Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Coverage of City Attempts to Raid

Here is some local media coverage of the city of Miami's attempt to pass a law which will enable them to raid the Umoja Village Shantytown. The ordinance would declare that there can be no "assembly" on any public property, including vacant lots. That means that if you are going to the store with a friend, and you cut across a vacant lot, which is publicly owned, the police can declare your trip an "assembly" and arrest you for not having a permit.

Miami Herald


Friday, December 15, 2006

How to stop the raid

Here is what you can do to stop the raid:

The city of Miami commission will vote in January, at the second reading, on a new law to make it illegal for people to "assemble" on vacant lots without a permit from the police. There are already laws against tresspassing, etc. The ordinance is clearly and openly designed to set the stage for an attack on the shantytown.

Please call, fax and email city of Miami officials and tell them to vote against the anti-shantytown law. Tell them the shantytown is needed because there is no low income housing in Miami and the city should build some. Most of all, tell them not to raid the Umoja Village Shantytown.

Mayor Manny Diaz (tell him to veto the anti-shantytown law)
phone: 305-250-5300
fax: 305-854-4001
email: mannydiaz@ci.miami.fl.us

District 5 Commissioner Michelle Spence Jones
phone: 305-250-5390
fax: 305-250-5399
email: mspence@ci.miami.fl.us

District 1 Commissioner Angel Gonzalez
phone: 305-250-5430
email: agonzalez@ci.miami.fl.us

District 2 Commissioner Marc Sarnoff
phone: 305-250-5333
email: msarnoff@miamigov.com

District 3 Commissioner Joe Sanchez
phone: 305-250-5380
fax: 305-250-5386
email: jsanchez@ci.miami.fl.us

District 4 Commissioner Tomas Regalado
phone: 305-250-5420
email: tr.ci.miami.fl.us

City Plans to Raid Umoja Village

The city of Miami laid bare its plan to raid the Umoja Village Shantytown during its commission meeting on Thursday, December 14, 2006. The city attorney introduced an "emergency ordinance"- which did not appear on the agenda, making it impossible for community residents to organize a response- to change the definition of public land, laying the groundwork for the future raid.

The passed ordinance essentially alters "exempt public property" definitions. Specifically, the public has a right to assemble or walk through public property, except for exempt property. Exempt property includes city hall, fire stations, police stations and hospitals. The new ordinance adds vacant lots owned by the city to that list. This is totally brainless.

Worse still, District 5 Commissioner Michelle Spence-Jones is slandering the residents of Umoja Village. In spite of the fact that she has not even been to the shantytown in her district, she claims the place is full of drug users and potential child molesters. For the record, the homes and apartments around us send their children to the site virtually every afternoon for after school snacks and play time.

While Spence-Jones claims that Take Back the Land is "less concerned with solving homelessness than they are with making a political statement." For the record, Spence-Jones, a sitting elected official who oversees the poorest district in one of the poorest cities in the US, has so far proposed exactly ZERO dollars and ZERO cents in government subsidies for new homes for the poor or homeless.

Spence-Jones has, however, pushed and voted for millions in subsidies for the Crosswinds project, a multi-million dollar project which features one bedroom condos for $300,000 each. She has the nerve to say 'Please do not use the backs of my people and my community to make a point.'

Well, commissioner, we have a message for you: stop using the backs of our people to make a fortune from your rich developer friends. Here is another message: build housing for low income people. Here is a third: stop lying. Don't run for office saying you are going to vote against Crosswinds only to vote for it once you get in office.

The truth is, Manny Diaz is the commissioner for District 5, he just lets Michelle Spence-Jones vote once in a while. Diaz wants to move all of the poor out of Miami and provide subsidies for wealthy developers. That agenda is gentrifying the Black community and hurting the poor.

Take Back the Land is doing the city's job and the city hates it. Now they are planning to raid us.

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Umoja Village on YouTube.com

Take Back the Land and Umoja Village are featured on several documentaries on YouTube.com. Here are a few: