Reader Mail: Norman Braman Is a Bully in the Guise of a Civic-Minded Leader
He's a gambling hypocrite: Luke, you're absolutely right about car dealer and would-be political power broker Norman Braman, ("Luke's Gospel: Norman Braman Is a Phony," Luther Campbell, August 2). There's more to his scheming, though. You will find Braman is also at the center of the group No Casinos, whose mission is to squelch any competition for the tourist and gambling dollars currently monopolized by the others in the group: Disney, Miami Heat owner Micky Arison, the Seminole tribe, and the racetrack owners. They have employed underhanded tactics, including strong-arming the Dade Heritage Trust to create a phony petition to preserve the old Miami Herald building to prevent the development of a world-class casino on the site. Braman is a bully in the guise of a civic-minded leader.
New faces needed: Braman is right to fund opposition candidates, simply because we need new faces on the County Commission — and that includes the mayor. Unfortunately, we are stuck with half of the commissioners for now, due to the staggered two-year voting cycle, but their record is awful. We have two county swimming pools that have been under construction for more than four years. We have crumbling sewer lines, and the mayor and commission again raided the water and sewer budget for $25 million and called it a loan. Millions of gallons of partially treated sewage water are dumped into the ocean daily. The raid helped to pay more than 3,000 county staffers' bloated salaries; that's reason enough to seek new faces.
Five reasons you're wrong: Luke, I can tell you five reasons why Braman is right in his electoral picks. Reason 1: No person reading this would be allowed to keep his job after making a $400 million mishap (like the Miami Marlins stadium). Reason 2: Each of these commissioners is pushing 70 years of age and continues to hold onto the job he preaches to high schoolers about one day having. Reason 3: All four commissioners being challenged for their seats are seasoned politicians who did not have the guts to run for the ultimate seat of Miami-Dade County mayor. Reason 4: The public's right has been purchased by special interests who have no real investment in Miami-Dade's future. Reason 5: The commissioners you support state that "Miami-Dade is not for sale" when in fact they already sold it to the Miami Marlins to the tune of $400 million.
Don't trust billionaires: Well said, Luke. Candidates are signing a Braman pledge to qualify for this car salesman's pocket change. Why should the minority community accept anyone who is willing to sign a pledge to a Republican billionaire? All the Republicans like to sign pledges to Grover Norquist, and then they fail to do what is required of them as representatives of the people because Grover would be mad. Now we have Braman playing the same game. He wants all these commissioners to call and see if it is OK to impose taxes to pay for services. Why should this old white billionaire get to dictate what our commissioners do? This is insane.
Change needed for black Miami: I met Alice Pena, one of the candidates Braman is supporting, yesterday in West Perrine at a black church, where the blacks have been neglected, abandoned, and discarded. The pastor shared with a group of us how current Commissioner Dennis Moss has done nothing to help this community. Moss built a community pool that took four years to build and cost millions but hasn't helped black men and women here get jobs. We need real people in office. I don't know Alice Pena from Adam, but it's clear to everyone who lives in West Perrine that Moss doesn't care about anything other than his pocketbook.
Should have stayed in Sun Life: You joke about the Marlins selling off every player now that the season has tanked ("Dead Fish," Jon Tayler, August 2). The Marlins did try to rebrand this team. They were serious about pursuing Albert Pujols in the offseason. They got Jose Reyes, who is a good glove and one of the better shortstops in baseball. They did try to bolster a pitching staff too. Now they're stuck with Mark Buehrle whining about having to live in Broward County because he owns a pit bull, which are illegal in Miami. The Marlins' new stadium also already has a tragedy associated with it, thanks to the car that struck and killed an entire family from Georgia. All in all, they should've just stayed in Sun Life Stadium, where the Manatees and Mermaids would still entertain the crowds.
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