County Commission Declares July 16th As Al Sunshine Day
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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Former longtime CBS4 investigative and consumer reporter Al Sunshine received a proclamation Tuesday morning by the Board of Miami-Dade County Commissioners.
It was proclaimed that Tuesday, July 16, 2013 was Al Sunshine Day to acknowledge his more than 40 years on the air in South Florida.
Sunshine worked for WFOR for 25 years before retiring earlier this month.
Sunshine is perhaps best known for his “4 Your Money” series and his “Shame on You” reports which investigated and exposed businesses that defrauded or deceived consumers.
Sporting a new Hemingway-like beard, Sunshine thanked the commissioners.
“For some 40 years I’ve been able to document the growth and changes of this community into one of the premier international capitals of the world. We’ve had our rough spots, we’ve had our opportunity to shake our finger at times and say ‘Shame on You’, but more importantly we’ve had the opportunity of working together as colleagues to try and figure out what some issues are that affect us, our homes, our families, our community and more importantly do something about that to try and make life better for us in South Florida.”
Many of Al’s special investigative/consumer reports prompted responses from government agencies resulting in significant regulatory changes.
“Through the help of this commission we have been able to institute registration and consumer protection laws for when you take your car in to be repaired, to try and put an end to car repair rip-offs. We noted that women were being charged more than men whenever they went to have their dry cleaning and cleaning done. We were able to move to get an ordinance on that. On the state level, we were able get some food safety ordinances.”
Sunshine doesn’t plan to sit idly by during his retirement.
“To quote one of my early mentors, Ralph Renick who used this term for quite a while, for the past 40-41 years I‘ve been in this town, ‘I’ve got sand in my shoes.’ I know what this community is, I’m not going anywhere. My work is far from being over.”
Prior to CBS4, Al worked for the Cable News Network and at WTVJ.
He received an Emmy Award for a “Shame On You” report on illegal police parking and a second Emmy for exposing fraud in auto insurance.
Other high profile reporters included a railing safety investigative which revealed that an alarming number of balcony railings were corroding and resulted in statewide railing safety regulations in 1989; a school bus safety report resulting in the Florida School Bus Safety Law of 1990; discount club scam report which prompted consumer protection regulations in Dade and Broward and the Florida Vehicle Protection Act of 1993; and Al’s reports on the quality of drinking water have resulted in better detection and control of cancer-producing chemicals which were found above federally-approved levels in the water of several local municipalities.
In 1994, Al investigated car leasing scams, and showed it to the Florida Senate. He also testified before the group leading to new consumer protection regulations for the car leasing industry.
Sunshine has received numerous honors for his reporting, including the Miami Police Department Accuracy and Fairness Award (1976), the Florida Academy of Trial Lawyers Media Award (1991) and the Dade County Trial Lawyers Association Award (1992). Sunshine has also received the Florida Public Health Association award; National Association of Consumer Agency award, Administrators 1st place Television Award in 1994, and the 1995 Consumer Champion Award from the Florida Consumer Action Network. He was also inducted into Iron Arrow, the University of Miami’s prestigious honor society. In addition to his other Emmy nominations, Al recently received the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences’ distinguished Silver Circle award, signifying 25 years of superior reporting in South Florida.