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Milberg's Musings: Selective enforcement?

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MIAMI – The devastating fire in Liberty City that crumbled a building also uncovered some troubling leadership issues affecting many South Florida neighborhoods.

The blaze at the little market got big play on the local news largely because of the riveting video, the smoke and the flames. The cameras even recorded the roof collapsing.  Everyone got out safely.  But we found the bigger story after the fire was out and most news crews went away: that a kitchen in the back of the market was unpermitted, unlicensed and undoubtedly well-known.

What might have been a substandard health and safety threat was apparently allowed to fester for who-knows-how-long.  And more than a few people told us that there are plenty more businesses just like it that go unchecked.  What may be worse in this blighted neighborhood, there are apartment building owners who can rightfully be called slumlords because the families paying them rent are living in, and dealing with, deplorable conditions.

Why dangerous and/or unhealthy conditions are allowed to fester in this Liberty City neighborhood is not a new question.  And it is one repeated throughout South Florida's blightest and poverty-challenged communities.

Aside from the immediate health and safety concerns, there are documented connections between blight and poverty and crime. 

Where is code enforcement?  Where are the fines?  Where are the liens that force property owners to take responsibility?

This may be an easier question: How long would city or county leaders remain in office if those same conditions went ignored in neighborhoods where property was more valuable or residents had the means to be more demanding?

Follow Glenna Milberg on Twitter @GlennaOn10


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