New Year's Revolution

If you had your way, what single adjustment would you make to enhance the experience of living in South Florida?

Cathy Leff
interim director of the Wolfsonian
There is no public forum here other than the media that bring people together to discuss issues. Everybody knows what the issues are, but we need somebody to say, How are we going to resolve this? There needs to be a nonbiased organization that organizes the forum, maybe something a university could establish. It could have a full-time staff and be fully funded -- a think tank that would bring the county's private and nonprofit organizations together. We did it with We Will Rebuild, but why wait for a specific crisis?

Father Thomas Wenski
pastor of Notre Dame d'Haiti, Little Haiti
In my Haitian community a lot of the working poor are not U.S. citizens and many are not permanent residents yet. A lot have applied for political asylum and many of their cases have not been heard yet. But rather than hearing them and denying them and sending them back to Haiti, the best thing would be to allow them to become U.S. citizens. That would immediately open up better employment opportunities and educational opportunities. Otherwise there's no possibility to adjust their status. If there's the political will to do it, all Congress would have to do is pass a Haitian Adjustment Act similar to what they have for the Cubans. And we've seen how the Cuban Adjustment Act has helped them assimilate into the middle class. If a person has a stake, if he's part of the system already, he's going to work in the system. If he's excluded, then you're forcing him to live in an underground society and underground economy. That doesn't help anyone except people who want to exploit him for cheap labor.

Adrian Castro
poet
I really wish we had a mass transportation system, something akin to the subway system in New York, which would do wonders for connecting our different communities into each other. Why not an aboveground train system? It would allow people not only to get around on the periphery -- like Metrorail -- but go into neighborhoods. It would lead to the desegregation of Miami. A lot of people dread going through Librty City or the black neighborhood of Coconut Grove. Other people refuse to go through Little Havana. With a train system, you would have to pass through different neighborhoods. If residents of different neighborhoods know each other, you can bridge this sense of otherness. When you have a sense of otherness, it creates all kinds of problems: It creates racism, it creates classism. A train system would help bridge that gap.

Janet McAliley
former chairwoman of the Dade County School Board
People in leadership roles in Dade County should enroll their children in public schools. That's how the schools will become better. They know how to leverage the decision-makers and get the money and the quality leaders. I'd never make it a legal requirement, even if I could, but I think that those people, especially those who are public decision-makers, need to subject their own children to the kind of decisions they make for everyone else's children.

Pan Courtelis
investor, newspaper owner, community activist
I would merge the City of Miami with Dade County and stop the bleeding.

Andrew Delaplaine
editor of the weekly Wire
I would cut off Ocean Drive and Collins Avenue to vehicular traffic and put in a very professional shuttle system along Alton Road, Washington Avenue, and Collins Avenue. You wouldn't need a car. This is vision, vision, vision!

The Reverend Rabbi Clennon King
civil rights pioneer, minister of the Church of Divine Mission
My only suggestion is politically incorrect: It's to pronounce everyone here white, everyone here black, or everyone here Cuban. Force them to be one people. Remove ethnicity. I've been advocating that since I got out of the penitentiary in 1970. They made me into a joke and had me on several TV programs and whatnot. It wasn't a joke.

James Wellington
bridge-tender
I would make the failure to use turn signals punishable by law. Use turn signals, literally and figuratively! Let people know what you're doing. Use turn signals on the road and in life. Every day be a little more considerate of each other. Try driving after dusk with your headlights on, so we can see each other. And if we can see each other we're more apt to be considerate of each other. There are too many confrontations these days between people. Observe, don't just see!

Rosario Kennedy
lobbyist, former Miami city commissioner
I would get rid of every crack house and build affordable housing on those sites. When I was a city commissioner, I started a program called Rosario's Crack Attack. I got together with the city attorney, and we came up with an ordinance where we contacted the owners of abandoned buildings and gave them 30 days to comply. Developers donated bulldozers and we demolished over 400 abandoned buildings in two years.

Robert Price
guitarist for experimental noise band Kreamy 'Lectric Santa
A good radio station that took a lot more chances would be a damn good thing. I don't think radio out there bothers to take a chance; everything is very mainstream. There's a pretty good thing on WLRN-FM (91.3) on Saturday night -- Steve Malagodi's The Modern School of Modern Jazz. He plays some stuff that's whacked, that's different. Otherwise everything seem pretty commercial. Nobody's taking risks. I have this belief that the lack of seasons is to blame. It's good to freeze your ass off every now and then; it really wakes you up.

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