Are Blacks being invited to the table?
Oliver Gilbert III, 39, Miami Gardens commissioner, also heads the recently-formed Miami Dade Black Caucus of Elected Officials. He says he wants to make sure that those who are traditionally left behind when new economic ventures emerge will benefit this time around. We want more than just entry level jobs, he said. We want partnership options, Black contractors and then all of the kinds of industries that support such a huge venture security, laundry services, etc. to be open for Blacks. Local Black businesses need to be readying themselves for these opportunities now. Sometimes our community is slow coming to the table and by the time we are ready to engage, everything has already been parceled out. We have to get focused now and see how we can make sure casino resorts would benefit the whole, not just segments of the community. County Commissioner Vice Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson says she wants to see things in writing. We have been made promises before that werent kept so I dont have much faith in peoples good intentions, she said. There are many panels that have been assembled but most are ignoring the Black community. They need to remember, however, that should this come to a vote, they dont have the power to sign off on casinos in South Florida we do. County Commissioner Barbara Jordan declined comment. By D. Kevin McNeirkmcneir@miamitimesonline.com