Debra Sinkle Kolsky, president of The Redevco Corporation and Platinum Property Management, Inc., Florida Real Estate Journal’s 2004 Top Woman in Florida, has got a key corner with a public hedge in the booming Miami real estate market, which is expected to go bust in a year or so. Vulture investment companies from up North are already setting up offices downtown along with the flocks of turkey vultures - they are beautiful in flight but ugly on the ground.
'Revitalization' and 'workforce housing' are the euphemisms for the Top Woman's game. 'Gentrification', after all, is a demeaning term, based upon the assumption that the gentry, meaning moneyed people, are better people than the "riffraff" they would replace. No, Mme. Kolsky must not be perceived as buying into the reign-of-greed's buy cheap, sell dear, and let the underclass continue to be naturally damned if they can't upgrade their accommodations on schedule. Workforce housing must be provided for Miami's rapidly growing Servant Economy.
As the Miami Herald reported (February 9, 2002), in regards to her Liberty City redevelopment project, "Debra Sinkle-Kolsky relishes the challenge of revitalizing an urban or inner-city community.... Now she's hoping to breath new life into another of Miami's black neighborhoods."
If the Miami real estate market stagnates or takes a substantial dip as expected, Kolsky &Co, including non-profit and government partners, will do better than survive, at least according to an unauthorized interview (Miami Mirror, July 2005) with Mme. Kolsky's development consultant Cici Kelly, former director of business development and e-commerce at America Online. The Miami real estate market is bound to crash, Ms. Kelly observed, but Miami will have to take care of its workforce in any event, wherefore taxpayer funding will be available for the cause and her client will thrive. Enter Kolsky &Co.
Mme. Kolsky obviously knows a great deal about public funding: she is a Board Member of Miami-Dade County Housing Finance Authority. One strategy employed by Redevco has been to form a partnership with the "community", with the help of such distinguished public officials as Miami Dade Commissioner Jimmy Morales, then sell out its share to the "community."
The Community is glad to hear of Mme. Kolsky's altruistic revitalization endeavors, and hopes she cashes out with substantial gains if everyone concerned is provided with comfortable and affordable living quarters and consumer goods around transit hubs and the like. Then the comfortable upper class can look out of the upper floors of their office and condominium towers with even greater satisfaction.
As it is, community resentment against Hurricane Gentrification is rising fast. Linda Sippio of Low Income Families Fighting Together (LIFFT) complained, "Bankers, city officials and investors are at the eye of the storm trying to bribe us into thinking it's good for the community." (Herald, September 11, 2005) Small business owners in Liberty City have teamed up to fight the "buy cheap and sell high mentality" of developers who have obtained financing for the creative destruction of black neighborhoods from the government. (Herald, June 29, 2005).
Fifty members of the Miami power elite have teamed up under the rubric, 'Imagine Miami', to imagine a better, more equitable community. If the social injustice continues apace, warns the initiative’s prophet, Eduardo Padron, Cuban-American cultural hero and visionary president of Miami-Dade College, Miami is doomed.
The Miami Mirror imagined how all hell might break loose if catastrophe were in fact the future case, then wondered at some length whether or not the Imagine Miami clique is simply exploiting the community with business as usual, cloaking the continuation of the status quo with more pleasing rhetoric.
Wherefore this pointed question was posed of the fifty members of Imagine Miami: "Los Cinquentas Padrones o Ladrones?"
Perhaps Miami's Top Woman can answer that question for us. We think she ought to know.