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July 2006

Ex-commissioner again feels the allure of politics

Okay, call me a slow learner but I had to read the article below five times before I actually believed what I'd read. Ma Shuler may have committed political suicide for herself and her proteges, Michelle Spence-Jones and Audrey Edmonson, with her comment about the "African-American" seat. This is precisely the reason I don't like the term "African-American." God, help us if we don't recognize that we're Black first and where we're born second.

Let's see how this works out but hopefully the Black community will not allow such divisive statements to keep us down.

Vanessa

Posted on Mon, Jul. 31, 2006 Ex-commissioner again feels the allure of politics Former Miami-Dade County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler left the dais for her family, but she keeps a quiet, yet powerful, presence in local politics.

BY TRENTON DANIEL tdaniel@MiamiHerald.com Former County Commissioner Barbara Carey-Shuler, still caring for her sick husband and grieving over the loss of her mother, has reemerged in recent weeks on the political stage, advising protégés and championing minority businesses and affordable housing. In December, CareyShuler unexpectedly stepped down from the Miami-Dade County Commission after nearly 20 years, telling constituents she was leaving to take care of her family. She took some time for reading and travel, and has tended to her husband as he underwent chemotherapy.

But the political bug has bitten again.

''I feel free from the albatross around my neck,'' she said of her commission obligations last week over a plate of mussels and a Diet Pepsi at the popular Miami eatery Soyka, where a handful of public figures warmly greeted her. ``But I can still participate.''

Though she no longer holds the most powerful seat on the county dais -- the chair -- political observers say she still wields considerable influence: Two of her protégés have taken seats in city and county government.

In December, Michelle Spence-Jones was elected to the Miami City Commission after serving as an aide to Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. That same month, little-known Audrey Edmonson was tapped to fill Carey-Shuler's vacancy; Carey-Shuler had recommended an appointment over a special election.

Carey-Shuler is helping with fundraising for Edmonson's campaign for outright election to the seat in September; Edmonson has a war chest of more than $155,000, compared with opponent Bess McElroy's $66,000-plus. Candidate Howard Gary has yet to file his contributions.

BEYOND POLITICS

The warmth Edmonson and Spence-Jones feel toward their mentor is obvious. In public, the duo often refer to Carey-Shuler, 66, as ''mamma'' and ''sister.'' She speaks with them several times a week.

Edmonson, who is seeking outright election in county District 3, which includes Liberty City, Overtown and the Upper Eastside, seeks out Carey-Shuler for campaign advice. Spence-Jones, whose city district stretches from Overtown to Shorecrest, said she relies on Carey-Shuler in dealing with neighborhood associations.

''I try my best -- my best, my best -- not to get the commissioner involved in any items coming before us,'' said Spence-Jones. ``She knows certain things about what works and what doesn't work. It doesn't make sense to recreate the wheel.''

Carey-Shuler says she's just passing along what she has learned over the years -- the same way she studied politics under former U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek and other black female leaders in South Florida, including ex-City Commissioner M. Athalie Range.

A PIONEER WOMAN

Carey-Shuler first took office in 1979, and became the first black woman to chair the County Commission in 2002. She wielded unprecedented power, presiding over a body that stripped the mayor's office of authority over the years.

For years she advocated for black businesses, and before it was a cause du jour, the fair treatment of Haitian refugees.

Her political prowess still can be felt in the county's halls of power. The Rev. Richard Dunn, a former Miami city commissioner, lost the election to Spence-Jones in December.

''Is she still influential? Yes,'' said Dunn. ``She still has her hands on the pulse. There are certain things you know.''

Carey-Shuler's feistiness is still apparent. She had a falling out with a former aide, Gepsie Metellus; observers say the friction began after Metellus, a leader in the Haitian community, expressed interest in running for Carey-Shuler's old seat.

''She didn't ask me for my advice for that seat,'' said Carey-Shuler. A student, she said, should consult her mentor. ``That seat is carved out for an African American.''

The statement caught Metellus off-guard.

Metellus, who describes herself as an African American of Haitian descent and is now a Miami-Dade School Board candidate, said both African Americans and Haitians face similar issues, barring language and immigration status.

''A black is a black is a black,'' Metellus said in an interview.

Today, Carey-Shuler divides her time between a home in Delray Beach and her Upper Eastside condo. She said she does not regret leaving public office.

It made it easier to spend more time with her mother, Janie Lang McCollough, who died in January at age 90.

But now, she's inching back to business as usual, which means ribbon cuttings and public appearances. Earlier this month, Carey-Shuler shared the stage with Spence-Jones and Edmonson at a ribbon-cutting for new affordable townhomes.

''I'm going to be right behind these two women doing things in Overtown,'' Carey-Shuler said on the stage.

And, at Soyka, she said: ``Sometimes, I feel I didn't leave office.''

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Miami dissed in Vice

Somebody please tell me how the premiere of the Miami Vice movie can be held on Miami Beach sans stars Jamie Foxx and Colin Farrell? I mean, with all due respect to director Michael mann, the premiere with the law enforcement personnel who worked on the film was a nice idea but to not have the top billed stars present is an insult to Miami.

C'mon are South Florida "Vice" fans to believe that the original Crockett and Tubbs would uphold such a snub? I don't think so! As much as I watched the original television run of Miami Vice and still watch the re-runs, I'm not paricularly excited about the movie.

The only reason I may go to see the movie is because of Colin Farrell. I know someone who's met him and he went on about what a nice, unassuming guy he is.

Anywho, poo poo to the Miami Vice bosses for dissing the folks in the Bottom. We deserved way better than that.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


No more Reality TV!

Ashamedly, I confess that I do watch a few reality TV shows. My favorites are Project Runway and the Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency. Both of these shows are nice ways for me to relax and unwind. I watch Runway because one of my favorite Barbie fashion designers, Robert Best, is on the show this season.

I'm still trying to figure out why he's on the show. I mean, he designs for he biggest fasion icon ever ---- Barbie! What more is there to fashion? Robert Best is such a fantastic designer, I can hardly wait to see what he comes up with on the show.

Janice Dickinson --- naturally over-the-top--- with her own show, oh my God! One never knows what to expect from Miss Janice and that's one of the main reasons I watch her show. She is just too wild and unpredictable for words.

Anywho, the point of this post is...CAN SOMEBODY PLEASE WRITE FOR TELEVISION AGAIN? I am tired of Reality TV. That goes for American Idol, Survivor, Big Brother, Real World, College Hill, ALL of them except Runway and Janice.

Give me a freakin' break! This is about making money. Reality shows are less expensive to make and ganer a lot of viewers. It's all about the Benjamins! Ca-ching! Enough is enough.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Mo'Nique's FAT Chance

Fabulous And Thick...Fabulous And Tempting...whatever it means, I watched the replay of Mo'NiQue's 2006 FAT Beauty Pageant Contest on the Oxygen network. The show was interesting and at points very touching. The response to the contest was phenomenal. Big women from all arond the country showed up for auditions to strut their stuff.

After whittling down the contestants to 10 finalists and then 5 semi-finalists, Ms. Tanisha Malone of Newark, NJ emerged the winner. Tanisha is a stunningly beautiful dark-skinned Black woman with a killer smile. I thought she looked great during the various wardrobe segments except for that hoochified outfit she wore during the lingerie segment. It was too over-the-top and made her look, well --- stank!

My favorite contestant was Shawnti Eaden of Portland, OR. She had overcome many challenges to make it to the contest. Miss Thing had been incarcerated several times but has now turned her life around. Let's hope she stays out of trouble. To me, she was the most regal of all of the contestants and is an example of what women can achieve even if they've made bad decisions in their lives.

Now, Miss Mo'Nique was definitely not her usual self. Her stylist gets a big "F" for Mo's unflattering gowns (I have never seen her look so tired - Mo usually brings it!)and obvious lack of undergarments that provide proper support. The show was also too long. It could have been collapsed into one hour and that would have been more than enough.

Fabulous And Thick...Fabulous And Tempting...whatever it means, you go girls!

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Miami-Dade County Government: House of Lies

What happened to the checks and balances that the public expects to be in place and followed in the daily operation of Metropolitan Miami-Dade County government?

As County housing authority employees are terminated and put on administrative leave because of major misuse of funds recently exposed in a series of articles by investigative reporters at the Miami Herald, one has to wonder how much, how long and why has this gone undetected?

The Miami Herald article exposed so many instances of public dollars being spent without services or product being delivered that it is nothing short of mind-blowing. There should be internal and external controls that prevent this from occurring. Someone had to sign off on checks with either falsified supporting documentation or no documentation at all.

This is not pretty. Too many poor people have been displaced and destroyed because of this housing debacle. You mean to tell me that it took a newspaper article to tell the obvious? I’m not buying it.

So-called political leaders could see the stalled projects everyday in their neighborhoods. Someone has to wonder why and what was taking so long to complete the construction program?

This is a perfect example of why the public should raise holy hell when services are not provided for their area. More heads need to roll because of the housing article. I say, let the chips fall where they may.

NOTE: Check the Miami Herald series, House of Lies. Be sure to read all of the articles and check out the multimedia sections. This series is certain to be recognized for the investigative reporting. There are rumors in the community that the series was due to the information left in the backpack former City of Miami Commissioner Art Teele attempted to deleiver to then Miami Herald reporter Jim DeFede just before Teele committed suicide in the Miami Herald lobby a year ago.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Turning To Ancestors For Guidance

Forwarded by a Friend....

Those Who Came Before

Turning To Ancestors For Guidance

Many entities assume the role of spirit guide. Throughout our lives, we may call upon angels, animal and nature spirits, ascended masters, and celestial guardians for aid, protection, and support. Our ancestors represent another wellspring from which we may draw wisdom in times of need for they, too, can act as our spirit guides. Since our forbears spent at least one lifetime experiencing the tribulations that are a part of human existence, the perspective they can offer is a uniquely grounded one. Ancestral spirit guides can empathize with our fears and our frailties, worry, temptation, and feelings of insecurity. Once you have requested their guidance, they will see to it that you emerge unscathed on the far side of conflicts and are well-equipped to fulfill your potential.

If your relationship with your relatives was strained when they were earthbound or you feel disconnected from your heritage, the thought of asking your ancestors for aid can be disconcerting. But when the soul takes on its spirit form, it becomes pure light. Your ancestors, regardless of who or what they were in life, are monitoring your life's journey because you are their progeny and they want to see you do your best. You can communicate with them directly, as well as through meditation, your dreams, or the written word. Creating an altar or shrine that displays images of your forbears or objects owned by them can help you connect with individual ancestors. The guidance they provide may take many forms as each ancestral spirit guide retains its individual identity and will thus have its own style of communication. If your ancestors do not speak to you directly or visit you in your dreams, examine your life to determine whether they are replying to your queries subconsciously.

When you make contact with your forbears, thank them for being a part of the web of intent that gave you life. Honoring their wisdom and experience can make your life seem larger and richer. Like other spirit guides, your ancestors won't interfere with your choices or attempt to deprive you of free will. They will only do their best to answer your questions and provide you with all the love, aid, and guidance you ask for in order to help you evolve as an individual.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Thought for the Day

You may not think you can reach it...Climb anyway.You may not think you'll be heard...Speak anyway.You may not think you can change things...Try anyway." - Maya Angelou

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Lance Bass is Gay

Ok, NSync's Lance Bass has come out of the closet, so to speak and officially announced that he is gay. Apparently, the rumor mill regarding his sexuality had become a bit too much for Mr. Bass and he felt compelled to put them to rest and enjoy his freedom. Bass is happy in a relationship with already way, way out Amazing Race 4 winner, Reichen Lekhmuhl.

To all this I say...and I should care, why? As long as a person is not a rapist or child molestor, I really don't care to have my time wasted on with whom they are involved. That goes for Lance Bass, Ellen DeGeneres and even President Bill Clinton and his infamous blow job.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


How to save Black boys

I am so sick and tired of hearing and reading about the plight of Black boys and how to save them. The solution to the problem is really a no brainer --- save Black girls! Hello! Boys try to impress girls. If Black girls would expect and demand respect, Black boys would straighten up and become strong Black men. You can't expect hoochified video vixens to be treated like queens.

Most important, let's stop talking about it and DO SOMETHING.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!


Bush and the NAACP

President George W. Bush spoke before the NAACP at the organization's national convention in Washington, DC. It was a watershed moment as that was the first time Bush addressed the organization during his tenure as president of the United States. He is the first U.S. president with the dubious honor of not addressing the oldest civil rights organization in the United States.

The question is, was his appearance just another photo op and ultimately a waste of time for Black folks?

Bush's line about racism has gotten quite a bit of airplay. Whoopee! Bush admitted that racism exists. And that, with a dollar, won't even get me a cup of coffee. What a farce for all involved.

The NAACP needs to step up its game, develop an agenda and implement it. The plan should do more than assure the organization's perpetuity. The consciousness of the leadership of the NAACP must change so that Black folks can stop this suffering routine. NAACP must actually help Blacks rather than continuing this legacy of subordination.

© 2006 VANESSA BYERS, Vanessa: Unplugged Reading blogs at work? Click to escape to a suitable site!