Inside Feature

Jack D. Gordon
Democratic state senator, 35th District
"The incredibly discourteous drivers in Greater Miami, especially on the expressways. The people who try to get one place ahead by switching lanes, often without signaling. I think it's worse here and I think that it has to do with a number of things, particularly the large number of tourists who don't know the roads. They're unfamiliar with the place, they're less careful. A solution could be that radio stations - that's who cars are listening to - should do some kind of public service exhortation to stay in your lane, use your signal, turn your signal off when you're not using it. There must be people in the Highway Patrol that could make up some short, simple suggestions to drivers - ten to fifteen seconds each - that they could throw in during the course of a program. `Slow down. Stay in your lane. Use your blinker if you must change lanes. Relax. If you get there a minute later, the world will not end and we'll all be happier.'"

Paul George
Assistant professor of social science at Miami-Dade Community College; walking-tour guide extraordinaire

"Greater Miami doesn't plant enough shade trees to beautify this place. It would be much like a tropical paradise if we did. Paris lined its main streets and boulevards with shade trees and they don't come down before they die. We tend to blow our trees away after a decade. Several years ago, they tore down black olives along Flagler between Miami Avenue and First. Then several weeks ago they did the same thing between East First and East Second on Flagler. You just don't do that! With nature, you let it grow! It would provide beauty, shade, and also it helps purify the air. In downtown, trees would make it a little safer for pedestrians. The very simple remedy is to plant those trees, get a mindset that trees really add beauty. We know that from Washington, D.C., Paris, Las Olas Boulevard in Fort Lauderdale. It's never too late to do that."

Jack Thompson
Attorney, anti-smut crusader
"During the energy crisis of the mid-Seventies, gasoline service stations decided to remove from self-serve pumps the locking lever from the nozzle handle that kept the gas flowing automatically without constant hand-holding by the customer. You see, these running dogs of petro-imperialism gave us hand fatigue and gas-soaked hands to encourage some of us to opt for the more expensive full-service fill-up. Now that the energy crunch is over, one still has to crunch one's hand for the two minutes it takes to fill up, while the full-service pump nozzles are equipped, of course, with the automatic lever for the convenience of gas-station employees. Putting the levers back on the self-serve nozzles would cost mere dollars per station. Seems to me the Dade County Commission needs to get a grip on the problem by passing a county-wide ordinance requiring all Dade service stations to provide the automatic feature on self-serve pumps. Any station that refuses can't have a price differential between full-serve and self-serve gas."

Ann-Marie Adker
Overtown advocate
"I was able to arrange a once-a-week trash pickup at the roadside, wherein I'd have designated spots for old refrigerators, stoves, sofas. So the City of Miami does that every Friday. But you know what happens? On Saturday morning the residents begin all over again, dumping their trash at the designated spots. It bugs me that our streets are never clear. You can imagine how a neighborhood looks with clutter on every block. I go through Wynwood every Sunday morning going to church, and Wynwood is ridiculous too. You know, I laugh to keep from crying. I think the only solution is for the City of Miami to cite these people. I ask that they enforce existing rules. The city needs money, and if you hit some of these people in the pocketbook, it would surprise you how they would think again when they head to the designated spot on the wrong day."

Robert Joffee
Director, Mason-Dixon Florida Poll
"I think it should be possible for people arriving at Miami International Airport to get a clean, air-conditioned taxi dispatched by someone who speaks their language with a driver who knows where they want to go. Is there anyone who has flown into Miami who hasn't had some bad taxi experiences at the airport? You've had a long flight, arrived in a hot, sweaty town, and here's a taxi that's as run down and beat up as you'd expect in a provincial Third World city. If you're a native, you put up with it and say, `Ah shit! Another Miami irritant.' But if you're visiting at your own discretion, you'll say, `Ah, gee. Next time I'll go someplace else.' What I want is not only necessary for our natives, but others who help prop up our sagging economy. Since the first native the visitor is likely to encounter is the taxi dispatcher, we should be looking for people with language and social skills, and the ability to deliver services needed to make the visitor feel welcome. The most you can expect from the drivers is to know where they are going and to have clean, air-conditioned vehicles. I suspect that the folks who shape policy in regard to taxis in Greater Miami should be able to put together a workable solution to these horrors."

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