Shakespeare seemed to have written something quotable about most of life’s circumstances. On this New Year’s Day, we’re focusing on this one: “What’s past is prologue,” from The Tempest. The year that just ended left clear directives for the year just begun. Here’s a sampling from 2015’s instruction manual:
Let’s keep the momentum going, maybe traffic will follow. Miami-Dade County made some necessary strides in deconstructing the governmental silos in which various agencies and officials labored, isolated. The county still has a lot to answer for after squandering millions of dollars raised by the half-penny sales tax for transit that voters approved with high hopes. Coming up with effective plans to get traffic moving while coaxing drivers onto public transit that actually goes where people want to go is the least it should do.
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Make. This. Work. Miami-Dade County, and specifically Mayor Carlos Gimenez and his housing honcho, Michael Liu, plan to raze this crime-plagued public-housing complex, a vestige of the county’s scourge of racial segregation, and rebuild it bigger and better for its low-income residents. The plan includes private housing, to encourage a greater mix of incomes, and retail space.
We’ll spare you the gory details, but needless to say, things have gotten ugly over a protracted contractor selection; residents’ complaints about the lack of information and their very understandable suspicion that this is just one more scheme to get rid of them. Promises have come and gone unfilled in too many poor African-American communities here. It’s incumbent on Mayor Gimenez to make sure that this isn’t just one more.
Almost two years ago, South Florida was in the basement, ranked dead last, in a survey of volunteerism in 51 major metropolitan areas across the country. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area limped in with a 15.3 percent volunteer rate.
Our advice: Any complaining about how screwed up things are, about how “somebody oughta do something” should be followed up immediately with a plan of action. Be that “somebody.”
The Legislature muffed so many things last year it’s hard to know where to begin. Expanding Medicaid was, unfortunately, a nonstarter in 2015, which wasn’t even an election year. This year, it’s likely no one will even utter the word. But there is Amendment 1, approved by 75 percent of voters in 2014 to, among other benefits, buy and preserve environmentally fragile lands. There were several issues on which lawmakers couldn’t agree last year, leading to a session cut short in a fit of pique. Unfortunately, one place where a majority of them could find common ground was in subverting their constituents’ wishes and failing to spend Amendment 1 dollars as promised. The issue’s in court, but that shouldn’t stop lawmakers from doing the right thing this time around.
The race for the White House should have taught sound lessons to those who will be running for the myriad local and statewide seats that will be in contention this year. Yes, bombast works — for a while. But 2015 showed potential candidates how not to campaign, especially if they care about the long-lasting good of the community.