New Year's Revolution

If you had your way, what single adjustment would you make to enhance the experience of living in South Florida?

Morris Lapidus
Get rid of the honorary commissioner. We should pay commissioners for what they're supposed to do.

Mitchell Kaplan
owner of Books & Books
I'd develop greater walking streets, more town centers and city centers within the different regions in Dade County. There's a need for public spaces for people to congregate. A lot of that congregating goes on in malls, but there are so many different, wonderful communities outside of malls! Through some interesting urban planning, people could be encouraged to spend time outside. I wish there was more of that sort of sensibility in Dade County, a sensibility to transform spaces into public spaces. I'd like to see a lot of them: in the Grove, Coral Gables, South Miami, Little Haiti, Miami Shores. There need to be a lot of public spaces. It shouldn't only be the malls. It shouldn't all be retail-based.

Roderick Petrey
I'd double the expenditures on public education; I'd release all teachers and staff and ask them all to compete for new, much higher salaries, and I'd allow the teachers to be relatively free to teach what they thought wisest for the students of Dade County.

Mary Luft
artist, director of Tigertail Productions
I'd make every single person get involved as a volunteer in an organization, whether it be an arts organization, Girl Scouts, their neighborhood association. I think that would create incredible change. If you get really involved in something, it becomes a personal investment and you pull upon your personal resources. People become really creative when they really get involved with an organization. The opportunities for creative expression have been diminished in modern society. A number of years ago you made your Halloween costume; now you buy it! You are an observer rather than a participant. When people get involved and creative, amazing things happen; life becomes more meaningful.

William Kearns
In Miami you're barely aware you're on the water. So I'd erect an avenue all along the bay, like Lake Shore Drive in Chicago or Bayshore Drive in Tampa. It could stretch from Broad Causeway at 123rd Street down to the Rickenbacker Causeway. You would have parks and marinas; it would enhance the real estate values; it would provide a further buffer to hurricanes, and another north-south access route.

Norman Van Aken
chef/owner of Norman's
I'd create a multicultural indoor/outdoor marketplace, a la Pike Place Market in Seattle or the Rungis Market in Paris. Stall after stall after stall of fish and produce and meats and breads. It would be a consortium of individuals and entrepreneurial types that convene there. Some rent, others are on a sort of ad hoc basis. There might be coffee stalls so you can fuel as you go. People could become a lot more acquainted with the fascinating aspects of culture via food.

George Knox
I would suggest that the major corporations and downtown types must start to act out their commitment to diversity by ensuring that members of diverse populations are in positions of power within their organizations. Companies need to adjust their business practices based on the emerging ethnic spending markets. For example: There's a Texaco station on one corner and a Shell station on the other. I'm more likely to buy from Shell because I know that Shell has some blacks on its board of directors. Corporations need to appreciate the value of investing in the market that I occupy. Don't hire minorities because you've got to satisfy some quotas. Hire minorities because you want them to tell other minorities to buy the company's product. The community has to recognize that the United States is looking to Miami as a model for this sort of thing.

Ric Katz
political consultant
I'd pay for a competing daily newspaper. Not that I have any great problem with the Herald; I just think competition is needed. Dade County society would be much improved if many, many, many more citizens actually read newspapers, attended government meetings, and knew what the fuck was going on. Competing newspapers make reporting more aggressive and accurate. A lot of Dade County's ills would be corrected, problems wouldn't be as bad, inept decision makers would be gone, people wouldn't stand for what happens, mediocrity would not reign.

Lionel Goldbart
poet and Jeopardy champion

Kirk Anderson
(a.k.a. Selector DAP)
pirate radio reggae DJ

Miami is seriously racially divided. I would create a cultural festival that joins people together, where everyone from every different culture can express themselves. Maybe it would be held annually, or two or three times a year. There would be music, all styles! Salsa, merengue, calypso, reggae, rap, light R&B, jazz. It's easier for people to relate to other people through music, because they're having fun. But it wouldn't be restricted to music. There would be art, food, literature. Every year the Latins have Calle Ocho, the Bahamians have Goombay. But we need to have an event where everyone would go and express themselves as one. It wouldn't have to do with building anything new. It would have to do with learning how to live with people better.

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