Barricade Feature

One of the few villagers not bracing for the clash is Barbara North Burton, the godmother of barricades. "We heard the same objections last time," she says matter-of-factly. "You know, this is a funny little village. There's a handful of people here who would object to anything. You could have a referendum on motherhood and there'd be a faction opposing motherhood."

Newly elected mayor Steve Johnson, who still remembers the bruising experience of presiding over his first barricade meeting in August, is less inclined to shrug off the impending rift. Though he supports barricades, he is all too aware of why others don't. "Some people's property values did go down. What can I say? You can never please everyone. The west side, the side that says they're being shut out of the Shores, has felt neglected for a long time, and there is some credence to that. There's nothing we can do but assure them that we're not cutting them off and try to demonstrate that by providing them services and increasing code enforcement over there. But a lot of this anger, the vehemence, I think comes down to change. People don't like change," Johnson says. "And barricades are a big change."

As for the messy talk of the race or class dynamics bubbling beneath the barricade fray, Johnson speaks for his village. "How the hell can people think like that? I don't care if someone's black or white or green! I don't check their tax returns! They just better keep it to one family per house and better keep up the house." He pauses for a moment. "If you don't care about yard work, you shouldn't buy a house in Miami Shores.

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