Of all the people who paraded themselves in front of the County Commission during the public hearing in support of Formula One racing at Miami Dolphin Stadium, the majority of them do not live in Miami Gardens.
For the readership of The Miami Times and this column, you are witnessing the prophecy of the column, "Who in the hell left the gate open?" come to fruition. It’s the African-American gatekeepers who look just like us with big titles that appear to be as harmless as scarlet king snakes but they are really dangerous and poisonous coral snakes.
Then there's Miami Dade County Mayor Carlos Gimenez whose outright corruption has rendered him morally and ethically bankrupt. On May 14, 2018, the mayor recused himself from participating in any decision-making tied to Formula One petitions because his son CJ was lobbying on behalf of Formula One racing at the time. But public records show that on Oct. 21, the mayor had a meeting with a “Steve Ross” whom this writer believes to be Miami Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, two days prior to the Miami Gardens Council meeting where the members unanimously rejected Formula One in their city. One week later, on Oct. 28, Gimenez sent a memo that rescinded his recusal and suddenly weighed-in heavily on motor racing events in Miami-Dade County. Apparently “Steve Ross” yanked the chain of Mayor “Fidel Castro” Gimenez and influenced his involvement in the event’s relocation bid to Miami Gardens.
Is it just me, or has anyone else noticed that whenever the mayor's son presents an item before the County Commission, it gets passed with no problem, regardless of whom it affects? To illustrate the point, let's take an inventory of a few projects that the mayor's sons were a part of and how the County Commission acted on them. There’s the David Beckham stadium and the $5 million subsidy to Homestead steel mill deals. Then there’s Related Urban’s Liberty Square/Lincoln Gardens deal known as Liberty City Rising in which Miami-Dade County Chairwoman Audrey Edmonson suffered a crushing defeat. But this defeat was a particularly bitter pill for the community because it essentially vacated a federal rule that created single-member districts in Miami-Dade County. And now, Gimenez is poised to unleash the sweeping power of his office again, this time against Commissioner Barbara Jordan and the Miami Gardens residents – as he terms out of office.
In 1986, former District 1 County Commissioner Betty T. Ferguson and others sued Miami-Dade County to abolish the system of county-wide at-large commission seats and elections in favor of single-member districts that would give minority communities unprecedented power. In 2007, the majority of voters amended the charter again and created the strong mayor, which basically created a countywide, at-large, executive super legislator with the power of the former county manager and veto power over the 13-member County Commission. Miami Blacks didn’t feel the destructive power of that vote when it happened. But we are witnessing the full destructive and discriminatory power of the strong mayor today.
The mayor has run Miami-Dade County as if it were under a monarchy form of government and the Board of County Commissioners must vote as he (the King) pleases. And now, Gimenez has threatened to veto the 7-6 county commission vote from Oct. 29 that prohibited Formula one racing in Miami Gardens. The mayor’s re-engagement in the process is biased and based largely on a newly issued opinion by the Commission on Ethics and Public Trust that has insanely ruled that Gimenez faces no conflict of interest in wielding his immense power against the will of the district commissioner, the municipality under her purview and the overwhelming majority of the people themselves. Do you think that a Black mayor could veto the will of the Hispanic majority, have their sons on deals like the mayor has had with the blessing of the Ethics Commission? No, a Black mayor would come under intense scrutiny from that same strategically positioned Commission on Ethics that opens the door for one class of people and shuts the door on another.
Since the mayor is using his bully pulpit to usurp the power of the people today, how do we suppose he will act if he runs for the position of county sheriff, or worse, you actually elect him and give him the badge? He's going to act just like the Fidel Castro that the exile community had rebuked for over half a century. The same Castro that cost Nelson Mandela an official welcome to Miami in 1990; the same Castro that Blacks have stood alongside the exile community to rebuke; the same Castro whose policies Gimenez hated for his people but find it proper to impose on Blacks. So, after thinking really hard about it, after Miami Gardens stands up against Formula One, we need to take these lessons and prepare to take action against the Miami-Dade Home-Rule Charter that made these offenses possible in the first place.