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Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. Up this week: Miami is in trouble again. The town's top bureaucrat — City Manager Pete Hernandez — has resigned and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is probing whether leaders lied about their current financial morass. Luke says:
It's time for Miami to hire a black city manager. I think it is long overdue. Our last black city manager was the late Howard Gary. He quit in 1984. That was 25 years ago. Since then, Miami leaders have been sending a message to the entire community that a black person is not qualified to hold the job. Sure, Miami just got its first black fire chief. And there are a few blacks who hold executive level jobs in the city, but they are not the ones making final decisions.
Look at what's happened with Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones. Her district feels disenfranchised on a host of different topics, like money for parks, job creation, and fighting crime. The commissioner of that district, which includes Overtown and Liberty City, can only do so much. Spence-Jones couldn't get help from the city manager, so it was very difficult for her to get things done. The same problem is going to happen with Rev. Richard Dunn, who's filling in.
The consensus of people in the district is that the city is run by Cubans. Whatever the Cubans don't take for their community, Commissioner Marc Sarnoff is going to take for his. And Liberty City and Overtown are going to be left like they have for the past 50 years.
I was born and raised on NW 58th Terrace and 10th Avenue. The place has looked the same since I was a kid. That is sad. Yet when I drive near Miami International Airport, I see a big new water park, new baseball fields, and a renovated golf course. I want all of Miami to be beautiful, but politics stops it from happening.
Just look at what went down with Spence-Jones, who is my friend. She is a smart young lady who grew up in the district and became very outspoken about how disenfranchised the African-American community is in Miami. So the powers-that-be came after her in a very harsh way. The same happened with former Miami and Metro Commissioner Art Teele, who was also my friend. Before he passed away, Teele was on a mission to stop Overtown from getting fucked over. They pushed him to the limit.
The powers-that-be see Overtown and Liberty City as cash cows because of all the state and federal money set aside for those communities. But at the end of the day, does that money get to Overtown and Liberty City? No. It should, though.
District 1 continues to suffer. Reverend Dunn is not going to have enough time to make a difference. And when someone else wins the seat in an election, all of the money set aside for Overtown and Liberty City will be used for other neighborhoods. Hiring a black city manager would establish some balance of power.