NO MORE ULTRA. NO MORE CORRUPTION.
What our elected officials are doing, claims a Miami Herald editorial, it’s reprehensible! By Amal Solh Kabbani.
“Since June 27, newly posted campaign finance reports show the commissioner sponsoring the deal, Keon Hardemon, received political contributions totaling $7,000 from Ultra and affiliated entities on May 31 — the same day administrators produced a draft agreement, according to city records,” writes Herald reporter Joey Flechas. And adds: “On June 26, the day before commissioners first considered the new Ultra deal, the festival’s parent company cut a $10,000 check to One Miami Dade, an elections communications committee chaired by Hardemon’s aunt, Barbara Hardemon, who has lobbied for Ultra in the past.”
The Miami Herald also highlights several questionable tactics the City Administration has engaged in to make it easier for Ultra to return to Bayfront Park and cause the massive damage and disruption that the City had finally rejected last year, unanimously, thanks to the activism of the Downtown residents.
And the Herald leadership weighed in with a very strong editorial condemning the City’s tactics and rejecting a return of the Ultra catastrophe: “The Editorial Board has already made clear that the festival should relocate. Commissioners and city staffers should stop this secretive back-and-forth right now. It’s a shame that commission members are willing to throw aggrieved constituents under the bus. This is why people don’t trust their elected officials.”
A Matter of Principles
If nothing else, you should at the very least be disappointed that our elected officials and the City Administration are trying to reverse the unanimous vote that liberated Bayfront Park last September violating the 85% ordinance (reserving Bayfront Park for free public use), violating the BPMT’s event policy, and violating downtown residents’ property rights!
Even if you are a proponent of Ultra, there is the issue of principles and laws to be considered. And if you oppose Ultra coming back to Downtown, then you NEED TO ACT by SHOWING UP at this Thursday’s 7/25 commission meeting. This will be a decisive moment.
Of course, you can leave it in the hands of the “same group of dwellers” to fight this fight but the credibility of that “same group of dwellers” may be losing its scope of influence with this city for lack of variety of participants. To be sure, the other side is arguing that the same small group of people is the only one complaining! We know for a fact, there are thousands of Downtown residents affected and with reason oppose Ultra’s return to Bayfront Park, but each commissioner needs to see the political force Downtown constitutes. They need to realize their political careers are in jeopardy when violating the rights of tens of thousands of citizens.
You might ask, does my presence really make a difference? Less than one hundred votes have decided a municipal election in Miami. Keon Hardemon is running for the District 3 seat on the Miami-Dade County Commission, a district that includes Downtown’s Park West district. This is what one resident had to say: “Does Hardemon realize that when he runs for county commissioner in 2020 he will need the votes of the condos (Marina Blue, 900 Biscayne. 1000 Museum, Museum Park, Marquis) which are located across from Maurice Ferre Park and whose lives are also affected by Ultra? ”
Commissioner Hardemon is sponsoring a new Ultra contract at Bayfront Park with an unlimited term, allows a minimum of 55,000 attendees, and blasting noise levels that have been shown to cause hearing loss at nearby residential communities until midnight. Approving this contract means that Bayfront Park will be closed to the public or in a state of complete destruction from early January to early June of 2020, as other large events have already been scheduled for the winter and spring.
Time to Act
Please, make every effort to attend. Remember, corruption perpetuates only when citizens remain indifferent.
WHEN: Thursday, July 25, 9 am at City Hall (3500 Pan American Drive) Public comments start at 9 am (recommend early arrival)
WHY: This matter is worth taking the time off from work to attend and speak up! And this goes also to property managers.
Amal Solh Kabbani, President Downtown Neighbors Alliance.