Thursday, September 14, 2006

A New Day Dawning ~ Mayor Burns To The Rescue

When Kevin Burns became mayor of North Miami last year it wasn't because he "won" the election, it was because nobody ran against him. Oh, he campaigned like crazy right up until the end. He's still "campaigning" for the betterment of the city, always going around to different organizations, hosting breakfasts and luncheons to get citizen imput on a plethora of concerns, from new parks to improving code enforcement.

We don't have a strong mayor form of government. The city manager is in charge of the day to day operations, but the mayor leads city council meetings as well as putting a "public face" on the city. Kevin is a bright and likeable guy with the right charm to rally the troops, whether they be the city's employees or the residents, getting everybody to pull together for the common good.

This follows several years of turmoil and distrust under the previous mayor, Joe Celestin, a Haitian-American. Rumor had it that Joe didn't even live in the city, just maintaining a small place to claim residency. He showed up on the political scene at the point where the last census claimed that the Haitian community made up over 60% of the city's population. Whites, Hispanics, American blacks didn't turn out to support other candidates. They felt that it would be an excersize in futility. Had they done so Joe would have lost big time! Why? Because many of those Haitians aren't citizens and can't vote. Because the Haitian community is mostly made up of young families with children of school age or younger. The kids can't vote. My guess is that while they may have made up 60+% off the population they probably had barely 30% of the potential vote. Yup, we gave the city to Joe. Then because of a two term limitation Joe finally had to step aside.

A lot of mistakes were made under Joe's watch. We're still working our way out of those problems. Kevin hasn't had it easy but he's doing a damned good job. Thank you Kevin.


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