved usually to press releases. In that respect though stories like this one about a building in the works on 26th street near biscayne boulevard are interesting for little tidbits like, "An apartment building on the site will be demolished."

I wonder if anyone lives in that apartment building. Field trip?


On another note unrelated to that project, but related to my comment on exmiami's cold reporting of development news: exmiami puts its nose in the City of Miami Beach mayoral election with a fluffy hit piece on candidate Steve Burke questioning his residency in the city.
This same tactic was apparently used on an opponent of his, Gongora, at some point in the past.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

UDB

Many in the community are shocked at the recent 11-1 vote to expand the Urban Development Boundary which will allow for expanding our foot print further west yet. See this Miami Herald article for a basic write-up, but many questions need be answered more thoroughly.
More land allows developers to develop, which stimulates the economy. But developing west of the UDB encroaches on important natural infrastructure which stabilizes the affects of weather.
Most commissioners voted for this expansion. Whose interest did they have in mind?

Sunday, October 6, 2013

newspapers as product pushers

While browsing Random Pixels for information about former Miami Commissioner Arthur Teele (who put a bullet into his head, standing in the lobby of the Miami Herald building) I came across an unrelated story about former Herald columnist Joan Fleischman, who apparently used her column to promote her friends real estate dealings.
Of course there's no mention in the article but we all know that product placements cost money.

incestual methodology of discipline in the city of miami

Crespogram has an open letter up to City of Miami acting manager Danny Alfonso calling him out for setting up an investigation in to Luis Cabrera's unethical behavior as a city administrator. Part of the Tomas Regalado "friends and family" plan, this focus on Luis Cabrera is a sliver of the bigger picture of corruption and nepotism in the current administration.
After the letter I include another notice posted on the site today warning City of Miami employees about the investigation to begin tomorrow, and what protections they should expect and demand as part of cooperating with the investigation.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Barriers of Entry

In economics (or any field) barriers of entry describe institutional and systemic conditions preventing new firms entering a market.

There are two interesting barriers to entry of journalism: access to information and availability of dissemination.

Someone chewed me out elsewhere regarding analogies, therefore I intend to flesh this one out more.
The concept in economics concerns the ability to for new firms to enter a market. Infrastructure costs cultivate institutional malaise. This lack of momentum cannot maintain pace as consumers' tastes refine and discernment alter.
The ideal type of a free market economy affords competitors, or would bes, the marginal opportunity to squeeze in to a competitors market, and in some cases develop new ones.

While one can imagine a case in which and older and newer company coexist in a similar or the same market, modernity is no stranger to another important economic concept coined creative destruction, in which a firm or a process or an idea succumbs to a better one. Or at least one that can survive it.

This line of reasoning may be strange to follow. Economics is not a hobby for many.


North Miami's Loss

Local blogger Stephanie Kienzle of votersopinion.com recently ended her journalistic relationship with the city of North Miami. This is a pretty big deal because as I know it she was the only journalist covering North Miami.
Discerning news reader know better than to rely on the information coming out of the Miami Herald, which is more legitimizes the powers that be than producing any actual journalism.
Like another local blogging hero, Al Crespo, Stephanie is a citizen journalist whose work calls in to question the journalistic quality of government-condoned media institutions, like our local TV stations, or aforementioned Herald. Part of what I mean, and I've written about previously, is the habit of mainstream media to plagiarize the journalism of bloggers, and do it poorly so as to lose the relevance of the original efforts.
Although perhaps remembered most for doing the leg work in the Myron Rosner arrest, votersopinion.com has many example of journalism. Rather than parroting press releases and giving politicians favorable quote space, journalists, unlike mainstream media, report on the facts and follow where they lead. The news is the facts, the conclusions we reach about current events need factual underpinnings or we can allow lies to be accepted as truths.

Consider this article by the Miami Herald regarding candidates for a recent election who may not have lived in their cities of candidacy for the time required to run for such offices. If you review the article notice they specifically reference votersopinion.com, and that Stephanie, its author, filed a complaint. They do not, however, reference any of the evidence in the complaint. That means their neither refute nor corroborate the evidence. What's worse though, it means Herald readers know there is an issue, but could not possibly discern why.
Of the three candidates covered in the article, regarding one there is a hear-say quote of the candidate admitting his non-residency. The Herald fails to specify whether this quote was given directly to them, or if they got it from another source. The Herald also fails to investigate the claim. If the candidate did admit on a radio program to being a non-resident of North Miami, that would have been very strong evidence of criminal behavior. Hear-say, however, is not evidence, and would not walk two inches in a court of law against any decent defense attorney. But the Herald is not a part of the justice system, so apparently their standards of journalism are about as mature as George W. Bush's diction.
It's well and good the Herald is a bulletin board for the vaguest representations of current events, but who the HELL do they think is going to investigate the stories they're reporting on if they won't do it?

And so, since our local, government condoned, mainstream news publication, the Miami Herald, is chronically incapable of doing journalism, (a bulletin board is not journalism) what remains is the citizen journalist.
Subject to a level of transparency unrivaled by any, citizen journalists must be on point with their information or the public will eat them alive. Posts on votersopinion often promote discussions involving both members of the community, and those charged with maintaining it.


And so I come full circle. The City of North Miami lost the efforts of Stephanie Kienzle to shed light where there is otherwise a great darkness. As that city is further taken over by organized crime, losing such a light may be catastrophic.
Therefore I call you to arms. Stephanie alone could not possible fill the void of journalism in North Miami. The local bloggers are not enough to fulfill the desperate need for journalism everywhere. I've said something to this effect before and I won't stop now, a grand renaissance of citizen journalism is soon upon us. How can we make it happen sooner? How can we make it now?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Word, Miami. Is there a future?

Journalism is a useful tool for a self-aware society. Just as individuals need to be aware of their own internal relations, journalism give us the tools to find society's cancers and deal with them reasonably.
Without a functioning journalism the diseases which ravage our society go unnoticed by the consensus necessary to effect change.
The bastions of old media are often not journalists, but rather whores to the dictates of other cultural phenomena like bills and greed. We need more than this, and as such I have lost neither my interest not commitment to watching and participating in the new media.
To that end I'm going to focus a bit on how to organize information in the creation of journalism or the means by which one is journalistic. Some important though mundane aspects of this prospective include:

  • creating, organizing, editing and using physical media to convey "facts"
  • determining effective best practices for sharing information
  • journalism is not a popularity contest. other than the dictates of individual needs and will it should be about conveying the facts to as many relevant or interested beings as possible
  • what is a speculation or a fact; to what extent are arbitrary cultural paradigms useful in contextualizing social circumstances, and when does such reliance degrade the clarity of facts
These are all focused on the idea of methodology for creating news as such.

To remove dominance of the medium, and the current methodologies, in ease of creating journalism the various steps should be modulated to allow, for instance, automation when necessary, or others to easily contribute their module to the production of the "piece" or whatever it is that's being made.

The news is the goal, and this in itself requires delicate handing once it is produced. In the new media a story can be edited over time as errors are discovered or new information uncovered. These changes can be sufficiently documented for propriety.
A new story can later update the goings on of a particular news narrative and again the new media allows us to adequately document the relationship between this new story and media that had been produced previously.

This curative aspect of journalism is also important for the proper life of news because otherwise the community is left without chronological context important in mature consideration of social phenomena.

More to be said, this is not a revolution, or a reset. This continues.