Saturday, January 13, 2007
Tom Tancredo: Miami a Third World Country? Geniusofdespair review
In the paper today, U.S. Rep. Tom Tancredo elaborated on his opinion of Miami.
TOM TANCREDO ON MIAMI
I found one thing he said very interesting:
“Late last year, the U.S. Department of Justice called South Florida the ''public corruption capital of the nation.'' In the 10-year period 1996-2005, 576 individuals were prosecuted on public corruption charges in South Florida.
There has always been some corruption in every large city, but the difference is that in a Third World country, corruption is a way of life. It is a routine way of doing business. In America by contrast, when payoffs and kickbacks are uncovered it is a scandal and someone is thrown out of office. Is corruption becoming a way of life in Miami?”
I hope corrupting isn’t a way of life...yet, however, the above certainly rang true.
I remember it was not so long ago that the citizens were fed Xing bananas and throwing bananas out of cars at Miami City Hall. Literally, they were throwing bananas to symbolize the City’s spot as a banana republic. I asked one of the assistant clerks what they were doing with all the bananas. She said: “eating them.”
Then I thought about all the corruption the Herald has reported this year alone in the county. I would think the Herald should do a list of corruption scandals every year.
Here are just a few scandals and cases of malfeasance I can recall by the County:
• The multiple Affordable Housing scandals
• The buy your contractor license illegally from the county
• The theft of jet fuel from the airport
• The poisoning of our wells with benzene
• Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department can't tell when firefighters are paid twice for the same work
• Natacha Seijas pleading ignorance (and tight lipped for once) to water shortages (when she was warned by activists and water and sewer for over a year of the problems - She is the Chair overseeing Water and Sewer)
• The Performing Arts Center, over $67.7 million over budget and almost a year behind schedule
• Miami International Airport's $24.9 million control tower:18 months late and about $5 million over budget
• Opa-locka Airport's control tower: for 3 years will be a trailer perched atop cargo containers welded together. Controllers must climb a ladder to get inside. And the tower is only 33 feet off the ground, meaning controllers can't see the entire airfield.
• Souto - displacing trailer park residents -- with selective code enforcement -- when no affordable housing alternative is available to the residents.
• Campaign finance reform -- the gutting of it by the County Commission.
• County buying a train from Japan, for our airport, that it has no tracks for. The county has to pay the Japanese millions to keep the train "exercised" on tracks in Japan.
Add to my list...everyone!
I just want to add, that Umoja Village is both the most heartbreaking and inspiring story of the human spirit here in Miami. In the wake of no affordable housing, about 40 people have banded together to create a village on publically owned land with makeshift cottages with blue tarp roofs. One homeless man, Ronnie Homes, said: "For the first time in my life, I feel like I'm a part of something and I'm doing good."
You are doing good Ronnie. You are shining a light on the results of the beastly housing scandals. I only wish Tom Tancredo could meet you, although he would use the village as another example of Miami being a third world country, however, I would point out to Tom that we Miamians have the courage to stand up for what we believe in. That is the true test of being an American.
P.S. If you want to volunteer to help on election day for the Strong Mayor call 305 323-9955. Leave a message as soon as possible.