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Tuesday August 7, 2012

How South Beach really runs: code enforcement extortion crackdown

Jose L. Alberto Here’s a partial peek behind the curtain, curtesy of the FBI. Since it’s a press release, I’m going to cut ‘n’ paste just like I wrote it (just like the Herald would), and I’m going to delete out the boring bits:

Jose L. Alberto, the former lead code compliance officer for the city of Miami Beach, pled guilty to one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right for his participation in a scheme to extort cash payments from a South Beach nightclub. Alberto faces up to 20 years in prison.

Alberto was indicted on one count of conspiracy to commit extortion under color of official right and 22 counts of extortion under color of official right and induced by the wrongful use of actual and threatened fear of economic loss. Alberto was the second most senior official at the Miami Beach Code Compliance Division and oversaw and managed all the Miami Beach code compliance officers.

Alberto admitted that in June 2011, he solicited a cash pay-off from a Miami Beach nightclub owner in exchange for not enforcing a large fine for a code violation.

The nightclub owner reported the alleged extortion to the FBI, which commenced an undercover investigation. During the undercover investigation, Alberto accepted 22 separate cash pay-offs for a total of $16,600 from either the nightclub owner or an undercover FBI agent posing as the manager of the nightclub. These cash pay-offs were made in exchange for Alberto’s protection from potential code violations and to permit the nightclub to continue operating.

In court, Alberto also admitted that while the pay-offs were being made, he introduced various other code enforcement officers to the undercover FBI agent to help protect the nightclub. These code enforcement officers, like Alberto, also received cash pay-offs in exchange for their protection of the nightclub. Two of those officers, Vicente Santiesteban and Orlando Gonzalez, have pled guilty to conspiring with Alberto to extort cash from the Miami Beach nightclub and are scheduled to be sentenced in the coming months.

So there you have it — a pretty substantial criminal conspiracy run from inside Miami Beach city hall gets shut down. We’re left to speculate what this really means. Is it that the system is working? We’ve all heard about how the Beach is run by the mob, right? Is it that these guys didn’t have the permission of the official extortion ring (which surely would involve the Miami Beach Police Department, after all) to be doing this?

The $16,000 figure is interesting. Maybe Alberto hit up the nightclub as an experiment, and the FBI steered the direction towards high pay-offs to make a better case (in other words, he was only extorting this or a couple of other nightclubs). Or Alberto was determining the amount of the payoffs, which would suggest he had his own fee structure and that he has had been doing this a long time? If he made $16,000 from one club between June 2011 and March 2012, imagine how much you could rake in on the beach with a little ambition. It’s not like the money is that much to the club in exchange for getting to ignore the code with impunity.

I hope somebody follows this a little, because I’d love to hear what club this was, just to see what happens to them going forward. Not willing to play the game? I doubt that’d very good for business.

Photo from Flickr, via Random Pixels, where there was good reporting on this back in April, after the arrests were made.


Monday July 23, 2012

Stolen Matisse recovered in Miami

stolen matisse on the left

Whoa, a newspaper getting cute with a headline? SHOCKING.

Anyway, the picture above left is a Matisse stolen from a museum in Caraces, Venezuela over 10 years ago and replaced with the fake on the right. I suspect that difference in how the two were photographed is contributing to how different they look — the fake is darker overall, but more digitally saturated and color balanced differently. Or so it seems. What happens if we try to bring the photos into digital allignment? It’s a tricky business, because unless you photograph the two pieces in the same light and with the same camera they’re going to look different. But anyway, I fixed it, and I suspect this is closer to reality than the Associated Press’ reproduction:

matisse fixed

Now the fake looks a little better. Let’s give the forger some credit (and the people at the museum, who apparently didn’t notice the swap for years).

Anywho. You always wondered what happens to stolen art. No collector with self-respect would buy it, and if they did they’d risk being reported by anyone who saw it and knew enough to know their thing was stolen. You’d have to be a criminal low-life, and only associate with other criminal low-lives? Well, this particular fake Matisse ended up in Miami, where the thieves thought they had a potential buyer. Turns out the buyer ratted them out, there was a sting, and now the painting is recovered.

I hear that most stolen artworks end up in the collections of organized crime bosses, and more importantly are often used as payment, collateral, and gifts in the big-time criminal underworld, because the pieces have a relatively well-known high value and are easier to move around than truckloads of cash.

One other Miami connection with this theft. When I said the painting was stolen “over 10 years ago” what I mean is that’s when they first noticed it was switched. Who noticed? According to the Daily Mail it was Genaro Ambrosino (as in Ambrosino Gallery), who heard in 2002 that someone was trying to sell the painting and contacted the folks in Venezuela. (The Venezuelans, for their money, “suspect” that the painting was swapped during a loan to Spain in 1997, but if you ever check a painting in your collection against the photo you have on record, wouldn’t it be when it comes back from an overseas loan?)

And now for some fun links: here is a dumb ABC News report on the incident, and here is a book written about the heist in 2009, which you should click through just to look at the cover.


Monday February 11, 2008

Hey parents, don’t let your teenage daughters roam around the church unescorted, because you never know when a deacon might jump out of the shadows and rape her. I gotta tell you, I’ve just about had it with the religious nuts. Get thee to a Christopher Hitchens debate video on the existence of God.


Thursday February 7, 2008

So, the sex offenders that have lived under a bridge off Biscayne Bay are being kicked out. The problem, of course, is that they have nowhere much to go, so when they were told they had 72 hours to leave (a lie, to “motivate” them), at least one just went underground, and most of them are still there. What a mess. This is all because of those “you can’t live within X-number of miles of Y-type establishment” laws I’ve been bitching about for years. The story alludes to a possible reform, which ought to be hastened. Also: a description and a few photos of their life, surprisingly cushy for being under a bridge.


Tuesday January 8, 2008

Cockfighting bust

cockfighting map

The spot marked above (click to zoom in) was the site of a major cockfighting bust this weekend. 37 people were arrested, with “a mob of suspects” getting away, and 40 roosters were found on the premises, two shot to death, Michael-Vick-style.

How the bust happened is that somebody heard the gunshots, called that shit in, and all police had to do was swarm in (helicopter and all). So, that’s fine. I get why cockfighting is illegal, but I sort of hope the law goes easy on the perpetrators, mostly elderly Latin-America men. I raised an eyebrow when I read that the case was being handled by the “organized-crimes bureau,” which I take to mean Miami Dade PD’s Special Investigations Division. And get this: “Big cockfighting busts are usually limited to extended investigations.”

Yeah, that’s right: the folks charged with conducting “major economic, narcotic, criminal conspiracy, auto theft, and organized crime investigations, and investigations associated with prostitution, gambling, and pornography that exceed the resources of other departmental elements” ALSO find the time to conduct extended investigations into cockfighting rings. Am I the only one that wishes they would spend their time otherwise?

But rest easy, my cock-fighting fans: at the rate of one closure every 2.5 years, it doesn’t look like they’re making much progress taking down this shadowy criminal conspiracy. We gather that cockfighting goes on un-much-abated in our lands. So, now a moment of silence for the cocks.


Wednesday December 12, 2007

Chinese tourists robbed of $300,000 in jewelry. notice anything fishy about that line. Maybe this line will help: “The tourists said they were making a delivery to a buyer in Miami and they told police that whoever robbed them knew what they had in the car.” So, guess what, dude: if you and four of your “friends” are delivering 300 G’s worth of jewelry, you’re not a freaking tourist. And no shit they knew what you had in the car.


Monday November 26, 2007

“Latin America has a homicide rate of 27.5 victims for every 100,000 residents, compared with 22 in Africa, 15 in Eastern Europe and 1 in industrialized nations. Other studies show that Latin America, with only 8 percent of the global population, accounts for 75 percent of the world’s kidnappings.” — Andres Oppenheimer, who argues that the explosion of crime has fueled a wave of immigration to — you guessed it, Miami. The column is a summary of his new book, although it never actually gets around to the “solutions” section the book seems to promise.


Thursday September 20, 2007

So long, bike!

Well folks, the Kryptolok South Beach Bike Theft Challenge ended this Saturday morning, when I walked outside to find my bike gone! That’s 47 days!! (A much nicer Raleigh mountain bike, which had been parked next to my bike for the past few weeks, was gone too; it had been secured by a very serious-looking Alcatraz chain/padlock combo. The pink bike remains.)

Personally, I’m thrilled — I went out Monday and bought a road bike to replace the mountain bike, getting a much better deal ($150 bike on clearance for $75), a much nicer, aluminum-built bike, and a much more realistic vehicle for practical transportation. I’ve actually commuted to work by bike/bus hybrid twice this week, and plan to do so regularly. (BTW, the new bike is a Crimson Triax)

So . . . what to do now? I’ve been keeping the new bike inside for now, mainly because I have no bike lock at all for now. The case of the Raleigh suggests that merely getting a “tougher” lock isn’t protection enough. So my options are: 1) As ‘I was there’ suggested, get two locks. For example, another Krypto U-lock, plus a heavy-duty chain and padlock from Home Depot. 2) Keep the bike inside at all times.

Having a bike in the apt. is a pain in the ass, although this one is a lot lighter, so lugging it in and out is easier. Another factor to consider is that the bike rack in front of my building, while behind a fence (the gate doesn’t lock anymore) is also behind a hedge; perhaps a more public place to lock the bike is something to look into. One more thing: a road bike is much harder to ride then a mountain bike — more difficult to steer, keep balance, keep an eye on the road, etc. — does that make it less desirable in the underground bike market?


Monday September 17, 2007

PBS’ Exposé on last year’s House of Lies series in the Herald shows how Debbie Cenziper put the story together, and looks at what’s happened since. Not enough, it looks like, but it’s a very impressive story of reporter vs. corrupt government agency.


Monday September 10, 2007

The state of the Art in Public Places program in Miami is a complete disaster. Many works have been lost, stolen, damaged, or destroyed. This makes me want to cry, and I want whoever is responsible to be brought up on charges of criminal negligence. It’s time for us to stop putting up with all this neglect and corruption in our government.


Wednesday September 5, 2007

At NPR, a timeline of the ‘war’ on drugs. Of course Miami features prominently. Great photos, too. This would be interesting to read right before watching Cocaine Cowboys, for some historical perspective.


Tuesday September 4, 2007

Don’t get drunk and hit your 6-week old child upside the head with a beer bottle when your wife gives her a haircut. You’ll get your picture in the paper and end up feeling silly.


Thursday August 23, 2007

“Two years after the hurricane of 1926 and while Miami was still reeling from the collapse of the great Florida land boom, Al Capone quietly purchased a bay-front home on Palm Island through an associate for $40,000, and spent another $100,000 to turn it into a walled-in fortress watchfully guarded by his ever-present security team of seven stalwart Sicilians.” After defeating legal efforts to have him removed from the state, he began sinking his teeth into the local nightlife and gambling industries. He also retired here after he got out of prison.


Friday August 10, 2007

Local hero Fanless is next on the list to be serial-killed.


Thursday July 19, 2007

10 months in jail for a coral poacher, and his boat is getting taken away. Meanwhile — wtf? — you can buy coral on the internet.


Thursday July 5, 2007



Edgewater is one of the most quickly changing neighborhoods in Miami. Historic houses that date back to the earliest days of Miami stand (and often fall) among modern high-rises, many still under construction. There is an excitement there, but also the unease that comes from development that is too much, too quick, and too disorganized. I talked about this in my Miami 21 article, but the truth is that Edgewater is in some ways a case study in how not to do development, and in a decade may look like a hodgepodge if surrounding neighborhoods are developed under the new code.

But right now, the rapid change is causing some frayed nerves. The new buildings isolate their residents high above the street and behind security, so that when they, say, run into homeless folks at the gas station, there is some natural tension. And while it’s easy to make fun of this “What — poor people live near me?!” attitude, the thought of an officially-sanctioned colony of homeless sex-offenders nearby would give anyone understandable (if ultimately irrational) jitters.

It’s too bad the Miami Herald didn’t talk to the Edgewater residents who don’t live in buildings with security guards and locked garages, because the residents living in the older buildings in the neighborhood deal with much more serious problems, not the least of which is regular break-ins (I actually have talked to those people). But not to fear. As this transformation proceeds and the neighborhood fills out with a new population of middle-class folks, the homeless and the criminals will gradually move elsewhere, and things will be hunky-dory in Edgewater again.

Update: Where is Edgewater? This map shows it lumped in with Wynwood, but Edgewater is the eastern slice of the orange block — between US-1 and the bay and between downtown and I-195.


Wednesday June 20, 2007

Case of the stolen bike

bike and lock

So, this* is a bike I’ve had for probably maybe about 10 years, and for most of that time it sat unused at my parents’ place. A while ago I brought it down, but I didn’t really start riding it until a couple of weeks ago, and you know what? It was fun. Cycling isn’t nearly as good exercise as running, but two hours on a bike is better then twenty minutes jogging, and you get to see a lot more. I’d even planned a bus+bike route to work. But getting the damned thing in and out of my closet was a pain in the ass, and leaving it in the middle of my living room was getting annoying, so, enter the above lock.

Long story short, the bike lasted two days on the bike rack in front of my building, and was gone. So, yes, I recognize that it’s a shitty lock, and probably pretty easy to crack. But my question is this: who stole my bike? Was it someone who just happened to see it (someone from the immediate neighborhood maybe) who recognized that the lock was easy to pick, and did it sort of for the heck of it, or was it more of a “professional,” who would have been able to get through any lock (bolt cutters?) and has some sort of buyer of stolen bikes lined up?

In the end, this is just a good excuse to buy a better bike. But I need to know if I can keep it outside (with, say, a Kryptonite New York Fahgettaboudit), or if it’s going to have to live in my apartment with me.

Marginally related: Abandoned bicycles of New York.

* This is the closest picture I could find. My bike actually had a 5-speed shifter and straight handlebars.


Thursday June 14, 2007

Damian Fernandez was enjoying his summer vacation, taking a nap, when two guys broke into his parents’ house. He woke up, grabbed his Samurai sword, and fought them off. One was arrested.


Wednesday June 6, 2007

bank robbery in Miramar

Bank robbery in Miramar. (via Pulp, via Herald, via Miramar Police, via SunTrust Bank)


Wednesday May 30, 2007

The guy who shot two out-of-towners over Memorial Day weekend has been caught, and he’s a local. It turns out to have been something that started as an argument and escalated. Good grief. Anyway, he’s confessed, and they have a ton of evidence. Now get this: it looks like the two dead guys were hanging with Fat Joe.


Wednesday May 23, 2007

Test your knowledge of the Jose Padilla trial.


Monday May 14, 2007

Hidden City gets into a car accident with some guys who’re being chased by the police. Hillary Hilarity ensues.


Monday May 7, 2007

Carl Hiaasen has a column about Alan Crotzer, who spent 8 years in prison after being wrongly convicted of rape. He reprehends the Florida state legislature for not compensating him with money ($50,000 per year). My problem Hiaasen with this is that he never generalizes the argument — if he’s going to write about compensation for wrongful conviction, why not argue it should be automatically awarded to everyone?


Wednesday May 2, 2007

“And then there are those days when my car is rammed at a stoplight in Opa Locka by two thugs with guns and drugs trying to evade a multi-car police chase.”


Wednesday April 18, 2007

The stolen Chihuly pieces were found, but broken. That sucks. BTW, when they stole the pieces they replaced them with PVC pipe painted red.


Monday April 16, 2007

These glass reeds are supposedly worth tens of thousands of dollars each. A bit of pre-insurance claim hyperbole, perhaps?


Monday March 12, 2007

An update on the Carlos Miller case. The attention seems to be on the charges filed against him, rather then charges against the police. And how’d Homeland Security get involved?!


Tuesday March 6, 2007

“[David] Barnes also used nearly $900,000 budgeted for witness protection to build a firing range in the Miami federal courthouse . . .” (via SDoF)


Tuesday February 27, 2007

City of Miami police beat up photographers

Miami Police

OK, first of all photographers have the right to take photos anytime they are on public property. Andrew Kantor lays out the law pretty well, and links to some great resources, including the photographer’s pocket guide. Unless you’re photographing a military installation, or using a zoom lens to get at someone where they have an expectation of privacy, you can do whatever you want. This applies in particular to photographing the police, who are granted extraordinary power by the public — they are supposed to serve us, but we know that they have a tendency to abuse their rights. Photographing the police isn’t just a right — it’s an important check on their power, and lets them know they can’t get away with doing whatever they want (at least not in public).

The City of Miami police ought to know this, but they repeatedly ignore it, regularly harassing photographers on the street (I’ve been the subject of such harassment), and sometimes meeting having these rights pointed out to them with brutal beat-downs.

OK, so a photographer who was in town photographing the Anna Nicole Smith mess decided to come down to Miami to photograph the transition along Biscayne Blvd. He came upon five City of Miami cops who were apparently questioning someone. He began photographing them, and, well, here’s his account:

One of the cops told me to keep walking because this was a “private matter”.

I said that I will not keep walking because this is a “public street”.

Within seconds, the five officer left the first man alone and came after me. One cop escorted me across the road. As I stood on the sidewalk on the opposite side of the road, the cops began surrounding me, which was when I shot several more shots.

That was when they slammed me against the pavement even though I offered no resistance, causing a deep abrasion on my right knee. One officer grabbed me by the back of the head and repeatedly bashed my forehead against the sidewalk, causing abrasions and swelling to the right side of my forehead.

Another officer grabbed my right hand and bent it backwards in a 90 degree angle, causing me to scream out in pain and continuing to do so even after the handcuffs were placed on me. As I verbally protested, one officer threatened me with a taser gun if I did not stop talking.

The officers charged me with five counts of disobeying a police, one count of obstructing justice, one count of obstructing traffic, one count of disorderly conduct and one count of resisting arrest without violence.

On the arrest affidavit, the officers lied several times in order to justify their arrest. They accused me of photographing them without identifying myself, which is not true (and not even against the law as far as I know). As soon as one of the officers questioned me about taking photos, I immediately identified myself by name and profession.

There is an interesting debate going on on the photo’s flickr page, but one thing is for sure: this is not an isolated incident.

Recently a lawsuit was reported against the Miami Police for actions during the 2003 World Trade Organization protest. Seems they had trouble with what this young lady was doing. Rather then beat her up (how macho would that be?) they destroyed her belongings, including her car (!), detained her for extensive questioning, and then left her stranded in downtown Miami.

Are we surprised? Um, no. Our police officers doing whatever they want is par for the course. What is surprising is how well tolerated this stuff is. The debate linked above is full of “he should have done what the police told him to do” type of comments. This is another indication of how we’re willing to let the government do whatever it deems fit post — 9-11, and not question our “betters,” and it’s disturbing, not just from a civil libertarian perspective, but also from a “we’re giving the terrorists what they want when we sacrifice our freedoms for a false sense of security” perspective.

What we should be doing is holding demonstrations in front of police headquarters over incidents like this, and asking our elected officials to send a message to the police that this stuff will not stand.

Update: The photographer is Carlos Miller, and he was on assignment for Category 305. Read Rebecca Wakefield’s article about the incident, which includes a more detailed description of the incident and comments from Miller.


Wednesday February 14, 2007

Was this photo stolen for a sleazy web developer’s ad? Sure looks like it. Compare the original.


Wednesday February 7, 2007

Bronze bandit

Stolen plaque

Here’s the shocking video of the bronze bandit. Except that I don’t see him stealing anything… looks like he tries to open a door, then makes a cell phone call. Still great, though — some guy wandering around the city stealing (fairly worthless) bronze plaques and lettering. Maybe it’s all for an art project?


Monday January 15, 2007

WOW! How much did this cost? Looks nice, can me and a couple hundred of my homeless friends live in it?” Don’t miss the video.


Sunday January 7, 2007

An 18-year old guy was freaking out, and his family called the police for help. There is some disagreement as to exactly what the police did to restrain him, but whatever it was it killed him. And Miami Police Chief John Timoney says the officers acted properly. (via LAist)


Wednesday January 3, 2007

All newly issued US passports now contain RFID chips, arousing some justified paranoia. Wired magazine to the rescue! How To: Disable Your Passport’s RFID Chip: “Hammer time. Hitting the chip with a blunt, hard object should disable it. A nonworking RFID doesn’t invalidate the passport, so you can still use it. . . . But be careful – tampering with a passport is punishable by 25 years in prison.”


Wednesday December 27, 2006

“County Auditor Cathy Jackson released a report that said Hometown Station had misspent more than $3 million that was supposed to be devoted solely to construction costs . . . Miami-Dade County Manager George Burgess gave [the] developer one week to return $5 million in public money . . . a lawyer for the development company . . . said it has no immediate plans to return it.” Classic. Check out the video “House of Lies,” too.


Friday November 24, 2006

Armed cartoonist storms El Nuevo Herald


Earlier today, an El Nuevo Herald cartoonist, Jose Varela, came to the office camoed up and armed with what appears to be a submachine gun. He took control of executive editor Humberto Castelló‘s office and trashed it. He had this to say (translated from Spanish):

You know that the newspaper lasts little today. This little problem is over now. This is a pig sty and somebody needs to pay, somebody has to do it, because this is how you clean shit. It’s about time, now that they’re mocking people. Today they’re going to see it as violence. But somebody has to pay and that is going to be Castello.

The news room was evacuated, and a swat team’s been called in. Herald report.

Update: From the Reuters report (emphasis added):

El Nuevo reporter Rui Ferreira said in a blog that he had spoken to the gunman, who told him, “You are speaking to the new director of the newspaper and I am going to unmask all of the true conflicts in the newspaper.”

Varela called the paper a “pigsty”, said it made fun of the Cuban exile community in Miami and that the paper paid poorly.

“They’ve been making fun of people long enough and today they will see it end in violence. But someone has to pay and that person is going to be (Humberto) Castello.” he said, referring to the Spanish-language paper’s executive editor.

Ferreira said Varela had been in the newsroom a week ago and told former colleagues he had bought himself a sawn-off shotgun and an Uzi submachine gun because he felt unsafe in Jupiter, a Florida town he moved to after his recent divorce.

Update (2:45pm): Police just arrested the guy. Nobody hurt. The update is at the original Herald link, along with a picture of Varela.

Update (11-25-06): OK, the machine gun was a toy(!), although he also had a knife. The “Herald report” link above now has a detailed account of how everything happened (not sure how I feel about them completely rewriting the story as it happens). It seems pretty clear that what we had here was a crazy guy going crazy. Check out a transcript where he compares himself to Rosa Parks at Herald Watch. And at the Pulp, Bob had this to say (after quoting the same “he shoulda grabbed Fiedler” comment from Babalu that Rick jumped on):

I can’t believe I’m even saying this, but I’m starting to think there needs to be some kind of town hall meeting with Fiedler, other newspaper editors and reporters, Cuban exile leaders, and anybody else interested in these issues. Stick Michael Putney in there to moderate. Start it at 7:30 and let it last until the wee hours if it has to.

One thing’s for sure: for better or worse, this has definitely piqued some interest in Varela’s work.


Monday September 11, 2006

3,000 illegal building permits issued.


Monday September 4, 2006

It’s looking more and more like the case of the Miami terrorists was straight-up entrapment. The FBI rented the warehouse for them? Gave them cell phones and video cameras? Suggested targets??


Thursday August 24, 2006

Miami-Dade police are searching for the man who was caught on tape starting a fire inside an adult bookstore in Miami. The shocking video.


Monday August 21, 2006

What’s up with St. Thomas University? First it turns out that one of their criminal law professors is a f’real criminal, though students with a record get expelled, and now it seems that the law school is expelling unpromising students to raise bar pass rates.


Monday July 17, 2006

Top ten most stolen vehicles in Florida. Without citation, but looks plausible enough. The 1994 Honda Accord is #1.


Friday June 23, 2006

Miami gets terrorized!

swat dudes

The whole entire world is abuzz about the “al-Qaida-inspired terrorism operatives” arrested in Liberty City yesterday. It sounds very large. From the Herald article, get this:

Federal agents, assisted by Miami police’s SWAT team, swarmed in Thursday afternoon, cordoning off several blocks around the building at 6260 NW 15th Ave., in the Liberty Square housing project, known by locals as Pork-n-Beans. Cedric Thomas, a co-owner of Thomas Produce Market, said the area around his store was teeming with federal agents. “There is a ton of guys in uniforms moving around, blocking the streets,” said Thomas, whose store, a Liberty City institution, is at 1376 NW 62nd St., near the area cordoned off by police. [sic]

They didn’t have any guns, explosives, or definitive plans. They did have pictures of the Sears Tower, though, so there’s that. It turns out that the group had been having communications with al-Qaida for awhile, just that the al-Qaida in question was undercover feds. Tricky. I wonder how the feds found about them. Oh, that’s right. Well, I guess everything worked out great.


Saturday June 10, 2006

A strange writeup about the stabbing of John Williams at Mansion (in last week’s New Times) alludes to a video of the whole thing shot on someone’s Treo. Well, Channel 4 has the video, along with some defense attorney spin.


Thursday June 8, 2006

M14m1 hax0rZ 0wnz th3 p#0nz


Tuesday June 6, 2006

“The Ethics Commission found that through 1999 and 2000, only 36 officials in every municipality in Miami-Dade, 12 of them elected, reported gifts of $25 or more.” Government officials are required to disclose significant gifts they receive, but they’re either getting very few gifts or choosing not to disclose them.


Monday May 8, 2006

Jim DeFede on the boot camp beating death. He’s never been more right: “the special prosecutor in the case needs to move forward in pressing criminal charges against not only the guards who were present and participated in this heinous act, but the nurse, who stood by and watched as a young child was killed.”


Wednesday April 26, 2006

After a show in West Palm, David Copperfield and two women he was with were robbed. “Copperfield . . . pulled out all of his pockets for [the robber] to see he had nothing, even though he had a cellphone, passport and wallet stuffed in them.” Then he got their license plate number, and the cops busted them. Nice job. (via kottke)


Thursday April 6, 2006

Yellow arrow

It’s taken a long-ass time, but Yellow Arrow [made me download a new version of Flash] finally has some traction in Miami, with 128 arrows (this one is on the sidewalk on Lenox Ave on the Beach). Yellow Arrow started in NYC years ago.

The basic idea is that you use the arrows to tag stuff in the real world (can’t be private property) with arrows you get from the site, and link the unique code on the arrow to your comment about the thing. Others who come across the arrow can get your comment by SMS from their cell. I can’t link to the specific pages on the site (drat that flash!) but poke around.

Tracking these down can’t possibly be worth the effort, but they’re definitely something to be on the lookout for. Better yet, plant some of your own – you order the arrows for 50 cents a piece, and you can do the whole thing from a cell, out in the real world.


Saturday June 18, 2005

Cockfighting Arena Closed

Speaking of roosters, police busted a cockfighting arena in northwest Dade yesterday. Not a sting operation or anything, they just sort of stumbled on it. And it’s not what you think; this place was very fancy: “about 50 caged cocks, wooden bleachers, a practice ring, numbered chairs and a VIP room.” We bet they had some primo hooch on hand, too. Ammeneties like that make one wonder how many cockfighting rings must operate down here.