Miami named the worst-run city in America

Miami is known for it's high rises and glamor, but underneath the glitz hides the homeless, traffic, and other civic problems that have landed Miami rated one of the top worst run cities in the United States. Marlena Skrobe//Photo Editor

An online financial news and opinion forum, Wall St. 24/7, named Miami the worst-run city in America.

The study, which looked at the 100 most populous cities in the U.S., took violent crime, poverty rate, credit rating and the proportion of high school graduates among the adult population into account. This review of “the local economies, fiscal discipline and standard of living” in each city was used to determine how well each is managed.

“Worst run city is a euphemism for the negligence and criminalization of poverty, and no one does that better than Miami,” English professor Richard Simpson said.

Detroit, commonly viewed as one of the most dangerous cities in the nation, took the second spot in the race, while Virginia Beach, Va., was named the best-run city in the U.S.
Neighboring Hialeah, Fla., placed 10th in the worst-run rankings, making Miami-Dade County the only county to have two cities on the extensive list.

Miami residents have the fourth-highest domestic purchasing power in the world, but also the second-highest income inequality rate nationwide, according to a report in the Miami Herald.
This wealth gap plays a large role in fiscal issues.

“We get this perpetual municipal negligence toward those who make up the city’s local population, who are also the group that fall within the highest percentage of households living below the poverty line,” Simpson said.

One of the most important distinctions between the best- and worst-run cities is their economic standing. The analysis demonstrated that encouraging job growth and the success of local businesses is the most important role of local government, 24/7 Wall St. reported.

In fact, nine out of the 10 worst-run cities rely on shrinking industries, like Detroit’s automobile-driven economy. The Motor City is known as the world’s automotive center; thus, it comes as no surprise that a city that depends on an industry in which two of the largest American companies were bailed out would also have the highest poverty rate in the country.
Miami’s problem seems to stem from its significant housing foreclosure problem. It has the fifth highest percentage of housing vacancies and has been ranked among the 20 weakest-performing metropolitan areas in the country with regards to recovering from the recession. This is due in large part to the crash of its housing market, according to 24/7 Wall St.

“It’s titles like ‘The Worst-Run City’ that make you wonder why private entrepreneurs and city leaders don’t jump to address availability of affordable housing, livable minimum wages and public school graduation rates, or even simply sponsor and support Miami’s incredible nonprofit organizations,” Simpson said.

This list will be compiled annually from data released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Moody’s Investors Services, the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, according to 24/7 Wall St.

However, political science professor Joseph Uscinki said he was skeptical that some of these measures gauge how well a city is run.

“City management may have little to do with the unemployment rate, the violent crime rates and the poverty levels,” political science professor Joseph Uscinki said.

He suggested measuring corruption by determining “waste and duplication in terms of unnecessary levels of government,” and comparing the outcomes of taxpayer money paid to different local governments.

January 22, 2012


Lyssa Goldberg

Lyssa Goldberg is online editor of The Miami Hurricane. She is a senior majoring in journalism and political science with a minor in math. She has interned at Mashable and the Miami New Times, and her work has also been featured in The Huffington Post.

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