Saturday, January 05, 2013
A Shot Across the Bow: More like, watching pigs slobbering over Miami Beach tax dollars. Guest Blog by Mr. Sunny
Here it is on Jan 2 and I am very angry. Usually this time of year, not just New Year's Eve or Day, is a time to consider my life. Sometimes it is about planning the future or reviewing the past. Other times it is peaceful contemplation with gratitude for all that life has offered me. This year has been more about trying to understand the world in which we live - talks of fiscal cliffs, negativity in politics, the deaths of young children or the Hurricane Sandy's and climate changes impact, have all left me questioning what it all means. That mournful reverie ended up turning into boiling anger upon reading a Miami New Times article about corruption in Miami Beach's City Hall.
The truth is I have been angry for quite some time with the Commissioners and staff of the City of Miami Beach. I don't want to run in the streets carrying signs. I am too shy to stand on a corner to harangue passersby about what is wrong. I have too many friends who are complacent in their lives which leaves me with no one to talk to. I have thought of running for office, but what about raising money or dealing with the mud slinging? I want to make use of my anger. I want to help my hometown emerge stronger from the mess of the past few years of arrests and accusations to be a City of which I can be proud. This blog is a place to start, posing my questions to Eye on Miami readers about how corruption in Miami Beach can be so rampant and how so many people, residents included, can be so complacent?
The Miami New Times article was about Gus Lopez, former procurement director for the City of Miami Beach. He is not long departed from the City and surely not fondly remembered but my guess he will be in the news for a good part of the year as the City of Miami Beach grapples with cleaning up the sordid aftermath of his tenure.
Not only are we as a City to suffer the dribs and drabs of these cases leaking out like a slow water torture, I am left wondering about the elephant in the living room -- the Convention Center -- a $25K payment said to be given to Gus from one of the developers. Are there more yet to be revealed incidents of corruption? The other elephant in the room is how on earth did this and the other instances of corruption, reported this year happen, and where will it all end?
Every article in the mainstream media assiduously avoids asking the big questions about how far or how high up the corruption goes. None points to a possible culture that allows this to fester in our City. Has Miami Beach become so inured of corruption that we don't believe that someone should be held accountable? Has anything really changed since Former Mayor Alex Daoud's Sins of South Beach?
Are we so blase, ready to shrug our shoulders and say, "That is how things get done on Miami Beach. No one is to blame?" I find the latter attitude repulsive as it assumes the very worst of human nature and that nothing can be done to change it.
I believe that the attitude of corruption, the willingness to steal, the complicity that comes from turning a blind eye can be changed but for that change to happen we all have to stop being party to the madness. We have to stop shrugging our shoulders. We have to demand accountability from everyone INCLUDING THE RESIDENTS for we are party to it all when we are complacent.
I am reminded of the galvanizing scene from a popular movie of years past - Network - where an seemingly insane news anchor calls on Americans to throw open their windows and scream they will not take it anymore. The movie is a satire of the corruption that happens when we set our eyes on the lowest common denominator - greed. Watch it and ask yourself if you are so angry that you won't take it anymore. Let's start with Miami Beach and maybe the ripple will expand. If not, perhaps we will truly make the place people call paradise, a paradise for honest, hardworking people.