- Faith & Family
This will go down in Miami-Dade history books as a classic money, politics and power play. Enter car mogul billionaire and government reformer Norman Braman, who is pushing to limit Miami-Dade County
Commissioners to two four-year terms. He also wants to reduce the size of the commission and change the County charter to allow for more referendums. But, instead of Braman funding another petition drive to accomplish his various goals and give the people an opportunity to vote on his specific concerns, he has elected to recruit candidates and target sitting commissioners — most of whom represent Miami’s Black residents.
Perhaps it is true that our government is often inefficient and is due for an overhaul. But what do Braman’s reforms have to do with the primary issues facing Miami’s Black community, like the high unemployment rate, inadequate public education and equitable economic development. Well this depends on who you ask.
In addition, Braman’s efforts will be trickier because “all politics is local” and each commission district has its own nuances based on race, ethnicity and socio-economic status. So then, do the reforms that Braman is purporting address the concerns that face each district in which he is targeting the removal of the incumbent county commissioner? If not, that’s a problem for Braman and whoever accepts his support and elects to carry out his policy initiatives. And it certainly does not bode well for Blacks in those districts.
If we look at what Braman is attempting to do from a socio-economic, historical and political context for the Black community, this issue becomes even more more complex. Because the idea of community empowerment for Black folk historically has rested on the right for political representation, access to the vote and the perpetual struggle for equality and justice. In this context Braman and his candidate will be bought to task by the conversation in every home, barbershop, community and social gathering in the Black community. And it will go something like this: Braman, is that the guy that built that youth center? No. Is he the one that established that home for battered women? No. Did he give Northwestern Senior High School that million dollars? No. Oh yeah, he’s the one who paid for that recall election of the County Mayor. And oh, he also sold Grandpa that 1985 Cadillac that’s sitting in the garage. Hmmmmm.
Henry Crespo, Sr., is vice chairman of outreach for the Miami-Dade Democratic Party.
By Henry Crespo Sr.
Miami Times Contributor