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Audrey Edmonson and Barbara Jordan Fail Their Community

Miami-Dade County Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Barbara Jordan
Miami-Dade County Commissioners Audrey Edmonson and Barbara Jordan Courtesy of Miami-Dade County
Miami-Dade commissioners — particularly Barbara Jordan and Audrey Edmonson — last week let down their constituents. How? They punted for a third straight year on coming up with a system to give $14 million in funding to nonprofit groups.

By voting 7-4 to delay approval of the plan, they shut out groups that need the money. It has been 13 years since the county had a competitive system for handing out these funds. Think about that the next time you vote. It's been more than a decade, and they can't get anything done. And this is only a tiny piece of the county's $7 billion budget.

The commission played into the hands of big charities that have big grant-writing machines. Especially to blame in this mess are Edmonson and Jordan, who represent primarily African-American communities. Edmonson, who was once an Eastern Airlines flight attendant, just wanted to keep everybody happy; that's the way she is. And Jordan didn't help anyone.

The county's system for choosing who gets the money is based on a United Way plan that screws grassroots organizations. Both Edmonson and Jordan voted to uphold that system.
Illustration by Alex Izaguirre
The commissioners' final decision to punt means the Liberty City Optimist Club, which I cofounded, won't get help. Not even the Richmond Perrine Optimist Club can get aid to fight gun violence and promote athletic  programs that help kids — and Commissioner Dennis Moss, who had to abstain from the vote, is the executive director there.

These people are wasting your cash. They spent a year coming up with a way to distribute money. They produced a 120-page request for proposals and spent hundreds of hours negotiating a plan.

It's time for voters to stand up to Edmonson and Jordan — and boot them from office. It's time to help the organizations in our community that are really doing something.
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