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Miami-Dade’s Irma response draws fire at county’s first budget hearing

Miami-Dade’s first budget hearing of the year turned into a fight over the county’s response to Hurricane Irma, with community activists faulting the government for allowing low-income residents to suffer after the storm knocked out power throughout the Miami area.

“It was disheartening to go into Liberty City on Tuesday morning and have a grown man cry and say he hadn’t eaten in two days.” Gunder is affiliated with New Florida Majority, a political group that has led campaigns against Miami-Dade on labor practices and its stance on immigration detentions.

It took a leading role in Tuesday’s effort to highlight an income gap in how Miami-Dade residents endured Irma, making storm response the centerpiece for a hearing on an austerity budget with cuts in transit, staff reductions at parks and long-term deficits.

Mayor Carlos Gimenez declared himself “Proud” of the county’s unprecedented response to Irma, which prompted him to order the evacuation of more than 600,000 residents and the opening of dozens of shelters.

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