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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.

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