By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Still Screaming Over Mimy
Regarding Paula Park's article "What a Lovely Neighborhood" (January 16), people need to realize that there is a societal impact when property owners take a single-family home and re-establish it as a complex to house twenty people. The amount of trash accumulated far surpasses anything imagined by the City of Miami's garbage fees.
For those tenants who dwell within the confines of a closet with a bed, their only personal space is the neighborhood streets. Tensions and hostilities tend to swelter within these compounds and can erupt into acts of violence. Certain property owners have been documented as having illegal units and compartmentalized homes. They are taking advantage of the neighborhood, and it is a shame the city allows this to continue.
And it is disturbing that someone like code enforcement inspector Jean Mimy claims that his job is only to "initiate the case," when that is not truly the situation. It is also Mimy's job to issue an affidavit of compliance or noncompliance, in keeping with instructions from the city's code enforcement board. If the affidavits are not issued, there is never any documentation to proceed with a lien or foreclosure. The property can continue in its distressed state as if a violation had never occurred.
Inspector Mimy has mastered the art of neglecting the follow-up paperwork, and so, conveniently, the violations continue.
Little People, Big Buildings
Kirk Semple's "Arrested Development" (January 16) describes a revolution on Miami Beach that would almost certainly be supported by the voting public. In reality, however, the legal reform called for by the citizens' petition is far more modest than an effort "to slow -- if not stop -- any further development along the city's waterfront."
The actual petition circulated by Save Miami Beach PAC would not prevent high-rises on the waterfront. In fact it would not have the slightest effect on existing development rights; the high-rises currently permitted throughout the city will continue to rise along our shores. The proposed charter amendment simply gives the public a say when developers ask the city for more rights than they own, and so it does not raise any legal "taking" issues. (Unfortunately our waterfront has already been taken by developers, who would do well to seek out attorneys who have read and who understand the petition.)
More is at risk than Thomas Kramer's so-called Alaska Parcel. Beach voters are aware of upzoning proposals for waterfront land in North Beach and mid-Beach, as well as South Beach. While the city has indeed downzoned certain interior areas (and established height limits in historic districts), the petition signers have sent a clear message to the city that our serious concerns about overdevelopment are not being respected.
Ilona Wiss, president
South Pointe Citizens Coalition
Let Them Eat Art
I was somewhat pleased to read Judy Cantor's article about the "exodus" of galleries from Coral Gables ("Gallery Walkout," January 16). After attending the Gramercy International Contemporary Art Fair at the Raleigh Hotel in Miami Beach (which gave Miami a multitude of examples of what contemporary art really is) and hearing about the problems gallery owners in the Gables have concerning the exhibition of sometimes "PG-13" art, it is obvious that this community seeks visual art that is homogeneous with this affluent, conservative, yet illiterate suburb.
In Coral Gables galleries, maybe it would be a good idea to make laser copies from art history texts. That type of art would not offer the community any truths concerning present-day issues. But perhaps that is the community's intention -- to remain in a vacuum.
We should give more time and space to those artists who have something to say about our world and our community before they die (something that unfortunately happens in this field). By opening our minds just a bit, we might be able to see art that gives us some insight into ourselves and our society.
Rosario's New Gig: The Home Shopping Network
If I were Kirk Semple, I wouldn't ask for the opinion of Rosario Kennedy -- unless it was for Comedy Central ("New Year's Revolution," January 2). One of the sure ways to improve the City of Miami would be to ignore the rhetoric of former city commissioners, so-called lobbyists, and/or social climbers such as Ms. Kennedy. (The professional title lobbyist is laughable. If this woman couldn't recognize a "character" like Joe Gersten, how can she intelligently represent the interests of anyone?)
My advice to the former city commissioner is to stay away from Tallahassee and Washington and instead to embrace the world of daytime or late-night television, where she'll find an audience more forgiving and understanding of Joe Gersten-type scandals. Maybe she could become the Ivana Trump of Miami, with a spot on the Home Shopping Network marketing replicas of those items she lost to Joey in litigation.
Obviously her accomplishment of demolishing 400 abandoned buildings fell one short: the one Gersten played in. Did it become a landmark? Ms. Kennedy should try to rehabilitate past and present city commissioners who have sinned against their constituents. How about organizing a trade school for prostitutes who were paid by Joey?