Saturday, January 27, 2007

County Stalling on Tent City Permit Request


First off, the Umoja Village Shantytown and the issue of gentrificiation in the housing boom has been featured in an AP story as well as on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. Please follow the links for the stories.

AP- Glitz and Glamour Overshadows Majority of Miami's Population

NBC Nightly News

As part of the Week of Action Against Gentrification and For Low-Income Housing- which is coordinated among several groups- Take Back the Land and others applied for a permit to build a tent city at County Hall, at 111 NW First St. in downtown Miami. The objecitve is to highlight the crisis of gentrification and low-income housing and the role the Miami-Dade County government has played in exacerbating that crisis. A similar tent city was put up in September 2006 by the Emergency Housing Coalition to protest the same.

The County, however, does NOT want the Week of Action or Take Back the Land to erect a tent city.

Building manager Carol Dickson, who is responsible for granting such protest permits on county property insists that only two groups are eligible for those permits: 501(c)3 organizations (federally recognized non-profits) or those sponsored by the county or a county commissioner (which means groups who protest in favor of the government). That means in Miami-Dade County, non-human compilations of professionally organized paperwork have a greater right to free speech and petitioning the government than you do.

In addition, Dickson wants to charge for insurance, security and janitorial services. Free speech is not so free. She has also ignored the request for a copy of the regulations which govern these permits.

The ACLU is on the case, but we need your help! Please, call Carol Dickson and tell her to stop stalling and grant us our permit. Call the new strong mayor Carlos Alvarez and tell him to show his strength by supporting peoples right to free speech. Call your commissioner and tell them that people have a right to protest.

If the County does not want us to protest the housing scandal, then they should stop stealing the housing money and do their jobs instead of denying people their right to protest. This impacts us today, but if unchecked, it will impact YOU tomorrow!

Carlos Alvarez, Miami-Dade County Mayor, 305-375-5071,
Carol Dickson, Building Manager, 305-375-2616,
Here is the Miami New Times story on our permit fight.

Please support the work of Take Back the Land and the Umoja Village by dropping off a donation of money, bottled water, canned meat, dish soap, bleach, food and anything else needed to run your own household, at the Umoja Village on the corner of 62nd St. and NW 17th Ave. Of course, you can always make a much needed financial contribution donation via our paypal account: Make a Financial Contribution.


Max Rameau
Take Back the Land
a project of the Center for Pan-African Development


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