Don't Trust the $1.2 Billion School Bond
On November 6, we'll vote on a $1.2 billion bond issue to fix up 280 schools that desperately need renovations. Some of them, such as Miami Norland Senior High and Brownsville Middle School, which were built in the late '50s, are one leaky roof or crumbling wall away from being condemned as health hazards. No child can learn under such toxic conditions.
But Miami-Dade schools superintendent Alberto Carvalho and Building for Tomorrow, the political action committee pushing the bonds, are having a hard time convincing African-Americans that schools in low-income neighborhoods like Allapattah, Overtown, and Liberty City will be first in line for the money. We've heard the same song and dance time and again, ever since the federal government destroyed Overtown to pave the way for I-95 in the late '60s.
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 arena site. Ten years ago, Miami-Dade County leaders promised hundreds of families who were kicked out of the Scott-Carver housing projects in Liberty City that they'd be allowed to return once new homes were built. Instead, the county squandered the $35 million in federal funds slated for the reconstruction, and nearly a third of the 250 displaced families disappeared from the county's public-housing system.
Since the '80s, Miami's African-American voters have 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 Marlins 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. They are the ones who sell out their congregations and their neighbors.
However, I trust Carvalho. He's a good man who I believe 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.
Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.
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