Friday, February 19, 2010

Paradise Plundered, again and again.

The Rightwingnuts made their annual pilgrimage this week to Washington DC for the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC).  Among the hucksters and Rethug liars to present at the podium was Marco Rubio... you know? the Miami - Dade County lobbyist past speaker of the FL House?  Charlie Crist might not be such a poor Senatorial candidate to consider, I'm thinking (and most of this blog will state my reasons for this twist of thought).  Such fine lobbyist creds have endowed Rubio with nearly carte blanche from the corporate interests (whomever they reveal themselves to be) ala newly released laws by SCOTUS.  For me, a dedicated liberal and Democrat (in that order btw), the bloggers over at Eye On Miami  keep giving me actionable reasons to support the current Gov., Mr. Crist.  Mr. Rubio is running a campaign ala Vote Cuban! Samba.

But here is the reasoning spelled out and intimately connective to past blogs here be monsters:

Michelle Spence-Jones, down in District 5 - Liberty City, re-ran for the office she was removed from by Gov. Crist, in the event of her corruption charges.  Not to beat this dead horse too long, suffice to say her appeal has been turned down even as her seat on the City Commission has been  duped by one Rev. Richard Dunn... who, btw, promises to make a "good fight", beginning with a demand to be made chairman of the $100 million Community Redevelopment Agency (a holder of funds earmarked for economic development in Overtown and so much more! Like the Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust.)  The REID REPORT calls this the "D5 Hustle!"  No shit, same office, same workers, same ole same ole.   But in this case, the Community Redevelopment Agency is bedrock for the traditional corruption plaguing District 5 since the Overtown riots.  And if you keep current with "Eye on Miami" blog or the Miami Herald you are aware of the relentless motion that continues on the City Commission, in this 'tradition' [as I have been told... it's about an urban polyculture anchor of politico's simply keeping a predetermined sorority / fraternity in place]  a time honored American political tradition, to be sure.   Less than 12% of the community votes and the votes were for Spence-Jones.  As they say, Miami is zoned for serial corruption and it is no wonder that D5 exists in apathy clinging to iconoclasm.
Until someone new, bright and shinning comes along to upset the same ole same ole.   The truth shimmers still on inner city / urban / metro elections (sans mayorial)  as unattractive to the 18-40 year old demographic, but Michelle Spense-Jones is doing little worrying about her eventual outcomes... not written in the cards but solid in unspoken rules of play to pay politics (that are hanging on by the thinnest of threads and the age of those who uphold it) goes about the waiting game until she is returned to her seat at the City Commission ousting Rev.  Dunn.  Can I have an Amen?   Shit.  
My care and attention to the Spence-Jones outcome is relative to my care for the services of a special group of people who are genuinely devoted to building something lasting, evolving and tourism based in the heart of Liberty City.  Working everyday to further the creativity and initiatives of "Osun's Village".  Nathaniel Styles and Harlan Woodard are supporting indigenous and African / Caribbean diaspora influenced artisans - industry to engage a new tourism inside of District 5.  This is a new community effort to bring the flow of green directly into Liberty City and revive local business.  All the work they have so far accomplished shows, yet they require the support of political integrity and ethics.  Since Michelle Spence-Jones has been charged with stealing funds intended to support Osun's Village projects, the disposition of her ongoing status in relationship to governing of Liberty City is of concern.   You need to DO RIGHT when you take the up the responsibility of community.  Period.  [The photo on the left from left to right includes Chief Nathaniel B. Styles, Jr. Olosun, Dillard University President Dr. Marvalene Hughes, Gov. Charlie Crist and Harlan E. Woodard.]

Moving forward: I am a member of the Democratic Party of the State of Florida and volunteer in assisting the goals and challenges of it.  Of late I have given time and some small effort to raising awareness and working towards electing Rep. Kendrick Meek to the vacated Senate seat now being chewed on by Rubio and Crist.  The more research and digging I do, the more I realize just how damn short on substance and due diligence my Party seems to be in the state.  Rep. Meek has successfully petitioned for and is running for this Senate seat.   He has the tacit support of the FL Dems.  But here's the thing: I'm pulling my support for him, and this is why;
Two months prior to her retirement at election time in 2003, Rep. Carrie Meek stepped aside in the election to allow her son to take her place.  Damn smart politics.  Kendrick Meek is no slouch, he has experience and ideally, an integrity that his mother carried into her service to the state and nation.  Carrie Meek is a genuine Florida Woman Hall of Fame-er.  First African American woman elected to the Congress from the state.  I remember Carrie Meek in the 1970's.  She has accomplished a great deal.  So, when she came to her get off place in the road, she played smart politics... a family tradition was created when son Kendrick stepped into her seat, extremely easily.  Still, Ms. Meek cut a smart piece of lobbyist pie for her retirement plan with the City Commission of Miami.  On the face of it, it does not demonstrate 'play for pay' political rigging or stomping.  But the legacy of women on the Miami City Commission includes Ms. Meek and play to pay politics are implicated with both Meeks'. I refer to the tangled web over the Miami - Dade Empowerment Trust and all of the fall out surrounding it.  A hugely corrupt operation that includes both Meek's involvement without having to even consider no due diligence.  Due diligence is banned in the District 5 zone.  The now Kendrick Meek is asking for our support in a Senatorial run?

Nope, no can do.  And frankly, if another Democrat candidate runs against him in a re-election bid upcoming for the seat he does hold, I will take a strong look at supporting that.  The circular corruption and fiscal irresponsibility (so well documented by the Miami Herald in Poverty Peddlers) in District 5 Dade County needs to be addressed with integrity.  And the 18-45 demographic of voters needs to be engaged. 
Here is something about the Miami Herald series, well worth the time to read.
Poverty Peddlers is the continuation of a Miami Herald series published in June that revealed sweeping problems at a celebrated biopharmaceutical park proposed in Liberty City.
The newspaper found that developer Dennis Stackhouse diverted more than $500,000 from the project through double billing and questionable expenses while paying a host of political insiders to rally support for the plan.
The nonprofit agency that sponsored the project - The Miami-Dade Empowerment Trust - was supposed to monitor the developer's spending, but no reports were produced nor were any audits conducted, the newspaper found.
After the series was published, Miami-Dade County leaders killed the deal and broke all ties with the trust, while local prosecutors began a criminal investigation. After three months, prosecutors charged Stackhouse last week with improperly bundling campaign contributions. The investigation into the project's finances continues, prosecutors say.
While the newspaper was investigating the biotech deal, it was examining dozens of other projects sponsored by the Empowerment Trust - the subject of the current series that begins today.
To report the stories, reporters reviewed more than 300 resolution files from the agency, culling through thousands of pages of memos, correspondence, receipts and contracts to track the trust's efforts in combating poverty.
The reporters also examined dozens of lawsuits and bankruptcy cases, property records, nonprofit tax filings from the Internal Revenue Service and thousands of documents from other county agencies, including the Office of Community and Economic Development.
To verify job numbers the trust filed with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, reporters sifted through hundreds of pages from 15 progress reports the trust submitted to HUD this year and compared them to the agency's own internal files.
The comparison showed that the trust created eight of the 310 jobs it claimed in reports to HUD.
Reporters also interviewed scores of small-business owners scattered throughout the county and visited dozens more.
To measure the effectiveness of the empowerment zone program, the newspaper analyzed 16 years of demographic data from the U.S. Census and Claritas, a private research firm.
Because the empowerment zone program uses geographic areas created by the U.S. Census Bureau - called Census tracts - to identify neighborhoods, the newspaper relied on data from Claritas, the only source for current tract-level data available.
Although Claritas does not rely on the one-in-six sample used by the U.S. Census to report economic statistics, it is cited by many academic, corporate and government papers as a reliable source of economic and demographic data.
In fact, the U.S. Government Accountability Office cites Claritas economic data in a September 2006 report to Congress regarding the status of empowerment zones nationwide.
As part of its analysis, the newspaper examined various economic indicators from the 1990 and 2000 censuses, including family poverty data, workforce and employment statistics and median household income.


Holte Ender said...

Good grief Gwen you have certainly got your hands full down there in Paradise Land.

Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

A great deal of city politic corruption dude! LOL and now I find, the candidate I had hoped to champion is full of lack... that's the nice version. So...
My pals own an important not for profit down there. Nate and Harlan deserve some help with integrity, they have demonstrated so much of it. ta for stopping by Holte... dang you are quick dude! LOL

Anonymous said...

Are you saying that there's corruption in Miami-Dade county? Say it isn't so! Ever since Miami city proper "lost" what was it...63 million dollars one particular fiscal year - and everyone just kinda shrugged and went, "Ooppss"- I've equated Miami politics to a painting that I'm sure only Monet himself would have loved to have been able capture. But really... is anyone THAT talented?? Seems talent comes in all different forms....


Gwendolyn H. Barry said...

My goodness, the Famous TLH? LOL Yes, I suppose I am saying that quite loudly. Some may think they ARE that talented...cha know man?