Get Moving Mayor Regalado, Or I'll Take Your Job
While it was nice to see Tony Crapp Jr., an African American who has grown up in Miami, become the first black city manager since Howard Gary, we still have a long way to go in addressing the problems that keep plaguing Overtown and Liberty City. We need Miami's elected officials and their counterparts in county government and Miami-Dade Public Schools to follow my advice.
First, we need the city and the county police departments to place more police officers in the black neighborhoods during the hours when the criminals like to come out. We need to see more of those mobile command centers on NW 15th Avenue between the hours of 10 p.m. and two o'clock in the morning. I think both police forces can come up with an effective community policing strategy that will make Overtown and Liberty City residents feel safe, not threatened, when officers are in the hood. Put more of those officers on bicycles and horseback -- like the ones in Brickell, Little Havana, and downtown Miami -- in black communities.
Add more police manpower to the neighborhood enhancement teams that serve Overtown and Liberty City. We need more officers who care about these black neighborhoods and who will have a friendly dialogue with the people. If we take these steps before the killings start
Placing more police boots on the streets is just the first step. We also need city and county officials to go after the slum lords who own all the rundown projects and crack houses in Overtown and Liberty City. If Miami Beach and Coral Gables can find a way to hold property owners accountable for maintaining their buildings, Miami can do the same. Give Crapp the green light to crack down on these slum lords. You need to come in and rebuild every property on NW 15th Avenue and the surrounding neighborhoods, including the government projects. And when you tear down the blight please provide the construction jobs to the inner city residents; give them a reason to feel pride in their community.
I recently went on a trip through a black neighborhood in Athens, Georgia that used to be nothing but projects. Now, it is a beautifully landscaped and gated community with street lights and security entrances that serve as criminal deterrents. And there are no people in the streets selling drugs. Why? Because the residents took part in building it. I'd love to see the city and county mayors implement similar ideas in Overtown and Liberty City so that African Americans can have hope in their communities.
I have a plan for the The Miami-Dade School Board to fix Miami's inner city schools too. We need to have three types of schools: one for kids who plan to attend college, vocational/trade schools for those who don't, and a third type for the knuckleheads. A big reason F schools exist is that you have a lot of knuckleheads bringing the school's grade point average and FCAT scores down. The knuckleheads are the bullies who know nothing but F's on their report cards and fighting.
These are realistic goals for our city and county leaders to make an impact in Miami's African American communities. If they don't see fit to implement these solutions, then I'll be forced to run for mayor myself to get the job done.