By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
The reason drug dealers are harder to control is that, unlike illegal vendors of cigarettes and alcohol, a drug dealer can carry a substantial part of his inventory with him and not be detected.
Drug dealers basically work the same way as your friendly Avon, Tupperware, Mary Kay, or Amway salesperson. The more people they recruit, the more money they make. I am sure there are plenty of turf wars among the people selling Avon or Tupperware, but they don't go around killing one another.
If drugs were legal, controlling them would not be that difficult. It would be necessary to get a doctor's prescription to purchase the drugs. A doctor would realize who would be using too much and recommend rehabilitation. Use the same methods of punishment for excessive use of drugs as for excessive use of alcohol. Use the $40 billion presently spent by the government on the drug war for rehabilitation.
We know there always will be a few doctors who would take money for writing illegal prescriptions, and there will be those users who will try to obtain prescriptions from more than one doctor. But the big problem would be under control.
Drugs are attractive to many ghetto children because they see how much money can be earned quickly by selling them. If the pusher-as-role-model disappeared, many related problems would disappear.
With the holidays in the air, I have a few Christmas wishes for you and the other commissioners who travel on the public dime. Next time you pull up the blankets and get all cozy in that $325-per-night hotel bed in Seville, Spain, I hope you'll think about the homeless on the streets of Miami, who don't have enough temporary shelters to get off the streets or enough long-term programs available to stay off the streets.
And next time you're jamming some moo goo gai pan down your pie hole in Beijing, I hope you'll think of Pastor Joseph Austin giving his time and his church's funds to feed those who cannot afford to feed themselves.
Next time you're watching Air Bud 2: Golden Receiver as the in-flight movie on your way to Paris, proud of the fact that you're in tourist class, I hope you'll think of those people who work on the streets and in the shelters at thankless jobs that help their fellow man, but who make too little money to vacation in Europe.
I wish Santa Claus would bring us public servants who understand it is their duty to work for the good of the entire community, not just for themselves or those in the community who contribute to their election campaigns. Ah, but I'm just a foolish dreamer. I doubt even Santa himself has the ability to change politicians.
Objects of Ridicule at Home, Celebrated Dignitaries Abroad
I take issue with some of Jim DeFede's comments in his recent article regarding travel by Miami-Dade County commissioners. Specifically I address the trip Gwen Margolis took with the Convention and Visitors Bureau and the New World Symphony.
I represent for the New World Symphony in Tallahassee. I have had the pleasure of traveling with the symphony throughout the world. They are simply the most incredible ambassadors of good will this community could possibly have. And of course New Times realizes they could be anywhere in the world, but because of the generosity of Ted Arison and local contributors, they are headquartered in Miami Beach.
I was in Monte Carlo with the symphony in the company of Prince Rainier and other local dignitaries. Not one elected official was in attendance, not one person there to promote this community -- no tourism officials, no economic development officials, no chamber of commerce official. What a lost opportunity.
Our symphony is one of the world's treasures, recognized as such around the globe. Newly elected Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris recognizes that, and I hope she will continue the tradition of promoting Florida by utilizing recognizable culture.
Gwen Margolis understood the importance of the world tour the symphony was embarking on and raised significant private-sector dollars on her own to help finance the trip. She worked tirelessly on her own to put together a tourism contingency to travel with the symphony. To criticize that effort is to completely fail to understand the value of the New World Symphony, the Miami City Ballet, and other local groups.
If we are to be a world-class community, we need to respect our elected officials here as much as they are respected when they travel to other countries. The chairwoman of the county commission in a foreign country is welcomed as a visiting dignitary and afforded great accolades. We should do the same at home.