Subsequent to the red carpet introduction which rolled out her grand entrance, City of Opa-locka Mayor, The Honorable “Lady” Myra Taylor, affirmed, “…the City is stable,” during the State of the City Address, Friday, January 28, 2011 at 7:00 PM, under a 40 x 80, filled to capacity, tent where the crowd overflowed into the street on Opa-locka Boulevard between Sharazad and Fisherman, to accommodate officials, clergy, staff, residents, and business owners, during an allinclusive ride on-board the symbolic “Opa-locka Express” departing for “The Dawn of a New Day!”
Several roads from Historic City Hall to the Administrative Municipal Complex building were blocked, and traffic diverted, early in the day to prepare for the evening event. Dressed in her signature “power color” red, Taylor’s arrival was proceeded with a program, led by the Miami Northwestern Senior High School Marching Band, the Bahamas-Miami Junkanoos, Opa-locka Honor Guard and several forms of protocol such as prayer, entertainment, greetings and finally an introduction of the Mayor.
Acknowledging the diversity of the attendees, “Lady” Taylor verbally greeted her guest in three languages with, “buenas noches,” “bon soir,” and “asa lama lakum!” She then shouted to the seniors, “Hey y’all,” as she began to move “the train,” full speed ahead!
Quoting from the Book of Isaiah 43, “God gave the Prophet words to speak ‘life’ into a nation,” Taylor paralleled her opening statement as a mission to, “Speak ‘life’ into the hearts and minds of the people of Opa-locka!” She referenced a time when the City was known for “just driving through to get somewhere else” or “used to make a stop to purchase from our famous ‘pharmaceutical’ spot, called the ‘Triangle.’” Taylor reflected on the days when many businesses listed the location of their company as “Miami,” in lieu of “Opa-locka.” She said, “The City had a lot of people, but no prestige; residents, but no respect; churches, but no charge; children, but few champions.” She continued, “We walked into a room, but no one knew we were there. We were a city without character or influence.” She added, “Folk came into our city, told us what we needed; what we wanted and what we should have, but it was all for their benefit… not ours!”
The Mayor went on to acknowledge the City’s challenges by admitting, “Some of our residents did not have their High School diplomas; and even less had college degrees. Fewer with jobs, and four out of five people were receiving Government assistance; living right at or just above the poverty line,” but, she confidently confirmed, “The former images, ideas and ideals of this 85-years-old City ‘Must pass away!’” Thus, declaring, “The Express is moving, to carry us to new destinations, where Opa-locka, has never gone before!”
Taylor’s plan include an Express which is “driven by human energy, new hope and a strong sense of determination, with an engine fired by new attitude and sharp aptitude, to take us to a new altitude!” In a metaphoric tour aboard the Opa-locka Express, Taylor introduced City Manager Clarance Patterson as the engineer that would drive the train attached with compartments of elected and appointed officials, City Departments, tools, investment and spirituality for the “Prayer warriors and intercessors whose aim would be to keep the City lifted!”
According to Mayor Taylor, the first stop of the Opa-locka Express was The Magnolia North revitalization project which is (due to the support of Miami- Dade County Commissioner Barbara Jordan, Habitat for Humanity and Mr. Willie Logan of the Opa-locka CDC with a combined support of over 26.6 Million dollars), currently transforming the once forgotten neighborhood called “The Triangle.”
The Mayor went on to disclose plans for the 22nd Avenue Corridor, which she said will bring a “face-lift” to the City’s downtown area. She revealed that Commissioner Jordan also “kicked-in” two million dollars for the restoration of Historic City Hall. Taylor then recommended, “We put away our differences that once retarded our progress and blinded us to our future.” She suggested avoiding “Enginecloggers” who attempt to “slow-up the train with gossip and rumors; make it a point to not “get derailed!” Taylor concluded, “Opa-tisha-woka-locka is moving on the right Track now, and is new world bound.”
Among the list of distinguished guest receiving The State of the City Address, were Congresswoman Carrie Meek, City of Miami Gardens Mayor Shirley Gibson; School Board Members Dr. Wilbert T. Holloway, Mother Irma Skiles, and a long list of other dignitaries.
“From the engine to the caboose, under the leadership of Mayor “Lady” Myra L. Taylor, there is unlimited seating for business owners and the 16,000 members of the residential community, many who will serve as advisors and Board members on-board the train, which is catapulting the City from a position of “stability” into rapid growth and development, as the Opa-locka Express heads towards ‘The Dawning of a New Day!’”