Miami-Dade County is full of interesting, incapable, and sometimes delirious politicians. But just as we thought we couldn't go any lower than local leaders asking for higher food prices, the name of Otis T. Wallace and his fiefdom of Florida City had to come up and remind us of the sad state of the county's southern region.
Florida City is a small town of 11,000 people that millions of people cross every year - not because of its charm, but because it is the last human settlement before the Florida Keys. Such a position could be incredibly advantageous. Dozens of hotels, restaurants, bars, gas stations could provide for a strong local economy. But instead, 40% of the population lives in deep poverty.
And the irony could be laughable, if it were a fiction. One of the poorest towns in Florida is now trying to get rid of private charity, as if there was no better business for the local government to attend to.
On Tuesday, Mayor Wallace told the City Council that he was making sure an ordinance concerning donation boxes was being enforced. The ordinance, issued last month in Florida City, is actually made to restrain the past year's increase in donation boxes installed throughout Homestead and Florida City. It forces companies to fill regulatory paperwork, creates a standard size for the boxes, and gets rid of all the donation boxes that remain untagged.
In addition, the ordinance restricts such donation boxes to non-profit organizations only.
The talk is easy. Mayor Wallace doesn't want any citizen to be lied into giving money to rich, profit-seeking corporations. But in reality, neither the City Council nor the mayor has any idea of the implications of the new rules.
A large part of the donation boxes are, indeed, placed by for-profit companies. But none of them claim to sell back the donations made for a gut-wrenching profit. Reuse Clothes and Shoes, for instance, which was one of the groups targeted by an early investigation for Florida City and Homestead, has a few boxes where people are free to dispose of used textiles and shoes. They are eventually sold back, but for only pennies, in Africa and Asia.
Profit-seeking is not wrong. In fact, the greatest charity of all times, wealth creation, comes entirely out of profits. Seeking a little profit out of voluntary donations in order to pay for such things as labor and transportation is not wrong.
What is wrong, however, is a local government regulating private charity out of a town. "For most of [the bins] their period for legal resolve is past and, literally, the city has the ability to remove them at this point," said Otis Wallace, "and they should start disappear rapidly."
There is no large fraud happening. The only incident found was a single box with no name and no contact info written on it in front of a home. But people are not blind enough to fall into such a ridiculous scheme.
Of course, the real fraud happening in Florida City wasn't addressed at this year's first city council meeting. The Mayor, in power for more than twenty years now, still earns a staggering $150,000 yearly salary and is still planning on receiving the same amount every year once he retires. Such a salary is immoral, especially because it is taken out of the tax money of me of the poorest populations in the United States.
Being one of the most corrupted cities in the most corrupted county of the most corrupted state is surely not helping Florida City. And when the local government turns its illegitimate power to punish those that bring change to the world's poor, a serious question needs to be raised: Are they really surprised we hold the Second Amendment so dear to our hearts?