As we wrap up 2012, we look back on the Herald Editorial Board’s goals for building a vibrant South Florida.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling — which allowed unlimited amounts of funds from billionaires, corporations and labor unions to flow to outside stealth groups (without any transparency or accountability) — has degenerated political discourse. Can a new Congress fix what the court has broken?
In Florida, the Republican-led Legislature made a blatant attempt to snuff out the votes of people more likely to pick Democrats (college students and minorities among them). The unintended consequences: a “revolt” with voters heading to the polls in droves. Republicans lost their supermajority in the Legislature and President Obama won Florida.
The Florida GOP’s attempts to discourage some voters by larding the ballot with 11 constitutional amendments and cutting the days of early voting backfired. Meanwhile, a Miami-Dade Grand Jury is prescribing needed rules for absentee ballots after a series of fraud scandals.
Gov. Rick Scott, who refused to extend the shortened early voting period, succeeded only in making Florida a national punch line.
Miami must get its financial house in order. The city has failed to meet its own fiscal-integrity standards, and the numbers keep changing with “surprise” surplus dollars — in the millions — found unexpectedly. Moody’s gave some of the city’s outstanding bond obligations a negative outlook, while giving a below-average rating to an impending bond issue. There’s a revolving door of finance officials leaving. City Manager Johnny Martinez seems incapable of leading out of this mess, and Mayor Tomás Regalado is missing in action.
By contrast, in Miami-Dade County, Mayor Carlos Gimenez won election to a full term by keeping his promise to keep costs down, maintain services and impose greater efficiencies. Jackson Health System also has been balancing the books. Good job.
Miami-Dade Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho can chalk up a big win. Voters gave the nod to renovate the district’s aging schools with a community-led committee guaranteeing accountability.
Trust in public safety
What is taking the Justice Department so long to complete its investigation of police shootings in Miami? A new police chief has improved the situation, but several cops have become entangled in unethical or illegal activities. A tough review of the city’s training policies and zero tolerance for misbehavior are needed.
Urban Beach Weekend did not result in mass arrests this year, but it also seemed Miami Beach set up various obstacles to make it difficult for young people to get to the beach and celebrate. Not wise.
Race to achieve
Investments in education pay off. That’s a lesson Gov. Rick Scott seems to be learning as he pushed to restore some of the K-12 funding that he previously cut. Still, higher education is struggling because it remains underfunded, too, at a time when potential students are being turned away.
Coming Thursday: The improving economy