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Monday, January 23, 2006

Joe Martinez: O.K. Katy, Get Your Ass Back Here!

Every one knew that this had to happen. Katy Sorenson is in trou-ble! The Latin Builders Association has named her "Cracka gettin' on my nerves number 1, (2006)." The first salvo was the attempt to bring up the mitigation fees. Newer municipalities pay these fees to the county, including some largely Anglo Miami-Dade cities, while older cities do not.

The latest shot was the petty decision by current commision chairman Joe Martinez to take Katy off of the South Florida Planning Council, where she has served for a decade. Her seniority has given Dade some influence on the council despite the fact, that a second seat has sat empty for a year because no one else from Dade gives two hoots.

Regionalism, something that Miamista has written extensively about, has suffered from ethnic politics. The Hispanic majority on the Miami-Dade commision has been very anti-regional, seeing it as a backdoor way for Anglos to involve themselves in county issues, having lost their political majority in the mid-90's, following massive White flight (partially due to Hurricane Andrew.)

It is no accident that in recent years the only commisioners who have participated are Anglo (and Jewish in the case of Commissioner Sally Heyman). Note that the replacement that was chosen was African American Commisioner Dennis "Do What Boss Say" Moss. (Anyone who has been to some of the South Dade Black communities he "represents" will get a whole new definition of "Dirty South".) Even he did not want to take the position, as it is demeaning to be a both voiceless and powerless stooge.

Carlos Gimenez was also selected to fill a seat on the neglected planning council. This was a bone to assist him in keeping support in a half White, half Hispanic district that elected him to follow progressive Jimmy Morales. That he was an outsider at odds with the city commision during his days as Miami City Manager gave him ipso facto a progressive lable. His voting recored has proven otherwise. Joe Martinez, has also brought the backing that someone of his ilk has in the development community.

Katy is looked on as a threat because she may present the best chance for an Anglo county mayor. In the racially determined voting patterns of Dade, Anglo and Black voters are combined, the largest bloc of voting. If an Anglo candidate receives any progressive Hispanic votes in addition he or she will be virtually unbeatable. This is why the cagey Mayor Alvarez has made it a point to grandstand on issues that appeal to progressive Anglo voters (clean government, planned growth, regional integration, education) even as he has effectively undercut these positions. This ability to play both sides (as in his position on protection of Gay individuals in the Civil Rights oridinance) along with a compliant Herald has served him well.

Miamista believes that Katy isn't an opportunists on these issues and that what are seen as Anglo issues are actually issues that affect us all, and that we should champion as a community. The LBA and the Hispanic community are not the same thing and it is their efforts that keep us away from regional intergration. I've always thought that if the LBA folks spent half the time, energy and money into moving into Broward, PB, Collier, Martin and St. Lucie, they would increase their profit and we would be a much wealthier region. Sorenson's record is not remotely one of an "environmental activist" as the Herald asserts, but as a reasonable, independent voice representing the people of Dade, not a cadre of developers.

Anyway, here is an excerpt from the story.

Posted on Mon, Jan. 23, 2006
MIAMI-DADEPlanning board still being shuffledMiami-Dade Commissioner Dennis Moss, tapped to replace a fellow commissioner yanked from an influential regional planning board, remains undecided.By NOAKI SCHWARTZ AND TERE FIGUERAS NEGRETE MiamiHerald
A week after Miami-Dade Commissioner Katy Sorenson, a vocal environmentalist, was booted off an influential planning board, one of her proposed replacements waffled on accepting the post, raising hopes among some activists that Sorenson might be reappointed.
Commissioner Dennis Moss' office on Friday initially sent a curt e-mail to the South Florida Regional Planning Council and Chairman Joe Martinez declining the post.
But in an interview with The Miami Herald hours later, he backpedaled, saying he would prefer to remain ''noncommittal'' at the moment.
''I'm taking it under advisement,'' said Moss, who is seen by critics as being development-friendly. ``Initially, my response was that I've got a lot of things going on, and I didn't know if I wanted to create another activity . . . but then I started to think about it.''
BOOTED AFTER VOTE
Last week, Martinez took Sorenson off the South Florida Regional Planning Council just days after she and other council members had voted largely against any efforts to move the county's urban development boundary.
The boundary is designed, in part, to keep urban sprawl from encroaching on the Everglades.
Sorenson called Martinez's decision retribution for her votes.
Martinez denied the charge, saying that after 11 years on the council, it was time to give someone else an opportunity.
19 MEMBERS
Martinez appointed Moss and Commissioner Carlos Gimenez to replace Sorenson and to fill another seat that had been vacant for about a year.
The 19-member planning council serves as an advisory panel to the Florida Department of Community Affairs in reviewing land-use changes in Miami-Dade, Broward and Monroe counties.
The group is composed of elected officials from the three counties and private individuals appointed by the governor.
Gimenez accepted Martinez's appointment, calling it ''a pretty cool assignment.'' Moss didn't -- at first.
''Effective immediately, Commissioner Dennis C. Moss has declined to serve on the South Florida Regional Planning Council Board,'' read the e-mail he sent to the council and the chairman's office. It didn't offer an explanation for his decision.
Late Friday, Moss sent a second e-mail to the Planning Council saying his staff had declined the post for him without consulting with him first.
REMOVAL PROTESTED
Sorenson supporters, who sent sharp e-mails to the chairman in protest last week, welcomed initial news that Moss may not take the appointment.
Ilene Lieberman, a Broward commissioner who chaired last week's Planning Council meeting, said Sorenson had just been voted treasurer of the council and was in line to become president next year.
''I sincerely hope if Dennis has declined, that the chair will reconsider and reappoint Katy,'' Lieberman said, adding that she's sure the council would allow the commissioner to maintain her seniority.
Miami-Dade Commissioner Sally Heyman, who sits on the council with Sorenson, agreed, as did Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alvarez.

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