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Front Page » Opinion » Question Marks Baseball Affordable Housing Slots And More

Question Marks Baseball Affordable Housing Slots And More

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Written by on June 30, 2005

By Michael Lewis
Welcome to the department of questions we wish someone would answer. Today’s list includes these puzzlers:

•As tens of thousands of luxury residential units rise, who will produce the even larger numbers that are needed in the affordable-housing arena? The people who will serve the residents of luxury housing also require places to live.

•Speaking of arenas, will Glenn Straub, new owner of the Miami Arena, make his $28 million investment in a 16-year-old building stand up as a profitable venue where the City of Miami couldn’t? Or will it become the site for some of that needed affordable housing?

•And, amidst all that building, where will we find the qualified contractors, subcontractors and workers needed to complete the high-rise towers investors are snapping up? Will we have to bring skilled labor from abroad to do the jobs on time and on budget?

•Miami missed Major League Baseball’s June 9 deadline for a stadium deal for the Florida Marlins. As a result, exactly what punishment – if any – do we face? Or is it just another empty threat?

•Whatever happened to all the civic energy that was intent on getting us an aviation authority before County Hall meddlers drove out stellar aviation director Angela Gittens? She’s gone, as is her interim successor. Not a peep out of the business interests that were intent on protecting the airport.

•How will the incursion of slot machines in Broward influence efforts in Miami-Dade to get slots first into tracks and jai-alai frontons and then into the big hotels on the Beach that are being lovingly readied to make Greater Miami a full-scale casino haven? As a corollary, what should civic leaders be doing now to ward off the scourge – and will they do it?

•At the same time, how will our civic leaders channel funding for cultural institutions – and enlarge the pie as well – so the new cultural buildings on the drawing board and already completed will survive and the institutions that use the buildings will thrive? Where will we get the wisdom and courage to say that we cannot fund everyone who extends a hand because we must focus on making our most vital institutions world-class?

•What happened Mayor Carlos Alvarez’s pledge to win fair pay for county commissioners? It was one of his campaign planks, shoved aside for a strong-mayor charter change that he never mentioned until he was elected. We’re still paying commissioners $6,000 a year for fulltime work and questioning why they face conflicts of interests with outside jobs they must hold to make a living.

•Whatever happened to Mayor Alvarez’ campaign pledge to separate procurement powers from the county commission? Before the November election, everyone was calling for yanking the power to award contracts from commissioners, but the petition campaign the mayor waged to add to his own powers gave contract reform short shrift.

•By the way, whatever happened to Mayor Alvarez? Beyond two vetoes and his bid to enhance the formal role of his office, how has he made himself felt? He hasn’t yet exercised the powers of leadership that he holds, so how can he show that they’re inadequate? So far, he’s missing from the table. And to think that we used to call Alex Penelas the invisible mayor! Top Front Page About Miami Today Put Your Message in Miami Today Contact Miami Today © Copyright 2005 Miami Today designed and produced by Green Dot Advertising and Marketing

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