There were a lot of big issues on the table at Miami-Dade County's annual public budget hearings on September 3: libraries, worker pay, parks, public safety. But the one issue that dominated the night was climate change, according to a story in the Miami Herald (see: "Climate Change Dominates Miami-Dade Budget Hearing," by Douglas Hanks and Michael Vasquez).
Speaker after speaker criticized the local administration for not focusing on the risk to low-lying Miami, the paper reported. “In this three-volume budget, there is one mention of sea-level rise,” Maggie Fernandez, of the League of Women Voters, told county commissioners during the evening meeting. “This has to be a joke. Given that we’re Ground Zero for climate change.”
With the national and international press increasingly focused on Miami's vulnerability, “Is there really no money currently in the entire proposed budget for addressing one of the most defining issues of my generation?” asked Miami resident David McDougal.
The public pressure worked, the Herald reports (see: "Environmentalists score a budget rewrite in Miami-Dade over sea-level rise," by Doug Hanks. "When county commissioners overwhelmingly approved the mayor's flat-tax-rate budget Thursday in an 11 to 2 vote, it included money for the chief resiliency officer that environmentalists wanted, and $300,000 of the $500,000 sought for consultants to create design guidelines tied to climate-change issues."