Carlos Gimenez's Liberty Square Redevelopment Plan Will Enrich Developers

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness 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 addresses a plan to redevelop the heart of Liberty City.

Before becoming a politician, Carlos Gimenez was Miami's city manager from 2000 to 2003. After that, he was a county commisioner for seven years and has been Miami-Dade County mayor since 2011. During this 15 year span, I don't ever recall seeing Gimenez at the numerous town hall meetings in Liberty City to address the rampant poverty and violence that keeps the community in the depths of hell.

All of sudden, Gimenez gives a damn. Last week, he unveiled a plot disguised as salvation plan to drive black people out of the Liberty Square public housing projects, commonly known as the Pork n' Beans. The mayor held a feel-good press conference with County Commissioner Audrey Edmonson about how the county is going to tear down the Pork n' Beans to make way for a new vibrant development. Gimenez said the county is making a "$74 million commitment" for a redevelopment project that he claims is going to cost $200 million.

Gimenez is basically setting up the Pork n' Beans for a land grab. You can bet the lobbyists, contractors, and developers bankrolling the mayor's 2016 re-election campaign got the inside track to turn Liberty Square into condos the majority of Liberty City residents can't afford.

We've seen this dog-and-pony show before when Alex Penelas was mayor and Dorrin Rolle was the county commissioner representing the neighborhood. They promised residents would be allowed to return after Miami-Dade razed the James E. Scott housing projects to make way for "affordable housing." Most of the Scott residents disappeared from the county's public housing rolls or were exiled to Homestead and Florida City.

Meanwhile, a bunch of politically-connected contractors and developers got rich off federal funds meant to redevelop Scott homes. Gimenez should know. He was well into his first term as a county commissioner when the U.S. Department of Urban and Housing Development had to take over the county's public housing agency because of the rampant scandals.

Instead of explaining why he's never shown interest in addressing the black mold infestation that plagues many of the 709 units in the Pork Beans, Gimenez is just feeding the black community more bullshit. As the mayor, his job is to make sure the existing buildings are not a health hazard.

It is also his job to make sure that drug dealers and cold-blooded killers are not living at the county-owned Liberty Square. Expelling the thugs doing all the murders should be Gimenez's number one priority.

The only way Gimenez can sell this plan is by allowing trusted community leaders, not the paid-off pastors or political cronies, to have oversight on the project. I'm calling on him to form a blue-ribbon committee to make sure the residents of Liberty Square still have a place to live when the new project is finished.

Tune in to Luke on The Andy Slater Show every Tuesday from 2 to 5 p.m. on Miami's Sports Animal 940 AM.

Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1 and @unclelukesempir.


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