My Last Words as 

Mayor of the City of Opa-locka

Accept this as my resignation from the position of Mayor in the City of Opa-locka, I will not be a figurehead for corruption. I am going to those with the real power in this system: The People.

I am not resigning because the job is too big. I am resigning because I am in the wrong position to effect real change in my city - and in cities just like this throughout America.

I naively thought that a system that is broken could be fixed from within - by reformers who, if they just cared deeply enough, could root out things like cronyism, shadow deals, and government officials who turn a blind eye toward the corrupt deeds of others lest their own corruption be dragged into the light.

I was wrong.

I left home 17 years ago with a commitment to become a better person for my family and the community that saved my life.

I came back home ten years ago and chose to raise my family here in Opa-locka because it was the heart of my community.

My journey through this government began as an intern in the planning and community development department. I learned about the history of this community, its beauty, its potential, and its challenges. 

I learned firsthand how the employees of this city were treated by the leadership and how they were taking advantage of the people by not doing their job to serve the people.

My first time challenging this government was when I spoke out against the firing of the City manager and the corruption on the dais back in 2014.

That led to me getting code enforcement violations on my home, being threaten by the police multiple times, and being accosted by so-called shadow mayors and community advocates, right here in this room, at that podium, while those on the dais and in the room looked on in silence.

When I ran for office, the tagline was a new generation of leadership. The people voted to replace the only elected official indicted after the FBI raids on this city.

We campaigned around town repeating the same words to everyone:

“It is time to put an end to this corruption and hold this government accountable. We need to handle the basics. Get our finances in order. We need to make sure the trash gets picked up on time. Our water bills are accurate. These streets get fixed. And the police and code enforcement don't pick and choose who they are harassing.”

The people overwhelmingly voted for that twice. Since being elected, I have been laser focused on my commitment to the people:

  1. We have a new generation of leadership. All new elected officials, a new city manager and city attorney.
  2. We replaced our residential trash company with one that picks up our garbage on time and efficiently.
  3. We replaced 98% of our water meters across the city and have a third party making sure the bills are accurate.
  4. We fixed 18 out of 19 of our pump stations and developed a stormwater master plan to address the flooding across the city.
  5. We brought in a financial consultant and budget director that did several evaluations of our finance department, completed 5 audits,  submitted a 5-year financial recovery plan, and works well with the State’s Financial Oversight Board and Auditor General.
  6. We paved over 20 miles of streets including Cairo lane, 139th, and 141st. We fixed over 90% of the potholes throughout the city; the largest road surfacing and re-milling project in decades and we are putting sidewalks in the neighborhoods.
  7. We brought in Miami Dade County Police Department to do an assessment of our police department, got a new police chief, command staff, new officers, new vehicles, new equipment, and a substation.

We accomplished so much together. Yet, in this position as Mayor, I could not stop the corruption.

I naively thought that I could help reform this city from the inside, by being the change I wished to see in this community and bringing in a new generation of leadership.

During my time I withstood, threats on my life, my family, the loss of my job, character assassinations, and political intrigue more scandalous than the show Scandal.

What I have experienced and witnessed with my own eyes during my journey through this government, let me just say this for now, those who stand up for what is right do not last long in this system.

The forces of corruption are too strong for one person to reform. The reformers within the government are our outnumbered by those who want to compromise, maintain the status quo and promote themselves over the people.

However, the people outnumber the government. The people can hold this government accountable.

I want to thank the people who elected and supported me on this journey through the inside of this system. I got you. I am going to take these insights and experiences back to the people. Everything will be shared when it will do the most good.

I have a family I need to be there for and take care of. I started this mission as a young single man. Now, I am a proud husband and father. My wife, my son, and my two daughters need their Babu.

I am going to take some time for my family.

And, then, the people will learn everything, including how to hold their government accountable, and change this system.

There are, of course, some here in this very room — and, some sitting right up here on this dais who are breathing a sigh of relief, believing that I am finally going away.

As always, they could not be more incorrect in their hopes and pride. As I said at the very beginning of this statement, I am not abandoning the people’s mission to dislodge the corrupt, the power-hungry, and the flat out shady from in this city and others.

When the time is right you will be hearing more about what form this will take and how those who are like minded can get involved.

For those of you who stand in opposition to this — to those who operate in the shadows, who put themselves above service, who actually believe you hold power beyond the people… to the corrupt, the cronies, the narcissists, the deceivers, and the liars - understand that I am not only giving my notice. I, and those who join me are putting you ON notice.

On behalf of all the people who want better for their communities, Thank you. I thank all of you for these insights and experiences. We will hold government accountable to the people.