Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Give It Up Folks: The Dream of a “World Class City” By Geniusofdespair

I read two columns in the Miami Herald:
Michael Putney’s Editorial on the MEGAPLAN: Why give $395 million to a private enterprise? and Dade schools superintendent facing a sharp divide.

One was about the Marlins Stadium and how Mayor Alvarez and others think that the baseball team will make Miami a world class city, Michael Putney says:

“Alvarez's videotaped deposition was introduced, and in it the mayor showed a willful disregard for the team's finances. And also an inflated regard for the value of a Major League Baseball franchise. He and other defense witnesses talked about MLB being an important sign that Miami is a 'world class city.’ “

The other was about Rudy Crew vs. the School Board’s vocal minority. Crew has received national recognition for his work here:

“Crew was named National Superintendent of the Year by the American Association of School Administrators. And the district is a finalist for the prestigious Broad Prize in Urban Education.”

Yet, he is the target on radio talk shows. We all remember Rep. Ralph Arza (Hialeah) slur, using the “N” word when talking of Crew.

Rich people, Adrienne Arsht and Paul Cejas have come to his defense. Cejas, a former school board member, even kicked in $240,000 to lure Crew here.

So what do these two article have in common? “World Class City” of course. Wasn't the American Airlines Arena suppose to make Miami a "World Class City"? And the Arsht Center, wasn't that also a "World Class City" maker? And the museums in Bicentennial Park, they are going to make this a "World Class City" too.

You can build a hundred stadiums but as long as you don’t fund our schools and take politics out of them, Miami will remain a little-shit town. You are dressing up the pig, Mayor Alvarez. Look deeper. Ridding Miami of poverty, having good transit and schools is what makes a city world class. A stadium doesn’t cut it. Just say you want baseball, don't include the "World Class City" bull, no one is buying it.

Will everyone please remove this phrase from their vocabulary until they are ready to get serious?

30 comments:

Mensa said...

Even if they build a stadium, no one will come. This is just not a baseball town. You want people, build in a redneck area. Otherwise you an the Herald have said it all. we have three yucks on the school Board who probably want a Spanish speaking guy to replace Rudy. I think Rudy is doing the best job he can under the circumstances. I would like to see him give up more salary under the present conditions, but even if doesn't I still think he is the best for us.

Anonymous said...

Good post. It is unfortunate that Rudy Crew is getting all the heat he is. Superintendents are often the scapegoat in cities that have bad schools. Firing the super makes it seem like the school board is doing something.

Anonymous said...

Mensa, Mensa, even your idol, Barack Obama, said that Americans should be able to speak another language. It's a matter of culture and not limited ONLY to Spanish. You sound like the typical UGLY AMERICAN!

Anonymous said...

I know that there a folks out there with a passion for sports.
I know there are amazingly successful collectors of sports memorabilia.
And I admire both of these qualities.
But let me ask these questions…
Would they still support a public funded sports stadium if they did not care about sports and did not collect sport memorabilia?
Would they not prefer to see a stadium built by its owner?
Would they not prefer to be invited to cast their vote, especially if they are a citizen that chose to come to this country from home
country that did not grant them that privilege?
Don’t get me wrong…
Its not that I disagree with them about our communities benefit in having a sports stadium.
I just feel that it should be paid by the team’s owner.
I also feel that the public has a wright to vote on how and when their money gets spent.
So lets do the right thing!
Harry Emilio Gottlieb

Anonymous said...

Get your heads out of the sand this is about ethnic politics..it is ALL about ethnic politics. It is a grudge heald over a little book for first graders as much as anything else. It is about school board members that think "N" even if they don't say it out loud like Arza did so stop saying it is not about ethnic politics. IT IS ALL ABOUT ETHNIC POLITICS.

Genius of Despair said...

Stop picking on Mensa, I like Mensa.

Anonymous said...

Aspiring to be a World-Class City may be a bit too ambitious for our past and present elected leaders.
Perhaps we should set our gals to be a little more achievable.
Lets just be happy if we can have some of our elected leaders to help get our act together, fix downtown, let the citizens vote on the big issues, stop selling naming rights, stop posting billboard eyesores, protect us better, take better care of the old, poor and homeless, provide adequate clean water and affordable electricity, stop offering money to build sport stadiums to private business.
Let’s not aspire to be more like NY, Chicago, Seattle, San Francisco, London or Paris.
That just is not going to happen any time soon. Lets just try to be a successful working town with a high standard of quality of life like that of Baltimore. It would be a great improvement and possibly attainable. We may neve be World-Class but we can be Florida-Class.

Charm City Heifer said...

Believe me, Miami doesn't want to be Baltimore.

Anonymous said...

World class – a term never defined, a goal never justified.

Tony Garcia said...

How can we be a world class city without a world class transit system? I like the idea of using the Arena site for the baseball stadium.

Genius of Despair said...

Tony how are you going to pay for the stadium..that is the big one...do you think that is a priority above transit fixes?

Anonymous said...

I think Rudy Crew is doing a good job. I would support raising the millage rate for the schools to save importaht programs and give the teachers a raise. It is still less expensive than private schools.
I think using the old arena is a great idea for the ballpark. My kids love to watch the Marlins (money only allows me to go once a month to a game) and I am proud that they are growing up supporting a local team. Much like what occurs in other cities.
As for the world class city, it is obviously coming together with a proposed WalMart on our waterfront. Lets see Baltimore beat that one!

Anonymous said...

One of the persistent problems with Miami is the split between the overclass and everyone else. If Miami really wants to be a better city then it should spend what money it has on infrastructure, which I loosely interpret to include schools. Why? Because without a well-educated work force there's no reason for anyone to locate any kind of business here other than a service/tourism business. Yet what we see is spending for tourism and other amenities (opera?!) long before the base to support them locally exists. Culture doesn't just spring up out of nothing: NYC became a cultural capital as a result of the businesses in the city. Spending money on culture fripperies when there are millions of people in a county lacking in so many important ways is, well, stupid. But of course the whole place will be underwater in a hundred years, so who cares?

Anonymous said...

World crass city

Tony Garcia said...

No way! Transit comes first. Maybe I misunderstood the article, but I thought the idea that was to privately financed the stadium on the arena site (in exchange for the orange bowl site). A land swap.

Tony Garcia said...

The big thing for me is that the stadium be privately financed. Most other teams don't take a that much public financing. Go to this site that has info on staidum costs. http://www.ballparks.com/baseball/

Genius of Despair said...

That isn't a deal -- that is Straub's idea. as Putney says:

I don't know if Straub is blowing smoke or if he's truly serious about this. But regardless of how the courts rule in the Braman lawsuit, it would be gross negligence if Manny Diaz and Carlos Alvarez didn't call him up and say, let's talk. What could it hurt?

Anonymous said...

The have been 15 new Major League Baseball stadiums built in the past 15 years. The total public financing for all the stadiums combined averages 65%.

m

Anonymous said...

M-thank you for this (65%) fact. As Sy Syms says an educated consumer is our best consumer. You are educated on the issues, other people just spit out venom and dudu. Wht can't we be a world class city? Who says? Why not? We have to start at some point and many of us believe that we have. Some do not, and thats ok. But please all of you understand that these dollars (tourist tax fund) are not earmarked for education or transportation and cannot be spent on this. YES we have a major need to further fund and improve these areas but we cannot do it with these dollars. HELLO, earth to SPACE...

Warman said...

“World class” epitomizes the Miami world view – it sounds chic and cosmopolitan, while utterly lacking any substance whatsoever. What in the world is a “world class” city? One with a working class, an upper crust, and many folks in the middle? With functional public transportation? With cultural institutions (and I am referring to European culture) that enjoy the support of the affluent and the masses, be they opera, a symphony, a library, an art museum? Respected institutions of higher learning? One that is a draw in its own right because of its unique mix of peoples, cultures, of history?

London does not seriously think about putting a Wal-Mart in Chelsea. Chicago does not fret over whether the Art Institute will close up and move to Cleveland. New York does not have a Division 1 college football team worth a lick – and does not care one iota. Paris does fine without a baseball stadium. All have more bookstores than gun shops. Hell – all have bookstores for that matter. I think the City of Miami is up to one.

Miami cannot and will not be a “world class” city. It should aspire to be a city with functioning buses and trains and infrastructure; with children who can speak, write, and read at least one language competently, and preferably two or more; with an economic base that offers good jobs and benefits from blue collar to blue blood; and with some sense of community and coherence that has nothing at all to do with a rich man’s sports team(s). An earlier poster knocked Baltimore. I’d take Baltimore over this suburban mess with no real urb to serve as its hub.

Then again, if you bother to read this and other similar blogs and sites to stay informed, you bother to vote, you bother to voice your opinion, you bother to volunteer for something socially useful, then maybe we’ll bypass Baltimore and have to aim higher. I hope that day arrives sooner than later. I hope it arrives, period.

joel said...

Then again, if you bother to read this and other similar blogs and sites to stay informed, you bother to vote, you bother to voice your opinion, you bother to volunteer for something socially useful, then maybe we’ll bypass Baltimore and have to aim higher. I hope that day arrives sooner than later. I hope it arrives, period.
don't hold your breath. there's not many of those types 'round these parts...

Anonymous said...

I do not remember voting on the PAC.Perhaps if we get to vote on the Marlin Stadium, we should put the PAC on the same ballot. If the voters reject both, then no stadium,and tear down the PAC,and we can get rid of that deficit riddled albatross once and for all.

Anonymous said...

Whether any of you are fans or not, over 1 million people a year attend Marlins games. I'd bet that is more than all of our publicly funded cultural institutions combined. Ask the Coconut Grove Playhouse how ticket sales are going. I'd say a baseball stadium is just as much of public purpose as any of those institutions for the purpose of entertaining people.

And don't give me that cultural significance bull crap either. Children who grow up playing and understanding team sports learn plenty of values that help them later on in life: fair-play, responsibility, teamwork, competitiveness, etc... Those are valued lessons.

m

Anonymous said...

Before Miami may possibly have any chance of becoming a World-Class City, it requires First-Class Leaders, that avoid making Third-Class choices, for our mostly Third-World population.
Harry Emilio Gottlieb

Anonymous said...

Harry, my man, you said it right!Change has to come from the top and what we see at the top is greed, corruption, vulgarity, and disrespect for the masses that over and over reelect them despite their proven INCOMPETENCE!

Genius of Despair said...

Warman, thanks I think you summed up better what I was saying. All of these comments were really good...thanks everyone. I hope we get more.

Anonymous said...

So we've given up the dream to "be like New York"?

Genius of Despair said...

I would hope we are more realistic than to have that dream. We have to come up with a vision for Miami that makes sense. It is a great city just try to make it better at what it is instead of trying to make it what it can never be in the foreseeable future.

You can't swim off the Island of Manhattan. You can swim in the City of Miami. That is a plus.

Charm City Heifer said...

I wasn't "knocking" Baltimore, but world-class or not, Miami can choose a better place to emulate. With the exception of a thin sliver of downtown, the place is a poverty-ridden, crime-infested hole.

Anonymous said...

I would hope we are more realistic than to have that dream.

I was being sarcastic. That's a nightmare, not a dream.

Look, I've lived in Miami a very long time and I've read and heard this "we need to be like..." drivel for decades. Here's a little heads up - Miami will never be New York, Paris, San Francisco or whatever other destination of choice Miami's political elite have illusions of becoming.

That's not to say that we cannot improve life in this city/county. We should. We can. But this "world class city" nonsense is nothing but a smokescreen to hide the desires of this community's liberal and political upper crust.

We don't need performing arts centers or baseball stadiums. We need industry that pays livable wages and we need an educated workforce to draw in that industry. (of course this is the companion dream of us in the "lower" classes, and is probably, no, historically, just as unlikely).