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What community does the county mayor serve?

D. Kevin McNeir | 8/7/2013, 12:07 p.m.

Time is running out before the Miami-Dade County commission and the county mayor must decide what budget they will approve for the new fiscal year. In the next few weeks, Mayor Carlos Gimenez will be traversing the County holding town hall meetings where he’ll give his dog and pony show and then allow for a few questions from the audience. But there’s a problem.

As we have both seen and subsequently reported, the Mayor has already changed his mind several times as it relates to the line items on this budget.

Will he seek to raise taxes? He was but has since relented after being put to the fire. Will he make cuts in rescue and library services that will only put more people out of work at a most inopportune time? Finally, does he realize that by slashing budgets at libraries located in “the hood” that he is also making efforts by Black students to keep up with students of other races a nearly impossible feat, particularly given the paucity of free computers, study centers, tutors and Internet access that exist in the average Black school zone?

While the voters agreed to give the county mayor the kind of authority that defines him as a ‘strong’ mayor, we haven’t seen a whole lot of strength from the current man at the top. And that concerns us. Gimenez was recently heard on a Spanish-speaking radio station and used the word ‘community,’ going on to say that he had invoked the views of the community before deciding what budget items needed to be kept or reduced.

Really? Perhaps we missed the invite. Because from what we hear, Blacks have not received an invitation to speak with the Mayor — at least not in a public venue. No Black radio stations, no Black newspapers, no Black businesses or non-profit organization — no Blacks at all — have been invited to the table. Are town hall meetings going to suffice? Will our words really be heard, assuming that we even believe in the process and therefore bother to attend? Is this town hall process really a sincere attempt to listen to Blacks and then make some adjustments or is it merely one more example of throwing Blacks a bone just before the hammer falls?