Thursday, June 14, 2018

On Transit And The Environment, In Miami-Dade It Is Always A One-Way Conversation ... by gimleteye

Why do we have the same "dialogue" about transit and the environment, every few years in Miami-Dade? Because it is not a dialogue. A dialogue is between parties. What we have in Miami-Dade are dialogues for "show" and to maintain appearances.

In fact, this critical policy area affects everyone's life here. Every single day, commuters are confronted with the consequences of poorly planned transit and the constant shifting of goal-posts where it comes to our quality of life.

Transit and the environment is a one-way conversation. Between big sprawl developers, large-scale farmers, and their industry associations, supply chains and the politicians they support.

Although there is citizen resistance to the one-way conversation, every time there is an issue like the extension of a major highway (in this case, SR 836) it needs to regenerate. Gov. Rick Scott and the state legislature made sure that citizen resistance to growth and transit plans had minimal traction through the administrative courts. And over time -- especially after the Citizens United decision by the Bush Supreme Court in 2010 -- developers and their attorneys turned to challenging protesters and imposing significant costs like counter-lawsuits against the resistance.

Moreover, among protesters -- from neighborhood associations to civic groups and environmentalists -- there is no institutional connection between one generation of opposition and the next. Because there is no institutional connection, there is no funding or money to fund the resistance beyond the indignation against the next tranche of assaults against the environment and quality of life through zoning decisions at the county level.

The Knight Foundation -- which has the funding capacity to provide that institutional connection -- could have chosen to assist this critical area of public policy in the past. There were many, many chances. But the Knight Foundation leadership never had an appetite for conflict with developers, their downtown law firms and lobbyists. The celebrity culture has not been kind to Miami's natural environment or to the cause of middle-class commuters from distant suburbs to downtown jobs.

On the other hand, the connection between electeds and the developer class is hard-wired. The money is always there. It is used to exploit the profit formulas of converting low-cost farmland (former Everglades wetlands) into suburban sprawl. Citizens are fragmented. Finance and insurance is united to a single goal: build as much, as fast, and as profitably as possible. Advocates for sprawl have perfected marketing pitches that include paid-for local crowds to support more of everything that is bringing traffic to a crawl and closer and closer to the Everglades.

Next week, the county commission is poised to approve a major roadway extension using the argument -- long known as a lie -- that expanding highways relieves traffic congestion. Mayor Carlos Gimenez, who is term-limited, and retreaded county commissioner Joe Martinez are leading the way. Gimenez and his staff, in a meeting with environmentalists, asked for an "alternative" to widening SR 836. The invitation was a baited trap.

Citizens have had victories along the way, but these are skirmishes in a battle that has defined our political culture.

On June 19th, there is a landmark opportunity for one county commission district to change direction. In District 5, voters will elect a new county commissioner. Eileen Higgins is challenging the wife of Bruno Barreiro who resigned his seat to run for Congress. Barreiro had been a charter member of the unreformable majority who rubber-stamped zoning changes and expansion of development beyond the urban development boundary.

Electing Higgins would send a message, if voters have enough sense to give her a chance on the county commission to change the one-way conversation.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Read this paragraph and let it sink in. By Geniusofdespair

...The problem facing America runs much deeper than Trump’s personal awfulness. One of our two major parties appears to be hopelessly, irredeemably corrupt. And unless that party not only loses this year’s election but begins losing on a regular basis, America as we know it is finished. - Paul Krugman (read the entire column)




Has that sunk in? Do I have to put a big black box around it? My heart is beating rapidly. What he said has taken me to a place I never wanted to go. Why? Because I believe it is true.

Who is Paul Krugman you might ask. Here is his bio in the New York Times:

Paul Krugman joined The New York Times in 1999 as an Op-Ed columnist. He is distinguished professor in the Graduate Center Economics Ph.D. program and distinguished scholar at the Luxembourg Income Study Center at the City University of New York. In addition, he is professor emeritus of Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School.

In 2008, Mr. Krugman was the sole recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his work on international trade theory.

Mr. Krugman received his B.A. from Yale University in 1974 and his Ph.D. from M.I.T. in 1977. He has taught at Yale, M.I.T. and Stanford. At M.I.T. he became the Ford International Professor of Economics.

Mr. Krugman is the author or editor of 27 books and more than 200 papers in professional journals and edited volumes. His professional reputation rests largely on work in international trade and finance; he is one of the founders of the “new trade theory,” a major rethinking of the theory of international trade. In recognition of that work, in 1991 the American Economic Association awarded him its John Bates Clark medal. Mr. Krugman’s current academic research is focused on economic and currency crises.

Monday, June 11, 2018

FL Congressman Brian Mast Ventures Where Few Have Gone Before ... by gimleteye

Algae laden drainage canal from Big Sugar lands
To hear Florida Congressman (GOP) Brian Mast lead from the front on the rampant pollution once again coating his district with deadly toxics is refreshing.  Congressman Mast has had enough. Last week he wrote to the US Army Corps of Engineers, urging a halt to all discharges "until the water quality is deemed safe ..."

Here is a brief background. GOP Gov. Rick Scott and the US Army Corps of Engineers are again permitting filthy, algae laden water to puke from Lake Okeechobee onto Florida's badly damaged estuaries and on the shores of property owners and businesses in Martin County on the east coast and Lee County on the west coast.

Yes, we've seen this movie before. It happened in 2013. It happened again in the bizarrely wet winter of 2015/2016. It's pathetic, where the third act involves taxpayers paying $3 billion for an Everglades man-made reservoir that is highly likely to fail at delivering clean water as promised. (Even the Army Corps has stated, as much.)

It will be a decade or longer before this act plays out. Meanwhile it's another season of algae spewing from Lake Okeechobee with toxins that can cause long-term brain damage to people.

The cause of the algae: water management practices that are designed with a primary purpose: keep Big Sugar profits flowing. Of course that is not what the public hears from astro-turf groups in the Everglades Agricultural Area, funded by Big Sugar, or from state propaganda outlets including the sugared-up Sunshine State News.

Mast's statement is interesting for another reason: in the United States, toxics regulation is designed to protect polluters not people. PEOPLE must prove that toxics are damaging to human health (remember, cancer and Big Tobacco?).

Big Sugar was NEVER required to prove its phosphorous pollution was safe for the Everglades.  It took PEOPLE and two decades of federal Clean Water Act litigation to hold government accountable. That's the same Clean Water Act that Trump and his EPA want to dismantle now.

While it may seem common sense -- that government agencies must prove safety of toxics to people -- what Mast wrote is heresy to polluters. In stating the obvious, that government shouldn't be promoting water management district policies that give people Alzheimer's or Parkinson's diseases, he's pushing against very powerful special interests whose wealth depends on turning other peoples' property and health into sacrifice zones. (Their biggest political assets: Rick Scott who is running for US senate, Adam Putnam who is running for governor, and Matt Caldwell who is running for Agriculture Commissioner.)

Mast's colleagues in the Florida Congressional delegation ought to join in holding government responsible for safety, first. When it comes to toxics, it is about time.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Mayor Gimenez: Let's Put A Road in The Everglades. By Geniusofdespair

Mercy, Mercy Me...Oh Things Ain't What They Used To Be....Green Paradise And They Put Up A Parking Lot.

Why fool around skirting the edges, just develop the whole Everglades,  it is only a swamp.




Just look at Weston. You will know what is coming...why are gators eating people, dogs etc.? I can figure that one out very easily.


THIS IS THE PROBLEM WITH BUILDING ROADS, THE DEVELOPMENT VERY QUICKLY  FILLS IN AROUND IT:

Saturday, June 09, 2018

Vote For Eileen Higgins, County Commission District 5 ... by gimleteye

Democrat Eileen Higgins is taking on the wife of former county commissioner Bruno Barreiro in a June 19th runoff for District 5. Barreiro is another pair of hands, holding down taxpayers under water.

News arrives from the Miami Herald, that her husband's Congressional committee has donated $100,000 to his wife's campaign; making donors to Barreiro's bid the biggest donors to his wife.

How fucked up is that?


There is only ONE Point to know about Bruno Barreiro's run as a county commissioner: he was a reliable pro-development vote at every single turn that lead to the rampant traffic and chaotic growth that is imposing billions in unabsorbed costs on Miami-Dade taxpayers.

In other words, he was -- on the dais -- a mumbling disaster. Eye On Miami frequently cited Barreiro as a charter member of the "unreformable majority" of the county commission. (We strongly encourage District 5 voters to read our archive on Barreiro: it's a doozy.) The Herald report, in fact, cited Barreiro's "reliability" to the donor class.

Here is to hoping that District 5 voters get the point: we need an antidote to the political party that brought us Donald Trump, but we also need a practical voice of reason and sound common sense to strengthen the chance for meaningful change in Miami-Dade County.

You Must Watch this Again! Jon Stewart. By Geniusofdespair

Maybe even more relevant than it was in 2016....especially the references to Guilliani.




If you are lazy move it to 10 minutes it is excellent.

Friday, June 08, 2018

The NRA Questionaire for Political Office. By Geniusofdespair

Look what just came in the mail...

It is scary if you vote for a candidate with the NRA Endorsement. Look at what they are agreeing to:



Opps...wrong jpeg but not so wrong...





Does anyone want to fill mine out for me? If you really care to read it, hit on each page.

Thursday, June 07, 2018

Picture of the Day: By Jim Morin


Cartoon in the Miami Herald this morning by Jim Morin...

Woof! This one hit a nerve!

Senator Jeff Merkley describes seeing recently arrived immigrants held in "cages that looked a lot like dog kennels" at a Customs and Border Protection facility in McAllen, Texas, where children were also being separated from their parents.

He also described about 1,000 children being held in an abandoned Walmart, where he was denied access.

Speaking of the NRA, I just got my questionaire. Somehow I am still running for office.

Eileen Higgins Endorsed by the Miami Herald to be County Commissioner in District 5! By Geniusofdespair


Yes, Eileen Higgins really does use public transit.
Way to go Eileen! Eye on Miami also strongly supports Eileen Higgins. We need her vote on the County Commission -- as Tuesday's failure to override the Mayor's Veto proves.

From the Miami Herald Editorial:

Higgins’ strong showing at the polls was telling in this largely Hispanic district. She received 70 percent of that vote. Higgins admits some Latin voters have a difficult time pronouncing her name and she speaks just enough Spanish to get by on the radio, but she is unfazed. In fact, she is affectionately called La Gringa (“the American woman”) in some circles. “I just know that people want good governance; they’re not going to vote for just a Hispanic last name,” she told the Editorial Board.

And:

“I ride public transit,” Higgins told the Board. She knows first hand the late buses, the operational challenges. “The cities are moving ahead of the county with circulators,” she said. “They’re cheap and [use] a smart-card purchase, so there are no delays.”

It’s part of Higgins’ practical philosophy to get things done: “Why wait for multibillion-dollar solutions?”

She also knows that there is a never-funded Housing Trust. Now that it has a board, she says, it can get to work raising funds that will draw down private money for affordable housing.

Higgins has spent quality time in several areas of service, teaching entrepreneurship to school children, advocating through PACT for gun-violence intervention as part of the Downtown Neighbors Alliance.

And:

Higgins is full of energy and new ideas and a sense of duty to serve the public in the progressive style of former Commissioner Katy Sorenson. She has a smart, crisp and engaging appeal we have not seen in a long time. She can tell you which bus routes are underserved; she has realistic solutions to affordable housing and wants to make the county’s sea-level-rise resiliency effort “move faster.”

As the much-stronger candidate, the Herald recommends EILEEN HIGGINS for Miami-Dade Commission District 5.


Wednesday, June 06, 2018

Living Wage At Airport/Seaport, etc.: Override of The Mayor's Veto Died. By Geniusofdespair

County Commissioner Barbara Jordan wanted all new leases for concessions at the airport, seaport and other County leased properties to require a living wage to their workers. Not existing leases just new ones. Well it passed and the Mayor vetoed it. Yesterday they had a hearing to do an override of the veto. They needed two thirds. They got Sally Heyman, Daniella Levine Cava, Xavier Suarez, Jean Monestime, Audrey Edmonson, Dennis Moss and Barbara Jordan. Not enough? Even with Barreiro gone? They needed one more stinkin' vote. Barreiro would have definitely voted the wrong way.

Barbara Jordan said a lot of lobbying went on by the Mayor with promises of perks to all the Commissioners. She said she even got one.

Barbara Jordan made an impassioned speech trying to convince her fellow Commissioners to join the override vote, but they were steadfast. Barbara wake-up and smell the coffee. It stinks of Mayor Gimenez.

County Commissioner Xavier Suarez made the motion to override the veto.
Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava seconded the motion.


What will happen today? The Transportation Union is having a special meeting to try to get concessions from the Commissioners. Will it be the same block that approves the concessions for Transportation Workers and then the same gaggle that overrides a veto from the Mayor, that veto will happen as sure as I am sitting here.

Monday, June 04, 2018

Transit Hearing Wednesday at County Commission. By Geniusofdespair


Miami-Dade Metrobus, Metrorail and Metromover workers have been without a contract for more than three years - thanks to Mayor Gimenez and his staff.

The workers, members of Transport Workers Union Local 291, have been calling on elected officials to support public mass transit in Miami-Dade by increasing funding and increasing service that riders need so badly.

The traffic situation is getting worse - and public buses and trains are the answer.

Wednesday is the Board of Commissioners hearing on the contract dispute. 

Support our Union, support our transit, call your good for nothing County Commissioner and have them help the Transport Workers. They stood with us during a rally in Cutler Bay on February 3rd. Now stand up for them, help them get their contract. Conservatives would love to end our Unions but these organizations help our middle class get a living wage, in other words, Unions are the backbone of the dwindling middle class in America. Since the Republicans in congress recently were kind enough to give tax cuts to the wealthy Corporations, isn't it fitting that the middle class get something in return, like living wages and benefits for middle class members?



I am now without a car and these are the people I must rely on...if I can cross U.S. 1 in one piece to get to Metrorail. I can walk to Metrorail, I just can't get there safely to get to the County Commission Meeting Tuesday. What a bitch. But that is another post. I am doing my part to help traffic, I am one more person off the road, just like Eileen Higgins who is running for Bruno Barreiro's County Commission Seat, District 5. Vote for Eileen Higgins if you are in the district, if not, tell everyone in Miami Beach and Brickell that you know to Vote June 19th.  It is crucial to get the Barreiro dynasty out (his wife is running against Eileen).

Pictures of County Commissioners from the Transportation Summit:

Commissioner Xavier Suarez
County Commission Chair Steve Bovo
County Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava

From Clarence Washington, president of Transport Workers Union Local 291:


“We’ve tried to bargain in good faith with the mayor, but he is obsessed with trying to break our union and hurt our working-class members, who are primarily African-American and Latino. He is making demands on TWU Local 291 that are much more onerous that what he demanded from other municipal unions. We’re hoping the Board of Commissioners recognize this irrational imbalance.”