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MIAMI MIRROR TRUE REFLECTIONS

Jonathan H. Parker (left) Michael W. Kesti (right) at Liquor Lounge

HE IS AN HONEST MAN
That could cost Jonathan H. Parker the election
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MIAMI MIRROR TRUE REFLECTIONS


October 9, 2015
By David Arthur Walters
MIAMI MIRROR
Jonathan H. Parker, Candidate for Miami Beach City Commission Group IV, thanked his
supporters and welcomed interested parties with generous provision of food and beverage at
the popular Liquor Lounge establishment on the corner of Collins Avenue and 16 th Street,
across from Loews Hotel.
I was tipped off to the event by an acquaintance in the Flamingo Park neighborhood. He said he
had met Mr. Parker and he seemed to be an honest man. I was not familiar with him, and had
forgotten that I had seen his name in a long list of candidates for Group IV.
I looked up his profile on the Internet to discover we had a few things in common, such as
experience as an executive in the travel and financial businesses, and a presence in Hawaii
where he holds a law license in addition to licenses in New Jersey and Florida.
When he greeted me at the door, I asked him if he knew whatever happened to an old
acquaintance of mine in Hawaii, Duane Carlsmith. Mr. Parker knew nothing of him and
introduced me to his political consultant, Michael W. Kesti, Chairman of Government Relations
Group, LLC.
I asked Mr. Kesti what it takes to be a successful lobbyist. Influence is the key to success, he
said, so you must have access, and that can be gained by raising the money that puts
candidates in office. Yet there should be no quid pro quo, or particular legislation in return for
money you raised. Can you be against most politicians? No, politicians are your market, and you
must be ready to represent their sometimes contradictory agendas. Do you have plenty of dirt
you could tell after you retire? Not as long as it is under investigation. So what is up with Mr.
Parker? He is an honest man.
Mr. Kesti is the Palmetto Bay lobbyist who tipped off the FBI in 2011 to possible corruption that
led to the arrest of mayors Michael Pizzi and Manny Maroo, and lobbyists Richard Candia and
Jorge Forte. Well, Jonathan Parker had better be an honest man with a lobbyist like Mr. Kesti
around.
Most everyone gathered for the event at Liquor Lounge were intimates who have lived on the
beach or in the county for many years. In other words, they were diehard locals. I was the odd
man out. Leading questions: Where do you live? How long have you been here?

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MIAMI MIRROR TRUE REFLECTIONS


The first question in Manhattan, for example, especially in meat markets, is usually, What do
you do? I guess that question is considered impolite here. One is left guessing. The gracious
lady turned out to be wife to Jay Almeida. I guessed from Mr. Almeidas prominent but
reserved appearance that he was a retired police chief. In fact the gentleman is president and
CEO of the PHN Group and also of Bank Vision US, and he also heads the prestigious
International Business Council of South Florida.
I asked him if he endorsed Mr. Parker for commissioner.
Of course I do, he said, I have known him for many years. He would be a good for Miami
Beach as commissioner.
What do you like the most about him?
He is an honest man. Sadly, it will be difficult for him to win in this political climate.
I tried to provoke Mr. Parker into denouncing the mayor, as has become the custom of late. But
Mr. Parker steers clear of disparaging the mayor. The mayors failings are obvious, so he
believes it is better to address the issues in a positive manner. For example, he is for
rehabilitating the Convention Center, which has always been a political football, now carried by
the mayor. He happy with the pretty new faade proposed, but is not so happy with other
aspects.
He was finally moved to address a few scandals appertaining to the mayor and his cohort in a
brief question-and-answer session. Namely, the Exaggerations; the Sleazy PAC; and the Rebecca
Flap.
First of all, it is standard practice for incumbents to take credit for programs instituted by their
predecessors.
Secondly, the now shut-down politically action committees fundraising activities were probably
legal, but it was definitely unethical in the higher sense for the mayor and a commissioner to
call upon organizations with business before the city to donate money to a PAC touting the
mayors purported accomplishments.
Finally, The Rebecca Flap, a conspiracy theory sketched from scanty information that the mayor
and his political consultant, David Custin, who is running the campaigns of the mayors slate,
are conspiring to sell out the old folks home by the marina to a Chinese developer, roundly
denied by everyone, including the mayor in multiple email blasts, is problematic.
One of his pet peeves is that is hard for people to get thing done at city hall despite the claims
to excellent service and the fact that everyone there is quite nice.
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MIAMI MIRROR TRUE REFLECTIONS


I tarried to converse with a few other people. The adjective honest was prodigiously applied
to Candidate Parker. Some individuals present were connected to the Miami Rotary Club,
where Mr. Almeida manages its public image
On the way out I told Mr. Parker that in the past I had always seen many signs around my
neighborhood during elections. The only signs I have noticed this election are a few signs
advertising Mayor Philip Levine, side by side with the identically designed signs of commission
candidate John Elizabeth Alemn, a nice lady whom I happen to like, and they all had been
knocked down and were being anointed by dogs.
Mr. Parker said someone unknown was taking his signs down, so he had sent email to all the
candidates advising them to alert the police if they have any information about the practice.
He offered me a few of his signs to erect. I respectfully declined, explaining that I like him, but
do not know all the candidates, and must remain impartial, so to speak.
I have a habit of liking people once I get to know them, providing they keep their promises.
Jonathan H. Parker actually emphasizes that he keeps his word, that he does what he says he
will do. People who know him say he is an honest man. That is to say he is not thoroughly
cursed with the underlying crisis or hypocrisy of humanity.
XYX

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