LIFE & WORK
Local Black leaders feel ‘disrespected’ after Miami commission
With questions rising about the future of historic Virginia Key after Miami Mayor Francis Suarez refused to veto the city’s takeover of the board of trustees, many Black local leaders are now angered by the decision.
Patrick Range, II. is the now-former chairman of the Virginia Key Beach Park Trust, a group of volunteers that oversaw the area’s preservation and restoration.
Suarez’s decision to remove the members of the Trust was supposed to be a discussion item at Thursday’s city commission meeting, however, Range said it ended up being a “personal appearance.”
“Shame on you, city commission — you dropped the ball, you missed the mark,” he said. “You have insulted and disrespected the community. Provide a passive park experience for the citizens that live in this great city — we deserve better.”
Range said the disrespect stems from Miami Commissioners that include Joe Carollo and Alex Diaz De La Portilla for not attending the meeting.
“Half of the commissioners aren’t even present to hear what I had to say– it is a disrespect,” he said.
Virginia Key Beach was once the only beach accessible to Black Miami during times of segregation.
“That was the beach that we could go to recreate, to celebrate,” Range said.
But in a 4-1 vote in October, the Miami City Commission chose to take control of it, ousting every existing member of the majority Black trust and making Commissioner Cristine King its chair along with 2 appointees.
“Since you have disrespected us, we will not let this go with (the) approaching MLK holiday this Monday,” Range said in the commission meeting. “We have been accused wrongly of many things and we have not received any apology — not even a thank you for the time and years the volunteers come forward.”
Lee Roy Jones, lead organizer of The Circle of Brotherhood, told Local 10 News that he is also concerned of the commission’s decision to remove black members off the trust.
“We went from having all blacks on the trust except for one white person to now the commission running the trust and that wasn’t the intent of what that trust was created for,” Jones said.
Among their issues with the trust, the commission cited slow progress on plans for a Miami Black History Museum at Virginia Key Beach Park.
King told Local 10 News that the city is moving forward and choosing 2 appointees will help pick up the focus on creating the museum.
“It’s time to pass the baton and let’s put some more life into trying to realize the dream of having a black museum on Virginia key beach,” she said. “I believe with those two appointments and my colleagues we are now going to be able to move the agenda forward in realizing the museum for that historic space.”
After the vote, a group of local Black community stakeholders penned a letter to Suarez, urging him to use his veto power.
He did not, leading to the commission take over.
Range said he believes Miami’s city commissioners can still do the right thing for the people.
“You have the chance to do right and believe you can do right — the citizens will deserve this,” he said.
”Until the county comes together with the city we will continue to see the community be used as a pawn in this,” said Lyle Muhammad, Executive Director of Circle of Brotherhood.
Local 10 News contacted the offices of Carollo and De La Portilla for comment on Range’s remarks but have not heard back.
In an interview, King said she plans to organize a community forum to hear what the community wants at Virginia Beach, Miami’s historically black beach.
Listen to King talk about the city’s focus on building the new museum in the video below:
In the latest development, King named Bonita Jones-Peabody and Vincent Brown as her new appointees on Thursday.
Jones-Peabody is an assistant public defender in Miami and Brown is a former Opa-locka city attorney.
The 7-member board has one vacancy currently, that is because there is currently no District 2 commissioner following Ken Russel’s departure – a special election on that district happening next month.
Local 10 News reached out to the Office of Mayor Daniella Levine Cava where Deputy Communications Director Natalia Jaramillo gave us the latest information on the Black History Museum, which you can read below.
On where the millions set aside to construct a Black History Museum at Virginia Beach is currently sitting?
Jaramillo: “The funds necessary to establish the City of Miami’s Civil Rights Museum were included in the 2004 General Obligation Bond (GOB) ($15.5 million) and are currently housed within Miami-Dade County. The Miami-Dade Board of County Commissioners also approved an additional $5 million in Convention Development Tax bond funds to support this critical project.”
If so, what coordination, if any, is happening presently and previously with the City of Miami to start the process of building that museum?.
Jaramillo: “The County Department of Cultural Affairs met many times in recent years with a succession of City staff assigned to this project. We’ve offered them technical support and assistance including guidance on the capital bond fund.”
“We noted that there was no commitment to date from Miami-Dade County for the proposed County annual operating subsidy included in the consultant report’s operating pro forma (which was being relied upon to balance the budget). In addition, we inquired whether the City of Miami had made a commitment for the City operating subsidy included in the consultant’s report. We asked what alternatives were being considered. If the City (and County) subsidy(ies) did not occur and/or if the City subsidy was committed at a lower level.”
From what we understand, it is City land, but the county controls the purse strings – is that accurate?.
Jaramillo: “The full implementation of the project is the responsibility of the City of Miami. Miami-Dade County’s role is to ensure that the County funds are used responsibly and effectively on behalf of the public and consistent with their approved purpose.”
What are the next steps in advancing voter intent to build the Black History Museum?
Jaramillo: “Miami-Dade County is willing and ready to support the City of Miami in the implementation of this much-expected project.”
Copyright 2023 by WPLG Local10.com – All rights reserved.
Christina returned to Local 10 in 2019 as a reporter after covering Hurricane Dorian for the station. She is an Edward R. Murrow Award-winning journalist and previously earned an Emmy Award while at WPLG for her investigative consumer protection segment “Call Christina.”
LIFE & WORK
Mississippi River crest reaches historic proportions as Iowans cope with yet another flood
As a slow-moving crest works its way down the Mississippi River this week, flood-weary Iowans living along the water were doing their best to cope with the rising water.
In Davenport on Sunday, River Drive lived up to its name: The street looked like a river, but residents said their sandbagging efforts are working.
James Perez, who was helping a local business owner fill sandbags Thursday night outside Mary’s Bar in downtown Davenport, estimated about 180,000 pounds of sand encircled the business they were trying to protect.
About a block away, the barrier outside the bar kept water from entering the business, which remained open Sunday evening.
Perez recalled the 2019 flood, when the Mississippi River broke through a temporary barrier, covering streets and surrounding homes and businesses.
“This time around, we knew ahead of time what to do so I kind of took charge,” Perez said. “I took all the volunteers who were not sure what to do and organized them into a team.”
Some are making the best of a bad situation. With music playing on a portable speaker, Joseph Anderson and Jimi Williams spent a recent afternoon in their kayaks floating down River Drive.
Anderson, a longtime resident of Davenport, said people who call the place home know what to expect.
“Checking out the view and enjoying life. Watching it under water and getting a different perspective of the same thing,” Anderson told . “It’s a beautiful day. We get to see the city. Not everyone gets this view. This is a locals-only tour.”
The flooding caused by snow melt this year does not compare to the 2019 flood, Anderson said.
“You start to get used to it. This one isn’t as bad. Last time we had some levies break and there was a little more damage. It’s not too bad,” Anderson told CNN. “Everyone was prepared. They’ve been through this before, and if you are local you know what to expect.”
Claudia Anderson, the manager of The Phoenix, a large downtown Davenport restaurant, said Monday the barriers seemed to be holding water out of the business, and sump pumps are taking out the little water that does get it.
But the restaurant cannot open, and it’s losing tens of thousands of dollars in revenue, she said. She has had to temporarily lay off about two dozen employees, including some who have no other income.
“It is what it is, we’ve gone through this, I can’t tell you how many times we’ve gone through the flood,” Anderson said.
The crest in the Quad Cities area in Iowa ranked in the top 10 historic crests Monday, according to the National Weather Service.
The river gauge at Rock Island, near Davenport, was cresting with water levels fairly steady around 21.4 feet Monday morning, placing it as the eighth-highest recorded at that spot.
Flood warnings continue along a long stretch of the Mississippi River from St Paul, Minnesota, to just north of St Louis, Missouri, as snow melts from a phenomenal winter season.
The recent flooding comes after areas of the Upper Midwest saw extraordinary snowfall this winter. Duluth, Minnesota, broke its highest seasonal snowfall last month, and Minneapolis recorded its third-highest season.
As the snow in the region melts, the swell of water is making its way south.
Upstream from Davenport in Dubuque, Iowa, officials closed all of its floodgates along the river last week, only the third time the gates have been closed since they were installed in 1973. Pumping stations were operating around the clock.
And farther upstream, North Buena Vista area residents were living in flooded homes, CNN affiliate KCRG reported Sunday, taking “canoes back and forth or we wade through the water,” resident Scott Blum told the station.
The Mississippi will continue cresting further south on Tuesday and Wednesday, but major flooding is not forecast for locations farther south.
A levee breach causes more flood damage
Sixty miles north of Davenport, in Green Island, Iowa, a levee breach flooded roughly 4,000 acres of a wildlife refuge and damaged nine properties, according to Jackson County Emergency Management Director Lyn Medinger.
Officials were not yet able to investigate the cause of the breach due to weather, Medinger told CNN Monday, adding authorities will likely reach the area Tuesday morning.
The region has seen powerful winds, making air transport to the area difficult
No injuries were reported and no evacuations have been made, Medinger said.
“The one breach is affecting the low-lying areas in that region,” the director added.
Just a few miles south, in the city of Sabula, the flood wall was eroded by the high winds but officials were able to stabilize the situation with sandbags and avoid flooding, Medinger said.
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International Journalism Festival 2023: the events you shouldn’t miss in Perugia
Here is a curated list of panels on topics such as Ukrainian media, membership and funding models, solutions journalism and more.
April journalists from all over the world will be gathering for the International Journalism Festival in Perugia once again. Many voices from the Reuters Institute will speak at the festival. Here’s a selection of some of the highlights this year, which include panels on reader revenue models, the media in Ukraine, press freedom, equity and inclusion in journalism and AI. All the panels will be live-streamed on the festival’s IJF YouTube channel. See you in Perugia or online.
Investigating the crimes of war
Anna Babinets from Slidstvo.Info | Sam Dubberley from HRW | Sarah El Deeb from AP | Anne Koch from GIJN
12.00. Sala delle Colonne, Palazzo Graziani.
How to support the Ukrainian media system in the long run
Joanna Krawczyk from the German Marshall Fund of the United States | Jakub Parusinski from The Fix | David Schraven from CORRECTIV | Penelope Winterhager from the JX Fund | Eugene Zaslavsky from the Media Development Foundation
14.00. Sala della Vaccara, Palazzo dei Priori.
Membership models: all you need to know about running a member-centric newsroom
Leon Fryszer from Krautreporter | Richard Hoechner from Republik | Lea Korsgaard from Zetland | Eduardo Suárez from RISJ
14.00. Sala dei Notari, Palazzo dei Priori.
Gender, leadership and surviving authoritarian regimes and cultures: women leading independent Arab media speak up
Rawan Damen from ARIJ | Fatemah Farag from Welad Elbalad Media | Diana Moukalled from Daraj | Nora Younis from AlManassa News
15.00. Sala della Vaccara, Palazzo dei Priori.
Solutions journalism: a means to achieve equity and inclusion
Dina Aboughazala from Egab | Caleb Okereke from Minority Africa | Dora Santos Silva from Obi.Media | Holly Wise from the Solutions Journalism Network
16.00. Sala Brugnoli, Palazzo Cesaroni.
Two to tango: a closer look at the relationship between independent investigative teams and legacy media
Cecilia Anesi from IRPI | Nikolas Leontopoulos from Reporters United | Geoffrey Livolsi from Disclose | Elisa Simantke from Investigate Europe | Bastian Obermayer
16.00. Auditorium San Francesco al Prato.
How the far right is going global
Luke O’Brien from the Shorenstein Center | Andrea Dip from Agência Pública | Natalia Viana from Agência Pública | Jamil Chade
17.00. Sala dei Notari, Palazzo dei Priori.
Legal threats hampering media freedom
Lina Attalah from Mada Masr | Will Church from TRF | Chile Eboe-Osuji from Toronto Metropolitan University | Jodie Ginsberg from CPJ | Joel Simon from the Journalism Protection Initiative | Antonio Zappulla from TRF
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