Much ink has been spilled in Miami lately about the question of homelessness. Do we need more housing? More bathrooms? More enforcement? Everyone seems to agree that the homeless are a ‘problem’ for downtown – but no one agrees on what to do.
One side, represented by the Homeless Trust, says that Miami’s ‘continuum of care’ is the gold standard for caring for the homeless nationwide and should be supported. The other side, the Downtown Development Authority, says that there are still too many people on the streets who are having a negative economic and social impact on our city.
As a priest at Trinity Cathedral in Downtown Miami I encounter, work with, and support many of our homeless residents and visitors. Let me give you a ‘peek’ at what the Homeless Trust’s continuum of care feels like to a user.
Yep. That’s it. A hang up. A busy signal. A dial tone.
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Hungry? Dreaming of creamy gouda mac n’ cheese with house cured bacon, tempeh wings, or a classic pesto melt between two slices of sourdough bread? Well, us too. Don’t forget to have that served up with a cold New Belgium Slow Ride as we take our Second Saturday Ride to Ms. Cheezious, 7418 Biscayne Boulevard.
Bring your bike to Allapattah Metro-rail Station at 10:00 a.m. as we travel and work up an appetite through the streets of Miami this Saturday, May 9th. We are teaming up with Green Mobility Network and Ms. Cheezious to bring you a tour de bike with a delicious and tasty stop to enjoy great food, drinks and good times.
This ride is also a fundraiser to support Green Mobility Network. For every New Belgium Slow Ride purchased at Ms. Cheezious, 50 cents will be donated to Green Mobility through New Belgium Brewing’s “Drink To Donate” program,* helping to fuel their year-round campaign to support biking, running and walking initiatives.
Green Mobility Network will have a free bike valet set up behind Ms. Cheezious to keep your bikes safe while you enjoy the food and fun. Don’t forget to bring your wallet- Ms. Cheezious accepts cash, credit and debit cards.
If you cannot make the start of the ride feel free to meet us at Ms. Cheezious, to take part in the festivities with fellow cyclists and others who want to support making Miami a more alternative transportation friendly city!
*we endorse good times on bikes, and also being responsible when drinking beer!
A coalition called Floridians for a Fair Democracy is on a petition drive to restore the rights of Floridians through a constitutional amendment ballot initiative. The long history of Florida restrictions on voting to those who committed felonies has disenfranchised approximately two million Floridians, which amount to about 9 percent of the population, from having a voice in who governs them. This is a stain in Florida’s history that goes back to the bad old days of the Jim Crow laws. This coalition of Floridians is taking the matter in their own hands by marshalling eligible voters to abolish disfranchisement in our great state.
The process of getting an amendment added to the 2016 ballot is a laborious process. Floridians for a Fair Democracy have self imposed a deadline of mid April 2015 to obtain the ten percent of the eight percent of the required signatures for ballot position. Once that goal is reached, they can forward the petitions to the Division of Elections (DE). Once received by the DE, the Attorney General will forward the petition to the Florida Supreme Court for review within 30 days of receiving it from the DE. For the 2016 election that number is 68,314 and must come from at least seven congressional districts.
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Not many cities in the world provide free transportation systems, but many of those that do have that ‘world-class’ quality that we strive for. Sydney, Chengdu, Athens, Bangkok and Seattle all have area wide free public transit. The Metromover is one of the signature elements of Downtown Miami and as we’ve recently seen, the development boom is sure to draw a lot of focus and a lot of people to the already dense area. Having an efficient and economical way to move all those people around is crucial to the sustainability of the neighborhood and health of the community. The Metromover also connects the Omni district to Downtown and Brickell allowing people from those areas to freely mingle. There’s additionally been talk at times of extending its reach to Midtown, Little Havana and South Beach which would further integrate the service into our societal fabric.
I love the Metromover. In a world where there’s no such thing as a “free ride,” it’s FREE! Well, not exactly. In 2002, the people (meaning us citizens of Miami) voted for the creation of the Citizens’ Independent Transportation Trust (CITT) and a new, half-penny sales surtax that still funds both the CITT and provides for the ‘free’ Metromover. The motion was later ratified by the County Commission. It’s a lengthy read, but ultimately, it was seen as a great moment where both the County government and community members understood the need to have an independent body responsible for directing the county’s transportation plan and investments.
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by Leah Weston
In a landmark ruling in Gideon v. Wainwright, (When?) the United States Supreme Court enshrined the individual right to counsel under the Sixth Amendment. Gideon clarified that the Sixth Amendment, which provides for “the assistance of counsel” for all “criminal prosecutions,” requires courts to appoint lawyers for criminal defendants who cannot afford one. Writing for a unanimous Court, Justice Hugo Black concluded that
reason and reflection require us to recognize that in our adversary system of criminal justice, any person haled into court, who is too poor to hire a lawyer, cannot be assured a fair trial unless counsel is provided for him. This seems to us to be an obvious truth. Governments, both state and federal, quite properly spend vast sums of money to establish machinery to try defendants accused of crime… That government hires lawyers to prosecute and defendants who have the money hire lawyers to defend are the strongest indications of the widespread belief that lawyers in criminal courts are necessities, not luxuries.
What Gideon did not do, however, was extend that Sixth Amendment right to civil legal cases. Non-criminal legal cases comprise the bulk of all cases in our legal system and touch many areas of our lives. You can lose your home, your job, your family, and your livelihood in many types of legal proceedings because you cannot afford legal assistance. Unable to afford a lawyer, thousands (maybe “staggering numbers”?) of Americans who are not trained in the practice of law are forced to navigate an extremely complex legal system and represent themselves pro se (please define),, often against opposing parties who do have legal representation, like creditors, landlords, and the government. Having access to a lawyer helps prevent the most vulnerable individuals and families, those who live at the edge of their means, from becoming destitute or homeless.
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10. More weddings = more cake.
9. So far, not a single toaster has applied to marry a llama. The “slippery slope” argument appears to be without merit.
8. LGBTQ kids will see that it really does get better.
7. We may stop hearing heartbreaking stories about long-term partners being denied the right to visit their dying partners in the hospital.
6. Opponents of same-sex marriage will maintain the right not to marry someone of the same sex.
5. We are likely to see an increase in rainbow clothing, flags and stickers in the coming weeks.
4. Spouses will inherit each other’s property instead of opportunistic distant relatives.
3. Attaining a major goal in a civil rights battle is kind of a big deal.
2. I will personally save thousands of dollars on glitter-bombing-related expenses.
1. Love is the most important thing in the world.