Miamista's Roundup, Riding Herd on Scoundrels
2. Anna Menendez, one of two columnist worth reading at the Herald since Max Castro was kicked out has a funny, insightful article on the FIU bull shit "spying case". (Anna and Max both are on a all Cuba all the time thing but what's wrong with that?) "Thank goodness the fearsome Cuban spies are finally in custody. Now Fidel will never know for sure what his coffee-sipping enemies at Versailles really think of him."
3. Miamist recommends cultural tours throughout the city with Dr. George. If you don't know Miami you will learn a lot about an interesting city. I think the most interesting building in terms of symbolism and irony is the old downtown/Little Havana Miami Ku Klux Klan building that in the '80's became Teatro Marti and now is up for sale.
4. Employment- tourism and building boom. The unemployment rate in Miami-Dade is at a low for the past six years preliminary reports from Florida Workforce Innovation show. Workforce Innovation has had previous problems with fudging numbers as has other state statistical departments under Governor Jeb. As a point of comparison the actual unemployment rate for Black males in New York City is 50%, excluding the underemployed a number that is over three times the rate reported. This is actually much lower for that demographic than in most cities, including Miami. The measurement for unemployment has always been dubious. The liberals out there they should remember that this annual study, began a decade ago originally exposed that the Bureau of Labor Statistics and its contracted partners were fudging surveys under Bill Clinton. It has been asserted that his administration opened the door to widespread reworking to allow for better results. The numbers have not changed appreciably and now they are being used to undercut the Republican claims on employment. South Florida Workforce keeps its own statistics on growth in types of employment. Growth areas in Miami have primarily been in (SURPRISE), tourism and construction.
5. More on the labor front. A minor hubbub at South Florida Workforce a few months back brought us Rick Beasley. They were running into some trouble with their former leadership and they brought in Rick from Missouri. For those of you who don’t know, this agency is our state employment (or shouldn’t it be our unemployment) office. He wants you to know that there is a refocus on training programs, and armed with a budget surplus he wants to offer training in medicine and accounting where there is a need for employees. Here is the contact info, 1-866-352-2345.
6. The Miami New Times goes to the dogs. Last week the New Times ran three of five “news” items on the local SPCA. Enough said.
7. The real estate market is falling like a bag of bricks. The median price of existing homes declined to $377,700 in Miami-Dade County in December, down from $381,600 in November. In Broward County, the median price dipped to $369,000, from $391,100, according to numbers released Wednesday by the Florida Association of Realtors. We were told that record declines in prices and sales in September, October and November were caused by hurricanes. Housing prices are falling each month, sales are falling and fortunes are falling. Condo developers and speculators are on suicide alert.
Everybody has been complaining about the lack of affordable housing when the real story should be what will be the repercussions of a real estate crash, courtesy of the inflated market. No one seems to want to believe me (I've been called a gloomy idiot by the legions of commenters and journalists, on local blogs (looking at you "Critical Miami" blog and a couple of Miami Herald columnists joining in but I won't link to people calling me mean names)... but a crash is gonna happen, and soon. There's the probable loss of employment and billions of dollars by local speculators. There are also a lot of families that took out variable rate loans that are rising with interest rates and still others that took out lines of equity against inflated appreciation. The biggest disaster may be sky rocketing property taxes against this decline in values. If you are a plantation owner however however Jeb has you covered. Does anyone really expect the property tax assessors to be as quick in lowering property taxes as they were to raise them? On top of all of this is the rise in insurance rates now that we have become hurricane highway rather than hurricane alley.
8. Alvarez and UDB- Miami Dade commissioners accused Mayor Alvarez of grandstanding on the issue of the UDB. They say that he did not come to them prior to their vote to advise them that he would veto, which of course, they overrode. The question is, would the commissioners have negotiated the reasonable extensions of the urban boundary in pockets within the UDB that were left out while not extending the boundary farther out. Can’t imagine that would be the case.
9. Jimmy Morales - Jimmy has been toiling away as the county Democratic Party leader. Miami-Dade is still a majority Dem county. The candidate who faced justified backlash from local voters for graduating first in his class at Harvard College and Harvard Law as well as being environment friendly, honest, multicultural and moderate. Yeah. Jimmy would love to be a senator but there won’t be an opening for some time to come. He has missed his shot at the governor’s house. I have not heard about any significant increase in fund raising or more orderly, functional party machinery. I have heard that he is on the short list of any Dem governor’s appointee list. A reporter should see what he is up to. That won’t happen so I will get some second hand gossip and share it next week.
10. Miami City Commissioner Johnny Winton weighs in again sounding reasonable. Winton is impressed with the hire Terence Riley and alluded to some of the not so together planning of former curator Suzanne Delehanty, aka Air Ditz. (I am fearful of some serious political/ethnic pressure by some local myopic idiots will give Mr. Riley fits.) Referring to MAM he voiced issues about whether highbrow art should be high on the list of what the city is funding considering poverty levels in the city. Calling for the bulk of funding to come from private sources he added that “either way we get a great new park and that maybe we will have a city bond issue since the county has a knack of making money disappear.” Go ‘head Johnny! I mean, it’s a little late for you probably but you have been on point lately with the impact fee thing, (the need for parks and transportation, historic preservation, affordable housing). Now it all seems like damage control coming too little too late. Sorry for help riding you out on a rail champ, maybe crooks are all we can get in office... Am I being too cynical? Course not. But with his position on impact fees, the need for parks, transportation, infrastructure, community based afterschool programs… No, I’m not going to fall for it. Winton's been a dack. Let’s see what he actually does.
11. City Manager Joe Arriola has just added to his list of jackass behavior that is becoming an albatross for his boss. Let’s see: threatening to withhold hurricane assistance if a district did not vote for his candidate; getting kicked out of televised Miami Heat basketball game for berating an official; orchestrating an outlandish raise for his boss and telling folks in the media to kiss his ass when questioned on it; orchestrating a $7 million payout while screwing thousands of city residents, and then lying about it; shuttling hurricane aid to Hispanic districts while denying other districts; and firing a highly respected “Afro-Cuban” Pedro Pan success story Ricardo Gonzalez who led the Neighborhood Enhancement Teams (NET) for the city of Miami (bringing up the nasty issue of Cuban American “colorism”). In an otherwise great piece, Rebecca Wakefield tap dances around the racial issue; she once makes reference to the obviously office softened, paunchy Ricardo Gonzalez as "a large and potentially intimidating Black man". Huh? Anyway, seems all Mr. Gonzalez was guilty of was for doing his job, following orders and not discriminating. What he failed to remember is that to City Commissioner Angel Gonzalez, Mayor Diaz and Joe Arriola he is, still negro and needs to know his place in Cuban Miami. Don’t be surprised to see Diaz dump Arriola, probably getting some friends to help smooth the way, as Arriola is becoming serious political baggage to the “business” mayor.
12. George Burgess is trying to pass the blame for imminent water shortage due to the encroachment on the Everglades upon the director, or former director of the Water Department. Burgess is Mayor Carlos “Don’t get too close to my rapist son” Alvarez’s Arriola, that is, both Miami and Miami Dade have self serving, demagogic mayors with servile, incompetent, mean spirited lackeys. In Arriola’s defense, he was always a mean spirited, incompetent asshole whereas Burgess grew into one under former Mayor Alex Penelas’s tutelage.
13. Haitians professionals have met recently to discuss increased political participation and economic growth in the Haitian community. Recently second generation Haitians have been vocal about their desire to have refugee status for Haitian, well, refugees. Several South Florida representatives including Representatives Ileana Ros Lehtinen, Licoln Diaz Balart and Jose Diaz Blart have taken the position that Haitians deserved to have Temporary Protective Status (TPS), as is available to a small number of Central Americans. The big catch there is that TPS does not lead to expedited citizenship and VOTING status, thus denying Haitians arrivals a political voice. Haitians are the second largest immigrant group in Miami-Dade, and the third largest group of foreign nationals (the difference here being that Puerto Ricans who represent the second largest immigrant group are both Puerto Rican and U.S. citizens.)
14. Coconut Grove Grapevine gets edgy and funny with Saturday, January 28, 2006 entry
"What's with the golf carts?"(No more links since they are on the right.) Stuck on the Palmetto was one of my favorite blogs until I saw Coldplay in the number one spot of his playlist (J/K). Kyle at Miamity has been killing me (humor wise) and informing me event wise. Someone at Metblog has been making me puke. Alesh and Steve are consistently the best around IMO. Hidden City and Overtown are great with pics and blog. Kordor has forgotten to sign in for a while so something is missing.
15. There was a feel good story about the University of Miami that gave me hope. The article about UM’s successful Billion Dollar Campaign was excellent excepting some minor errors and oversight.
In the last decade USC, Cornell and Columbia are the schools that have led the nation in the fundraising, and both are pursuing $2 billion campaigns. (If you happen to know Miamista you are aware that he has spent considerable time at the first two schools and worked at the third taking continuing ed classes there because they were free, but he hates Columbia, having attended NYU. Miamista is also considering enrolling again because he is an irrepressible career student.) There are a dozen schools that are in the process of $2 billion campaigns (because $2 billion is the new $1 billion, of course).
For a college to be competitive it has to have campaigns aimed at increasing its endowment as opposed to gathering money for building programs, as endowment money is what allows a college to get better students and faculty and perform research. Note that the locals extremists that dictate UM's hiring and academic focus are not the big gift giving folks.