[freedomtowernight_edited.jpg] 26th Parallel: Local News Roundup

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Local News Roundup

Some local stories which have caught my attention the past few days:

- Almost three-quarters of a million traffic tickets remain unpaid in Miami-Dade County. This story appeared in this past Sunday's El Nuevo Herald.

At first glance, the numbers are striking: 714,000 unpaid tickets. A look at the stats provided in the print version of the paper shows that since 2002, a total of 3.1 million tickets have been issued in Miami-Dade County. During the same time period, the number of unpaid tickets increased from 619,000 to 714,000, which amounts to a 15% increase. If we assume that the entire 15% increase comes from tickets issued since 2002 (not a correct assumption since many pre-2002 delinquent tickets were likely paid during this time), a quick mathematical calculation shows that 3 percent of all tickets issued since 2002 are unpaid. That's the lowest possible figure, and the percentage is probably closer to 15% (the rate of increase since 2002).

Not an "epidemic", but pretty bad nonetheless. Traffic enforcement can only go so far if delinquent offenders aren't caught. Here's are two solutions: 1) less speed traps and greater enforcement of offenses such as red light running, which is much more dangerous than going 10 miles over the speed limit. This could result in a more efficient traffic law enforcement.
2) immediately suspend the licenses of all drivers with delinquent tickets for 6 months, after which a comprehensive driving test is required to get a new driver's license. Draconian measures? Perhaps. But imagine how much better the morning commute on the Dolphin would be without all those delinquent drivers clogging up the roads.

- Turning our attention to the School Board, Superintendent Rudy Crew is getting heat from some Board members for being a mean guy. Now there are rumors that Crew, who is being courted by several school systems nationwide, may be getting fed up with the fussing and might be thinking about leaving Miami-Dade schools before his contract runs out in 2010.

I'll admit to not being terribly familiar with the situation, but it appears to me that Crew's tough, no-nonsense management style rubs some people the wrong way. However, the end results are what matters, and it's hard to dispute that under Crew's leadership test scores have increased and new seats have been added. The fact that Crew has ruffled some feathers and made remarks that some consider to be racist doesn't bother me. After years of gross mismanagement and declining schools, Crew is putting the emphasis on accountability and performance. He has stood up to the corrupt establishment, not totally unlike what Mayor Carlos Alvarez has done.

At least that's this outsider's impression. Alex from SotP shares his thoughts which I happen to agree with. Also check out Herald reporter Matthew Pinzur's defunct education blog.

- Last but not least, it looks like the CCPA will finally get some much-needed parking spaces. Why in the world wasn't this thought of before the center was built? Regardless, better late than never.



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