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Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Miamista says, Welcome to the Jungle

The land of gator and pythons… I don't have to mention the great Gator and Python fight of 2005. Associated Press has spread the legend. For those of you with money riding, it was a draw. I recently found out it was a rematch.

I just got word of a friend who had a python sighting and is afraid that the python will eat his dog that he specifically purchased to feed stray gators. Like many Miamians I too have come across the residential gator. A much publicized story occurred when a Miamian who happens to be the relative of a co-worker found a gator under the car in the morning. True to his live and let live Miamian attitude, the gator stayed under the car, letting out a minor bellow when the lady of the house rudely pulled the door open with a chirping alarm and jangle of keys. Upon spotting the gator's tail and hearing his guffaw of annoyance she promptly went in the house and called animal control. Unfortunately the ensuing struggle to dislodge him from his shade spot now thoroughly upset the gator. He let the family know his feelings by biting off a chunk of bumper. If you are wondering it WASN’T COVERED BY INSURANCE.

Florida insurance is rising like a storm surge over a New Orleans leavy these days. Has everyone been noticing the rising prices as of late? How could you not when hurricane coverage / flood insurance is going through the roof. Now that we are all in agreement that global warming is real and rapidly occurring (even if we do not all agree on what should be done and who are the culprits), insurance agencies see our storm cycle going into overdrive for the next few decades, at the very least. (Sounds like an excuse to make $ to me.) Even state provided insurance-of-last-resort programs are rolling over on us. The prices we play for sunshine near the beach... Tourists come to Miami Beach and they don’t pay for insurance. Pretty soon however that beach may be right in Doral next to the golf course!

Speaking of tourists, gators, pythons and other foreign things, (sorry, gators are native)… Immigrants from the island of Hispaniola (that’s the Dominican Republic and Haiti) come over at a rate of 11 to every single Cuban. Unlike my fellow Cubans, they do not have their own Adjustment Act, just poverty and bad government. For all of you non-Cubans the Cuban American Adjustment Act is a law that gives us immediate right to stay once we put a foot on land and provides us goodie baskets. Okay, there is no goodie basket, but there is immediate refugee status and expedited citizenship (which surprisingly half of recent entrants do not take advantage of), as well as medical coverage, housing and resettlement support and training and education programs. It used to include (in the Pedro Pan era) free college and SBA grants but much of that was phased out. Regardless of Cuba’s proximity and the surprisingly porous coast line the number of Cuban entrants is still low. Of those that enter on visas most go back to Cuba. What do we have to do to get more Cubans?

Miami Vice, meet Miami vice. In case you didn’t hear about it, there was a drug-smuggling bust on the next to where they are filming the new Miami Vice movie. The actors had to put down their prop weapons least they cause confusion. One smuggler accidentally shot himself while another suspect got away.

The Miami City Manager Joe Arriola noted while giving away ice and military provided meals that one neighborhood should not count on assistance from the city unless it supports the candidate he and the mayor supports. This warning was especially aimed at the Downtown / Overtown district that currently has a city appointed councilman. (The former elected councilman was arrested and committed suicide in the lobby of a newspaper office under strange circumstances). The current appointee has the backing of the mayor and cadre of leaders supported by real estate developers. Several in the leadership cadre, (especially an African American female county commsioner who loves Mayor Diaz), are under the cloud of corruption following airport fuel being stolen by a former police officer (who left the force after a drug / murder related incident).

In the jungle the animals are crazy…

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