Tuesday, October 16, 2012

No accountability at Miami-Dade County Commission: when a promise isn't a promise ... by gimleteye

Well we won't have County Commission Chairman Joe Martinez to kick around any more. Martinez is "retiring" from public office. His walking papers were handed to him by voters in a delusional challenge to be elected county mayor.

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.


Grayland said...

Best line of several days of excellent post by Eye on Miami:

"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."

There are so many issues to comments on here on this blog but this is the most glaring, at least to me!

The watered down version of our Dept. of Community Affairs gave cover to our BCC to approve the residential development on what used to be known as the "Brown application". Lynda Bell should be tarred and feathered for her new position on the unreformable majority - this is not a badge of honor! What a great ad this is going to make with her concern about her daughter not being able to find a home where real estate prices are still in the tank and inventory is huge in both existing homes and new construction anywhere west of the I-95 or US 1 corridor! Forgetting about the voters & constituents & their concerns because it's so clearly about her, her daugher and her supporters! The east side of those two arteries would be unaffordable for most and have risen in price! So, this means Lynda Bell is living in a warped reality and doesn't know anything about real estate (well, John DuBois can certainly help her out there since he even formed a new company to hold the mortgage on the Redland Hotel)or she's so gullible to whoever is spoon feeding her crap, which is even worse!

In any event, I can only hope in this South end of Miami Dade the voters here vote out all Republican State Legislature candidates! I want our County back and growth management laws in place like they were at the State level! Enough is enough!

Anonymous said...

Grayland so well stated: Thank You!

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