In the Miami Today article (see article below) on the broken promise by the county commission-- allowing a developer to building more crappy housing where he had promised, in a binding covenant, not to -- , Martinez gives his backers from the sprawl industry a thank-you on his way out the door and shows voters why it is a losing battle to protect quality of life in Miami-Dade.
In 2005 I was one of the organizers of the Hold The Line effort to protect the Urban Development Boundary. The UDB was never a fortification; the fortification for citizens was growth management law that provided for state authority to backstop local government. That's all history, now, thanks to the GOP.
Miami Today notes that the county commission is allowing one developer -- whose idea for profit is based on more suburban sprawl -- to build housing where he had promised not to.
Martinez told his fellow commissioners, "We have a little higher approval rating than Congress," without noting how accommodating sprawl developers at the expense of taxpayers is a chief reason. In 2005, I provided Martinez with a poll from thousands of his mostly Hispanic constituents showing that public opinion was strongly against moving the Urban Development Boundary. (Martinez' constitutents also agreed, by nearly 70 percent, that political corruption was at the root of environmental degradation.) It made Martinez angry to be confronted with views that contradicted his backers.
"A covenant has to flow with the times," Martinez now says -- blowing off county government's failures that contributed of the worst economic crash since the Great Depression: excesses in the housing development and financing markets through which the County Commission provides a small cog in a great machine of wealth destruction.
"If we're so inflexible that we can't flow with the times, we'll be as bad as Washington," Martinez said.
It is a curious choice of words, "flow" with the times. Martinez knows in his heart that promises can be broken at will because there is no accountability on growth issues. "Flowing around promises": isn't there a word for that?
The culprits are not just the county commission, but also the Florida legislature and Gov. Rick Scott who blessed the destruction of thirty years of growth management law in the last session of the legislature. The failure to protect the public also bears the fingerprints of Jeb! Bush, whose antipathy to government regulations provides the dark background for Miami-Dade's successful race to the bottom.
Busted state authority for growth, the GOP jihad against regulations, the weakness of the Democratic minority -- in its half-hearted attempts to be Republican-lite -- and the theory that the best government is the government where industry's self-interest provides for the public good: these are all the lifeless rationales the county commission now "flows" with.
In Miami Today, Barbara Jordan is quoted, "We need to keep our promise to the community". What a crock. When there is no accountability, anyone can say anything. That is how it has been and that is how it is going to be in this brave new world, arising from the cinders of the housing crash. These are going to be good times for the unreformable majority.
One way of looking at it: voters are shell-shocked. Another way of looking at: voters have been so conditioned by lies and broken promises, when the next crash hits they will believe anything that anyone tells them who looks good, is telegenic, and delivers a good sound bite on television.