Friday, April 30, 2010

From the collection of home videos: Tallahassee trip 2010

The HSC family recently took a road trip to our state capital to talk to legislators about issues affecting Miami-Dade County and Florida as a whole. We wanted to share this quick video with our readers so you can get a taste of the work that we do. Maybe some of you will get on the bus next year!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Calling all (potential) changemakers

As we've written about before, Miamians really need to step up their level of engagement in the community. It's easy to complain about corruption in government, decreased services or other perceived ills, but it's difficult to show up at public meetings, volunteer and follow local elections. Changing systems and mindsets that keep people from getting involved is the subject of the fourth Imagine Miami Changemaker Conference: "Sustaining Livable Communities through Civic Activism."

Registration is still open for the conference, which will take place May 7 from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Temple Israel. This is a great opportunity to hear from elected officials such as Katy Sorenson, participate in workshops such as "Transportation Equity" and network with other changemakers. If you are looking to get involved, this is a great place to start. If you are already working in the community, come inspire others and look for ways to collaborate. We hope to see you there!

Monday, April 5, 2010

You Get What You Pay For

Recently a friend told me about a friend of one of her friends, oh, let's call her Freeloader, who e-mailed her because she's considering moving back to the United States from London -- and she has her sights set on South Florida because of the low tax burden here. Florida ranks 31st in the nation for the number of days each of us must work to pay off our taxes, according to the non-profit organization The Tax Foundation -- far behind Minnesota, Freeloader's home state, which comes in with the 8th highest tax burden for the country.

Simple enough: you don't want to pay taxes, move to Florida.

But then Freeloader had another set of requirements:
What about the schools? she asked.
What about public transportation?
What about crime?

Looking at the e-mail, my friend scratched her head. Um, if you want good schools, reliable public transportation, and strong policing, you have to pay for them. Better move back to Minneapolis, she advised.

What taxes pay for

This post was previosly posted by the Miami Herald

April 5 marks what Florida's anti-tax crusaders refer to as ``Tax Freedom Day.'' In 2010, Floridians must work 95 days, or until April 5, to ``pay off'' or meet their tax obligations to the government.

Tax Freedom Day will be trumpeted as a day to celebrate liberation from government tyranny, a call to lower taxes and relieve us Americans. What a frame job! I, for one, am proud to pay my taxes. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes put it best: ``I like paying taxes. With them I pay for civilization.''

Taxes pay for public education, for vital services like hospitals and a police force. Taxes pay for water, infrastructure and unemployment checks. I see paying taxes as my civic responsibility. I tithe at the Church of Good Government. Every day I benefit from the taxes paid before mine.

So, no, I won't be celebrating Tax Freedom Day, at least not the way taxophobes intend. But I will rejoice in the greatest gift given to me by my taxes: freedom.

Gretchen Beesing

Bookmark and Share

Thursday, April 1, 2010

New vendors & old favorites at farmers market

Yesterday was the second run of the Roots in the City Farmers Market in Overtown. We have a new vendor, Hani Khouri, (pictured below with his wife) who sells eggs, cheese, falafels and some amazing cake whose name I didn't catch. Customers can buy the eggs and cheese with food stamps (SNAP) and get double their money when they do so! Unfortunately, you cannot use SNAP to purchase pastries or falafels.
I got to try some delectable hydroponic tomatoes (below) from Teena's Pride. They are practically candy, and Teena can testify that I ate a whole box right there at the market.
So, all and all, it was a great day for me and my taste buds. However, I was disappointed that we had less SNAP customers than last week. It's not for a lack of news coverage.... If you use SNAP benefits, this is a great opportunity to get fresh produce. (Even if you pay with cash, this is a great opportunity to get fresh produce.) When you spend, say, $10 in SNAP at the market, we will give you $10 worth of tokens to use like cash through our vendors. See our lovely new tokens? Help us spread the word about this market! We are open Wednesdays from 1 to 5 p.m. at the corner of NW 2 Ave. and 10 St. for the next couple weeks (we reopen in the fall.)