Even after living in Miami-Dade for 15 years, jaded by local political shenanigans and conflicts of interest, I was shocked in reading the blatant conflict of the paid lobbyist for the Florida Apartment Association also serving as volunteer chairman of the Miami-Dade Homeless Trust, presumably helping the poorest of the poor.
David Smiley’s reporting in the Jan. 24 article, Politicians say Miami ‘slums’ prove need for new state laws, connected the dots and it didn’t take long to reflect on them. The same man is paid to represent the best interests of landlords in regulatory legislation before the General Assembly and simultaneously is supposed to represent the best interests of the homeless in Miami-Dade.
Naturally, as the paid lobbyist for private landlords statewide, he rejects any notion that regulation of slumlords in the criminal code is necessary. As head of the Homeless Trust, he helped place tenants in Miami slums slowly undergoing repairs. And residents in the same buildings went to state legislators over the on-going horrid housing conditions for the low-income tenants. In summary, the Homeless Trust leader rejects the notion that criminal statutes should be written regulating private landlords, whom he is paid to represent, in situations of repeated flagrant violations of housing codes impacting tenants who soon will be homeless.
Bob Ploehn, Miami Beach