I ran into an opinion piece from The New York Times. It was published yesterday and is a little critical of Florida Senator Marco Rubio who had his start right here in Miami-Dade County. I attached the opinion below. Mr. Krugman, who is a professor at Princeton and won a Nobel Prize in Economics, makes some important points about handling an economic crisis.
We don't have an economic crisis here in Miami Springs but we are closer to one than we were two years ago or even four or six years ago. Our City Council has mistakenly believed that cutting taxes and using reserves is the proper balance for our community. However, as has been noted by many candidates throughout the years, the solution to many of our problems is, without a doubt, increasing our income. One of the ways we can do that is to improve our commercial tax base. The few building owners who have invested in their buildings on Westward Drive have not seen a return on their investment. In fact, because of the lack of an understandable code and the lack of code enforcement, our downtown is in as bad a shape as it has ever been.
I live and work here in Miami Springs. I made the choice to do so. I eat lunch here everyday. When I have clients at my office, I send them into our community to eat and shop. I don't own a building downtown, but as a public official and a resident, I do have an interest in making our commercial district appealing.
Our community needs to stop spending money out of designated reserves, and instead start putting money INTO designated reserves. We are never going to have a new pool, new signage downtown, or new lighting if we continue to spend what little money we have saved on our day to day bills. We just can't continue saying, "everything is going to be OK" without a plan for our future and an economic plan to get us there. Doing so is foolish and irresponsible.
Friday, October 12, 2012 was Ethical Governence Day. We [lawyers, public officials, city employees -- I got hit up twice] were asked to speak at local schools by the Miami-Dade Commission on Ethics. While I asked to speak in Miami Springs, I was told that MSSH was not participating. Kind of a shame.
I had a great experience at Hialeah Gardens High School. Because of block scheduling, I spoke to two Honors Government classes taught by Mr. Chait. Only one or two students were falling asleep (I am sure it is because they were up late doing homework). The students and the teacher were interested and engaged.
I was also impressed with the facility. I am not sure how long it has been open, but it was clean and well organized. Kind of reminded me of my days in the classroom.
Some of the things we discussed were the significance of the First Amendment; what the Sunshine Law means and how to access public records; why it is important to vote; and the difference between community service and public service and how each benefits our government. The Ethics Commission also included a short case study to discuss, which was short on facts and created more questions than answers -- but that is a good thing, it means the students were paying attention.
Thank you to the Commission of Ethics for putting this event together. I am not sure how everyone else did, but I enjoyed it and would be willing to speak again in the future.
Jeremy Glazer, Program Director and Jennifer Ator
On June 9, 2011, The Good Government Initiative held its opening dinner at the Little Haiti Cultural Center in Miami. The Good Government Initiative is a program for early-career elected officials from Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, and Palm Beach Counties. The program includes speakers, panels, large and small group activities, as well as community tours. The program is designed to introduce elected officials to issues they will be dealing with and develop skills they will need to be effective in office.
I am proud to be a member of the first class. Other members include Patricia Asseff, Vice-Mayor, City of Hollywood; Dwight Bullard, State Representative, Florida District 118; Heather Carruthers, Mayor, Monroe County; Daniel Dietch, Mayor, Town of Surfside; Jorge Exposito, Commissioner, City of Miami Beach; Wendy Harrison, Councilmember, Town of Jupiter; Barbara Kramer, Councilmember, City of North Miami Beach; Keith London, Commissioner, City of Hallandale Beach; Frank Quesada, Commissioner, City of Coral Gables; Raquel Regalado, Board Member, Miami-Dade County Public Schools; Felicia Robinson, Councilmember, City of Miami Gardens; Roxanna Ross, Mayor, City of Biscayne Park; Nora Rupert, Board Member, Broward County Public Schools; Robin Smith-Martin, Board Member, Monroe County Public Schools; Francis Suarez, Commissioner, City of Miami; and Elsa Vazquez, Commissioner, City of West Miami.
The President and CEO of The Good Government Initiative is Katy Sorenson. I am pictured above with Jeremy Glazer, the Program Director, who has a few Miami Springs connections of his own. At the opening dinner, we received a preliminary syllabus and I was surprised to see some friendly faces in the program including Miami-Dade County Director for the Office of Strategic Business Management, Jennifer Glazer Moon and Assistant County Attorney Jess McCarty. I know I am not only going to learn a lot from this very impressive group, but I will develop friendships that will benefit myself and the city for a long time to come.