Opinion

Commentary: It's time to close Miami sex offender shantytown

MIAMI — It has taken three years for Miami-Dade County officials to focus on shutting down the shantytown of sex offenders forced to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway.

Three years of pass-the-buck finger-pointing, two lawsuits and embarrassing national and international media attention to this state-and-local conspiracy of inaction don't add up to leadership.

It's Umoja Village redux. Remember the illegal shantytown that burned to the ground in 2007 after homeless advocates took over a vacant lot in Miami? City officials tolerated this atrocity by blaming previous court rulings that they said tied their hands on moving out the homeless. Yet the health and safety of residents demanded action.

Tackle local ordinances

The causeway shantytown debacle should have taken three days -- tops -- to get state and local officials working together to find places for these felons, most of them on probation for sex crimes, to live without endangering children. This would mean tackling local ordinances throughout South Florida that render these felons homeless because they cannot live within 2,500 feet of a school, park and in some instances bus stops.

To read the complete editorial, visit miamiherald.com.

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