AGENDA FOR POVERTY ALLEVIATION: 14 Policy Priorities

The Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival policy agenda and analysis brought to public a recognition of the depth of poverty, low wealth and income status of a very large growing share of the US population. It is estimate that there are 140 million poor and low wealth people in the US and the COVID-19 pandemic increased this number by 8 million people.

The poor population has been publicly hidden from view in recent years, whereby, the national GOP political agenda has strongly favored the ultra-wealthy, large corporations with a huge tax reduction program that cost the government $1.7 trillion. Also, the owners of enterprises and stocks that are benefiting from the pandemic have greatly increased their share of the wealth.

The 14 policy priorities elaborated as a moral and economic agenda for the first 100 days of the Biden Administration are as follows:

  • Enact comprehensive, free and just COVID-19 relief
  • Guarantee quality health care for all, regardless of any pre-existing conditions
  • Raise the minimum wage to $15/hour immediately
  • Update the poverty measure
  • Enact a federal job program..
  • Protect and expand voting rights and civil rights
  • Guarantee safe, quality and equitable public education, with support for protection against re-segregation
  • Comprehensive and just immigration reform
  • Ensure all of the rights of indigenous peoples
  • Enact fair taxes
  • Use the power of executive orders
  • Redirect the bloated Pentagon budge towards those priorities as matters of national security
  • Work with the Power People’s Campaign to establish a permanent Presidential Council to advocate for this bold agenda

This agenda reminds of the task ahead in working against the huge inequities that have arisen the US over the last 50 years, and which have become much worse in the last 20 years.

MIRACLE MILE REDEVELOPMENT (Coral Gables): The Mayor’s Vs. the Vice Mayor’s Vision

Our residents have a plethora of options including Merrick Park, Brickell City Center, the Design District, Aventura and others, not to mention on-line shopping on Amazon. Miracle Mile is on a downward spiral. Just recently I drove the four- block stretch and was shocked to count 40 empty storefronts. Our leadership is required to ensure that this spiral doesn’t become permanent. Miracle Mile needs to be revitalized.

I believe that the best way to bring this four-block stretch back to life is by bringing back foot traffic to enjoy amenities. While we work with the Business Improvement District (BID) on projects such as Murals on the Mile that we hope will help bring foot traffic, it is by having multi-use development including residences that will ultimately revitalize Miracle Mile. We need to attract residents to the Mile; not only to patronize our shops and restaurants but to live in our city center as well.

Let’s bring Miracle Mile back to life | Miami’s Community News

A few comments are due here:

  • The Vice Mayor has questioned whether the code change will affect the future of Miracle Mile and its small town look and ambience.
  • The Mayor recently drove along Miracle Mile to count the empty store fronts. There have been empty store fronts for a long time because of two factors: COVID-19 and associated unemployment recession; and the long time construction of the so-called Streetscape. Prior to that we can list the housing recession of 2006-2009.
  • A “Midtown Model”: The redevelopment of Miracle Mile with the construction of multi-story hotels and residences of up to many (say 10) floors would indeed repopulate Miracle Mile, but it would lead to many fewer store fronts and wider buildings, leading potentially to the introduction of national and international store chains in the form of min-box stores a la Midtown. This would be the end of the idea of Coral Gables as a “small town.”
  • Business culture: Miracle Mile balances toward medium to small businesses and independent operators and entrepreneurs. The eventual accelerated development might lead to homogenized min-big box stores and tramsient chains of a lesser quality.
  • Building residences: Merrick Park area residences are not leading to actual new store front models or large increases in shopping traffic. The Merrick Park shopping center area has serious financial problems now and any expansion of Miracle Mile will surely hit against Merrick Park shopping and financing.
  • More causes of Miracle Mile decline: The City of Coral Gables has added to the woes of Miracle Mile by promoting Merrick Park shopping and many multi-story apartment buildings. Also, the addition of large development along Dixie Highway near Merrick Park and near the University of Miami will expand an already big traffic problem there attract away business from Miracle Mile. It is understood that rezoning would complement and continue the strong redevelopment and tall buildings along Dixie Highway between Red Road and Douglas Road. This already is hitting and degrading residential areas. Let the traffic be damned!
  • The City of Coral Gables has been preparing and revising its zoning code, one of the famously most tough, complicated codes in South Florida requiring a small army of bureaucrats to enforce.
  • Shifting shopping areas: Only the City of Coral Gables can be blamed for the decline of Miracle Mile. It has expanded large-scale construction away from the Mile in Merrick Park. The Streetscape project has killed off good street parking and the long construction period caused stores to lose money and fail.
  • Transportation and parking: The local transportation hub and busses run away from the center of Miracle Mile toward Dixie Highway along Ponce de Leon. This has been no help to Miracle Mile.
  • Participation: The Mayor asserts in this article that the community has had more than enough time to review the proposed revisions that have been under review for four years. Let it me known that the average interested resident doesn’t know anything about the code changes and only development companies, professionals and owners who understand and have a commercial interest in the complex implications of the code have followed the proposed changes.

FINAL COMMENTS: The “free market” will not resurrect Miracle Mile. Just as the city and its residents were prepared to spend on the Streetscape, the city should be ready to look for financing to shape a significant development plan that keeps the idea of a more scaled down city, small business and a place to bring residents and visitors to participate in excellent culture, dining, shopping and community interaction. These various elements will have to subsidized for them to work. Otherwise, we will be faced with more uncontrolled large-scale development, which is the pattern in Coral Gables in recent years.

Coral Gables–Future of Miracle Mile

The rewrite of the zoning code might allow for an increase the scale of the unique area through the height of the building and a thereby a change in the nature of the activities there. Miracle Mile is long known throughout the country and quite recently the city, resident and commerce have financed a upgrade in the streets, side walks and parking at considerable cost to the community.

I attach information from a recent newsletter on the rezoning code.

Vice Mayor Vince Lago’s November 2020 Newsletter Zoning Code Rewrite:

Making Changes While Preserving Our History

As we consider proposals to make changes to the Coral Gables Zoning Code, it is important to strategically plan for the long-term development of the downtown area, especially Miracle Mile.

What makes the City of Coral Gables special is its small-town feel and charming streets like Miracle Mile. Although it is important to incorporate thoughtful planning measures to ensure economic longevity, I do not believe that we should compromise the controlled height that makes Miracle Mile so iconic.

Source: Newsletter Vice Mayor Lago.

The City Commission will organize open meeting about the subject of the zoning code changes, and it was been requested that a internet meeting be held to allow participation of the Coral Gable community.

Please check the City of Coral Gables agenda items.

The Green Recovery: Project Syndicate Live Seminar

This is a highly recommended online two-day seminar on the challenge to post-Covid-19 economic recovery and simultaneously advancing the green agenda in the world.

Look on http://www.project-syndicate.org for the seminar today and tomorrow.

US COVID-19 RELUCTANT DECLINE–“OPENING UP” HURTS

COVID-19 infection is rising rapidly in India. Note the US, with a much smaller population, has higher total number of infections.

Follow the US when infections started to decline and the White House pushed to open up the strong restrictions. Result–infections went back up and are following with great reluctance.

PAYROLL TAX DEFERMENT: MEDICARE, SOCIAL SECURITY AND EMPLOYEES

Some companies don’t want to defer the tax payments because employees will not have the capacity to repay the deferments later. Political pressure to cancel the deferment debts will cut the revenue sources to pay into Medicare and Social Security.

GOP DEFICIT HAWKS ARE EXTINCT