Congratulations, Mayor Tondreau!
The last North Miami mayoral election may have been the most hotly debated one in the city’s recent political history.
It ended with a resounding victory for Ms. Tondreau who lost her first election a few years back at the hands of former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dorin Rolle. Her defeat at the time – while expected – revealed something unexpected: Lucie’s formidable electoral strength in the Haitian community.
Lucie made quite a few mistakes in the campaign – her response to that vicious, vulgar tape capped them off. Still, her defeat of former mayor Kevin Burns by a 10-point margin clearly shows that she was the strongest candidate in this five candidate field.
A WOMAN LOVED BY THE COMMUNITY
What does Lucie’s elevation to this mayoral post say about this community? It’s hard to say. However, there is no denying this inescapable fact: This Haitian community has a soft spot in its heart for Lucie, our new mayor in North Miami. This is big: Her years of activism on behalf of this migrant community endeared her to these proud, poor and resilient people.
Be that as it may, there may be something else about Lucie that attracts this community. Indeed, other well-known activists have not fared that well in their own electoral pursuits.
FORECAST FOR THE NEXT TWO YEARS
What are the expectations from our new mayor in the next two years?
During the campaign she talked about the need to continue what departed mayor Andre Pierre has done in the last four years. She also talked about the need to put more police on the streets to combat crime. I don’t think that’s the way to proceed if we want this community not to miss its rendezvous with something better that what we have seen in the last decade.
Looking at Mr. Pierre’s performance at the helm of North Miami is something that someone has to do. This is not today’s task. Suffice it to say that I don’t share the predicament that so many in this community want us to believe, that is, ‘Andre Pierre was the best thing that could happen to this community.’
This thing about putting more police on the streets to fight crime is too conservative (and too expensive) for my progressive taste. Of course, the infusion of more police (potentially more police brutality, too) on the streets may ameliorate somewhat the crime profile of this community.
This may mean ten or twenty less petty thefts, twenty or thirty more arrests than the year before. These small gains are always offset by some cases of unjustified police brutality or murder.
MORE PROGRESSIVE INITIATIVES
We can do better than that.
See for yourself: More police on the streets may cost the taxpayers upward to 150K a year, while a tutorial program attached to some other good civic stuff could reach dozens of youngsters and make a lasting impact – short or long-term – on every sector of this community.
The Biscayne Landing contract is bringing some much needed revenue to the city of North Miami. Some have formulated the opinion that saving this money for rainy days is the thing to do. In fact, it’s the thing not to do.
Ms. Mayor, the rainy days are already here. Spend that money. No more furloughs. Better yet fund social programs that target our poor children, troubled youth and unemployed parents.
That’s the progressive way of fighting crime.