Focus on Safety for 2016
The Miami Herald sent a year’s end email out:
|As the year draws to a close, we would like to give thanks to our loyal readers, subscribers and advertisers. By supporting our dedicated journalists, you make so many things possible:
JUSTICE for the students of Florida for-profit colleges. A year-long investigation by Miami Herald reporter Michael Vasquez revealed an industry rife with fraud, leading students to go into debt without degrees or jobs to show for it. In the wake of the series, Miami’s most politically powerful for-profit college closed, and its owner was arrested and pled guilty to making illegal campaign contributions to state politicians.
DIGNITY for the brutally abused inmates of Florida’s correctional system, whose stories have been profiled by Miami Herald reporter Julie K. Brown. As a result of her investigation, the state has replaced its Department of Corrections secretary and fired dozens of corrections officers; ombudsmen have been hired to advocate for mentally ill inmates; and new rules has been implemented regarding the use of force by prison staff.
TRUTH about a ring of undercover police, whose sting operation evolved into a major cash enterprise. In his investigation, Miami Herald reporter Michael Sallah revealed how task force officers from Bal Harbour and the Glades County Sheriff’s Office posed as money launderers for drug cartels and other criminal organizations. The group raked in millions that they spent lavishly on travel, luxury hotels and meals, without making a single arrest. After the Herald series, the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Chicago and the IRS are reviewing hundreds of confidential files in the U.S. Justice Department’s sweeping probe of the enterprise.
DREAMS of homeownership for thousands of South Florida residents. An intensive Miami Herald analysis revealed several neighborhoods in Miami- Dade and Broward counties with affordable home prices, good school ratings and low crime rates – best bets for middle-class homebuyers who feel priced out of an expensive local real estate market.
HOPE for some of the neediest individuals and families in South Florida. Each holiday season, the Miami Herald / el Nuevo Herald Wish Book tells the moving stories of the sick, elderly and impoverished among us, and readers give generously, granting wishes big and small to these grateful recipients.
STRENGTH that comes from understanding, respectful debate and civic engagement. With the power of free speech and a free press, the South Florida community is stronger and more united, and can look forward to a brighter future.
It is only through your readership, subscriptions and advertising support that we can make a real difference. So on behalf of the entire Miami Herald Media Company, best wishes for a happy and peaceful 2016, and our heartfelt thanks.
You make it possible.
Mark Zientz, one of our at-large board members responded with the following:
The Herald seems to have missed one big opportunity in 2015, to ensure that all Floridians have a safe place to work. Under the Jeb Bush admin the Division of Safety, created in the 1930’s as part of the Grand Bargain (workers’ Comp for tort remedy) was abolished and all Florida safety rules were repealed. OSHA does not cover small employers or government. OSHA reported in 2011 that it would take 230 years for them to inspect each covered workplace one time. Last December a Miami-Dade County bus driver, a single mom of 2 children was crushed to death by a bus that was equipped with a safety device that was not working. Jim Defede found over 90% of Dade’s busses lacked an operable safety device. Had there been safety inspections, that death would have been avoided. Teachers and students in many schools are exposed to black mold daily. The courthouse is full of mold and asbestos but remains open. March 25, 2016 is the 105th anniversary of the Triangle Fire. That event was the impetus for workplace safety legislation nationwide. Employees are no better off today in Florida than were the 146 souls who perished on March 25, 1911. Make 2016 the year of safety in the workplace in Florida. And Happy New Year to all. -Mark Zientz