Monday, July 07, 2014

Fuming at misallocation of county taxpayer funds: why do voters keep re-electing the same incumbents? … by gimleteye

Over the weekend my co-blogger, G.O.D., picked up the tangle of county allocations of the tourist bed tax and general obligation bonds and other pools of taxpayer moneys that serve the interests of Miami-Dade's political and economic elites. Both G.O.D. and I first supported Mayor Carlos Gimenez who seemed, at the time, an honest broker compared to the incoherent bumbling of previous administrations. Some of our readers warned us. They were right. We were wrong.

Over the holiday weekend, G.O.D. wrote about the messy exchange of funding pools involving debts to repay sports stadiums -- the Miami Marlin's for one example -- and needed convention center upgrades. Called it "sleights of hand". The political equivalent of a game of three-card monte.

In Miami-Dade, there are plenty of other examples how taxpayers get hooked by one generation of exploiters and then are driven further down the hook by the next generation. Now, these days, there is not even the space of time between these generations. The Performing Arts Center needs more money? Give it. The Genting/Perez Museum of Art needs more money? A few more million is "necessary".

Parking to view cultural institutions? Parks? Or Libraries? (How Miami-Dade College has been screwed by this funding allocation process deserves a chapter all its own.)

For decades, Miami-Dade county commissioners tolerated not only some of the lowest water rates in the nation -- to subsidize and spur new development -- but also raided the water and sewer department revenue base (that would be, us) to cover other deficit gaps. This constant behavior resulted in sanctions by the state AND by the federal government (after a lawsuit by environmentalists of course).

The significance of these emergencies was lost to voters in the general emergency of incompetent governance. For the most part, the power of the media through investigative journalism simply dissipated.

In the hit HBO series "True Blood", it's called "glamoring" when vampires stare ordinary mortals in the eyes to make them forget whatever horrific detail they witnessed. Miami-Dade taxpayers have been "glamored" by Mayor Carlos Gimenez and the county commissions.

Meanwhile, if you -- as an involved citizen -- happen to be the recipient of a county community grant, you will be wrapped up in the preoccupations of county auditors whose main purpose seems to assuage the needs of their own job security.

What this performance does is keep off-balance exactly the small groups of citizens who could mobilize objections except they would have to give up the paltry sums if they did. And God forbid the misappropriation of community block grants to politically-connected insiders. What a racket that ignites. But when the Genting/Perez Art Museum or the Performing Arsht Center needs a few more million?

There are at least two lessons here, easily understood. One: The big fish always get away. Two: If you are looking for money, you should have been here yesterday.

That is, unless you are an insider, in which case there is always a special desk with someone waiting just for you at County Hall.


Anonymous said...

PAMM has just asked for a few more million.

Anonymous said...

In the Miami Herald Michael spring said we were expected to help fund Pamm. I have news for you Michael Spring they were expected to have an endowment where's the endowment. Police officers are getting Laid off and libraries are underfunded but we have to fund Pam an art Museum that never should've been built on the waterfront I don't get it. Let Jorge Perez fund it.

Anonymous said...

True blood that.

Anonymous said...

The reason the museum is named for Jorge Perez is that he promised the county exactly what he got from Genting in that real estate deal. Perez is a pass through, in a pass through place, in a pass through economy. Priod end of stry.

Anonymous said...

In an oliogarchy, art for the elite is much more important than literacy and security for the proles. The elite can already read and they have their own private security forces - why pay for the rest of us? It's all about them, right? Doesn't the earth revolve around the sun?? Quit complaining, you whiners. Get a job and get filthy rich like all the rest of the oligarchy. Oh, sorry, I forgot - the gates are closed. Too bad .... here; have some cake, will you?

Anonymous said...

It's hard to fight corruption, but yet, have to pick a political side? I get it, eom doesn't like Gimenez anymore. That is not to say everything he does is wrong.

Yes the Perez Museum is a gigantic sham! The World Center street giveaway is a joke. Gimenez, as with the commissioners, rub elbows with the slimiest people in the city.

Does that mean he is wrong about Libraries? Books can be download for $0.99. Less then the cost of gas. Don't get me wrong, Libraries are great, only outdated. We need to fix them with new and innovative ideas.

How about the Police Force? We have somewhere around 2600 officers - the majority are honest. But this being Miami, we have hundreds of corrupt officers. This police force has been accused of or convicted of every crime known to man. One pea brained officer ran over a tourist on South Beach, with a atv, after a day of drinking on duty. Harassment. They looked up some innocent kid in the database 200 times. wtf? Abuse of the database is normal in Miami. Officers make 150K a year and complain about their salary. Really??? The median income in Miami is 30K per year, and they work for us... How could this be? It's even said, a group of the dumbest of dumb undercover officers, tried setting up a prostitute sting on the Mayor. Gimenez is only trying to weed out the ones whom don't deserve a badge.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous comment: "Does that mean he is wrong about Libraries? Books can be download for $0.99. Less then the cost of gas. Don't get me wrong, Libraries are great, only outdated. We need to fix them with new and innovative ideas."

"Don't get me wrong" Doest hide the insult of the institution. Stating that their product is defunct without truly knowing their product shows that you have not visited a library in person or online.

You can buy everything at the Dollar Store so why don't you do all your shopping there? it because, their products don't necessarily fulfill your expectations or needs.

There are plenty of sites offering free downloadables. Much of out of copyright books can be found on the Gutenberg project website for free, cheaper than even your .99 cent bargains.

The library functions for information needs - whether in books, by conversing with the professional librarians, by having a decent non-commercial space to explore within all types of neighborhoods, by resource sharing.

Check out - explore - databases. And then explore the Downloadables (music, magazines, audiobooks, Ebooks.)

It's always best practices to offer insight only after you have an deeper understanding of the subject you decide to write about.

Anonymous said...

Yes, he is wrong about libraries. You are too.

Outdated is a tag used by anyone who stopped going inside a library or does not go to the website. You limit yourself and your attitude shows close-mindedness.

Do you shop only at the Dollar Store? Doubtful as it doesn't meet your expectations or needs. So.99 cent downloadables aren't going to meet the needs of what readers want. Otherwise, all they would need could be found at Project Gutenberg,which offers thousands of out of copyright books for free downloading.

Libraries are about access to information - books are just one of many tools.

Based on your "don't get me wrong" backhanded comment, you need to get familiar with what resources are about to be stolen from you,

Anonymous said...

Great rant!! The cowardly lions on the bcc are showing their true selves and we should all be ashamed!

Anonymous said...

"Don't get me wrong" wasn't a backhanded comment. Libraries are great. They need to do better - particularly with getting the word out about their resources. Quite a few people have stopped going to the Library. It's a shame. Other then this website, I never hear a word about them. Even here, it's only complaining about the funds. I don't remember seeing a post on exactly what benefits people receive from visiting a Library, that they can't get from any number of other websites.

Anonymous said...

Free Storytime? Free book clubs? Free lunches for children? Free art classes? Access to learning 63 languages? Access to miami herald articles back to 1982? Schematics for your car? Blank contracts? Citizenship tests? 225 magazines you can own? Access to 3 million downloadable songs? And on and on and on... Where have you been?

Yes, we agree, the PR downright sucks, but hey, the director just quit so maybe a new breath of fresh air will show the library's enormous assets.

In the meantime, get thee to your local library.

Anonymous said...

See, that's the thing. I've been here, in the 305, but yet, didn't know half of the offerings.

Hope to see more pr in the future. MIA shouldn't be missing out on all being offered.

Anonymous said...

"Be the change"
you want to see.

Anonymous said...

A good start would be voting that bell Lady out

Anonymous said...

As smart people have been saying for 20+ years - Perez Art Museum Miami FKA Miami Art Museum has NO endowment. No endowment. Duh. If Perez wants his name on the wall, and all over the damn place, let him pay to cover the losses. Dopes.