THE CAPTAIN REPORTS:
3300 NORTHWEST 27th AVENUE VS. 501 NORTHWEST 16th AVENUE .....
Longtime practitioners would immediately recognize the first address. Very few would recognize the second. Put the two addresses side by side, then assign the names of the buildings to those addresses, and one can easily deduce what is more important to the leaders in our community - our children or the wealthiest among us.
The first address is the location of the Dade County Juvenile Center Courthouse, and anyone that has ever set foot on the property knows the sad fact that that building is the outhouse of government edifices in our community. The courthouse is undersized, dilapidated, and an eyesore to our justice system.
The second address is the location of Marlins Park, the $650,000,000 retractable roofed ballpark built for owner, Jeffrey Loria, who is estimated to be worth more than a half billion dollars.
At the Juvenile Courthouse, walk into any courtroom and Judges, prosecutors, defense attorneys, Guardian ad Litems, and social service providers are hashing out issues of child abuse and child neglect. Some parents are quarreling while others are weeping. Armed guards flank a shackled father with a violent history. The discussion encompasses parents’ drug tests, depression and mental illness.
That’s what happens when children are harmed and the state has to intervene.
Eight judges hear 20,000 delinquency and dependency cases a year in the nine courtrooms of the two-story Juvenile Justice Center Courthouse.
Finally, though, after years of talking about building a new courthouse to replace the Juvenile Justice Center, sometime in 2014, the County will open a new building called the "Children's Courthouse". That building is a 14-story, 375,000-square-foot courthouse that will be located in downtown Miami at 155 NW Third St.
According to County officials, the modern design of the new courthouse is meant to inspire reverence and awe, demand respect and instill pride while sustaining the multicultural values surrounding children in Miami-Dade County’s justice system. The lower floors are open and airy, with secure areas on the upper floors for offices.
"We wanted it to be child-friendly and functional and have all the necessary agencies for parents and children to get the services that they need," said Circuit Court Judge and project planner Lester Langer.
Five established artists are creating monumental works for the building through the county’s Art in Public Places program.
Massachusetts-based artist Mike Mandel is designing mosaic tile murals of diverse Miami families. The imagery in his murals aims to minimize the stressful nature of the legal proceedings within the building.
And now that building has a name.
THE JUDGE SEYMOUR GELBER & JUDGE WILLIAM E. GLADSTONE MIAMI-DADE CHILDREN’S COURTHOUSE.
Yesterday, the Miami Herald ran a story that you can read about here.
Judge Gelber, who is 94 years old, was appointed to the bench in 1974. Although he retired from the bench in 1990 at age 70, he still sits as a Senior Judge in the Family and Child Support Divisions. Gelber fought in WW II, served as a prosecutor, was Mayor of Miami Beach, and dedicated most of his judicial career in the Juvenile Division.
Judge Gladstone, himself 83 years old, began his service as a Circuit Court Judge in 1972. He served 32 years in the Juvenile Division.
Congratulations to two well deserving leaders in our community and in our justice system who gave so much of their time during their careers on the bench to care for the children that live among us.
And let's hope that this symbol of justice is just the first step to our elected officials paying more attention to the future of our community, our children, and a little less time concentrating on our millionaire baseball players and billionaire owners.
CAPTAIN OUT .....