Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Someone cheer me up quick! By Geniusofdespair

I was in Publix tonight and ran into my neighbor on line (college graduate, works in education, in her forties). I asked her if she was voting for the strong mayor. She mentioned our CITY MAYOR by name and asked, is --- running again? I looked at her with dismay I must admit.

I said: “No this is the County Mayor.” She looked at me with that “What are you talking about look” that I always get when I have to explain that there is another layer of government besides the city and the state. As I swiped my card, I told her the port and the airport were run by the county. I told her that much of her services came from the county and much of her taxes went to the county. I also explained that this ADDITIONAL MAYOR was going for a charter change. That puzzled look again. Now how could I explain the Strong Mayor to her while I was signing the credit card receipt? Not enough time, so I said: “Just vote for it.”

And, last week, I was watching a game in a sports bar and was chatting with a woman. I asked her (my usual question that I ask everyone): Do you know who your County Commissioner is? She didn’t, of course, because hardly anyone ever knows but she said: “I do know of one Commissioner: Katy Sorenson.” I asked her where she lived: It was Barbara Jordan’s district!

The point? I have no point. Just a simple question: WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS TOWN!

The people are not dumb – the second woman was an Accountant - but they are so confused, they only know about the city they live in. I am beginning to think we should have dumped the county government because the regular person doesn’t even know it exists.

I think I just figured it out: The county is the stealth, dysfunctional government that escapes accountability because it is always under people’s radar. They hear about the corruption – that they remember - but they never connect it to the entity: Miami-Dade County Government.

I think we should do what they did in “Clockwork Orange.” We should take every citizen who cannot name their county commissioner, secure them to a chair and hold their eyelids open and make them watch a commission meeting on TV. Not as bad as water-boarding but almost. They would never forget their commissioner again.

When the commissioners spend hours talking about minutia it is truly painful to watch. Many times when we activists go downtown to the commission chambers to speak, we can sit for 5 or 6 hours waiting, squirming in the chair and then they tell you to come back tomorrow. This happens. Really!

P.S. Will that damn Miami Herald do a poll to see how many people know there is a County Government?


Hey, I am not good at cheering said...

I sub-taught in a middle school several classes. I asked each class if they knew the name of the county mayor. Then, at that point, I had to ask if they even knew that they had a county. You know what the answers were. These were 8th graders...not babies.

It annoyed me so much, I now have a give-away package for the kids. It includes a state map of all the counties with Dade highlighted, a list of interesting county facts, an organizational chart, a Mayors bio, a county contact book, and a Golden Guide of County Laws. Why isnt that sort of education required every year in the schools?

1 hour every Fall, reviewing who represents your interests. "How to contact your government. Who is your government?"

We are not raising kids with the skills to know how to problem solve at any level.(Although between court TV, the school board and the commission telecasts we may overwhelm them with the wrong view of things)

Genius of Despair said...

Not Good at Cheering said:
We are not raising kids with the skills to know how to problem solve at any level.

Totally agree. Thank you for taking positive action to educate our students. I am not cheered yet. Anyone else?

Alex said...

You are looking for cheer in the wrong places my friend. I would venture less than 50% of people in Dade know about county government and less than 10% who their commissioner is.

Genius of Despair said...

Thanks Alex -- yes I would venture to say you are correct. I wish the herald would do a poll on county your blog by the way! I saw your Tancredo for President shirt -