When Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff Lied To My Face

Just like on Batman, the lair of the criminals is crooked.

Mea culpa. I should have written this up in December, when it happened, but that would make me merely another reporter to whom [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff lied. That’s hardly news, but better late than never. 

A bit of background. On December 9th I attended the Douglas Park Soilgate Dog and Pony Show. This was merely the latest, fancy, multimedia production, mounted at taxpayers expense by [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff in another frantic effort to mollify constituents after they realize they’ve been hoodwinked, as opposed to the elected representative being upfront with his constituents in the first place.

Read about a previous Sarnoff Dog and Pony Show:
The Trolleygate Dog And Pony Show

I didn’t write about Douglas Park Soilgate Dog and Pony Show because: 1). It was a total yawnfest, even though at the end of the meeting [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff lied to my face; 2). I really had nothing new to say on the topic after I shot my wad posting Marc D. Sarnoff ► Everything Old Is New Again in November. That post documented the Sarnoff Skulduggery™ that slicked through Brownfield designations against 6 Miami parks, and 6 adjacent neighbourhoods, before anyone could notice. To quote myself:

[Michelle] Niemeyer is the lawyer who has been advising and working with the Friends of Merrie Christmas Park. She’s managed to help them understand and negotiate the extremely complicated thicket of Miami, Miami-Date, Florida and U.S. environmental laws that go into effect once a neighbourhood has been designated a Brownfield site.

According to Niemeyer, the entire process for designating the 6 neighbourhoods around the toxic parks Brownfield sites was flawed from the get-go. The Brownfield designation was slapped on these neighbourhoods without the proper notification, no matter how many publications in which the city claims it was published. There are supposed to be public meetings before any decisions made and none were held.

During the Douglas Park Soilgate Dog and Pony Show Deputy City Manager Alice Bravo refered to this flawed process in an oblique way and I wanted to get [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff on the record. That’s why right at the end of the Douglas Park Soilgate Dog and Pony Show, I raised my hand to ask a question. Unfortunately, because I had already written about the Sarnoff Skulduggery™, he was prepared for my question. I had barely begun before he cut me off to tell me there had never been a Brownfield designation.

“Does that answer your question?” he challenged.

“No, not really.” And, so I started to ask the question again in a slightly different manner. Once again he cut me off to say there had never been a Brownfield designation.

As I started to ask the question a third time, [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff cut me off again to say the same damned thing. That’s when I gave up. The meeting was breaking up, it was getting loud in the room, and no one really cared about the answer but me. And, even I didn’t care that much because the record shows he is duplicitous liar every time he opens his mouth. However, at least I had him on the record that there was no Brownfield designation, just another lie to a reporter and his own constituents.

[Maybe I didn’t write about the meeting because I’m embarrassed that I allowed [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff to bully me off my question. I kicked myself over and over on the drive home. However, as I have clearly demonstrated, he’s not inclined to answer any questions from me anyway.]

I was reminded of all of this Tuesday when I got an email from Ken Russell announcing Merrie Christmas Park is almost ready to reopen. To remind you, Russell led the neighbour revolt that got the toxic soil removed from Merrie Christmas Park. He’s also recently teased that he’s considering challenging Teresa [is it too early to call her corrupt?] Sarnoff, wife of [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff, in the Miami District 2 race, already crowded with 6 people vying to topple the Sarnoff Dynasty.

FULL DISCLOSURE: This reporter runs a kidding-on-the-square Facebook page called ABT – Anybody But Teresa. Come join the fun.

Russell managed to get the park cleaned up to the neighbours’ satisfaction despite the best efforts of [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff to present them with a fait accompli, a bizarre take-it-or-leave-it deal that would have had the neighbours chipping in for the cost of removing the toxic soil.

Yes, you read that right. For some reason [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff thought the residents should pay to remove the toxic soil the city dumped in their local park. As it turned out an anonymous donor coughed up the dough for the toxic soil
remediation and the work went ahead. That’s just another [possibly
illegal] deal [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff
cooked up behind closed doors. So far he has refused to name the
anonymous donor, which pisses all over the Florida Sunshine Law. But, I digress.

In his email Russell reminds his neighbours: 

Brownfield Designation:
Several months ago, the Commissioners quietly voted to declare this and 5 other parks as Brownfield Sites so that they could get money from the State and [be] release[d] from liability after the cleanup.  Through research, we learned that proper notification wasn’t given to residents and that this particular use of the Brownfield [law] wasn’t appropriate.  So the State is not recognizing the City’s ordinance.  However, for us, it’s important that the City officially reverse their decision to declare our neighborhood parks as Brownfields so that there would be no future confusion or stigma.  I received a call from Deputy City Manager Alice Bravo confirming that at the next Commission meeting (not this week), that the Commissioners would bring it back up for a vote to reverser [sic] their earlier vote.

How can a city reverse a vote that [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff tried to tell me to my face had never been made? Because, you see, it’s not just a game of semantics. This affects people’s lives and property values, something that [allegedly] corrupt Miami Commissioner Marc D. Sarnoff doesn’t seem to understand as he moves all these chess pieces on a board, playing both sides without any oversight.

At the Friends of Merrie Christmas Park Facebook Page Russell elaborated on this Sarnoff lie:

If anyone tells you that the City never designated the 6 parks as Brownfields, ask them about this attached signed approved memo from the City Manager’s office. I have been promised by Alice Bravo (City Deputy Manager) that Sarnoff has promised to un-do the designation through a vote at a Commission meeting later this month.(even though the State never recognized the designation, it’s important that the City withdraw their intention to designate).

If you go to the Friends of Merrie Christmas Park Facebook Page. you will see that Ken Russell has helpfully posted the minutes of the July 24, 2014, Miami City Commission meeting. Because of Sarnoff’s failure to adequately notify the residents around 6 parks and to provide public forums prior to any city vote on Brownfield designations, the motion passed will not be recognized by the State of Florida and now has to be undone. 

This District 2 race is shaping up to be a lot of fun for the Not Now Silly Newsroom.


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Headly Westerfield
Headly Westerfield
Calling himself “A liberally progressive, sarcastically cynical, iconoclastic polymath,” Headly Westerfield has been a professional writer all his adult life.