US is Not a Democracy

This study shows what is clearly manifested at a local and state level in Coral Gables and Florida, and the national level, namely, we have a political system with governments run by rich contributors and corporate business interests.  A simple example, observe the people selected by the city commissioners to fill its critical city manager pre-selection committee who are from big business and  interests (University of Miami).

 What “Economic Elite Domination” and “Biased Pluralism” mean is that rather than average citizens of moderate means having an important role in determining policy, ability to shape outcomes is restricted to people at the top of the income distribution and to organized groups that represent primarily — although not exclusively — business.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/princeton-scholar-demise-of-democracy-america-tpm-interview

 

…organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while average citizens and mass-based interest groups have little or no independent influence. 

Reactions to Salerno Resignation Engineered By Keon, Lago, and Quesada | GEORGE VOLSKY

This is an email from Mr. George Volsky:

 

REACTIONS TO SALERNO RESIGNATION ENGINEERED BY KEON, LAGO, AND QUESADA

Comments about the resignation of City Manger Patrick Salerno, widely seen as being manipulated by three commissioners Pat Keon, Vincent Lago and Frank Quesada, came fast and furious. Most email and telephone calls were serious and respectful, but even more comments about the three commissioners, indicating the depth of the respondents’ feelings, were are too strong to be literally quoted here.

Several credible sources, who asked not to be identified, said that executives of the Dade Medical College, a controversial nursing school, were also behind the move to oust Salerno.

“Damn,” emailed Mike Eidson, whose Coral Gables law firm is one of the most prominent, nationally, in the litigation sector. “Unbelievable,” emailed author David Doheny, an attorney and former prosecutor.

Tim Persons, a friend in Washington, who also read my Salerno report yesterday, wrote:

I am sad at this development. After Salerno was put through the malignant and ad hominem mistreatment by (Ralph) Cabrera and (Don) Slesnick, this was most undeserved. I am especially shocked that (Frank) Quesada was part of this. Sure, although Salerno does not suffer fools gladly, he more than proved the competence over and over again. What a loss to Coral Gables after what he and my friend Jim Cason have done for the City Beautiful. I can only conclude that your prediction that his was a pyrrhic victory is true.

Gonzalo Sanabria, a prominent Coral Gables resident, whose brief comment on the issue was included my yesterday report, emailed me a letter he sent last night to Mayor James Cason, with copies to the Salerno opponents:

Dear Mayor Cason: We respectfully request that the public be allowed to have a special meeting and openly seek a solution to reverse the resignation of City Manager Pat Salerno. As it took an entire city by shock and surprise, it would be appropriate and transparent for the citizens, taxpayers, and voters to find justification as to why this happened and how to re-institute Pat Salerno as our City Manager. We would also like to know what this would fiscally mean to the City in an unnecessary run up in expenses to seek out another City Manager when we have the best one we have ever had run this City still working for us until April 18.

Anna Louise Fulks, another prominent resident, sent a copy of an email to Rick Hirsch, Managing Editor of the Miami Herald:

Dear Rick: emailing you George Volsky’s column regarding the resignation of CG Mgr. Pat Salerno. I couldn’t have said it better. Pat Salerno, who I consider a friend, was an honor graduate from UM and when the position of City Manager was open after CG had suffered one scandal after another, Mr. Salerno was hired for the job… he was basically coming back to his roots, purchasing a home in the Gables, and devoting himself in bringing back a work ethic and loyalty to the City. Unfortunately, except for Mayor Jim Cason and Vice-Mayor Bill Kerdyk, it was not reciprocated by the newly elected commissioners, Pat Keon and Vincent Lago (both of whom the Miami Herald endorsed) and Frank Quesada. What were they thinking? I as well as many others are terribly disappointed in the betrayal of Mr. Salerno, however, I don’t think this will be the end of it.

In a request to me, Ms. Fulks wrote: “Please see what you can do to get Pat Salerno back.”

To give the Miami Herald’s reported his due, in the news story today about Salerno’s resignation, he pointedly indicated the niggardliness of the complains against Salerno by Lago, one of his three adversaries. Lago, the Herald said, was miffed because in a police report he received from Salerno’s office a few pages were missing.

via Reactions to Salerno Resignation Engineered By Keon, Lago, and Quesada | GEORGE VOLSKY.

No Future For Nation With These Politicians

These politicians work for a very narrow group of powerful rich who refuse to pay taxes and who reach out to cut back our social safety nets at whatever cost to the community and the middle class.

Boehner isn’t really in charge of the House Republican caucus. The lunatics are. And it looks like they’ve won.

via Lunatics Prevail In House Republican Caucus; Boehner Reportedly Gives Up On Grand Bargain Because It Would Increase Taxes | The New Republic.

“Obama rewards big bundlers with jobs,” a model for local politics

This system of repayment and pervasive political corruption to pay off campaign contributions functions at the national level, all the way down to our city.

This explains the consistent indifference of local political leaders and the culture of secrecy applied to the views of the common citizen in matters of the budget, borrowing and spending.

More than two years after President Obama took office vowing to banish “special interests” from his administration, nearly 200 of his biggest donors have landed plum government jobs and advisory posts, won federal contracts worth millions of dollars for their business interests or attended numerous elite White House meetings and social events, an investigation by iWatch News has found.

These “bundlers” raised at least $50,000 and sometimes more than $500,000 in campaign donations for Obama’s campaign. Many of those in the “Class of 2008” are now being asked to bundle contributions for Obama’s re-election, an effort that could cost $1 billion.

via Obama rewards big bundlers with jobs, commissions, stimulus money, government contracts, and more | iWatch News.

Investiture In Coral Gables: By Invitation Only

As a failed observer of the investiture of the new mayor and commissioners, clearly due to the size of the commission room, there was no space for but a few others than the friends of the mayors and commissioners. People crowded into the room and it seemed they clearly exceeded the fire marshall limits (limits that Mr. Slesnick always used to clear the room).

Why not use the museum space for these sorts of public events to get more direct community participation or even an auditorium at UM.

This de facto invitation-only  event is evidence that community participation is the last thing that our commissioners and recent past mayor think about.  Hoping this anti-participation culture will change in the coming weeks and months.

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