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Tuesday, September 20, 2016

A cry for help

At Friday's Village Council meeting, one heartbreaking thing happened. After John Snyder spoke for  a long time about the lot splitting and tree canopy issues, a young lady from Village West came up to the podium and asked if this is really important. People got quiet and a bit uncomfortable, and she went on. She said, "In the scheme of things, are you affected? Or do you still have your own comfy house to go home to?" The audience was silent. The Village Council members were silent. She said that there will always be traffic, so what is a little more. She was making no sense at first.

Then it dawned on me and I guess others, that she and her children were being evicted from her apartment in Village West, not only she, but the whole building, and ironically, it was because of this non-stop development. It really all tied in because her buildings's owner, a slum lord, is trying to sell the building to developers. He wants the building vacant. While we are all complaining about aesthetics, she's just trying to keep a roof over her head.

So while the trees and the multiple dwellings did not matter to her, the over-development did, since it was displacing her. I've heard about these slumlords who own buildings on Grand Avenue and who can't wait to sell to the highest bidder. So they do nothing to repair the buildings, they raise rents and/or they evict people.


"It's a cry for help," said Commissioner Ken Russell, regarding the lady's demeanor and questions. She felt no one cared.  Ken was at the meeting, he said that she had met with him at his office. She has been reaching out to anyone who will listen. I myself, received an email about the subject, I didn't know how to react, I just emailed her back saying, "I know what's going on, it's terrible." Of course, that's no help. That's not a solution.

After the lady's plea for help, I guess you could say she was ignored, only because what was the solution, was there one? The subject then went back to over-development and what's going on around here. Ken says his office is investigating 20 cases of zoning issue violations. But of course, this does not help the young lady, her children and their neighbors.

Talk started about affordable housing and Ken mentioned that his office was going over the Miami21 code line by line and they will change all the vague wording so that new development does not have a question of what can can cannot be done. But that is not helping this lady now.


A housing summit is being planned by the Village Council. Everyone seems to want to do something but in the meantime, nothing is getting done. This poor lady is being evicted and all anyone really can do is talk and talk, including myself. We're all talk, no action. While she and her neighbors sit helpless. 

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