To Have and Have Not

Activists in Miami Beach's north shore neighborhoods say government-subsidized housing is crowding them out

Talarico has gone so far as to ask city commissioners to alter the make-up of the Miami Beach Housing Authority, whose appointments are made by the mayor and ratified by the commission. At their October 9 meeting, commissioners directed Talarico's staff to explore ways to make the board more representative of areas containing subsidized housing. One option is to expand the five-member board. Another is to make sure that some of the board's members live in affected neighborhoods. Yet another, less likely possibility is to abolish the board and have the commission take over.

Howard Galbut, chairman of the five-member board of directors that governs the housing authority, thinks that something more insidious lurks beneath the attack on his agency. "[Talarico] is being misinformed by this so-called north shore group," he maintains. "This group is prejudiced against the elderly, poor, and disabled."

Not true, retorts the NBDC's Bodil Coletta. "It's so touchy. Before you know, they call you a racist and this and that. I'm not like that. I've been rich and I've also been poor. We're not trying to get rid of Section 8," Coletta insists. "We're really trying to be fair about this. If nobody stops it, it's going to increase more and more.

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