HEY YOU! YES, YOU!!

HEY YOU! YES, YOU!!


However you may have arrived here, this is the old Not Not Silly Newsroom.

It's a long story -- hardly worth going into here -- but after this place was declared a Brownfield Site, we abandoned it for the NEW! IMPROVED!! Not Now Silly Newsroom.

Feel free to stay and read what you came here to read, but when it's time to leave go to the new place by clicking HERE.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Playhouse Trojan Horse Update

These are the arrows in Question 3. I'm not sure
why they were blocked off this way yesterday.
Last week I received a call from the executive assistant of Art Noriega, CEO of the Miami Parking Authority. Because it began with a fulsome apology for not answering my email [See: The Coconut Grove Playhouse Trojan Horse; Part II], I was willing to listen. 

Mr. Noriega wanted to have a meeting at my convenience to discuss my email. I suggested Wednesday [yesterday] and, instead of meeting at his office, we meet at the Playhouse Parking lot. He was more than willing. In the exchange of emails confirming our meeting, I made one last demand: that he still answer my email. That way we could have a conversation, as opposed to a grilling, and get to better understand each other and the issues. He was more than willing to do that, as well.

Here is Mr. Noriega's replies to the questions that applied to the Miami Parking Authority, followed by those [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff has refused to answer:
Feb 17
Headly,

In anticipation of our meeting tomorrow, here is our response to your original e-mail. Really looking forward to a lively discussion.

[...] 2). When neighbours complained previously that the 45 valet parking spots rented from the MPA would bring additional traffic, they were assured there would be no additional traffic on Charles Avenue as a result. This is clearly false. Why has this been allowed to continue for the past year despite occasional complaints by the neighbours?

The MPA was not made aware of any complaints. The valet has been operating for quite some time. If there were complaints, they haven’t come to us.

3). If there was to be no additional traffic on Charles Avenue then why did the MPA, when it resurfaced the Main Street parking lot, paint a giant arrow on the ground immediately BEHIND the Playhouse directing cars to exit onto Charles Avenue?

The arrows were placed to add clarity to the ingress and egress of traffic through that area.  The traffic, to our understanding, always flowed that way even before MPA took over the management.


4). Some of these 45 spots rented from the MPA are now being used several days a week as a drive-in movie theater. How is this being done?

MPA entered into an agreement with Miami Dade County to allow this drive-in theater to operate in that section of the lot, Mon-Thurs Nights.
Is there a sub-lease? Yes A contract? Yes A gentleman's agreement? Is the MPA involved? Yes

5). What permits were needed to run a drive-in theater in that parking lot?

Blue Star Lite is the company running the drive-in theater and they pulled all the necessary permits from the city of Miami.  What are the insurance requirements and who is paying for it? The insurance requirements are detailed in the contract and is paid for by Blue Star Lite and are approved by the city of Miami risk management department.

6). When these 45 spaces are full of cars and/or drive-in movie patrons, where does the overflow parking go now that the gate on the residential lot has been locked again? [It's been locked and unlocked as needed for overflow parking until now.]

Overflow is directed to the front portion of the lot located adjacent to Main Highway.

7). At the far west end of the MPA parking lot on Main Highway there is a chain-link fence with a double-gate that feeds onto William Avenue. Why is this gate locked most daylight hours, but quietly unlocked and left wide open on busy nights in Coconut Grove, when the Playhouse parking lot is full?

The gate should be closed at all times.  We have addressed with our security to ensure this is indeed the case.  It should not be open at any time.

8). What will the City of Miami do about monitoring these valet parking infractions going forward?

MPA monitors all valet companies working on the public right of way. Any  Valet companies working in or on private property are monitored by the city of Miami code enforcement division.

9). What will the City of Miami do to reduce all the added traffic these parking lots have caused on Charles and William Avenues?

This question needs to be addressed by City of Miami transportation division. The traffic flow there now is much lower than it was when the Playhouse was operational.


[...]

Regards,
Art

Art Noriega
Chief Executive Officer
Miami Parking Authority
Just to remind readers, here are the questions [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff has refused to answer, merely replying that the resident who complained had her complaint satistfied in 2 business days. 
 1). Why did Charles Avenue resident Cynthia Hernandez have to insist that the police do something after they first tried to tell her that there was nothing they could do since the property owner hadn't made a complaint?

[To their credit, but only after additional phone calls, the police finally ordered the residential lot to be emptied of cars; a process, I am told, that took 45 minutes and created the 2nd traffic jam of the night on Charles Avenue. The first was filling the empty lot with some 40-50 cars in the first place.]

[...] 10). Considering Gino Falsetto is one of the owners of Aries; and considering he also has financial interests in the empty residential lot being used for the last year as overflow parking to the 45 spaces rented from the MPA; and considering he is also part owner of Paradise Parking; and considering it's his 3 restaurants that use the valet parking; and considering that his brother Andrew Falsetto is a part of South Park, the company that took the fall for Friday night's parking fiasco; isn't all this circular finger-pointing just a little too convenient for everyone to duck responsibility by blaming this ongoing situation as a one-time event?
The E.W.F. Stirrup House on February 18, 2015
after nearly a decade of Demolition by Neglect.
11). And, most important of all: Considering all I have uncovered and written about Gino Falsetto's shenanigans -- his Demolition by Neglect of the 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House; the destruction of the old trees on that property without the proper plans and permits; the interior demolition of the E.W.F. Stirrup House without permit or historic plan on file; the destruction of the wall that separated La Bottega from the current construction zone of the E.W.F. Stirrup lot without the proper permits; the removing the roof of the Bicycle Shop without a demolition permit; his alleged squatting on the Playhouse parking lot for several years; etc., so forth, and so on -- isn't it time that Falsetto, and the series of companies he hides behind, are held responsible for the downgrading of the quality of life of your West Grove constituents who live around his fiefdom?
The residents on Charles Avenue may be gratified to learn that Art Noriega suggests they call Miami Code Enforcement for any further valet parking shenanigans and they'll take care of it, especially now that he's on the case.

The Charles Avenue Historic Marker is right across
the street from the E.W.F. Stirrup House and immediate
behind the Coconut Grove Playhouse. Any restoration that
doesn't pay attention to this rich history is an insult to the
Black folk that have lived in the West Grove for generations.
I didn't bother to ask Noriega any questions about the Blue Star-Lite Drive-In because it will be kicked to the curb, literally, when -- and if --  the Coconut Grove Playhouse becomes a construction zone. However, Norienga did mention, in an off-hand way, that all the valet parking companies sharing these lots will be in trouble when -- and if -- the Coconut Grove Playhouse becomes a construction zone.

My sense of Art Noriega is that he's a nice guy with a difficult job. He has to balance Miami's need for more and more parking spaces with a sensitivity to neighbourhoods, traffic patterns, and culture. I did my usual sales job on him about the rich cultural history of West Grove. I think I impressed him with my sincerity. More to the point: I hope I made him understand that what was being ignored in all this talk of a revival for the Coconut Grove Playhouse is the neighbourhood immediately behind it.

Noriega seemed genuinely pained when he spoke of the Coconut Grove Playhouse being dark for all these years. The way he described it, back in the day, made it sound as if The Playhouse was the stable cultural center of a swirling art scene that encompassed the entire Grove. He contends its shuttering created a black hole for businesses throughout that entire south end of downtown Coconut Grove, from which Commodore Plaza is only just recovering.

Noriega also said that any talk of how many parking spaces will be needed [200-300 is what I've heard] on the Playhouse footprint is premature. They still don't know how much of the building can be saved, if any, how big the theater will be, and whether there will be one theater or two, as a recently floated plan suggests.

He seems genuinely concerned to see that forward progress continues on the Playhouse Renovation/Revival. His biggest fear seems to be that the State of Florida (which owns the land) gets tired of waiting for something to happen and sells the land, as it has always had the power to do once the Playhouse board went bankrupt.

It's been a year since Miami-Dade Cultural Czar Michael Spring cut all the deals that allowed the Playhouse Renovation to go ahead. Since then, and only recently, Arquitectonica was chosen to oversee the project. How long will Florida wait for plans to arrive on a builder's drawing board is anybody's guess, but it certainly won't be forever.

Headlines Du Jour ► Thursday, February 19, 2015

Hiya, Headliners! Today's birthday belongs to William Robinson, who as Smokey Robinson wowed them at Motown. Among the other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:

SO GLAD WE'RE LIVING IN A POST-RACIAL SOCIETY:







FREE THE WEED!!!






IN LGBT NEWS:





IN INCOME INEQUALITY:







MORE OF THAT REPUBLICAN OUTREACH:




GIMME THAT OLD TIME RELIGION:



ANOTHER EXCITING EPISODE OF COPS GONE WILD:



ANOTHER SHOOTOUT AT THE OK CORRAL:





HACK ATTACKS:




FOX "NEWS" IN THE NEWS AGAIN:





IN INNER SPACE:




IN OUTER SPACE:








VIDEOS DU JOUR:



Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Raking Muck in the Big Miami ► Unpacking The Writer

An app that allows me to pretend
I'm being sketched on the beach.
Hold on, dear readers! It's that time of the month when I pull back the curtain like Toto did to the Wizard of Oz and reveal a bit more of myself. AUNTY EM!!! AUNTY EM!!!

But first, A NOT NOW SILLY NEWSROOM ALERT: Further to The Coconut Grove Playhouse Trojan Horse, my 2-part investigative report from last week: While [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff has yet to answer any of my 11 questions, I did get an apology from the Miami Parking Authority and a confirmed time and date for a meeting with CEO Art Noriega. Hopefully I can answer some of the Charles Street neighbours' questions afterwards.

Right after The Coconut Grove Playhouse Trojan Horse was published Friends of Merrie Christmas Park reminded me of When Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff Lied To My Face. So I wrote up that exciting episode as well and posted it here a few days later. It's all part of my relentless campaign to elect ABT - Anybody But Teresa in Miami's upcoming District 2 election. Maybe I should start a PAC and then buy some radio adverts. But, since I can't afford that, why not join my facebookery of the same name? Trust me, you've done worse things in your life.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/ABT-Anybody-But-Teresa/378120335693205

Nine years ago, when I moved from Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, back to 'Merka, the land of my birth, the last thing I figured I'd be doing is getting involved in 'Merkin politics. I lived in Canada for 35 years -- more than twice as long as I lived in the States -- taking out Canadian citizenship in the process. To become a citizen of Canada I had to swear an oath to Queen Elizabeth II, her heirs and assigns. In that oath I swore that I would not serve in the armed forces of another country, nor would I vote in their elections. While it's an oath I take seriously, once I got down here in Florida I was inexorably drawn into 'Merkin politics. 

My political foray began as Aunty Em Ericann, my alter ego when I was writing for NewsHounds, the motto of which is "We watch Fox so you don't have to." I looked at Aunty Em as performance art, which I carried on for years. Being Aunty Em freed up my writing style considerably. She threw out a lot of the rules of writing and started inventing her own words and lexicon, a tradition I continue here and on the facebookery.

I wrote so many columns for NewsHounds that sometimes, when I'm researching the Friday Fox Follies for PoliticusUSA, I trip over an article of mine that I don't even remember writing. However, they always make me laugh, which is my primary purpose in life: making myself laugh. If I can make myself laugh with my own writing, then maybe you will too. The supreme compliment, as far as I'm concerned, is "That was funny."

I still think one of my funniest columns for NewsHounds is retold in The Day I Shook Hands With Glenn Beck ► Nostalgia Ain't What It Used To Be. Your mileage may vary.

The E.W.F. Stirrup House continues to rot away in
the hands of a rapacious developer. This is what
nearly a decade of Demolition by Neglect looks like.
As my longtime readers know -- but I pick up Newbies alla time -- my ongoing project has been my 5-years-and-counting source of fascination, the 120-year old E.W.F. Stirrup House in Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida. Every story I've written about Coconut Grove has been a direct outgrowth of my continued research of Ebeneezer Woodbury Franklin Stirrup, his place in the late 1880s, and how he created a place that was, at one time, unique in this country.

I've written so much about him that I won't repeat any of it today, but take a gander at Happy Birthday Coconut Grove!!! Now Honour Your Past to see why it's important to save his legacy, Then read Shocker!!! E.W.F. Stirrup House Plans Are Finally On File to see how badly this house, so important to the history of Coconut Grove, has been mismanaged.


Not Now Silly explores the historic Coconut Grove Colour Line:
Where The Sidewalk Ends, Racism Begins; Part I; Part II; Part III


As usual, I digress. I was talking about Miami politics. There was a time -- and not all that long ago -- I couldn't have told you where District 2 was. Now I have people calling me up to test the waters for a run as Commissioner in District 2. Whether I really want to be involved in the District 2 race, I'm still being inexorably drawn in. So far I have only thrown my weight behind Anybody But Teresa. If, at any time, I come out in favour of a candidate, you'll be the first to know.

Lately, I've also been getting more tips from sources who wish to remain anonymous. It takes a long time to nurture a secret source. So many people have been burned by journalists before. Occasionally, before my sources share their tip, they tell me how they've been burned. However, my sources trust that OFF THE RECORD truly means OFF THE RECORD. That's how I get people to talk.

It takes time to chase down these tips and not all of them pan out. F'rinstance, The Coconut Grove Playhouse Trojan Horse, took a year's worth of research, some of which included just sitting in parking lots observing for hours on end. At the time I didn't even know I'd be writing an article about parking. Someone who read that story alerted me to an even bigger story of potential skulduggery and malfeasance. If true, this is EXPLOSIVE!!! This source has been solid on every tip so far, but getting to the truth of this one could be difficult. First I need to know which sewer to start dredging. As they say on the Tee Vee Tubery, STAY TUNED.

Not Now Silly set a new, all time record for readers in January, 2015.
NOT NOW SILLY HOUSEKEEPING: I know, I know, I know . . . I keep promising a new, improved Not Now Silly Newsroom, but what can I tell you at this point? I'm keeping up my end of the bargain by posting stories that my readers want to CLICK on. I no longer know what's holding things up on the end of my Web Master.

To think this started as a casual conversation in July that began, "How can I monetize my web site?" That's when the suggestion was made that I'd have to jump onto a WordPress template for that to happen and, while you're at it, you may as well buy your own domain name. I replied, as I have to others who said the same thing, "But, I don't want to lose everything that's been posted up to now at the Not Now Silly Newsroom." He's the first guy to say, "You don't have to," so he began the process of moving everything to the new platform and template, which I love and approved months ago. Now I'm just waiting for the other shoe to drop. And waiting patiently, I might add.

If you have any suggestions for me in that area, I'd love to hear it. 

Lastly, Pops celebrated his 89th birthday on Valentine's Day. He's the reason I came to Florida. After the death of my mother almost 10 years ago he asked me if I would come down and help him. He didn't really need taking care of. He still golfed almost every day and was totally capable of taking care of himself. However, he had no idea of the magic created in the kitchen. He couldn't even fry an egg, let along make himself dinners.

However, every year there is less and less he can do for himself. He's no longer driving long distances, sticking to just local runs. He stopped golfing, but still meets the boys out on the course every morning. He walks with a cane, but most of the time he's only using it for balance, swinging it parallel to the ground. That's why it's dangerous to walk in front of him or behind him. I can't even tell you how many times I've been poked already.

So there it is, the life of a writer for another month. Tune in sometime during March for another exciting episode of Unpacking the Writer, from the real files of the Not Now Silly Newsroom. In the meantime, we rejoin the regular Not Now Silly Newsfeed, already in progress.

Headlines Du Jour ► Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hello there, Headliners!Today's birthday boy is Gene Pitney. Here are some other Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:

SO GLAD WE'RE LIVING IN A POST-RACIAL SOCIETY:






GIMME THAT OLD TIME RELIGION:



WAR IS HELL:



MORE OF THAT REPUBLICAN OUTREACH:





ANOTHER EXCITING EPISODE OF COPS GONE WILD:






ANOTHER EXCITING EPISODE OF CORPORATIONS GONE WILD:



FREE THE WEED!!!






TODAY IN CLIMATE CHANGE:




HACK ATTACKS:



FOX "NEWS" IN THE NEWS AGAIN:



IN INNER SPACE:





IN OUTER SPACE:






VIDEOS DU JOUR:



Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Headlines Du Jour ► Sunday, February 15, 2015

Hey there, Headliners! Celebrating a birthday today is Melissa Manchester. Among the Headlines Du Jour of yesteryear:
Here is today's Headlines Du Jour:

SO GLAD WE'RE LIVING IN A POST-RACIAL SOCIETY:






MORE OF THAT REPUBLICAN OUTREACH:







MORE EXCITING EPISODES OF COPS GONE WILD:




AN EXCITING EPISODE OF CORPORATIONS GONE WILD:



FREE THE WEED!!!




GIMME THAT OLD TIME RELIGION:





ANOTHER SHOOTOUT AT THE OK CORRAL:



TODAY IN CLIMATE CHANGE:



ANTI-SOCIAL MEDIA:





FOX "NEWS" IN THE NEWS AGAIN:






IN OUTER SPACE:







VIDEOS DU JOUR:



Headlines Du Jour is a leisure-time activity of Not Now Silly, home of the Steam-Powered Word-0-Matic, and your rest stop on the Information Highway. Use our valuable bandwidth to post your news comments in today's open thread.