Protest at Liberty Square

By John Dorschner

      With a mayoral election looming, a group of local pastors  held a media-frenzied press conference at off-ignored Liberty Square on Monday afternoon -- to protest the process in which an Hispanic developer was selected for the $300-million-plus redevelopment of the county's oldest public housing project.

    "The mayor was wrong in how he handled the process," complained Rev. Carl Johnson of 93rd Street Community Baptist Church in an event attended by the mayor's top opponent, Raquel Regalado
The subject: A housing project redevelopment bid, but it's election season and a mayoral candidate showed up.

    Speakers objected that Mayor Carlos Gimenez had been wrong in asking for a second round of proposals after Atlantic Pacific Communities was selected in the first round, thanks to extremely high scores from the representative of the Liberty Square Residents' Council.
The big boys of local political reporting -- Jim DeFede in green, Doug Hanks center backgroundin suglasses, with Commissioner Audrey Edmonson and mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado.
     Pastor Richard Dunn complained that the mayor had disrespected the wishes of Liberty Square -- and the area's county commissioner, Audrey Edmonson, by selecting Related Urban, a company controlled by Jorge Perez, a developer who arguably is the most powerful person in the county.
Edmonson and candidate: No endorsement yet from commissioner

     I asked Edmonson if she had any specific complaints about Related Urban's final final proposal, and she said no, but she didn't like the process in which it had been selected.
     I asked Regalado if it was politically wise to oppose a project awarded to the powerful Perez, and she said simply that she was there to question the process in which Related Urban had been selected, not the company's proposal itself.
     A ton of media was there to give a thorough reporting of the event, so I'm not going into details, which you can easily find elsewhere. 
Rita Schwartz -- standing up for animal rights 
    Later I will do later a serious analysis of Related's final final, but the event Thursday was such a media show -- Jim DeFede! Mayoral candidate Raquel Regalado! Animal rights activists!  -- that I wanted to post some photos.
     It was only after I was in the car headed home that I wished I had asked the animal rights activist, Rita Schwartz, who shows up frequently at events to protest Gimenez, whether she had ever before been to Liberty Square -- or whether she ever planned to return.

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