Recent posts: overtown
29 July 2015 Brandon Mowry
Episode 87 of the #OnlyinMiami Show featured interviews with Marc Caputo, Elaine de Valle, and Subhash Kateel talking about local, state, and national politics and issues.
2:54 – Grant spoke about Fox’s Sherron Inn, a South Miami landmark that is closing it’s doors after almost 70 years in business. The current owner, who bought the property about five years ago, is planning to raze the building and construct a mixed-use commercial and residential structure. Grant lamented the “sanitizing” of the US-1 corridor and urged local activists to consider pursuing a historic designation for Fox’s.
8:49 – Marc Caputo, political writer for Politico Florida, joined the show to talk about several key races and issues statewide. Marc writes a daily newsletter on Florida politics, the Florida Playbook. To subscribe, visit politico.com/floridaplaybook. Grant and Marc discussed the race to fill the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Marco Rubio. Two Democrats, Patrick Murphy and Alan Grayson have declared their candidacies, and a recent poll by Mason-Dixon shows them fairly even. Alan Grayson is the more outspoken progressive of the two and is gaining some traction, showing a 19% improvement from the last poll. A third candidate, Pam Keith, has also announced, but her lack of political experience and funding mean that she will have a very tough time against more experienced and monied opponents. On the Republican side, the story is much the same. There are a greater number of candidates, and while David Jolly is leading with 16%, there is certainly no consensus within the Republican ranks either. Marc talked about how while the conventional wisdom in Democratic circles believes that hotly contested primaries are bad, the Republicans have had fairly contentious primaries and still end up being very competitive and oftentimes winning the election.
23:09 – Marc and Grant continued discussing politics, turning their attention to the Republican presidential race. Two Floridians, former Florida Governor Jeb Bush and current U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, have declared their candidacies for the Republican nomination. A poll out recently indicates that Bush is leading Miami-Dade Republicans by 10 points. More interestingly, however, is that Jeb improved his numbers among Cuban-Americans, now leading Cuban-born Marco Rubio by 12 points. Marc and Grant then spoke about education policy, noting that during Jeb’s tenure as governor, one of his signature actions was taking the FCAT that Lawton Chiles had introduced as a statewide education diagnostic tool and making it into a high-stakes school accountability vehicle. Currently, Jeb’s stance in support of the Common Core curriculum, which seeks to standardize education on a more national basis as well as cut back on the high-stakes testing environment is putting him at odds with many factions within the Republican party.
29:02 – Marc and Grant were joined by Elaine de Valle, a local political writer who can be found writing for the Political Cortadito. They talked about the immigration issue that has largely defined the Republican primary to date and how the rank-and-file’s support for the deportation of undocumented immigrants may affect their outreach to Hispanic voters. Elaine believed that part of the Republican’s desire to not offer amnesty is driven by the fact that the vast majority of those undocumented immigrants will end up voting Democratic in future elections.
40:40 – Grant spoke with Elaine de Valle about issues facing Miami-Dade County, beginning with the proposed SkyRise tower adjacent to Bayside Marketplace. The project has come under fire for applying for public funds for infrastructure improvements while claiming that no public funds would be used for its construction. A lawsuit filed by school board member and mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado would seek for the subsidies to be eliminated or a new referendum held, since the original referendum stated that no public money would be used for construction. The SkyRise project may face another hurdle, as funding may be more scarce than first thought. They also may face stricter FAA limits on the overall height due to a change in regulations.
56:00 – Grant spoke with Subhash Kateel about two issues facing the county, namely, the changes to historic neighborhoods and police brutality. As to the first issue, the historic Overtown neighborhood, which was traditionally populated with African-Americans, has often been the target of projects that have pushed out residents. The construction of I-95 right through the heart of the neighborhood served to separate the two sides of the neighborhood. Today, the Miami WorldCenter project looks to take over a large portion of the Park West and Overtown neighborhoods with little if any benefit to local residents. This will result in more forced emigration among long-time residents of Overtown. Fortunately, local activists have won some concessions that will provide training and potentially jobs for residents. However, locals need to remain vigilant, as some of these concessions could be easily revoked. Subhash also spoke about the state violence by the Miami Beach Police Department against Israel Hernandez, a Colombian-born street artist. Israel was killed when Jorge Mercado fired his Tazer at him after he was approached by police for tagging a shuttered McDonald’s on the beach. Last Thursday, State Attorney Katherine Fernandez-Rundle declined to indict the officer for misconduct. In fact, it has been more than 25 years since a police officer in the county has been prosecuted for misconduct. Subhash argued that, legally speaking, there is no difference between the officer who loves his job and his community and an officer who commits official misconduct, since neither will be prosecuted (the first shouldn’t be, but as to the second, we’ll let you be the judge).
1:18:43 – Grant was joined by the Drastic Fanatic, Brandon Mowry and Darrin Bentley to talk sports. The guys talked about the Heat’s most recent offseason moves, including waiving Henry Walker, sending Shabazz Napier to the Magic, and sending Zoran Dragic to the Celtics. They also talked free agency around the rest of the NBA.
1:40:47 – Football season is right around the corner, and teams have begun reporting this week for training camp. The guys talked about the upcoming NFL season and expectations for the Miami Dolphins. They also talked about fantasy sports and the upcoming drafts for leagues throughout the country.
2 June 2015 Brandon Mowry
Grant began the show by updating the audience on the proposed Midtown Walmart development. Oral arguments in the lawsuit regarding the building permit and whether or not Walmart has followed established procedures for its approval have been set for August 20 at the Richard Gerstein Justice Center. Stay tuned to the #OnlyinMiami Show for updates.
Local activist Juan Cuba then joined the show to talk about the proposed Miami WorldCenter project. The project will be the second-largest development project in the country and has sought public funding from the Overtown/Park West Community Redevelopment Agency to the tune of $108 million dollars. The City of Miami Commission has voted to approve the funding, but local activists are pressuring the Miami-Dade County Commission to review the plan and see if there is a better deal that can be negotiated to ensure local residents are given priority in hiring. The County Commission will be holding a meeting and a vote on the project on Tuesday morning, June 2 in the commission chambers.
We then heard from Pastor Rhonda Thomas of New Generation Missionary Baptist Church. In addition to being a member of the clergy, she is a community organizer with ties to the historic Overtown neighborhood. She is not necessarily against the project, but expressed her desire that the project would mean a better life for the local community in terms of increased employment opportunities and a better quality of life.
Henry Brown of E-STOPP (Eradicating the School-to-Prison Pipeline) then joined the program to talk about the WorldCenter project. He believes that some of the issues facing the African-American communities today stem from unemployment or underemployment. He cited his background and work that showed that children from families where the parents worked were far more likely to succeed in school. He hopes that guarantees can be secured from the developers that will ensure certain percentages of those employed in the new project will be from the surrounding zip codes.
The three guests then discussed how to address the needs of the Overtown community and how to encourage the residents to return once they have been able to get an education. The group discussed the need for residents of Overtown to receive adequate training to be able to fill the jobs created by the WorldCenter project.
At the beginning of the second hour, Peter Ehrlich talked about the current happenings in the Lemon City neighborhood. He is hoping that the history of the neighborhood, which actually predates the City of Miami, is preserved and passed on to future generations.
Finally, the Drastic Fanatic joined Grant to talk sports, primarily the NBA. They talked about the upcoming NBA Finals featuring the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers. They also talked about the local sports news from the weekend involving the contract negotiations between the Heat and its star guard, Dwyane Wade.