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Unleashed dogs patrolling South Pointe Park at 10:26 AM May 25, 2014


SOUTH POINTE PARK IS A DOG’S WORLD

28 May 2014
By David Arthur Walters
MIAMI MIRROR
South Beach—I am a creature of habit. I take a walk in South Pointe Park every Sunday
morning, where I pause for awhile at the postmodern lighthouse sculpture at about 10:30, and
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think about my father who passed away a few years ago. The area was a special place for him; it
became sacred for me when he died. I used to come earlier in the morning, but it was turned
into an off-leash dog park from sunrise to 10:00 am every day.
Now my dad did not think much of people who cared more for their dogs than their own kind.
He was a romantic intellectual, an Army boxer and World War II veteran who admired
Lawrence of Arabia. He was a tough guy who loved his kids. He never laid a hand on them, but
he rarely smiled and could scare them to death with a hard look.

Cute off leash dog sniffs around warning sign 10:22 AM May 25, 2014
As for the dogs, he thought they should be canned and shipped to the Far East to feed starving
Asians. Our neighbor kept a big dog chained to a post. The poor dog barked all day and night.
My dad warned the owner to keep his dog quiet, to no avail, and called the police, to no avail,
so one night he got his gun and put it out of its misery. He said the owner deserved to be
punished, but a human is more valuable than a dog so should not be shot even though the
human world is a “dog-eat-dog” world. Anyway, he was a law school graduate; he managed to
negotiate a small fine for euthanizing the dog.
Now it was not “like father like son,” or at least I did not want to be like him. He observed that I
had “a conflict with authority,” something that apparently ran in a family descended from
nobility and traitors.
In fact, I liked to read novels about the adventures of wild dogs. I got the impression that dogs
should not be kept cooped up in cities or houses. They should run the countryside. I confess
that a Great Dane that ran free around town frightened me because he liked to follow me
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home from school. I ran inside the drugstore when I saw him behind me one day. He waited
patiently outside as I hid behind the magazine rack.
Owner is chasing one of two unleashed dogs at 10:22 AM on May 25, 2014
I thought of those things right after the lighthouse area was dedicated to dogs. I saw the lawn,
where children used to play, being desecrated with dog waste, many owners not bothering to
pick it up. One small dog barked incessantly, prompting a resident in a nearby condominium
tower to shout obscenities at its owner. The owner scoffed, remarked that dogs are like babies,
and should be allowed to vocalize. I recommended that he take his loquacious dog to current
public hearings on dog park regulations.

A baby’s friendly doggie running outside of dog park
Now that readers are familiar with my canine biases, they can rest assured that I have nothing
against them and their beloved dogs even if their images appear in this article. This exposition is
not about dogs per se, or the fact that they would like to run loose and to relieve themselves
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wherever and whenever they feel like it. It is about officials whom I believe are so negligent
that they should be ranked below negligent dog owners and dogs in the evolutionary scale.
Yes, it is true that I have a conflict with authority to the extent that I believe that the deeds of
many authorities disqualify them from being authorities. I am not after their jobs. I do not
desire to be an authority. I am an author. Let the reader do his own research and he will likely
agree with me.
If the reader is familiar with South Pointe Park, s/he already knows that many owners allow
their dogs to run off-leash outside of the designated dog park, as well as inside of that area
after 10:00 am in the morning. No problem, you might think: the dogs are cute and the owners
love them; hopefully they will pick up the waste. The problem is that the community has moved
its political representatives to prohibit the behavior, yet it continues with impunity because the
law is seldom enforced, and then it is enforced either selectively or randomly.
The sign at the dog park says, “Violations are subject to fines and are strictly enforced,” but we
all know the “strictly” is so much dog excrement. Indeed, I deleted a photograph of piles of dog
waste left in front of one of the signs because I did not want the image on my equipment.

When I arrived beside the dog park at 10:55 am on Sunday, May 18, I was amused to see a
couple letting their dogs run free there. The brown dog stayed close to its owner, but the white
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dog took off madly along the sidewalk, causing its owner to whistle and chase after it, shouting
and waving his arms madly.


10:22 AM May 18, 2014 - Two dogs run free inside dog park

10:55 AM May 18, 2014 - Dog owner whistling from lighthouse dog park

10: 57 AM May 18, 2014 - Dog owner catches up with dog

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Normally, at that time on a Sunday, a half hour after the dog park closes, not many dogs can be
found in the entire South Pointe Park. There were three other dogs around, all without leashes,
that morning. Another dog owner allowed her cute, tiny dog to scamper furiously around the
lighthouse sculpture once before putting it back on a leash. Two larger dogs were swimming
nearby in Government Cut, retrieving a toy thrown into the water.
11:20 AM May 18, 2014 Compliance officer in Unit 1548 with back to dog park area

Perspective of Code Compliance officer in car if he had faced the park
I noticed that a Code Compliance Officer had parked his car behind me, with the rear of the car
facing the canine activity. I took two photographs of the car as he sat in the car, where he was
apparently occupied with a computer. I was not sure whether he was on his work computer or
playing with a personal device; I did not approach him closely as I did not want to alarm him
into leaving if he was goofing off.
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I have on many occasions observed a Code Compliance officer sitting for long periods of time in
the area, in an alley or on the street, fiddling with a computer while violations were going
unnoticed within eyeshot. I sometimes knocked on the window of an idling Code Compliance
car to get the officer to roll down the window so I could tell him about violations, to later
discover nothing was done about them. Wherefore I would call in the violations to the
administrator, to find later that a “no violation” report was filed without the required
“narrative,” i.e. explanation.
I spoke with a parking lot attendant nearby. She said the officer had been there in the car for a
long time, and was not observed outside of the car. I waited for awhile, got bored and
continued on my way, leaving the park, noticing several code violations or possible violations
near the park.
As a matter of fact, I was already biased against the Code Compliance division of the police
power. There was good reason for code enforcement being at the epicenter of the latest
scandal following the F.B.I. bust of several officers. I was more concerned with gross
negligence, however, than with corruption. My own experience with compliance officers doing
nothing about violations convinced me that there must have be some featherbedding going on,
tolerated by superiors too busy feathering their own beds to effectively manage.
Political opportunists took advantage of the corruption scandal to shake up the administration
and to obtain a majority on the city commission. Philip Levine, a real estate developer
persuaded into leading the “reformist” majority, literally purchased the mayor’s seat with over
a million dollars of his own money. Their main concern seemed to be with the replacement of
one set of real estate developers with their own set, and, accordingly, the favoring of certain
developments over others.
A new city manager, Jimmy Morales, a political insider who had been working as city attorney
for the scandalized city of Doral, was shoed in despite the recommendations of a recruitment
firm. He brought in several fleeing Doral bureaucrats to help him with Miami Beach, bragging at
one meeting that he had fired sixty people.
However, there was no shakeup in the Code Compliance Division of the Building Department, a
department characterized by critics, based on arrest affidavits and indictments, as a
racketeering operation.
A foe of the reformists, a political hit man who styled himself to me as “a destroyer” and who
does not want to be identified so he can carry out schemes that he claims are funded out of his
own pocket for the good of the community, informed me that “Compliance is protected. It will
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not change, no matter who is manager and mayor.” That is, unless I engage in a conspiracy, in
which case all sorts of dirt will be provided.
I believed he was confabulating, psychiatrically speaking; however, the top management of
Compliance has not changed since the scandal. In fact, the division was converted to its own,
standalone department, which provides its director with considerably more discretion hence
power, and Hernan Cardeno, a lawyer, sworn police officer, former police chief, and F.B.I.
corruption liaison, appointed to command Compliance during the F.B.I. investigation, has been
appointed the new department’s permanent director, although there have been no signs of
improvement on the streets of the city. The new city manager’s recommendation of the
conversion from division to department, with Mr. Cardeno as director and the former director
of the division, Robert Santos-Alborna, as his assistant, was unanimously approved by the
commission without any concrete evidence of improvement after two years.
Well, reformist Michael Grieco stated that the commissioners almost always “blindly” follow
the city manager’s recommendation. Our charter, absent the separation of the executive and
legislation powers, a separation that “constitutionalist” republicans fought and died for to
safeguard their bills of rights, is not only illiberal but is “un-American.” In effect, our executive
and his cabinet are parliamentary. When parliament does not keep a close eye on its executive,
following him blindly, he may as well be a king. Bill Clinton’s friend, “King” Philip Levine of
Miami Beach may sit in the city’s parliament, but he is a faux sovereign, and the real executive,
the city manager, is not elected by the people hence not answerable to them.

Mayor Philip Levine
Still, Cardeno appears to be sincere in his intention to improve compliance with city codes
throughout Miami Beach. A former Internal Affairs officer told me that Cardeno is a good cop.
Perhaps he will become an excellent manager with the help of vigilant residents, business
persons, and visitors. As Sir Robert Peel, who established the police force at Scotland Yard,
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observed, the people must be the police; his “bobbies” would be confronted by protestors
pleading for a better constitution. Ancient citizens were police and prosecutors before the word
“police” meant authorities with the sole power to arrest people, instead of meaning, denizen of
the polis. Therefore I expressed my concern over the compliance officer sitting in his car while
there were so many violations visible in the area. Perhaps he was working on his computer, I
said, and I was willing to give him the benefit of the doubt on that, but that time could have
been better spent.
I was flabbergasted to receive back a report that the officer was at the park 45-minutes on a
dog detail:
“Conducted south pointe park dog detail on GO 05/18/2014 from 10:55AM to 11:35AM. 17
dogs were observed throughout the park. No violations were observed. 3 visitors were
educated on dog ordinances. Litter was picked up and deposited in the recepticles. Weather
was pleasent but windv. GD” (sic)
He would have been hard pressed to find 17 dogs in the entire park let alone in the dog park
area an hour after it had closed at 10:00 am. Only a few dog owners linger there or come late.
The only dogs he would have seen while I was there, having arrived at about the same time,
and leaving 15 minutes before him, would have been off leash. And why he would educate
visitors if he observed no violations is a mystery, as is exactly who picked up litter and
deposited it into receptacles. He was not seen outside of the car by two witnesses, but no one
had their eyes on him all the time, so he was entitled to the benefit of the doubt. I rated his
report as “probably false,” with a “5% chance of being true.”
I was curious about the officer’s activity on the computer. If it was a public computer, his
activity might have been monitored, so I asked for a report. Cardeno supplied a Cisco IronPort
M1070 report that showed, under the tab “Proxy Services,” for the time 10:00 am to 12:00 on
May 18, “No data was found in the selected time range matching search criteria.”
I wondered if the report meant that there was no computer usage at all, or if traffic activity
could be found under the tab “L4 Traffic Monitor.” Obviously, his time on the computer if any
might indicate how he passed his sojourn in the park.
“The pdf attachment that I forwarded to you is all that our I.T. Department provided,” Cardeno
responded. “There is no other information that is responsive. Any further examination of an
employee’s performance is part of our administrative/management review.”
That is a serious problem.
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