Miami Gardens Mayor: We will overcome our problems


Nearly 11 years ago, disaffected residents, disenfranchised business owners and a community of believers came together to form the city that is Miami Gardens. Bound by the idea that government closer to us would be more responsive, our founding mothers created a city of 110,000 people in an effort to make real a dream that had been too long deferred.

During the past decade, we have had successes and shortcomings; failures and triumphs, but through it all, the true spirit of Miami Gardens’ residents remains.

We are a working-class city with working-class problems and working-class dreams.

We are a city of business owners who are innovative and imaginative.

We are a city of houses of faith where we practice our spirituality.

We are a city of children that dream of a world ready for and accessible to them.

We are a city of senior citizens eager to engage new chapters and new adventures in lives that have been well lived.

We wake up every day, go to work and come home with the singular goal of enjoying our families and living our lives undisturbed. We are a city evolving into a community. Not separated by traditional neighborhood boundaries; we are no longer individually Bunche Park, Carol City, Rolling Oaks, Crestview, Andover or Lake Lucerne.

We are not homeowners or renters. We are not affluent or economically disenfranchised. We are one community that will together rise as we re-imagine how municipal services are delivered and how communal expectations are set.

The next 10 years will see Miami Gardens do extraordinary things. Soon, city services and information will be accessible through the Digital Garden (DG), a hand-held application that will be available on most mobile phones. The city will incorporate a housing authority to regulate our housing stock and ensure that, regardless of income or ownership, good neighborly standards are maintained. We will also engage potential developers through our Community Redevelopment Agency to help initiate economic development in the City of Miami Gardens.

Understanding and acknowledging that our destiny remains unfulfilled and challenges remain, our progress has not been insignificant. Since 2008 there has been a steady decrease in crime — 41 percent. This decrease includes a modest reduction in homicides from 2012 (25) to 2013 (23). While there has been movement, it has not come fast enough and has not gone far enough.

More must be done. This year we will hire an additional 16 officers with an emphasis placed on hiring residents because while community policing efforts are important, being policed by members of the community that have relationships and roots in the city is essential. Additionally, to augment our police force we will invest in technology that allows law enforcement to have an expanded presence throughout the city.

Though we are wholeheartedly pursuing these efforts, we understand that this is not a problem solved by police and enforcement alone. We must engage the youth of the community in a sincere and persistent way. To that end, the City Council is presenting voters with the city’s first general obligation bond. The bond will allow us to redevelop the city’s parks to provide activities beyond athletics, by including facilities that focus on science, art, and entertainment; as well as sports offerings that are not traditionally provided in urban settings like dance, boxing, martial arts, and tumbling.

This is important because what we have learned is that if we do not occupy our children’s time and their minds, the wrong elements will. If allowed to remain unengaged, the collection of children that occupy our neighborhoods will organize into groups; those groups will evolve into gangs; and those gangs, in an effort to hurt each other, will rob us of our innocence and ruin their own lives.

We can and will stop this. The difficult task of moving a community forward has often fallen to other people, this time the task is ours and we won’t fail. The trying times that we experience will not be our history. Our history will be how we endure and overcome them. We move forward.

Oliver Gilbert is mayor of Miami Gardens.

Read more Other Views stories from the Miami Herald



    Dade, Broward lead the way

    Miami-Dade and Broward county jails have stopped detaining immigrants for the federal government at taxpayers’ expense. Florida’s other jails and prisons should do the same.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">GANG WARFARE</span>: The end of a truce between street gangs in El Salvador has led to a steep rise in homicides this year, adding impetus to the migration of youths and children to the United States.


    The real failure in Central America

    The failure to manage the crisis of Central American child refugees at the Mexican border is not only about the inability to enact a comprehensive immigration policy reform. The real problem is the failure to build transparent and competent criminal justice institutions in Central America, especially after millions of American dollars have been provided to reform and strengthen security institutions there.

 <span class="cutline_leadin">EXULTING:</span> Vladimir Putin is still refusing to accept complicity in the shootdown of a Malaysian airliner as Western leaders fail to agree on sanctions.


    Historians will recall our leaders’ inaction

    When historians look back on 2014, they will note not just how flagrantly Vladimir Putin disregarded international law or how stubbornly Gaza and Israel kept firing missiles at each other. They will also be puzzled at how poorly the United States handled its economy.

Miami Herald

Join the

The Miami Herald is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

The Miami Herald uses Facebook's commenting system. You need to log in with a Facebook account in order to comment. If you have questions about commenting with your Facebook account, click here.

Have a news tip? You can send it anonymously. Click here to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Miami Herald and el Nuevo Herald.

Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

  • Marketplace

Today's Circulars

  • Quick Job Search

Enter Keyword(s) Enter City Select a State Select a Category