By Alejandro Arce
The so persistent talk about the “Convention Center” is using valuable time in many meetings and reunions and the solution to such irregular problem is far from being resolved.
At the last meeting of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club the temporary City Manager answered several questions regarding the Convention Center. Not one of the questions or the answer appeared to help in the solution of such “created” problem that is encouraging many active residents to present various solutions, none of which is relevant or workable. In other words, the actual convention center as it is, does not offer the resident taxpayers any advantage other than the inconsistency in renovation, tearing it down or conversion into hotels, etc.
Of course, in our city that is burdened with a deficit of millions of dollars and other more serious problems it is insulting to suggest that more millions be allocated for the solution of the “created problem.”
In reality, in such a small area as Miami Beach is, the need for a convention center is totally abstract. The regular taxpayer receives no benefits from the center and an imposition of a new tax is insulting from the point of view that the awarding of contracts, in this area, most of the time carries irregularities and favoritisms.
Furthermore, the city is in urgent need of repairing of the sewage system that is breaking all over and it will take millions to be replaced. The educational system in this area is embarrassing and we need better teachers with more realistic salaries; so why is it that the convention center takes such priority?
The Acting City Manager, Kathi Brooks, presented a fair appraisal of the actual situation of the city. She answered all questions, in many cases informing us that there was not a viable solution for it. Therefore, as with other speakers, their answers gave no information regarding the solutions of the so many problems this part of Florida is facing.
In a private conversation with the Acting City Manager I mentioned how uncomfortable it was for persons such as myself who bear a Spanish surname to read, almost daily that someone in the government of one of the local cities has been accused, indicted or even incarcerated for committing a delinquent act or even a crime. The reputation that has been created regarding people of Spanish descendants is growing due to the inconsistencies of the elected authorities.
I offered congratulations to our police force that is maintaining this so difficult city to handle, secure, especially during the summer or spring festivities. I also recommended to the Chiefs of Police present at the meeting, that there should not be any ethnic favoritism from the officers to persons speaking Spanish. I explained to them that persons who do not speak Spanish have complained of such favoritisms. Our police high ranked officers are serious persons with high priorities and performance records.
The position of City Manager is not an elected position. Nevertheless, it is a very powerful position with lots of responsibilities and innumerable duties. The City Manager bears the burden and responsibility that I believe should be part of the Office of the Mayor and the Commissioners. As it was explained to me by one Commissioner, “The City Manager position is similar to a building manager, in which the board of directors makes the rules and the building manager executes such rules.”
Then I suggested that such important position “should perhaps be an elected one” since it carries practically the burden of everything that happens in the cities.
And then I realized that my suggestion is not a practical one, since in this area, as well as in many other parts of the country, the election process is not being taken as seriously as it should be, judging by the so ridiculous number of the percentage of voters that perform their voting duties.
It is perhaps that we have so many elections that impose an extra number of similar duties to the voters, such as recalls, recount of votes, absentee ballots, and the suffering of complaints and insults from candidates one to the other that it is turning into an insulting mess, especially when one has to receive the large number of political advertisements, in many cases propaganda style with accusations and promises that we know will not be honored when elected. It is not happening only in our Florida cities but is happening in the whole nation including the dirty campaign for the highest office.