Conflict of Interest and Appearance of Corruption in the Commission of Coral Gables

It may be two years away, but newly-minted Coral Gables Vice Mayor Mike Mena just lost any chance he had to be re-elected in 2023. No, it’s not just because of the condescending matter in which he dismissed resident-driven ideas from newly-elected Commissioner Rhonda Anderson, who proposed amending the zoning code to require approval and notice for “as of right” commercial developments. The Gables Insider correctly called Mena’s arguments mansplaining. It was also pathetic. But the reason he’s not fit for office is because of his shameful and unethical vote to sell city-owned land to his boss. The commission voted unanimously Tuesday to sell a parking lot at 350 Greco Avenue for $3.5 million to JRFQ Holdings, a company registered in Delaware and owned by John Ruiz and former Commissioner Frank Quesada, who also own the company that employ Mena.

Coral Gables Vice Mayor Mike Mena votes to sell city land to his bosses – Political Cortadito

2. UM to wipe George Merrick, Fillmore from campus buildings | Miami Herald

The students worked with historians to bring to light some of George Merrick’s actions on the planning board. In 1937, for example, a “Negro Resettlement Plan” was proposed to relocate Black community members to the “least preferred locations outside of the Miami city limits,” according to meeting minutes from the time. The proposal was never put into action. The petition was first presented to the university’s Board of Trustees at a July meeting, and the students were told that renaming the education school building requires returning the land and the money used to pay for the building, which was not possible. The parking structure, however, will be given a “neutral, directional name.”

UM to wipe George Merrick, Fillmore from campus buildings | Miami Herald

1. UM to wipe George Merrick, Fillmore from campus buildings | Miami Herald

Merrick’s history as chair of the Dade County Planning Board sparked a reckoning among students and alumni, who last July sent an eight-page letter to President Julio Frenk asking for Merrick’s name to be wiped from campus buildings. Students sent a letter in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery, at a time when many other campuses across the country were forced to confront their links to racism.

Merrick’s proposals on the planning board “perpetuated a wealth gap for Black residents and broad inequities in our community that persist to this day,” the school acknowledged in a Monday statement announcing the changes, which included a decision to rename a Frost School of Music rehearsal hall currently named after Henry Fillmore, a composer who used racist caricatures to promote his more popular works.

UM to wipe George Merrick, Fillmore from campus buildings | Miami Herald

2. In ‘pursuit of racial justice,’ University of Miami to rename George Merrick structure

“Our actions today acknowledge the pain and the promise of our Black students, alumni, colleagues, and neighbors while intentionally choosing to learn from and build on our history,” the school wrote. “We engaged in serious deliberations about our past, our future, and our ongoing pursuit of racial justice.” In addition to renaming the parking structure and rehearsal hall, the school will also name its new student services building for a distinguished Black alum. Landon Coles, a junior political science major and the university’s newly elected student government president, said the Monday announcement was “a step forward” and a “big moment for progress.” Coles, who recently served as the university’s Black student union president, helped author the initial letter to university leaders and served as a student representative on the Historic Review Committee on Naming, a group formed to advise Frenk on renaming buildings and streets that may no longer be in line with the university’s values.

In ‘pursuit of racial justice,’ University of Miami to rename George Merrick structure

1. In ‘pursuit of racial justice,’ University of Miami to rename George Merrick structure

The University of Miami announced this week that it will remove the name of George Merrick from a parking structure on Merrick Drive over concerns raised by students and alumni that, during his lifetime, the university and Coral Gables founder engaged in racist behavior that disenfranchised Miami’s Black communities.

In ‘pursuit of racial justice,’ University of Miami to rename George Merrick structure

Coved19 Miami-Dade Fla

Cases have decreased over the past week but are still very high. The numbers ofhospitalized Covid patients and deaths in the Miami-Dade County area have remained at about the same level. The test positivity ratein Miami-Dade County is very high, suggesting that cases are being significantly undercounted. We’ve recommended additional precautions below.Updated May 6

Source Miami Herald

US Immigration Program with El Salvador will Fail

In its first plenary session on Saturday, May 1, El Salvador’s recently-elected Legislative Assembly, controlled by the government-aligned party, Nuevas Ideas, set aside constitutional procedure in removing five magistrates of the Supreme Court’s Constitutional Chamber and substituting them with judges loyal to President Nayib Bukele. Minutes later, the Assembly removed Attorney General Raúl Melara and replaced him with former lead prosecutor for organized crime, Rodolfo Delgado. Both decisions —approved with 64 of 84 Assembly votes thanks to the additional support of GANA, the PCN, and PDC— are efforts to remove the last institutional checks on the president’s power since he took office in 2019, and whose party notched a blistering victory, one vote short of a supermajority, this February 28.

Bukele’s Legislative Assembly Ousts Supreme Court Magistrates and Attorney General