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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".

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