Tuesday, August 07, 2007

HUD Seizes Control of Miami-Dade County Housing

Accused of "grossly mismanaging" housing programs for some 25,000 of its neediest families, the County today becomes the seventh out of 4,100 public housing agencies to be taken over by the Feds. Miami-Dade County Mayor Carlos Alverez vows to fight it in court. We wish he wouldn't. This is the best thing that could have happened to the poor in a long time. Local government had more than enough time to get it right. Now let's see what the Feds can do.

UpDate (8/8/07):

"Alvarez, County Manager George Burgess and the County Commission would lose all control of the agency -- a devastating blow to their credibility..."
--The Miami Herald, Wednesday, August 8, 2007

What credibility? Aside from Mayor Alverez whom we admire (except in this instance), their action over the past couple of years speaks for itself. Besides hurting the poor, their inaction and less than professional behavior has embarrassed all of us in the eyes of the world. Instead of threatening a costly lawsuit against the Feds, defending the work of Burgess and his bureaucrats and seeking solidarity with the commission, Alverez should be distancing himself from all of the above by taking the high road by admitting the government-- and the problems that came with it when he was elected-- fucked up. Fessing up and taking responsibility is a rare thing nowadays, but once seen, like the fleeting and legendary ghost orchid in the Everglades, it is something to cherish and behold. It also might get you reelected.
UpDate (8/23): A federal judge has ordered mediation over control of the Miami-Dade Housing Agency, a small early victory for county leaders trying to fend off a takeover by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Over HUD's opposition, U.S. District Judge Donald Graham ordered the nonbinding mediation on Monday. A daylong session is scheduled for Sept. 10. (Miami Herald)
UpDate (10/3): The county approves a deal that allows a federal takeover of the Agency for at least nine months.
UpDate (10/23): Ending months of "political jockeying," the feds have signed off on a deal to temporarily take over the Miami-Dade Housing Agency. HUD will officially take control this Friday, October 26th and stay in charge for at least nine months but could last more than a year if the agency doesn't meet goals agreed upon by both parties.

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