Saturday, March 22, 2014

The Mayor Wants to Tie Libraries to the Museums in a straw vote: The KISS OF DEATH. By Geniusofdespair

The museums were supposed to be self supporting or we should have left them where they were. Now all of a sudden we are going to pay for running them besides giving them free land? We also paid to construct them!!! We paid $100,000,000 for the art museum and $175,000,000 for the science museum. They were supposed to have endowments -- what a scam.  More money: I don't think so! Let the rich people who wanted to locate them in our precious waterfront park pony up. The Museums were perfectly fine where they were located before.

This pairing of self-supporting museums with libraries would be the kiss of death for libraries in the straw vote. It is like saying "do you want your taxes raised to pay for abused babies, sports complexes and prison gyms." Not even a Sophie's Choice. That straw vote would fail just as this one would. If you asked people about a bond issue they are too stupid to realize they are paying for it. That would be a better way to go. That is what the museums did to get the money for construction.

I think the money for libraries should come from the current budget. Or there should be a line item on the tax bill: Would you pay $19.50 more to pay for libraries ONLY. It should be an exact amount.  I would pay $19.50 but not $20. I think it should then go directly to a library fund that the Mayor can't raid.  If it goes in the general fund it will get lost all over again. Truthfully, this straw vote idea sucks. Libraries should get some money from the Miami Heat and other entities getting a free ride. They are a service to citizens. How much have we given sports teams over the years?

America: You want to deal with an illiterate mass of people: Come to Miami.

LeBron James speak up for the libraries in the inner city they want to keep open for 4 hours a day. Ron Book, get your fundraising ass in gear.  I am appalled we even have to fight for library funding. It should just be the budget now.  Our priorities are all out of kilter.


Juan said...

He needs to take a poll to figure out what's the right thing to do ? This is a leader ? This is sad very sad!
!We should according to the Giminez theory of government we should eliminate elected officials just take a poll as what to do .
Go back to ancient Greece where they had participatory democracy . But hello we have a representative democracy where we supposedly elect people to make educated decisions in the best interest of the public .. Someone send him a copy of profiles in courage . Or even a civics book .Gimenez is high on profile short on courage !

Geniusofdespair said...

It is to give him cover, since he can't get the County Commission to do his bidding.

Anonymous said...

Mayor Carlos Gimenez is only interested about the bottom line- that is, how he and his family can benefit before his term at the helm is over. How can a man who receives two public funded retirements and is currently working on a third, care so little about the enrichment of our children's lives? A study of of county departments would reveal the indiscriminate erosion of infrastructure this mayor has caused. It is high time Mayor Gimenez is unmasked as a lobbyist friendly opportunist and a fraud.

Anonymous said...

The straw vote is an intrinsic, critical failure of the Mayor’s leadership, a dark condemnation of his character, and the demonstration of his inescapable and persistent ignorance of American culture.
Libraries are fundamental element of American culture and cannot be replaced by any other means; especially in disadvantaged communities.
This is a cynical and manipulative effort to create a class structure of the aware and the ignorant, of Brickell and Liberty City, of literate and illiterate, of rich and poor, and of white and black.
Mr. Gimenez is by career a fireman. We should not allow an individual of such limited exposure and empty-headed elitist malice to set such absurd priorities and to influence our lives.
We as American citizens must mobilize and thwart his perilous and seditious attempt to destroy the fabric of our American Dream.

Anonymous said...

My wife and I planned to attend The Moody Blues concert at Arsht Center. Lo and behold, the least expensive seats were about $165 per ticket: a total of $330 just to walk into the building. Now we have two excessively costly museums - which have gobbled up some of the last public bayfront park land, with little clue as to "real capital costs" and "perpetual costs"; the art museum with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon which will be dead and gone within a year or two; the Heat's Arison finding infinite creative ways to avoid paying profits over a set threshold, to the County and City, while doling out multi-million dollar contracts; the Marlins Stadium and how many empty storefronts in the parking garages; David Beckham trying to get free public land and tax breaks for "his" soccer stadium; the proposed Berkowitz Clothespin at Miamimarina, again to be built on "free" public bayfront land; and Steve Ross's wondrous Dolphin proposal to have every citizen chip in to "help' this "struggling multi-BILLIONAIRE" pay for his "boy toy". Guys like "Gimme"nez and the County Commission, and Regalado and the City Commission are a collective of uncaring, pandering and incompetent individuals who repeatedly fail to demonstrate even the first iota of common sense in ensuring and protecting the public interest!

Anonymous said...

It's a game of three card monty pitching for money for popular programs like library or parks then shelling the money into the black hole of UMSA..(can you say transportation tax?)

The only bond issues to pass was very specific, it mandated capital projects.. It worked well but now the projects get built (like new parks) but there is no money to staff them..the law of unintended consequences

A visionary leader would dramatically fix the systemic failures like procurement, fire, IDS, the bond issues SNAFUs (the plan drafts are out there, ask Suarez) THEN ask the public for help.

But as the early post notes, that takes visionary leadership. Sadly I fear this mayor has reached his level of incompetence and will just continue the slash and burn budget balancing technique he learned at the City.. This dog is too old to learn new tricks....

And why a straw vote? An exercise in feel good self-indulgence as we learned with the animal shelter? We are once burned twice cautious.

Mr. mayor, if you wish to put up a straw vote for cover try the dolphin handout, the absentee landlord soccer star deal or your buddy Jeffrey Berkowitz's pie in the sky public land giveaway project which you're clearly steering away from any public referendum but make the tax hike vote specific, binding and unalterable by the 18 well greased palms on the BCC..

Then maybe I'll go out and work for it.

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why this is so difficult. The Library Services tax, which is separate, was cut a while ago.

The libraries then had to undergo a through review of its operations to see where some fat could be cut.

The fat and then some have been cut. The libraries are now struggling to fulfill its public mission.

Why doesn't our Mayor come out and say:

"We cut the Library taxes. We cut out the fat of the libraries. We did everything we could, but the Library System is dying and we need to restore at least some, if not all, of the Library Services tax. It's a critical funding source providing a critical public service for our community."


Simple and clean. Voters will support this. Skip the stupid straw poll.


Citizen that reads said...

I, too am having trouble understanding the difficulty. Do we need a pretend vote to determine the " right" course of action?

Public tax money should pay for public services. The investment already made in an award- winning library system staffed with knowledgeable, professional county employees should not be thrown to the wayside.

Those who do not learn from their mistakes are destined to repeat them.....

The little voices are getting louder....... 1 Carlos gone, 2 Carlos gone

Anonymous said...

If Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez cannot think for himself or has no ideas in particular guiding his government - then who is advising him? Lobbyists, whose primary allegiance is to their private clients, who make money off the County government and taxpayer money supporting it? We are in big trouble here under this scenario.

Anonymous said...

Add in parks too. I agree that they ought to be line items - the library millage is already separate. Maybe we should insist on a Parks District (like the library) that would have at least an independent funding source - if not independent governance. Put that up for a vote.

Anonymous said...

I hear there is at least $200 million in homestead fraud out there that, if captured, would more than cover the expenses for running public services.
Unfortunately, between not tackling this fraud and the reign of Lopez-Cantera - whose chief goal was to allow all sort of tax appeals to go through - yes, employees are talking about this now - there's been a severe drop in county tax revenue collections. It's so extraordinary a drop in revenues, that's why the School Board has hired its own investigators into the practices of the Property Appraiser's Office, according to a Miami Herald story. My guess is that Lopez-Cantera, along with Gimenez, part of the Governor Scott/former governor Bush playbook - to starve the government of revenues in order to shrink it of services and employees. And voila - same with libraries - drastically cut the tax rate, reduce the budget by 60 percent, cut down the system. And don't look back at the carnage and horror that results.

Anonymous said...

This reeks of a certain lobbyist friend of the MAYOR'S. Jorge Luis Lopez

Anonymous said...

The Miami Art Miami AKA PAMM and the Miami Science Museum AKA Frost Science Museum did not cost the taxpayers $100+ Million and $175+ Million. They actually cost the taxpayers $300+ Million and $550+ Million because the County sold bonds and you must add up all the payments on the Debt. THEN someone must cover the annual operating losses for the two huge unfunded museums. MAM projects $12+ Mil in annual operating losses and MiaSci projects $15+ mil in annual operating losses. Who will pay?

Anonymous said...

MAM and MiaSci will cost the taxpayers well OVER $1 Billion. Many excellent small and medium sized programs (libraries for example) will NOT get funded because the two vanity projects generate such massive losses. Blame goes to disgraced ex-Mayors Manny Diaz and Carlos Alvarez, disgraced Managers Pete Hernandez and George Burgess and easily conned elected officials like Marc Sarnoff, Carlos Gimenez and other dopes.

Anonymous said...

Just another rich mans scam created by our infamous Mayor carlos Gimenez

Grillo said...

But we keep re-electing them. Next election we will re-elect all these incompetent, thieving buffoons and start the cycle all over again.

Anonymous said...

LOURDES Gimenez is the same type of hypocrite two faced liar. She does not support any director, administrator or coworker. Lourdes never does the right thing. She wants to assert authority and never stands her ground. Wants to be the boss of employees she does not even supervise. She just gives her friends special status and priveledges. Lourdes is not a leader please if anyone is friends with Carvalho tell him. She needs to stop destroying the careers of other Administrative Directors.

Anonymous said...

Museums bring in tourist money. Sarcasm.

KC said...

Libraries are being closed all over the nation because of something called THE DIGITAL AGE. Have you heard of it? All the books in a library can now fit on a hard drive and can accessed over the internet.

Stop trying to cling to libraries because of nostalgia. Brick and mortar libraries are going the way of the buggy whip, and it cannot be stopped. Don't fight it.

Anonymous said...

There are so many small museum in Miami that don't even get the crumbs off the floor of the county commissioners lunch room. Yet, this giant failures of museums grab huge benefits and cry.

If MAM or PMAM or whatever it is called, can't survive before it moved into the fancy pants building.... Did they expect a miracle to occur on the Bay?

Start looking at all the fund raisering staff they have hired and lost at MAM and you will see it wasn't raising money years ago. Yet, we gifted them millions and let the smaller pretty much self sustaining museums not get a lick of county support to enhance their programing to even higher stanards. They are not rewarded for doing a good job and no one gives a shit.

Anonymous said...

MAM's tickets sales were less than $100,000 per year. MAM still has no endowment and no collection. MAM has a huge very expensive staff and overhead. Typical dumb financial decisions from our elected officials and their cowed staffs...

mikukia11 said...

The comment in regards to the DIGITAL AGE and "clinging to libraries because of nostalgia" sounds like from a person who lives under a rock. A very bling-out ROCK in a very exclusive community of the county where they have a desk top, laptop, tablets and smartphones and super sonic high speed internet all in one huge castle roof. Clearly, this person has never stepped in any one of Miami Dade Public Libraries (or others in the country). Because if they have, they will not sound so ignorant. Hello???? Libraries are not just about books anymore. In my public library there books, audios, dvds, video games, mp3s, digital materials and databases, computers and laptops, internet access, printers, scanners, museum passes, storytimes, teen programs, book clubs, arts and crafts, computer classes, literacy programs, art exhibits, live and personable staff, and just the other day, librarians with masters degrees who cleans toilets. Not to mention the airconditioned buildings, with water fountains, restrooms, meeting rooms and tables and chairs, and cool little corners where everyone could just a home away from home. Librarians and staff are welcoming, they enlightens, educated, even sometimes saves careers, lives and families.

Try putting all of that in a hard drive.

Libraries are not asking for more money. They are merely asking for the mileage to be RESTORED!!! And what little they get they should be able to keep and not have to share with the mayor and his cronies.

A straw vote will be a waste of time and money and will just cause more heartache as it did with the pet trust. This man can not be trusted. The rich will be rich and they want to take information away from the poor to keep them poor. Information is power. Who gets screwed???

Without the mileage rate restoration and the citizen's support, the libraries and it's staff will be extinct. And not to mention the middle class.

Cindy Lerner said...

A straw poll is absurd! The commission must set the library millage rate in July and set a ceiling at that time, so the "courage" will have to come from within and not from a poll a month later! Set the millage at .375 and be done with it! Restore the public library and you restore a bit of public trust. Can't help with all the other bad decisions based on favoring special interests, but the public libraries impact every corner, every demographic of the county. The public will demand full service libraries brought back to full strength, all open 6 full days , fully staffed with professional librarians and new materials !

Anonymous said...

What Mayor Lerner said!

Ellen Book said...

We do not need a nonbinding straw poll to understand that this county mayor is unable to prioritize how our tax dollars are spent. Perhaps he doesn't understand that residents, not tourists, are voters?

From Terry Murphy in

While the stockholders of FP&L, the largest property owner in Miami-Dade County, surely appreciated the windfall tax break of more than $6 million in 2011, our electric bills did not go down. Landlords in Miami-Dade may still be smiling from their unexpected profits. Rents were not lowered after the 2011 tax break. Since the tax break, the average rent for a two-bedroom apartment in Miami-Dade County has steadily increased, from $1,386 in August 2011 to $1,613 in May 2013 (Reinhold P. Wolff Economic Research, Inc.).

For the working people of Miami-Dade County, the $200-million tax break of 2011 has meant a reduction in public services, an increase in service fees and no relief in rents or utility bills. What happened?

According to the Florida Department of Revenue, the owners of homestead residential property in Miami-Dade County pay 27.2 percent of the property taxes. What does that mean? For every $1 of county property tax paid by a local homeowner, other property owners pay another $2.68. In effect, any increase in property tax rates for a homeowner in Miami-Dade County leverages a substantially greater contribution from the snowbirds, foreign investors, national retail chains and corporations that pay the bulk of the property tax bill. Conversely, a tax rate reduction provides greater monetary relief for nonhomestead property owners. For every $1 reduction in a homeowner’s tax bill, the county forfeits $3.68 in revenues. A lot of that money simply leaves town.

Anonymous said...

My advise, my friends vote NO. It will happen the same as the half penny, the museums to which we cannot get in due to the high prices. We are paying for the "wealthy people" having a theather because us the 99% cannot afford these places. If I go to one of these places with my wife I will have problem paying my mortgage. Vote NO for anything coming from the Mayor or the 13. I will only vote yeas if they define the amount of money they want me to pay for the library and should not be more than $20/year

Chauncey said...

The mayor's straw vote proposal is a great one. Let the people make the decision.

When he tried to raise taxes last year, there was all sorts of public outcry and little public support. But without the tax increase, there are now people crying about the cuts that need to be made at the library to balance the budget.

The people who read this blog are the pro-tax people. If you think raising taxes is so terrific, then champion it and campaign for it.

I will be voting against a tax increase, and I appreciate that the mayor wants to hear my opinion. I can't wait for the people to settle this issue once and for all.

Jorge said...

Many of the same people who were insisting they should have had a vote on the Marlin's stadium deal, don't want a vote on a tax increase. Hypocrites. It's always good to ask the people what they think.

Paulie Walnuts said...

Jorge, the reason the liberals here don't want a vote on a tax increase is because they know what the result will be: PEOPLE DO NOT WANT A TAX INCREASE!

Maria said...

The issue raised above by KC above (that libraries are becoming obsolete) is probably true. But the biggest problem is the excessive salaries paid to the county library staff. The county librarians are among the highest paid in the nation.

Last fall, Gimenez reported that the average salary for a Miami-Dade County librarian is $70,000 annually. That was before they all received their 5% raise. Because of the raise, the average salary of a Miami-Dade librarian is now approximately $74,000. Salaries like that are unsustainable, especially in a poor community like ours.

In addition to his straw poll, Gimenez needs to commission a professional third-party salary survey. If our county employees are confirmed to be among the highest paid local government employees in the nation, Gimenez needs to reclassify county positions to an appropriate salary range.

Until the excessive salary issue at the county is addressed, we will continue to have budget problems.

Anonymous said...

Many black politicians tell us to keep children in the libraries, otherwise they will be running around breaking into cars. Gimenez needs to learn to reduce expenses not raise taxes. Just because Gimenez is making $400,000+ per year from the taxpayers does not mean everyone is.

Anonymous said...

Hi Maria,

When mr. Gimenez laid off 250 staff from the library in 2011, the lowest paid librarians were picked by adminstration to leave. So the workforce at the library has 15+ years or more experience and is older. I believe that there are only two entry level librarians in the system that are in their twenties. Is that normal for a statistical average?

The last person hired for a position in the library was about 18 months ago. About one person quits or retires each week. Attrition is taking a toll.

Under the Gimenez plan, the system snaps into an explosive decompression with the remaining staff.

The loss on taxpayer investment and sheer waste of resources is HUGE, and that's not even mentioning the loss to the communities that lean on their library as a beacon of normalcy in a violent area.

Anonymous said...

Anon with the comment
"Many of the same people who were insisting they should have had a vote on the Marlin's stadium deal, don't want a vote on a tax increase. Hypocrites. It's always good to ask the people what they think."

Not hypocrites, merely wary voters who got burned voting for the Pets Trust after Mayor Gimenez and his county attorney worded the ballot to be worthless. 165,000 Yes votes turned into a One Mayor and 12 count commissioners' no votes.

So, why do you think a non binding straw vote ballot is worth the paper it's printed upon? Fooled me once...

Anonymous said...

We are one of the poorest areas of the country, yet we have the highest salaries in local government in the country. And many of these people do not contribute to the tax base, they take our money and go to Broward county. It can't continue, eventually it will fall apart. You can't ask any more of these poor people.

Anonymous said...

Basic truth: Underfunding a library starves it into obsolescence.

Stop paying for Netflix and you still having a working television, it just isn't as entertaining.

So cut off hiring new children's librarians, cut off buying new books, new databases, new maker spaces with three D printers, new training sessions, new storytelling camps, new teen mic nights, new downloadable magazines, new downloadable e books, and on and on and then tag the institution as "obsolete." Unfair,

Libraries evolve because librarians are flexible professions. Open your mind and come visit your local library - especially the ones opened or renovated since 2006-2011. And while you are exploring, check out the Go to databases and also go to the Ebooks and more section - subscriptions are ending so do it now to see what incredible resources that you are about to lose. I believe access to Valueline just ended.

Anonymous said...

I live in a three bedroom, three bathroom single family home in Coral Gables. At the peak of the real estate boom, the value tripled to $1.1 million. My library tax is $46.00. This tax is less than two hardback books. To those who say this amount is too high, I say bullshit.

And to Mayor Gimenez who said this summer that there are old people in poverty who have to choose between paying for their library tax and eating cat food learn about Amendment 11

Additional homestead exemption for low-income seniors who maintain long-term residency on property. Effective as of 2013, a new law authorizes cities and counties to grant additional homestead property tax relief to low-income seniors who have lived in their home for at least 25 years.

Homeowners who meet the following requirements are eligible:

Age 65 and older
Have a household Adjusted Gross Income less than $27,994 (This income limit typically excludes social security benefits). Persons who file a Federal Income Tax Return should review the Adjusted Gross Income line on their return, to determine their adjusted gross income
Own a home with a market value of less than $250,000
Have lived in the home for at least 25 years
This exemption benefit is a “Local Option” which means county and city governments can decide whether or not to implement its provisions. To apply, please complete both of the following forms:

DR-501 and DR-501SC

So far, the following Taxing authorities have adopted this new exemption:

Bay Harbor Islands
City of Homestead
Cutler Bay
Hialeah Gardens
Miami Beach
Miami-Dade County
Miami Lakes
North Bay Village
North Miami
Palmetto Bay
Virginia Gardens
The Additional homestead exemption for low-income seniors who maintain long-term residency on property will be automatically renewed annually. However, homeowners benefiting from this exemption must notify the Property Appraiser’s Office if they no longer meet the eligibility requirements.

Automatic Renewal receipts are mailed by February with income limit information. If you no longer qualify for this exemption, sign the cancelation portion of the renewal receipt and return by March 1st to:

PO BOX 013140
Miami, FL 33140

Notice: If you qualify for this new additional exemption you likely qualify for the regular senior exemption.

Anonymous said...

Hi Chauncy -

"When he tried to raise taxes last year, there was all sorts of public outcry and little public support."

Have you read this?

It explains why there was little public support. Who can support what has not been publicized.

Even the County Commissioners were handed the annual budget proposal only 24 hours before the vote. Shameful.

XX said...

The headline here says it is the kiss of death to tie libraries to the Museums in a straw vote on higher taxes.

Ummm ... Here is a news flash:


Anonymous said...

To the anon who cannot afford the expense of the theater did you know about this?

Miami-Dade Public Library System proudly presents the Museum Pass! Just visit your nearest branch library, see staff for availability and use your library card to check out a museum pass. The Museum Pass offers patrons FREE admission for a family of four to the Deering Estate at Cutler, Fruit & Spice Park, HistoryMiami, Miami Art Museum, Miami Children's Museum, Miami Science Museum, and Vizcaya Museum and Gardens.

How the pass works:

Pass is good for up to a family of four.*
Pass is good for one visit.
Pass is not renewable or available for reserve.
Pass is valid for seven days from the time of check out.
Passes are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Pass will not be replaced if lost or stolen.
Only one pass may be checked out at a time.
* Deering Estate passes, a family of four is two adults and two children ages 4-14.
* Fruit & Spice Park passes, a family of four is two adults and two children ages 6-11.

Museums may apply restrictions including blackout dates or separate admission to special event/exhibits.

Anonymous said...

County Mayor Carlos Gimenez does not value using our tax money to give back to our tax payers.. His smear campaign against public libraries, shows he does not value sharing resources and stable neighborhoods. His inadequate proposals show no vision with budgets. He said that the library fiscal crisis is a good thing so that it can be reinvented for the future.

The next time a gang member hits an innocent bystander in the spine during a drive-by and paralyzes them, he can just tell the court that a crisis is a good thing and that the victim can reinvent themself as a paraplegic.

The victim can innovate to find a new way to get around besides old fashioned walking.

As in this case, the gang member will just step around the fact the he created the crisis in the first place by firing that bullet.

Anonymous said...

To Maria's comment "Until the excessive salary issue at the county is addressed, we will continue to have budget problems."

Please answer my non-binding straw poll:

Who's your favorite port director?
The Mayor's friend Bill Johnson, making about $258,000 or the Mayor's better friend Seaport Director Designee Juan Kuryla, making $290,000?

Anonymous said...

Wow! Tough choices! Is there an Assistant Port Director I could pick who makes a little less?

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Carlos Gimenez reduce government expenses instead of raising taxes?

Mahalo said...

The anon who suggested that the reason Gimenez's proposed tax increase in July was shot down by a 2/3 margin was because of "low publicity" and because it was received "only 24 hours before the vote" is being ridiculous.

Every county commissioner knew the state of the county finances. Every county commissioner has been there for years. If there is anything they have a position on, it is taxes. The commission has the power of the purse in the county government, and if the commissioners wanted to fund the fire, library, and a no-kill animal shelter, they would be taking the lead on a tax increase, not Gimenez.

The fact is Gimenez stuck his neck out for the libraries, the fire department, and the no-kill animal shelter crowd in July 2013 and he got burnt. He proposed a 5.37% tax increase that met with massive resistance. The pro-tax crowd was AWOL. Then he lowered his proposal to a 4.34% tax increase, doing away with the animal-welfare portion but trying to maintain fire-rescue and library services, but that also met with massive outcry. Again, the pro-tax crowd was AWOL.

So when the rubber met the road, Gimenez did not receive the necessary support from advocates who want to save those services. People can read about what happened here:

Gimenez's straw poll proposal is another attempt to fund those services. But Gimenez will not be left hanging out to dry again. It's time for the pro-tax crowd to put up or shut up. If you want a tax increase, own it and campaign for it. Put your time, energy, and money where your mouths are.

Maria said...

To the anon who asked me about the two Seaport Directors who are each making over a quarter million dollars annually, I would immediately fire both of those idiots.

I would then launch a competitive recruitment for a new legitimate and qualified Seaport Director-- a process that neither of the two current idiots went through-- at a salary no higher than those being paid at the other 14 seaports in Florida.

Anonymous said...

I vote so that those elected make decisions, governing by referendum simply means lack of leadership. On the library issue it simply requires a responsible decision to "restore" not increase funding. I also expect advisory committees to be allowed to advise. The Blue Ribbon Taskforce for the Libraries and the Elections Advisory group both had the Mayor as Chair- therefore their reports and "advise" became the Mayor's advise and recommendations. Never before this Mayor had advisory committees not been independent. Why bother going through such an exercise.

Skip Van Cel said...

It is obvious that the mayor and the majority of the commissioners could give a rats ass about the citizens of Miami Dade county. But we will vote them all back in next election.

Anonymous said...

I agree with you 100% Maria. Thank you for your solid answer to a question that was partially sarcasm.

Anonymous said...

To Mahalo,

Commissioner Zapata was just elected, so he hasn't been participating for years. This was his first budget cycle.

This is his statement that was an "ah ha" moment about this current budget. It's 5 minutes. He refused to approve any of the five budgets.

Seeing the actual meeting is better than getting an analysis of the story through the miami heralds filter.

Anonymous said...

The Libraries CANNOT get shafted by the referendum!!!!
The Mayor’s creation of the Blue Ribbon Task force was SPECIFICALLY designed for the Library situation. Those enormous line-by-line-detailed binders that the task force studied, were ONLY about the Libraries. The issue at hand regarding a referendum needs to be whether THE MILLAGE FOR THE LIBRARIES should increase. NOTHING ELSE!
Do not put into the referendum a mix of parks and museums!!!
The referendum will mean nothing unless it is solely about the Libraries AND STATES IT AS SUCH!!!
Anything else is a travesty and a manipulation.
When the vote was for schools, it was only for schools.
When the vote was for Jackson Hospital, it was only for Jackson Hospital.
It is now for the Library System, it therefore needs to be ONLY for the Library System!!!
Do not try to fool the public.
The actual money question for the referendum should be: “Are you willing to pay about $11 more to go exclusively towards the Library System in order to keep our Libraries open and not reduce library services?"
The truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Do not feed the public Newspeak!!!
A referendum with multiple issues becomes a referen-dumb.

Anonymous said...

Stolen from a comment addressing the posting on the DCF Herald series.

Here's what conservative ideologues do best: defund and disable government services to a point where they can't function efficiently and then point to these services and note how government can't do anything right.

Our library system had $60 million in budget carryover three years ago. It's bankrupted today, Mayor Gimenez says the library needs to be "efficient" after he reduced their budget by 50% and forced the use of the renovation money for operations.

Anonymous said...

Leadership does not need straw polls.

What an embarrassment our County Mayor and our County Commission have become!

Geniusofdespair said...

$70,000 for a professional with an advanced degree is not excessive. Come on. Maria you are a plant.

Anonymous said...

Why doesn't Carlos Gimenez reduce government expenses instead of raising taxes?

Because he has a Barry University degree (paid for by the city of Miami) in Public Administration. I figure he took the course in basic budgeting 101 and I'd absolutely love to see his grades!

No offense to Barry U. but it did not prepare this Mayor to be both a politician and a manager. He's performing poorly. First affected are county employees, next whole communities.

Anonymous said...

I voted for a Mayor who would build this city up, not destroy its finest institutions.

Research tells us that early literacy is the surest path to end poverty and crime. The library is essential to our future.

We trust the library. how can we trust you? Look at your history!

Anonymous said...

This is my question; every other municipal and regional government in the region has come out of the recession years- even the City of Miami. What is the problem with the ever so smart mayor of Miami Dade County that can make it happen here? Revenues are up, construction is booming, tourists keep coming, but he can't make it add up to move this county forward, but rather continues to propose mediocrity!

Anonymous said...

Just call the straw poll No Kill Libraries so voters know up front how little our input will count.

Anonymous said...

In response to the above: what is wrong? Cronyism.

Our County government must change from the top dow.
We currently have the worst Mayor in the history of Miami-Dade County. The administration of the Mayor's office and every department is full of inept employees. These cannot be fired because they are all related or connected to "somebody".

Finally, lobbyists have destroyed our county system.

CATO said...

Ay ay ay anon that said Gimenez doesnt understand the "AMERICAN" culture, to you I ask who does the Seminoles or the Miccosukees?

Anonymous said...

I've worked for the county for nearly three decades, I have no relatives in county service. Yes, there are family members of staff members. I think they are foolish as they take a HUGE chance all working for the same entity. It's like living in a one company town - and the company either owns you or it can go out of business and the town goes belly up.

I'd be more than happy to see nepotism, cronyism and appointments challenged.

However, all of the comments that broad brush such actions, take a reality check.

When you destroy the entire entity, the repercussion affect YOU! You just aren't keeping track of all of the ways the local government works because it's behind the scenes and you're not forced to be aware.

Vote at the upcoming August 26th election - it impacts you!!

Diggy said...

I have respect for fiscal conservatives who are against increasing taxes and increasing spending.

I also have respect for liberals who are big spenders, but who will also vote to raise taxes to pay for their spending.

I have no respect for big spending George Bush-style Republicans, such as Juan Zapata, who are against raising taxes while at the same time voting to give every county employee a 5% pay raise. How despicable and irresponsible.

Anonymous said...

Carlos Gimenez ran his first campaign for Mayor on a pledge to reduce expenses and streamline County government. He lied. He kept most of the old guard George Burgess executives employed and he barely reduced the number of full time employees Countywide. Then he pandered to his friends in the Fire Union. He surrounded himself with crappy hires like Broward based Jack Osterholt and Marlins lobbyist Ed Marquez. No surprise Gimenez is failing.

Geniusofdespair said...

The Juan Zapata comment, obviously a Gimenez plant.

Anonymous said...

I went to the library to study. I had a large family in a small house. It isn't all about paper books. Obviously many have not been to a library lately to see all the people on computers there.

Anonymous said...

I agree the straw ballot questions on taxes are a bad idea. (No Kill Shelters). Either you lead or get the hell out of the way. Leadership can be measured or taken after polling is done, don’t we have enough of that type of leadership in this country?

Find other creative ways to fund our libraries, if you must ask the voters make the language clear and easy to understand. Commissioner Bovo has already gone on record he won’t support straw ballots, I believe Sosa has stated the same on spanish TV.

Enough with task forces to study issues, I expect our Mayor and Commissioners to make decisions and defend their vote one way or another, But enough with this straw ballot crap and “let’s poll before we make a decision” way of leading.

I mean I am just saying

Maria said...

First, do you really believe “a plant” would be referring to Gimenez’s two Seaport directors as idiots who need to be fired immediately?

Second, your statement that “$70,000 for a professional with an advanced degree is not excessive” ignores the basics of compensation theory. For the sake of argument, let’s agree that an MLS degree is a requirement for a county librarian. Required education level is only one of many factors used to determine position compensation. Other factors include difficulty of work, high risk duties, decision-making level, decision-making impact, presence of a harsh/undesirable work environment, need for license/certification, number/level of subordinates, level of supervisor, level of contacts, budget/fiduciary responsibilities, etc. In addition to those numerous other compensation factors, market pricing, applicant supply, external equity, and the ability to pay are all more important issues than the need for a master’s degree.

You simply cannot ignore the fact that an average $74,000 county librarian salary far exceeds the state and national mean for a librarian with a master’s degree. Also, $74,000 greatly exceeds the per capita income in Miami-Dade County ($23,304) and the Miami-Dade County median household income ($43,464). Your suggestion that a county librarian should be paid $74,000 is insulting to the 19.1% of Miami-Dade County residents who are living in poverty.

(Miami-Dade income source: )

Anonymous said...

Herea re some cost cutting ideas taken from the pages of your blog

1. Cull your staff, Mr. Mayor
2. Stop the bogus mom and pop grants

How many other ideas can the readers come up with? I'm curious.

KC said...

Here is my cost saving idea:

Stop requiring taxpayers to foot the bill for the 42 county union leaders who perform no county work for their county pay. Every other organization on the planet requires that unions pay for union work with union dues.

That's $3 million in savings right there.

G.O.D., please don't tell us that you support that ridiculous and unusual county practice.

Anonymous said...

Maria - please volunteer at a public library for a new appreciation and attitude reversal. It will be an eye opener. Librarians daily deal with harsh and difficult situations. Ask to read the incident reports.

Your list, tied to compensation, looks like my current resume. Librarians have concrete examples dealing with facility issues, customer service challenges, programming responsibilities, concierge expectations, staffing issues - and bring on early elections in the mix a few times a year.

"applicant supply and external equity"- these are the most sarcastic on the list. What right minded professional librarian would work for an unstable institution that has a county leader nationally trashing the profession, expect to lose benefits, expect to be degraded. Librarians are sadly jumping from this sinking ship and getting hired elsewhere.

Why are there 19.1% of our population in poverty? It's the fault of the remaining 400 employees of the 49 branch Miami-dade Public Library System.

Wait for attrition Maria. And you will in the end, get what you pay for.

Anonymous said...

Bankrupt Detroit is seeking proposals from private companies to buy and run its water and sewer facilities. As it has to liquidate its assets, it is looking at everything it can sell. We seem to be following their path to bankruptcy.

Anonymous said...

I laugh at the anon above who says that there will be attrition within the librarian ranks. No librarians left when the county was taking the 5% away, so why would any librarians voluntarily leave now after they restored it?

The voluntary attrition rate in the county government has been less than 1% for decades. That tells you that it is a very sweet gig at a very good pay rate.

I am sick of hearing the county employees whine about their pay. I only wish that I had some friends or family who worked there so I could get a part of that same sweet deal.

Anonymous said...

Maria Anonymous - back up your statements with at least another fake miami dade source. Otherwise, it looks like a vindictive fixation.

Anonymous said...

There has been attrition. I'm one of those who VOLUNTARILY left. I wasn't laid off; I simply found a job that matched the pay I was receiving from the county and left.

There are dozens of librarians that have resigned from the library system over the last few years, that are NOT attributed to layoffs.

Doesn't seem like much of a sweet deal when your own workforce is voluntarily leaving in droves.

Anonymous said...

The number of full time library staff fell from 2009-10 650 full timers to about 400 full timers right now. Right now MDPLS is living the cliche "rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" mode.

Anonymous said...

Recent librarians who quit

Manager of Coral Gables
Cluster Manager of North Dade Regional
Manager of South Miami/Virrick Park
Acquisitions librarian
Manager of circulation services. -main
Manager second floor main reference
Talking books manager - retired
Bookmobiles manager
Manager of literacy program LEAD
Manager of Homebound svs - retired

Lots of others : GONE

Current advertising, first outside hires in two years - part time, no benefits.