New Year's Revolution

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

Diane Ward
singer-songwriter
I would have all corporate employees work four days a week and on the fifth day have them do social work. They'd get paid, of course, but they'd be part of the community more and get involved.

Dave Daniels
owner of Churchill's Hideaway
I would rationalize the liquor licenses. Some are two o'clock, some are five and six o'clock, some are grandfathered in. It's kind of here, there, and everywhere. I think it definitely leads to people on drinks moving to someplace else to have more drinks -- which would be considered bad.

Les Standiford
author, director of FIU's creative writing program
I'd communitize every part of Dade County. Put Main Street back in Miami, re-create neighborhoods, give each section of Dade a pedestrian-friendly shopping district like South Miami, like Coconut Grove, like Coral Gables, like Miami Lakes, and ensure that every citizen has ready access to a place like that. Of course, we'd have to enhance the public transport system to ensure access to all these places. It would also entail some changing of the street grid, to discourage zooming through and force people to drive around the outside of neighborhoods. My whole thing is predicated on the fact that everybody knows that Coral Gables and South Miami and Coconut Grove and Miami Lakes are the most pleasant communities in Dade. So I'd give everybody a place like that and do it through taxing, if necessary. Also, I'd tie it to development restrictions. If you're going to do development in West Dade, you can only get a permit if you also have a plan to invest the same amount of money in some sort of urban redevelopment site within one of the designated communities, so that there is no more unqualified sprawl without some money to revitalize existing urban centers and enhance the new ones that are created. Everybody should have a downtown of their own.

The Reverend George McRae
Mount Tabor Baptist Church, Liberty City
The thing I would do would be to see all of the citizens in Dade County treated equally, regardless of race, creed, color, intellectual status, or social status. People in powerful positions need to take a look at the community through the eyes of people who are downcast or downgraded. I would encourage politicians to just spend some time, come out of the ivory tower for a while and spend some time in the ghetto. See what goes on there: It is a real place where real people live. We have an influx of politicians from everywhere during election time, but our problems go on every day.

Erik Speyer
former director of the Miami Museum of Science, international museum designer

Secede! Why do people visit other countries? Because they have different customs. So if we enhanced the differences in the culture, then you'd get a lot of tourists. Enhance all those things that are bad and they would no longer be bad, they'd be part of the charm. For instance, corruption would be part of the scene: People could go watch city commissioners carry on and marvel at how they do it so deftly. Cruise ships would visit Miami as a foreign port. We could have borders where we would stamp passports. It would make everyone feel good. We could issue our own currency and print our own stamps. We'd make tons of money that way. All the budgetary problems would be gone! It could even be a tax haven -- we could take over from the islands. A tax haven for those who drive! As for self-defense, the protection by the U.S. military would be a given since we're close to the U.S. anyway. So we wouldn't have to pay for it any more. That's the great advantage of living in Miami: It's so close to the United States. Secession would go beyond Disney in concept. It would be a tremendous success! It's huge!

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