Miami makes a lot of ”Top Ten” and ”Top 100” lists. Unfortunately, it is typically for all the wrong reasons. We are in the top five of major cities for foreclosures and ranked next to Detroit as one of the worst places to raise a family. We already told you how poor we are, and we won’t even start with our listing as one of ”the most dangerous cities in America.”
Those lists can be a hard pill to swallow, in part, because the truth hurts. But lists don’t capture the picture of good places and people in our city. Never mind our clean air, beautiful beaches or the party places around town, walk through the ”dangerous” neighborhoods and you may be pleasantly surprised. In Overtown, people cordially invite strangers into their homes for an afternoon chat; in Little Haiti and Liberty City you will receive the warmest ”good mornings;” in Little Havana, businesses are quick to give you a free taste of something. No stat or ”Top Ten” list will ever appreciate any of that.
Yet, all of those great things about Miami only make it more embarrassing when our name litters the top of a bunch of ”Worst of” lists. Why do we make so many bad lists? Today’s news gives us a clue.
A report by the Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington listed local politician, Congressman David Rivera (R), as one of the ”most corrupt in Washington.” Currently, Congressman Rivera is under investigation by an alphabet soup of law enforcement agencies (FBI, IRS, FDLE) for alleged money laundering and tax evasion!
If Mr. Rivera was the first Miami politician to be under criminal investigation it would be no biggie. In fact, he is one of many politicos that keep prosecutors, detectives, and investigators busy. It’s no wonder that Miami is on so many embarrassing lists! How can our public servants serve anyone when they are busy serving themselves? How can they create jobs, clean our streets and fix our schools when they are busy fixing their own books?
Make no mistake, there is one Miami where people strive to be the best every day–the best parents, workers, businesspeople, teachers, volunteers, public servants, etc. And then there is the other Miami that is the best… at all the wrong things. Our Miami deserves leaders that demand the best of themselves and our city and have the vision to put us at the top of the right lists. But we won’t get those leaders until we demand what we deserve.