Sunday, February 17, 2013

"What greater Miami can do to achieve greatness" by Mitch Madique ... OMG ... by gimleteye

 2005 Photo - From left to right: Sergio Pino (former Board Member of U.S. Century Bank), Alan Carsrud, FIU President Mitch Maidique, Eugenio Pino, Governor Jeb Bush, and Carlos Pino
FIU president emeritus Mitch Madique pens a Miami Herald editorial, "What greater Miami can do to achieve greatness." He notes, Miami makes the list "the most likely not to be engaged."

Madique writes, "we share common ground, including the desire to make our community a better place to live, work and raise our families. We don't have to accept this designation."

Well, we may not have to accept this designation but we do have to understand why what mainly passes for "engagement" in Miami is little more than barely legal thievery.

No one should know this better than Madique, whose board of directors and willingness to traffic with the likes of US Century Bank puts it squarely in the column of the abductors of the public interest. (Read about FIU's role, directly, in the 2012 effort to quietly swap out lands purchased for the public interest in the Bird Drive Basin in order to increase its own campus size. Search our archives.)

All the pro-business, Chamber of Commerce led summits in the world can't diminish how two industries in Miami thrive through civic apathy; the tourism-based businesses that over decades failed to protect the attributes of the Everglades and Biscayne Bay and migrated to enterprises that treat Miami mainly as a pass-through. The second industry is construction and development. In terms of benefits to Miami, this Growth Machine depends on slight-of-hand magic tricks, along the lines of "build first, worry about quality of life and infrastructure costs (like those intended to protect the environment) later."

There is no shortage of talented people who could lend their expertise to making Miami a better place. These are never accepted at the table, where summits generate grand plans. Why? Because those grand plans depend on masking the true costs of multi-billion dollar infrastructure deficits that ought to have been paid, as we went along. "Pay, as you go", a tenet of conservative ethos, was a common sense principle ground into dust by unreformable majorities in local legislures and their campaign backers.

As a result Miami is far from a world-class city. It is a place of narrow parochial interests defined by an almost tribal passion to impose separate orthodoxies within its orders in order to preserve illusions and political control. (What does it say, about the Knight Foundation whose origins and base is IN Miami, and yet identifies Miami as the least engaged of any of the dozens of communities served by its multi-billion dollar endowment?)

Miami is also a city that has no capacity for reflection or to absorb the lessons of the past. Like Bernie Madoff or R. Allen Stanford, there is almost a swindler's pathology in Miami to deny motives and to shift facts.

The best examples derive from the ones that benefited the FIU elite who profited first from the housing boom then crash; the worst economic reversal since the Great Depression. G.O.D. noted in a post yesterday, citing Florida's number 1 ranking for foreclosures in 2012. The point of that statistic: there has been no public reflection how Miami politics aligned with local business -- and leaders like those who put their name on the FIU sports stadium -- conceived and contributed to the greatest swindle of social wealth and capital in modern US history.

Mild platitudes and milk-toast encouragements for civic engagement are no substitute for studying history and putting names to its chapters. (That's something we actually do, as a civic contribution, at EOM. For free!)

It is only through an understanding of recent history and incorporating its lessons in new measures to protect the public interest -- instead of the revision that is now in vogue, through examples like former Mayor Manny Diaz redacting his role in the abyss of the housing market boom and bust -- that progress can be made. But progress won't be made, because Miami's narrow parochial interests are determined to rest in denial.

From my point of view, it will be to another generation to do ask Madique asks, "Volunteer, give, share, vote, learn more." By insisting that attention to be paid to history, we keep the flame alive.

(Along that line, I will start tomorrow by analyzing a recommendation by Miami unions to add former county commissioner Larry Hawkins to the board of the Jackson Hospital public trust. For anyone with a memory, that says it all ...)


Mensa said...

When I read the facts about the so called leaders in Miami I picture a city that should have gates and guards about it so that our criminals do not pollute some of our fine areas.

Anonymous said...

Can we put a 10 star barf tag on that photo alone? Just asking!

The problem with the City & County are the elected leaders have no real Urban planning/living experience. Until we get new leaders, this current band of freaks will continue to spend our tax dollars outrageously with no vision because they have never lived in a major working City in the United States, at least for any period of time!

100Panthers said...

There is a huge national trend towards cities and urban density and away from suburban sprawl. Let's hope this trend hits Miami. Read Walkable City by Jeff Speck about what urban changes, most fairly simple and cheap, we can do to make and take Miami from the suburban sprawlers.

Anonymous said...

It was the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce and the many lobbyists who attend every meeting who endorsed the scheme to divert over $3 Bil from the taxpayers to the Marlins. Now the same dolts are recommending giving taxpayers money to the $4.4 Billion Dollar Man Steve Ross.

Anonymous said...

Gimlet, this has been a great day for laughter. I found this highly humorous piece on EOM and the Herald published one about “building Marco Rubio’s brand”... I did comment “The brand? What brand? The water bottle brand?” In this case, I want to say that it is true that anyone can achieve greatness provided Jeb Bush falls in love with that anyone. I do realize that “the greatness” will be as important as “the brand” – which might amount to not much. LOL Still, can’t forget the day when Jeb was interviewed by one of the FOX freaks, last year, and he called Marquito Rubio a hunk. Indeed, love is blind! I wonder whether Sergio Pino agrees with him.

Anonymous said...

The Herald's well researched article made it clear that Marco Rubio is VERY ambitious and that he is raising money and spending it on many high paid staffers who are working 24/7 to create a positive image for him nationally.

Malagodi said...

Miami: Our integrity is a deep as our topsoil.