12 CDs for the Price of 1!

Friday, March 31, 2006

Critical Miamista (with addendum)

Why I’m Critical, Miami
Got all the mail, and yeah I know the stupidity of a few (God let me believe it is a few) can have an outsized effect. Still, I can’t imagine living and working full time in Miami. Not Miami as it is. I only have one life and I wouldn’t consign it to that sort of mediocrity. I know there are also people that delight in Miami’s dysfunction. It is the sort of personality trait that is common enough to keep daytime talk shows in business. (Inadequacy loves to poke fun the more inadequate.) But Miami still has all the great things that nature provided it, here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. It still has all the wonderful things that make me a part time resident and gives me hope for the city's future. And it has you good people.

I’ve discussed with all of you some of the more egregious instances of unchecked “isms” that flourish in our community. And we all know the statistics, Miami leads the nation in poverty, illiteracy, homelessness, low wages, infectious diseases, violent crime, blah blah blah. Of course these things translate into real human suffering and frustration. I feel it is my duty to hammer away at them as long as I am writing a Miami blog. Few among our small community of bloggers comment on these problems.

In the future I will push for the creation of specific programs, starting with an afterschool program. The idea of blogging is useless for me if I cannot do something positive with it. I am hoping all of you will offer suggestions and assistance. More on that in a later post.

The posts I put up are not intended to be daily updates or logs. If you revisit most posts (and I hope you do) you will find that they deal with long standing issues, offering long term solutions. Hopefully readers will imagine what Miami could be and become more active in changing Miami for the better. To make it easier I offered a group of suggestions in Miamista Has All Your Answers. I have two more to add.

Yessuh, What We Need Is That There Guvmint Re-FormCounty Charter Reform including a Strong Mayor. In one of Rebecca's greatest interviews, Merrett Stierheim explained why. (For you newbies Stierheim is a long time, some say legendary, Miami-Dade public administrator educated at Dartmouth and originally from Mineola, Long Island.) As he emphasized, the mayor of Dade is the only person elected across districts and ethnic blocs. As it is now the office of Dade County Mayor has little power. With a powerful mayor there maybe less passing the buck; less murky commission proceedings and backroom bargaining. A strong mayor is easier to hold accountable and easier to cover. (It is the reason county mayor Penelas self destructed but the commissioners skated on MIA dealings.) If successful such a mayor can actually be a statesman, uniting the entire community across ethnic and social lines.

As I previously mentioned we also need a full time, adequately paid county commission. Perhaps the greedy commissioners will make a trade- power for money. They’re use to doing that. We also need some term limits on the commission. As it is, the commission is a lifetime or until-you’re-incarcerated position.

Add to that public access to the communication and visitation logs of lobbyists. Our mayors and commissioners have interpreted Sunshine Laws so as to not include this. Let’s get this straightened out.

Hey Mister, Wanna Paper?
A reinvigorate newspaper. I’m not sure what is going to happen with the Herald but I don’t have much faith. Chuck Strouse and the New Times home office needs to grow some balls back. We need a real newspaper in Miami.

Death of the Herald, A PrimerThe Miami Herald disappeared with the departure of David Lawrence in 1999. Many blame the ugly CANF related events. (It involved CANF related defacement of property, death threats, shit placed in newspaper boxes and a lawsuit.) Tony Ridder, the owner of family enterprise Knight Ridder, abandoned Miami as the flagship paper as well as a city. Mr. Ridder, unlike the Knight family whom the Ridders purchased the paper from, never warmed to Miami. With the city seemingly on an endless slide from late 80's on, Tony moved operations to the prosperous city of San Jose.

The Herald, once esteemed, is now regularly ridiculed in the journalism industry, and was all but buried by several Columbia Journalism Review articles. The final straw there may have been Alberto Ibargüen being run out as publisher. Ibarguen made some comments about the lack of tolerance among certain ultra right wing elements that were not well received.

Death of the Miami New Times, A Primer
The Miami New Times more than picked up the slack. It was part of a national chain of alternative weeklies, each having considerable editorial freedom. California native, Yale educated editor Jim Mullins and his star columnist, Brooklyn native Jim Defede took full advantage. Defede eventually sold out, becoming a watered down version of himself at the Herald. (The irony there never stales.) MNT lost Jim Mullin after the Art Teele suicide and an office blog scandal. Seems Jim’s permissiveness burned him thrice.

Despite being a self avowed Republican with deep respect for the diversity of the city, Jim Mullin was seen as anti-Cuban and too liberal among some. Mullin’s MNT was very popular among fair minded people. The weekly was an equal opportunity exposer of scoundrels.

After his departure seemingly every MNT reporter worth their salt jumped ship. Some have wound up on the Sun Post. The Sun Post is still not making up for what the Miami New Times was. What the locally owned Sun Post doesn’t have is the investigative reporting, the resources and seemingly, the latitude New Times reporters had.

So we’re left with a handful of hard charging columnists at the Herald and Rebecca and Omar at the Sun Post. With the notable exceptions like Bob Norman, Broward’s papers aren’t any better.
So let’s get Jim Mullin, Jim Defede, Max Castro (fired from UM and the Herald b/c of right wing extremist pressure) together and get us a paper…OR A BLOG!

Appreciation Time for Critical Miami/Alesh
Alesh is one of those people who make me wonder why he lives in Miami. I am glad he does all the same. Critical Miami achieves what Miamist (which IS getting better) should have been. It’s not committed to any single aspect of local life though there are flashes of incisive criticism and observation. CM politely refuses the contentious but discusses the talk of the day, like a good cocktail party host. CM is smart and hip without being pretentious. (Note that Alesh wisely avoids reporting on the Beach club scene, choosing more eclectic, slightly less gagifying Wynwood, etc.) Finally, CM is just edgy enough to promote back and forth debate without the site becoming “political”.

You Incestuous Little BloggersOur blogging community is sort of like the Herald, Sun Post and the New Times readership- Eastside Anglos and a smattering of middle class Latinos.

Miami is fractured by ethnicity and class and the blogging community reflects it. For example, the excellent Overtown Blog continues to be our only blog from Overtown, or for that matter, the only Black authored blog. The Black and Latino neighborhoods and cities that make up most of Dade are not reflected in our blogs. East Grove, Brickell-Roads, the Beach, Broward and gentrified Wynwood make up the blogging community.

No blogs for Liberty City, Opa Locka, Carroll City, Allapattah, Latin Wynwood, Flagami, Florida City, Sweetwater, Hialeah fuck it, the Northside and most of the Southside of Dade County. In all honesty, I can’t imagine what we would get if we had blogs representative of Greater Miami. But it would help to hear the voice of our entire community.

*So for those of you who wrote me, PLEASE imagine Miami with lower crime, reasonably good government, a larger middle class, a strong economy with good wages, better roads and public transportation, great schools, great research institutions, better access to healthcare for families, after school programs for our youth, more ethnic integration, less racism and greater opportunity. Maybe not a San Jose, Seattle or Boston overnight, but just not the top of every list for negative things. And then we would truly be the Magic City.

Thursday, March 30, 2006

Weekend Notes, (Saturday, April 8, 2006)

1. It will take a lot from the Herald’s Cuba specialist to spin a story of victimhood from this one (but I have faith). Let’s see, there is a ring of smugglers involved in various other crimes in Miami, a Cuban family who arrived in Mexico only to starve, criminals from Cuba who continue their activities here. Seems that some of the smuggled migrants had criminal histories in Cuba which would have made them undesirable in the eyes of U.S. immigration officials in Havana. Having come here at least one of the immigrant turned smuggler commenced a life of crime by committing grand theft from his first Miami employer.

Another smuggler in this recent party arrived a short time ago and was promptly arrested here for robbery and battery. The smuggling ring netted $2 million and was also reportedly active in human smuggling from the Dominican Republic. Cuban authorities accuse the smugglers of drug trafficking as well, which apart from the source would seem credible. Unknown to trusting passengers these smugglers left people on deserted islands. Former passengers were victims of extortion by these crooks after arriving in their destinations.

Seems that a problem with wet foot dry foot is that the blanket refugee status encourages undesirables. Same could be said about our entire immigration policy. Before you White folks get your indignant, anti-Cuban, immigration reforming pants in a bunch take a look at the trash and riff raff from Europe that made its way to our shores in years of yore. SSDD.

In related news, anti immigrant Senator Tancredo says that Senator Martinez should be deported (he has declared that we should rescind the Cuban Adjustment Act).

2. (Left this out of the Good News Post.) City planning is growing up. Miami could do great things by introducing Miami 21, even if it will have to wait to the next mayor and the next building boom. Dade County government seems to have its head up its ass but hey, gotta start somewhere. Broward has reigned in development, focusing on a well planned urban core. The long, long over due North/South FEC commuter train is being discussed, the MIC could be a great success (or not). I hear murmuring about a raised train cutting across to Collier though I don’t believe it will ever happen. Jeb and company have already set the tone of opposition to super-regional transit even when the voters want it.

3. (More left out of the Good News Post but not all good news.) Miami Beach is doing us all a favor and actually making zoning rules for the footprint, architectural congruity, and scale for new buildings. They also are letting the historic Coral House (I don’t think that’s the name) on Collins be destroyed, reinforcing the habit of local, well connected builders of purchasing historic property, neglecting or deliberately damaging it and then tearing it down. We all heard of how Orlando put a stop to this practice by fining for the full amount of the value of the property while demanding the new building be torn down and a replica of the old structure be put up in its place. Maybe we should do that here. God knows there are plenty of ugly properties built in recent decades that should be first on any list to tear down.

4. New blogs- "Depth of Field" starts off with a distinctly Miami warning (looks promising). "Coral Gables Blogspot" represent! (Note the 1920's era Coral Gables pics.) The author's of that Gables blog has jokes. Her posts and comments around other blogs had me laughing. Been wondering when we would see a Gables blog. There is one annoying blog by a loser in the Gables who manages to be racist, a religious bigot, a right wing zealot, ill educated, ill informed... So you can assume I won't be linking. "Amy in Miami Beach"- a Mormon gal in Miami Beach, I can't get into it, perhaps b/c I'm a guy, not Mormon or have never been to Utah. "Sex in the Beach" is about to be my favorite blog but there are some other contenders. The "Burnettiquette" or Burnett's Urban Etiquette is my favorite Herald blog, which may not be great praise, so let me also say I like it. The GMVBC started a blog that leaves something to be desired as far as layout (talk to New Miami Girl) but it's informative. Blogging South Beach, (reviews, activities events about SB from a smart perspective) makes the Miami New Times just that closer to useless. Older blogs- I've lauded Coconut Grove Grapevine but I will stop b/c some suspect bias. Issena is revealing a lot of himself in a way that was too funny to be off putting. Klotz may like to mix it up more than Alesh, kinda like transplanting a shoot into a new flower pot, and voila! it grows. May not agree with everything J-Hop has to say (I think I'm to the right of him, whatever that means) but do yourself a favor by reading. If you're afraid that the old Bohemian Grove is dying (I sure am) visit and buy something from local artisans at Miami Craft Mafia. Enough of my Grove promoting? Envy Broward residents who can pick up Bob Norman in the Broward/PB New Times but you would do better to visit The Daily Pulp. Other blog news: The possibility of getting Kordor reconstitued in edgier form through Miami Muse's efforts in exile. Not really blogs but: Herald columnist Leonard "The Pitts" Pitts should give the Pulitzer to Anna Menendez that went to that undeserving marshmallow writer. Pitts won of course, due to the minority quota for superficial, knob polishing idiots who work for the Herald with the surname "Pitts".

5. Underappreciated- Radio Progreso, which is lost it's English language spoken commentary. (It still is fully bilingual otherwise.) At times a little too pro-Dem for my taste. That aside, a few years ago their coverage of Cuba would have gotten their legs blown off, their businesses fire bombed, their jobs lost, their children threatened, subjected them to mysterious tax audits and wiretaps and had their names mercilessly smeared. In fact, several of contributors and supporters of Radio Progresso were victims of local terrorists. Miami is still a rough place for freedom of expression. Max Castro recently was subject to loss of employment and harassment. Nevertheless, Progreso and other alternative outlets are playing a more active role, recently rallying support in opposition to travel restrictions to Cuba.

6. Just when I tried to not hate new South Miami Mayor Horace Feliu as much he mollifies all attempts. There has been some Jew-baiting going on (amidst the rest of the ethnic friction that seems to define South Miami), as I mentioned in other posts. So Mayor Feliu makes it his first order of business to say that a moment of silence is not going to cut it, calls in Rev. Gay for a good Christian prayer, while some of the rednecks on the board pipe in with a real Americans love Jesus, love the military, love the country diatribe. All of this had a target of course, being former City Commissioner Craig Sherar. Mr. Sherar who is Jewish, had asked that freedom of faith be respected two weeks ago while he was still serving. In fact a moment of silence had been a standing practice for years until it occurred to the Cuban American mayor (who happens to be Protestant) that he might curry favor among Miamuh crowd by encouraging Anglos and Latinos to hate, I mean pray together.

Police Chief Orlando Martinez de Castro (Ollie to his friends) was let go for apparently similar reasons (currying favor among bigots) though I must say he should have been fired anyway, for reasons Miamista readers have already been made aware of.

-PS, I'm about to winnow out some of the inactive blogs. To steal an academic saw, "publish or perish".

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

More Exiles from the Banana Republic

Miamista is sad today. Why? Because Miami has managed to run out yet more good people. Miamista himself has been spending more and more time in New York and LA. Time away only reminds him of why. Miami is danger of becoming the bad seed- you have so much hope for it, love from familiarity and what it promises and it breaks your heart. A veritable tropical Sodom with daily flights and tour packages.

If this was an isolated event I wouldn't think twice, but it's not. It keeps telling the well educated, the bright and the talented to go elsewhere. It banishes people on the basis of language, ethnicity, race as well as national and regional origin. It remains insular, inbred and corrupt. The people who stay are too often people who would be, or imagine they would be losers elsewhere. When I read blogs by local folks that I find interesting and intelligent (all eight of them) you know what creeps through my mind? This person doesn't belong in Miami. They would be more successful, more appreciated and would experience more, well, everything in another city. Yet I hope they will stay and create something different.

I could read you a list of good friends and family who have graduated from the top schools in the nation, are really intelligent, young and ambitious and have lived in Miami. (I imagine that just these friends fueled Miami's real estate boom.) Despite settling for less money and less opportunity, Miami spits them out. Even folks from the Oakies, (yes you Cynthia, if you still read this) breifly dazzled by what for them is the big city, go running. So yeah Miami, thanks.

Anyway Kordor folks, loved your blog and hope you will keep Miamista/Miamistans updated. Whether it's news from Miami or elsewhere (points of comparison are good), Miamista will defintely put it up here. Who knows? We could eventually put together something great. Seriously! (It better appeal to tourists though.)

Now some issues with the Kordor farewell. Sure I know the Manny jive was political. We all know that dipshit isn't going to do anything good. Without his wife and a gaggle of developers he would be doing personal injury claims with a crooked Little Havana medical center. (As an aside, a New Orleans rehabiltation proposal outline shouldn't take people from their task. Miamista and company put together something for an aide to Marlon Gusman who apparently isn't running, so that's dead.)

But what I will not let Kordor get away with is the Curbed.com crack. Miamista cut his teeth on New York and LA real estate/urban issues; has the Stoler Report on dvd's; knows per foot land, construction and rental prices (commercial and residential) by heart; recites the NY RPA data like his phone number; and still knows the coolest spots to eat, shop and lime in both cities. Miamista will take Curbed on any day, provided the money and technical support, and kick their asses covering NY or LA, much less Miami. Hmmph! Curbed indeed!

(Note: I was going to put up a draft of a piece intended for an urban policy journal today. It compared the impact of The LA Times led Otis/Chandler Family and The Miami Herald led by Shutts & Stoneman/Knight-Ridder & Chapman on their respective cities. On closer inspection any comparison may be a preposterous insult to LA.)

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Miami Notes

(Pictured Right: CCCG/Miami City Club's new "Latin Night"?)
1. Miami Overheard: People in Miami seem to be given to regurgitating something someone else said or just not knowing much about anything. I’d like to think that the blogging community in Miami is changing/has changed that. Miami is an outpost city of the American empire, full of sinister intrigue-exciting? At first. Eventually it becomes dull. Crazy isn't necessarily interesting. Miami's oddities and insularity become predictable and even stifling. Again, here comes the blogging community to the rescue. Still, nothing beats live and in person listening to what people are saying.

Forget about the bars, night clubs and the streets, my favorite places to eavesdrop are the Miami City Club or the Country Club of Coral Gables Gable (aka CCCG on the license plates of social climbers). I'm poor and wouldn't waste the money on memebership but my university club has reciprocal relationships. I see the funniest mix of Miamians, the self imagined elite. It’s like being in Calcutta in 1940.

There are the handful of white colonials given to wearisome, boozy complaining about the "natives" (in Miami the natives happen to immigrants). There is the contingency who seem to be entirely unaware of the peculiarities of frontier living, being thoroughly frontier folk. And many people are in some stage of moving away from Miami. Or at least they all say that. The final type that comes to mind are also my favorite, the almost-adapters. They feel an elusive happiness is to be found in adapting to the peculiarities of frontier living but they have not quite arrived there. I'm compiling some of the more interesting comments overheard in all sorts of environments. Not sure what I'm going to do with them.

2. Speaking of boozy Anglos suffering from peer abandonment, Katherine “Kitty Kat” Harris is saying she will spend her estimated $10-15 million inheritance on the FL governor’s race. I have shared with you all why I am voting for Kitty Kat, and it DOES have to do with Kat class and Kat style. I told you why before, she’s a flirty lush and her make-up says “eager to please”. And lately it has been reported that she’s 86’ed the jacket and wore those "pea smuggler" (geddit?)sweaters and blouses to show off the goods. Any of you nauseous yet?

3. I am not that different from the folks that Alesh obviously detests. (Note his energetic and wholly entertaining back and forth with Rick.) Despite or because of my multi-generational Hispanic-ness, I am sure that at some point I actually have said “uhmurcan” (as in our blessed way of life in the U.S.) being screwed up by “furnurs” (those people who don’t share the values and culture that I am most comfortable with). Damn it, recent immigration, (whether due to poverty, disenfranchisement, or just plain damn “foreign-ness”) has assaulted our way of life! They don’t get our values and principles. They don’t assimilate or even try. People are always giving them handouts and their behavior undercuts what has been achieved in our society. Some of them have a sense of entitlement that is unbelievable! *1

4. Local book dodgers, I mean Miami-Dade students and presumably their parents, find that there is another reason to protest besides the FCAT, English immersion and rules against night club outfits in schools. And this time they have a worthy cause- the immigration bill now in the U.S. Senate. Whoo-Hoo!

5. He’s small, he’s furry, and he’s one of the most annoying sidekicks since Scrappy Doo. As the diminutive fuzzball that forever lives in the shadow of his master, Arriola offered little more than a steady stream of wisecracks. And yet, in playing through any of the Mayor Diaz and games, one can’t shake the feeling that having a sidekick that you don’t ever control is a bit of a missed opportunity. Well now, the little critter has gone solo and in Miami, you get to play out all your furry little fantasies.*2

6. I urge you all to contact Bonnie Gross about getting us a new Multicultural Directory. We have very small but growing pockets of every ethnicity imaginable along with the usual Caribbean area folk. This isn't New York or LA (so what) so it is hard to really know anything about them or their cultural offerings without a guide. Bonnie, a really sweet person, has stated to me that she would like to do a new one, but the old one had to be removed because it was outdated. I believe she needs proof that some people actually care before making the investment in personnel time. Contact: Bonnie Gross, Executive Producer, blgross "at" sunsentinel "dot" com , 954-459-2283

7. At the Dade County Commission we have a clown spotting. Or maybe it's a masquerade. Katie “Clueless” Sorenson is bullshit- she doesn’t have a clue on what to do about transportation, education, poverty, substandard housing, economic development, crime, or any goddamn thing. I’ve seen Clueless Katie repeatedly in interviews in print, radio and TV struggle to offer even a coherent answer or worthwhile idea. I’m ashamed to say that it took me this long to figure it out- she is either an idiot or self serving apologist. I listened to her respond to a question about the FEC corridor transit line and she seemed confused, like she had never heard of it!When communities have a problem such as unfair mitigation fee for newly incorporated cities she tells them to go to county manager Burgess. Burgess! Burgess! The ass ferret to developer-loving commissionners Burgess! (My credulity is tested beyond belief!) People have gone against their better instincts again and again and trusted her, only to be given the shaft. She is riding that urban boundary thing a bit too far. I’m ashamed of having supported her. Now that I found magic sparkle dust blown off- Poof! Another Bullshit Artist. Too harsh? Let's give her ONE more chance to redeem herself b/c of the UDB issue.

8. (Katy figures into this one too.) Ever heard Katy Sorenson speak on issues of integrity in public spending or affordable housing? Neither has she? What about hovels that the county is getting fat on by administering? Where was the great reformer on this one? Hell, I’m forced to buy Dade Mayor Carlos “Frankenstein” Alvarez’s wooden, rehearsed “too many excuses, this is unacceptable, who’s mayor around here (no really, who?)” outrage. Give him a dime for each time it’s offered and he’ll be a millionaire.

9. Expect great things from Obdulio Piedra. He is one of the good hearted folk of our city. Ask him to do something helpful with the community and he’s there. He has pushed for integration and affirmative action opportunities (training not "position quotas") in many institutions he's involved in, including Great Bank of Florida. (This is a new thing Miamista is doing, recognizing good folk in his postings.) While I’m mentioning him, Miamista shouts out his son JP- you’re one funny SOB. I saw that crazy baby food eating heifer in NEW YORK. I really need your help with the PR thing I was telling you about. Get back to me. (Miamista will limit himself to one shout out an article.)

10. Kimco, the giant retail property owner that pushed through the Home Depot in the Grove has cut down old mahogany trees and doesn’t even want to pay the mitigation fees (or replant trees it seems). Trees get in the way of the construction starter-site that is the parking lot of all Home Depots. The supplier of mother’s milk to Mayor Dickhead and Winton wants to keep Home Depot happy since it is one of its largest clients. Rather than wait for Home Depot to cut down the trees, Kimco is doing the dirty deed. Contact Winton- Boycott Home Depot- Poe's Hardware people! (Poe's Hardware & Rentals 425 Dixie Hwy. Coral Gables FL 33146 305-667-6413 )

*1-Gotcha! If you agreed with that you are a racist, xenophobic, narrow minded bigot. Or you could be perfectly normal. Can't decide which one.
*2- That piece actually comes from a magazine review of the Jak and Daxter (?) video game written by a buddy. I proofed it for him and suddenly noticed that if you change the names...

Miami Blogging Grows!

This post is about the (overdue) mini-boom in local blogs. First, let me say that I know this post needs links but I thought you'd enjoy matching the references to my links. Secondly, I've been thinking that maybe blogging is not an altogether good thing. I recently met a blogger in NY. Both of us read each others NY blogs and we knew each other through our work but never really talked. The name of their NY blog was mentioned and I overheard... Is blogging making folks more remote? Anyway, on with the blogs.

I'll start with blogs I just don't care for nor linked to. There is a “chic” chick who actually claims to be a socialite. I was under the impression that real socialites never claim to be and detailing life at seedy non-exclusive Miami Beach clubs doesn’t make one a socialite. Or maybe it does, which says everything about how bankrupt being a socialite is. Then there is a local Arab/Muslim hater on Miami Beach whose hating marrs and otherwise alright blog.

There is a kraut, (they love that), I mean German expat who has a blog that is distinctly German expat (named Al Capone of course). And it’s great! He is apparently a journalist with a cigar magazine. Send me a few free samples man! But not too many. Smoking is dangerous.

There is Manola B who talks about the seemingly trivial and is obviously trying to ingratiate herself into the blogging community through sheer strength of will. Why is it working? Cuz she’s actually funny! I think I’m her biggest fan. (Nope, edit that. Alesh may be.) A relatively new Miamian (the New Miamian), originally from somewhere in Bubbaville (Southerners, and I’m sorta one, love that word) has a really great blog with great pictures and a way beyond functional layout. The writing has an “intelligent but still a rube chick in the big city” quality that grew on/endeared it to me after four minutes. NewMiamian has interviewed Manola B in a post.
There is Show Me, a decidedly semi-retired, hypochondriac Midwesterner-in-Miami blog has moments of insight, and is often droll to downright hilarious. His experiments with technology yield the occassionally funny and the occasional "huh?". Other experiments in technology- Issena is back from the dead complete with disembodied voice, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Issena also refuses to take down that University of Texas Rose Bowl thing despite my many entreaties. Courier Blues had funny snapshots/captions and was on Miamista’s links a little bit. Alesh over at CM gave CB a shout out in a post. CB promptly stopped posting and disappeared I think. Come back CB.

Speaking of CM, Steve "As in Blood" Klotz has a blog of his own but I'm waiting to see if it is a Miami focused blog before I link. (My other criteria is that I exclude blogs focused on partisan politics, which means some of my favorite blogs are not linked.) Bob Norman’s Daily Pulp moved sites but isn’t that new, just wanted to mention it. I already offered a few words on Miamisnews, a blog compilation/news feed/paste board- “Igor, it’s alive!” (Anyone know who’s responsible?)

Greener Miami gets an “A” in my book. Greener’s author, Rebecca, doesn’t have the finger wagging, holier than thou sort of approach that most tree huggers have, and I’m not entirely sure that’s a good thing. I’m personally aware that she has worked with some local non-profits and businesses already despite a condition which I understand is caused/exacerbated by typing. I’ve included her and another Miami blogger in my (widely spaced) prayers a time or two. I HATE the existence of physical ailments with a passion. Don’t we all. Before I go into a rant about how medical research is neither properly funded nor executed in American society I’ll end this disjointed posting.

Happy Blogging!

Note: A piece on bloggers who are new to and unaquainted with the So Fla and the Miami Beach/Miami/Broward divides will be coming soon. New bloggers are encouraged to send info.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Go Miami, Go South Florida!

Good things! In Miami we need to celebrate some of the good things. So here goes-

Tourist Town
Miami, like most tourist towns is one of the best places to relax. We have to be to make people want to visit. Clubs, bars, entertainment, food, transportation- available at all hours. And for a winter getaway like South Florida we offer great weather, beaches, greenery, etc. Summer? Great, no tourists. Want a tan, just walk outside after 9:00 am.

Social Climbing
It is a social climbers heaven, without all the barriers / qualifications that one needs where there is well entrenched, exclusive elite. Cocaine dealing thug? Arms smuggler? Immigrant smuggler? Trollop with a few tricks? Money launderer/"Developer"? Semi-retired terrorist? Ill educated and semi-literate? Ethnic type (but not Black)? No problem!

Fun in the Sun
Outdoor recreation your thing? No better place than Miami. Great, great golfing for cheap!Water sports- boating, jet skiing, snorkeling, fishing, etc. Lack of lines at public tennis courts. We may lack urban park space but there is tons of wildlife/refuge areas. (Close to nature and the wilderness- Miamians take advantage.) And for all the bemoaned lack of park space, I went horsey riding at Tropical Park and there was only two other riders.

Games and Where We Play Them
We have sports teams, gaming, and host major entertainment and cultural special events. If we are sweating out a new ball park, don’t forget we have AAA (say what you like but its better than the old Arena) Joe Robbie, Homestead-Miami Speedway, Home Depot Center, Crandon Park Tennis Center and the venerable Orange Bowl. The new MPAC, the planned museums, not to mention the suburban cultural venues of Broward are great places to go. Miami, Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale have the airport facilities (wince) and convention facilities to keep us competitive with any convention destination. At some point entertainment, culture and media has to start taking root as opposed to being a temporary stop in the sun. (BTW, could someone fire dude at the county film and media biz department and bring in someone with juice and connections?)

Poverty, The Upside
I know we all complain about the low wages and rising cost of living but there are some benefits. Cheap cultural offerings with great availability. Dirt cheap clubs, drinks and drugs (not advocating the use of the latter). Widespread poverty=cheap help.

Real Estate Crash, The Up Side
Real estate speculation has left us with a glut of housing, especially condos. Obviously the amount of building is not quite what was predicted and projects are being cancelled but we can expect cheap rents and moderate house prices for decades compared to other major coastal cities.

I know I Suck But What About You
Miami knows it has a lot of things about it that could be better. That’s a great thing! We have something to prove, the second rate city full of immigrants with a chip on its shoulder. Beware of overly content people. They don’t address their problems. We have a very healthy skepticism of government. Maybe our pols are worse than most (maybe not) but at least we know it. Ever seen those Hillary loving, Bloomberg cowed New Yorkers or the Cynical-Beyond-Functioning LA folk?

What Size is Our Pond
Are you reading this? Miami is small enough to be heard. As much as you could say there are literally tens of thousands of well written blogs in NY, LA , Boston or San Francisco, how can any individual really be heard? It is still a small town, so swim on big fish, swim on!

Middle Age
Miami is old enough to have history (yes we have history) yet new enough not to have a decaying post industrial landscape and infrastructure. So yeah we may need to catch up with hard infrastructure like roads, bridges, tunnels and trains and we may need new universities and schools and hospitals but at least they aren’t 125 years old, crumbling and decrepit.

Here They Come
We are finally turning the corner from the White and Black/ middle class/ well educated flight thing. We are getting folks beyond the Third World refugees, including young (and older) educated and informed Americans. Miami Beach, Midtown and to a lesser extent, downtown have become downright English speaking and Yuppie! Broward has said to Dade, “Don’t want well educated Northerners, Midwesterners, West Indians, Asians and Africans? We’ll take ‘em!” Look for Broward to continue a faster pace of economic growth vis a vis Dade. Look for Nova and FAU to distinguish themselves nationally.

You Mean Stay in Miami?
There is a chance we will have two new medical schools, a major medical research center in the next four years, invigorating a long stagnant intellectual based economy. A small number of local companies and basically every local bank has been bought out by national conglomerates based elsewhere (Ivax, Blockbuster, Alien Ware come to mind). Instead of meaning that we have failed to compete it means that we are incubating businesses. National firms will eventually recognize that South Florida can sustain major corporate headquarters (can’t we?)

On the Verge
Miami/South Florida isn’t there yet but we are a region on the verge. We are a step from outpacing the Sun Belt cities and within sight of the major California and Northeastern cities. There are great possibilities! We know what the topics are and we are discussing them- Language barriers, educational infrastructure, wages, insularity, government corruption, urban sprawl, regionalism, crime, poverty, transportation. And at some level, we are addressing all of these things.

Go Miami! Go South Florida! It’s about time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Wha's Up Miami? Chillin'?

So what has been going on Miami? Looking good, looking good. Have you been laying out, I don’t remember you so tan? Losing weight? South Beach diet right, "Just say yes"! What’s up with your boy Broward? Haven’t seen him or you... Some crazy shit I’ve been hearing 'bout you. What? Shhhit, where to start-

  1. Arriola is found guilty of being a colluding, public money siphoning asshole in a court of law, and his boss Mayor Dickhead is found guilty of being a lying, sniveling, colluding sneak thief. So ruled this 23rd day of March in the year of our Lord 2006. You may all read on as this topic is adjourned…
  2. In true Banana Republic style Wynton, Arriola and Dickhead were in a joint real estate venture, that would benefit by city planned improvements and zoning. In related news, Miami City Hall forms longest public official conga line…
  3. Dade State's Attorney Katherine “Prostitution of Prosecution” Fernandez-Rundle has live at home 22 year old sons who are damn car thieves, drug users/sellers and repeat criminals. It’s okay, if they go to jail he can meet up with cocaine dealer/UM football alum son of Carlos Gimenez. Oh, that’s right, no one will prosecute.
  4. A good person doing good things- Miamity. Kyle or can I call him “The Munz”, makes up for all of the UM students/stuff that I find abhorrent, and his latest stance regarding the UM strikers solidifies that. (Though I am increasingly ambivalent about just what a group of largely unskilled / semi-skilled workers with questionable documentation deserve.) Anyway, I owe The Munz three more shout outs.
  5. There was a news story in the Sun-Sentinel that Broward landowners have been breeding horses the size of Labrador Retrievers for a tax break, one upping the Miami-Dade farmers planting rubbish and building materials in attempts to grow and harvest healthy, green tax breaks under the Florida sun. The Florida legislature recently protected both of these tax breaks for the wealthy. Indeed.
  6. Luis Posada Carriles, plans to send his bombs via Fed Ex from US custody that he may or may not actually be in, if history tells us anything. Explosive parts will be supplied via the US military facilities at Fort Benning. An eventual courier will probably be a poor illegal immigrant Nicaraguan from Sweetwater, again, if history tells us anything. (What REAL Cuban freedom fighter would want to GO TO CUBA to actually do their own children killing and tourist maiming, sorry FREEDOM FIGHTING.) Hey, maybe Osama is hiding in Posada’s closet while learning bomb making tips!
  7. So Herr Tony Ridder managed to lose the company his grandfather founded and his family laboringly built in one fell swoop. How do you say my grandson is a shithead in German? Some Herald folk say it couldn’t have happened to a better person. In fairness though, the San Jose Mercury, Philly Inquirer and a few other KR papers were standouts. The Herald also had its moments under KR though they seem to be receding to ancient memory.
  8. OK, the local Realtor Association has went crazy. As many of you are aware of, South Florida Realtors did not release condo sales numbers, allegedly for fear that these more volatile sales statistics would skew figures. (The obvious question was why not release them separately.) Rather than releasing sales numbers they actually made an “estimate” of earlier property values, they say due to the fact that many condos are new buildings with nothing to measure against for price increases or decreases. The numbers they used in their first two condo resale figures for price increases- ten year old property value estimates.
  9. BTW, folks are sick of Miami and they are leaving. Seems that many of them are Argentines. Others are homeowners.
  10. Jeb's State University Board of Governors, emboldened with all the fierce independence of Paris Hilton's Chihuahua, approved medical schools for FIU and UCF, pending a half billion dollars in funding. The misnamed Modesto "Mitch" Maidique said that this day matched the university's founding in importance. You will recall that FAU has teamed with UM to build a medical school. The state also recently approved and funded the Tallahassee Quack Factory, I mean FSU Chiropractic School. I’ll also point out again the humiliation that Florida State went through in its failed attempts to gain accreditation for its first six years of operation. I honestly believe that Mitch would do a much better job. When free to make decisions he will hire the most qualified people. His choices to lead the schools of law and engineering have been solid to say the least. He caught local flak for both choices despite their obvious abilities as they were a Jewish guy and an Indian fellow, both from New York. Vish Persaud gets my thumbs up. I want to say hello to him and his great wife. I hope he is enjoying his beautiful new home in the Gables.
  11. The Florida State Supreme court, led by the late Cuban dictator Fulgencio Batista's *spawn, struck more blows against democracy and queers. (Don't cha just remember footage of the Li'l Killer playing with Grandpa surrounded by gun toting thugs, while his Pops was torturing teens and collecting from Havana parking meters.) Yes, these rulings safeguard the state for gerrymandering on the basis of cronyism, race, party business interest by legislators. The court also supported the legality of a state ban on Gay marriage.

So yeah, Miami, I gotta take care of this thing. Alright, you take care of yourself. Don't be such a fuckin' stranger. I'll hit you up tonight or this weekend, see wha'sup, a'righ'. Cool. Later.

(*Batista's grandson Justice Raoul Cantero was appointed by Jeb Bush to the Supreme Court despite a numerous complaints of misconduct and a history of censure by the state Bar for "Intimidation".)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Miamista Doesn't Deserve You

Hello Miamista Readers! I have been on break and will be for a little bit more. I have been receiving /reading your mail. Sorry for being so cruddy as not to answer most nor informing you of the the time frame of the next posting. Bad Miamista! Pau, Pau! Is that a Latin thing, the "pau pau" to accentuate the slap on the wrist?

To be fair to myself however, I get more mail asking what's up with the no-posts than I get when I put time and effort in ACTUALLY posting. AND I have been dropping a line or two as comments on some of the Miami blogs that I read. What's more, there are folks cough, kordorgreaterfortlauderdaledonjeffreyissenamiamimuse, cough, that don't put up posts for seemingly years. I keep them to the right still. And hopefully you've been visiting some of the good folks in that column of sites and blogs.

Anyway, yeah, if anyone sends me posts I'll put it up in the mean time. Really, it will be fun! Send them as comments, if you please, as Miamista's email accounts often screen unrecognized folk's mail as basura. ( The gratuitous use of Spanish is to beef up my bona fides as a Cuban American blogger. Same thing with the picture of Luis "Boom Boom" Posada Carriles.)