Normally, I’m quite the Miami booster.
My motto: At home in the world, but my castle is in Miami.
Yet even this appreciative daughter is underwhelmed and unimpressed these days.
Maybe it’s the city’s precarious financial status that has me in a funk.
Harriet, the ballyhooed tunnel digger, is quite an expensive piece of machinery and payment is due. Bummer, we forgot to plan again, and now practically the entire finance department at City Hall is ready to… quit — with benefits, of course.
But that’s so inside-government-quarters.
Perhaps I could blame the lackluster mood on something bigger, more community-wide, like the losing season — despite the $600 million intergalactic stadium — of the renamed Miami Marlins.
“ Los malos,” my mother, the formerly diehard fan, calls them now.
Season tickets go unused — and Ozzie come, Ozzie go, forget about next year.
But sports performance could be, simply, seasonal blues.
Here’s something more permanent: The gnawing doubts about whether we should even live here anymore.
The exodus of our educated children from Greater Miami, combined with the passing of our parents, are the fuel inspiring what could be our generation’s next move — and the next demographic shift in South Florida.
But, hey, what do I know?
The experts say the future of Miami is all about the love.
The latest research conducted in 26 U.S. cities by the Miami Foundation in collaboration with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation concludes that if we love ourselves enough as a community, engage in it as volunteers and donate our money to worthy causes, then we’ll thrive economically and want to live here in the company of skilled, talented and creative people.
Our smart children will stay (or return, hopefully, and preferably with adorable grandchildren) see what a great place this is to live, and we’ll reverse the brain drain.
As Miami Foundation President and CEO Javier Soto sees it, what we need to do is “grow attachment to Miami.”
To achieve this goal, the Miami Foundation has launched “Our Miami initiative,” which begins this fall with a contest to hand out grant money — $500,000 to fund projects that make Miami a more attractive place to live.
And so, with this simple formula, Miami’s civic leadership is once again in that self-conscious mode where we have to toot our own horn, sell ourselves as paradise found in all those swanky high rises with bayfront views, and uphold our diversity as the blueprint for the rest of the nation.
Anybody else think it’s time to stop being so darn naïve?
Bad governance, corruption, badly managed public projects, and inadequate infrastructure (from lackluster or non-existent public transportation to bursting old pipes and overdeveloped neighborhoods that flood in a gush of rain) are the perennial ills — maybe our curse, 116 years into incorporation.
Can’t the Miami Foundation just write a check for Harriet?
Buy new piping for Miami Beach?
Start an endowment for an affordable rail system that takes us where we need to be?
Research says love is good for business. But we all know that in times like these, love isn’t enough.