Sea-level rise, Irma and the other, winning, Hurricanes, helped bind us together

Miami Herald Editorial Board

In 2018, will fans give Marlins owner Derek Jeter a clean slate to map out a new future for the team?
In 2018, will fans give Marlins owner Derek Jeter a clean slate to map out a new future for the team? MIAMI HERALD

The issues that divide us in this rattled country are legion. But we’re not talking about those. Not today. Today, we are focusing on what binds us together as a community — the spirit of which we should keep going into 2018.

Strength in numbers

We are happy to see South Florida government leaders slowly, but steadily, realize the dangers of sea level rise. They are taking the lead where state government has lagged.

Miami Beach , Miami and other coastal cities are making real financial and braintrust commitments — together. Often, with mayors in the lead, cities are onboard to turn themselves into resilient cities, able to combat sea level rise, girding themselves against the rush of bay and ocean waters. The recently concluded Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact brought together officials from Monroe to Palm Beach counties — and from far beyond — to discuss remedial initiatives under way and impending. Such foresight is vital.

Strength in numbers II

The jury’s still out. We don’t know where e-commerce behemoth Amazon will decide to locate its second headquarters. But, again, Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties submitted a proposal touting eight sites among them. Instead of competing against one another, they are smart to come together as one, realizing that the potential of 50,000 well-paying jobs to South Florida would be a game-changer for the entire region.

Irma’s punch

Though residents in Middle Keys have a different, grimmer story to tell, we’re super grateful Hurricane Irma wasn’t as ferocious as first feared, once it left Monroe County and headed north. Still, it downed trees, flooded properties and knocked out power and cable service for weeks in some neighborhoods.

At the very least, it exposed weaknesses in our overall emergency services and response. Shelters were inadequately prepared, for instance. Official safety communications failed to reach residents in some low-income neighborhoods, where resources are already scarce. However, committed helpers stepped up. Valencia Gunder of New Florida Majority helped ensure hundreds did not go hungry in the storm’s aftermath. Miami-Dade Commissioner Daniella Levine Cava’s report has made a slew of recommendations to help the county bounce back quicker after the next hurricane.

Connect Miami

This community engagement initiative, founded by the United Way of Miami-Dade, the Miami Foundation, The Children’s Trust, MCCJ, Radical Partners and the Miami Herald, encouraged at least 15,000 people to engage with someone they didn’t know. As a result, strangers became acquaintances, participants learned something new, and lifelong connections were made, strengthening the fabric of this community.

Them ’Canes

We reveled in the unexpected joy the Miami Hurricanes brought us by returning to the ranks of Top 10 football teams. Miami loves winners, and what a sweet, though brief, love affair it was.

And it’s a new day for the Miami Marlins.

We urge fans to give new owner Derek Jeter a chance. Yes, the Marlins stadium deal did cheat Miami-Dade taxpayers, but let’s move on.

Jeter is eager to win fans back, and we should gift him a clean slate for the holidays.