Not to be Replicated–A View of the Decline of Miami-Dade County

I am extremely interesting view in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution of a ex-citizen of Miami-Dade County who traces the consequences of the now distant, corrupt, incompetent Miami-Dade County Government. 

As the population swelled
over the next five decades to 2.3 million, instead of the cities
growing, the centralized county government grew and grew. Today, for
more than half the population of what is now Miami-Dade County, their
closest government is a bureaucratic behemoth that administers an area
larger than the state of Delaware.

The result is unresponsive and distant government. Commission
hearings are daylong affairs that for the average citizen require a
time commitment few can afford and are as impenetrable as they are
Kafkaesque. The 13 county commissioners, elected in single member
districts, trade votes with their fellow commissioners to approve
projects in neighborhoods about which they know little and for which
they care little. Each chairs a powerful committee controlling millions
of dollars of county money. Consequently, the county office tower is a
nest of lobbyists that makes the U.S. Congress look like a
kindergarten. For individual citizens to be heard requires stamina and
resolve few possess.

For 28 years I lived in Miami-Dade and witnessed the decline of
neighborhoods because of governmental indifference or ineptitude. To
create parking, homeowners stripped once-beautiful suburban streets of
their trees and lawns. Attached garages became extra rooms or illegal
apartments. And, despite an ordinance that made it a crime to remove a
shopping cart from a store, carts littered every neighborhood. All this
happened under the watchful eye of a code enforcement system that
behaved like Sgt. Schultz in the old “Hogan’s Heroes” TV show, “I see
nothing. … I see nothing.”

County government thwarted attempts by communities to incorporate by
gerrymandering tax-revenue-rich industrial centers or shopping malls
out of proposed new cities and by imposing new fees to compensate the
county for “lost” tax revenue.

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About Stephen E. McGaughey
International consultant in financing development programs and projects

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