The Politics of Growth, the division of Florida

October 31, 2008

(Counterpunch) The US presidential campaign has only addressed in generic terms the wreckage caused by Wall Street, the absence of financial regulation and the wages of greed, and not at all how that feeding tube connects locally: too many platted subdivisions in farmland and wetlands and condos barricading Florida’s coasts. It is hard times for builders and their supply chain. But make no mistake: this potent source of political money from developers that matches up with big agriculture is all intent on business as usual, even in the face of the worst collapse in real estate markets since the Great Depression.

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No One Remembers Anything: Origins of the fall

October 27, 2008

 

(Counterpunch) The Miami Herald Business Section reports, “Planning the cities of the future/ 2050”, through an interview with the president of the Urban Land Institute, Richard M. Rosan. There is a backstory that today’s readers of The Herald are not privy to; that bears repeating for the full context of the Urban Land Institute and its involvement in what could have been a model “city of the future” right here in Miami Dade only a few years ago. The year was 2002. The story was scarcely reported by The Miami Herald … a shame, because without that background information, today’s story marking the conference in Miami of more than 5,000 urban planning professionals, developers, architects and bankers from around the world provides no cautionary note, no benefit of experience, nothing to indicate the “greenwashing” that seeks to white-out the mistakes right here in Miami where greed and corruption met political opportunity in the mid-1990’s and triggered the biggest financial crisis since the Great Depression.

The story begins with powerful interests who had grown wealthy and powerful manipulating Miami Dade county contracts and federal housing dollars. A group, called HABDI, constituted from the board of directors of the Latin Builders Association, tried to seize control of the Homestead Air Force Base after it was destroyed by Hurricane Andrew in 1992. Read the rest of this entry »