Uncle Luke, the man who made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke retraces the history of broken promises made to Miami's African American community.
On November 6, we'll vote
on a $1.2 billion bond issue to fix up 280 schools that desperately
need renovations. Some of these schools, like Miami Norland Senior
High and Brownsville Middle School, which were built in the late
1950s, are one leaky roof or crumbling wall away from being condemned
and declared health hazards. No child can learn under such toxic
But Miami-Dade Public Schools Superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Building For Tomorrow, the politcial action committee pushing the bond issue, are having a hard time convincing African-Americans that schools in low income neighborhoods like Allapattah, Brownsville, Overtown, and Liberty City will be first in line for the bond money.
We've heard the same song and dance time and again, ever since the federal government destroyed Overtown to pave the way for Interstate 95 in the late 1960s. It's been a long string of broken promises.
The construction of the Miami Arena in 1986 was supposed to spur redevelopment in Overtown. All it produced were two condo towers near the site of where the arena used to sit. Ten years ago, Miami-Dade County leaders promised hundreds of families who were kicked out of the Scott-Carver housing projects in Liberty City would be allowed to return home once the new homes were built. Instead, the county squandered the $35 million in federal funds for the reconstruction and nearly one-third of the 250 displaced families disappeared from the county's public housing system.
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Since the 1980s, Miami's African-American voters twice supported measures to expand Metrorail to the county line along NW 27th Avenue. The first was a bond issue in 1985 and the second was the half-penny sales tax for mass transit in 2002. We're still waiting for that train to Sun Life Stadium. And, let's not forget the unfulfilled promise of jobs for the black community during the construction of the Marlins ball park.
The only ones who benefit are certain pastors and so-called political activists who are always around to get their palms greased during these campaigns. However, I trust Carvalho. He's a good man who I believe he will do the right thing for all schools on the renovation list. But he's on notice not to screw us over as others have in the past.
Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.