By Alejandro Arce
I hate to compare things in general because comparisons have been used in order to find an excuse for bad behavior. Nevertheless, in a few cases, it could assist in the solution of intrinsic problems while at the same time offering to the dutiful voters and taxpayers an avenue for solving the multiple abuses being committed against them in this part of Florida.
It is not a secret that I have resided in our nation’s capital for many years and that I participated in the politics that have been plaguing that city. It is also not a secret that among my travels around the world, I have visited Cuba on several occasions. Thus, I believe that I can use a bit of my experience with a certain degree of authority when comparing this area of our country – Miami-Dade, Miami, and Miami Beach – with Washington and the Cuban dictatorship.
Washington, D.C., went through a great era of irregularities, well-publicized, when its infamous mayor, Marion Barry, was accused of and incarcerated for several indiscretions, to say the least. He was accused of using prostitutes (as were our Secret Service agents in Cartagena, Colombia), cocaine, and committing other so-called minor offenses. I can say on his behalf, however – having interacted with him while living in D.C. – that he assisted in the development of the city and was not accused of stealing from the city. There are good points in any story.
In dictatorial Cuba, which claims to be a socialist/communist country, there exists classes of people, some being the powerful ones and the politically rich, but few from the regular population.
Notice that I mention some irregularities in those two parts of the world.
When it comes to our Greater Miami region, I avoid disassociating the three divisions (county, City of Miami, and City of Miami Beach) for the simple reason that the alleged corruption in Miami Beach earlier this month could make Barry and the Castro brothers laugh when reading of our wanton corruption in this region.
It would not be difficult to use a dictionary to enumerate the faults, the irregularities, the delinquencies, and the crimes that authorities, elected or appointed, commit day by day, basing their actions on screwed up regulations and decisions made in the many meetings and politicking it takes to rule such a small piece of land.
Charles Branham-Bailey, in last week’s SunPost cover story (Chronology of Crookedness), informed us of such irregularities.
Good for you, Charles. You are complying with your duty as a magnificent reporter.
One wonders if there is a viable solution for these problems. Most politicians we hear assure us, with blank faces, that “things are getting better.” Commissioner Wolfson, however, answers many questions and complaints about the recent happenings in the city.
Questions such as, Why is it that a city manager is remunerated with a salary close to the salary of the president of the United States while the commissioners who are supposed to be his bosses make only $6,000 per year?
There is an intrinsic denial regarding a question that I am getting tired of asking: Why is it that the Miami Beach city managership – an unelected position – carries so much authority?
Give me a break. Are we to believe that in our capitalist society a commissioner making such a pittance of $6,000 a year can have the authority to be the boss of a city manager who is making nearly $300,000 per year, including perks and other “bonuses,” reminiscent of governments elsewhere that are plagued by nepotism and corruption? It reminds me of what I saw in Havana where the authorities (some of them) even have expensive cars with chauffeurs.
Are we so naive to believe that there has not been an illicit arrangement here?
I beg your pardon but I bear a Spanish surname and therefore cannot be accused of racism or ethnic prejudice when I say that in Miami, one with a Spanish surname will provide “contracts” to another with a Spanish surname. Not only sometimes or occasionally, but almost daily.
There is in Miami a class ethnicity ruling our lives and I sincerely doubt that the same people, having meetings and more meetings, will be able or willing to ever solve such immense problems.
I say Marion Barry and the Castro brothers could have a big laugh when reading of our local peccadilloes and nepotism that, in the end, needs to be investigated and controlled by a higher authority – the feds – before we end up in the hole.