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
The officer did obtain signatures from a foursome of Canadians in town to attend a computer convention. One of them, Harry Chang of Toronto, signed the form, though he expressed confusion as to the utility of said affidavit. “Why do you not want them to trade?” subject Chang inquired of the embargo against importing or exporting Cuban goods.
“Sir, I don't write the laws, I just enforce them,” I replied.
“But that what's wrong,” subject insisted. “I know Cuba is communist, but China, Russia, and North Korea -- we are trying to open these countries up. Why not Cuba?”
Before I could respond to Chang's question, a course ranger skidded to a stop on the cart path adjacent to the tee. Informing this officer that I “can't talk about Cuba here,” she chauffeured me to the clubhouse. There a man who identified himself as Ross Todd verified that golfers at Crandon Park are not asked to sign the Cuba Affidavit before hitting the links. Before exiting the premises, I noted a sign in the clubhouse: “Miami-Dade County requires proof of residency to obtain resident rate, no exception.” This officer quietly snickered at this blatant example of selective enforcement.
LOCATION: MATHESON HAMMOCK PARK
DATE: JUNE 15
TIME: HIGH NOON
REPORTING OFFICER: R. GUERRA
BADGE NO. 0001 NARRATIVE: Now that kids are out of school with idle time on their hands, I deemed it necessary to inspect the Matheson Hammock lagoon to see if the swimmers at the county-operated park were compliant with the ordinance. I paid my $3.50 entrance fee, noting that I was not asked any questions about my business dealings with Cuba. My suspicion that no other drivers were questioned was confirmed when I landed on the beach.
“I didn't sign anything,” said the first mother I approached. She refused to give her name. Seven young children frolicked in the shallow water near her. A few of the kids wore water wings. Others wore life jackets. At least one wore no flotation device. “I was just handed a pamphlet on water safety and a pamphlet on activities in the park,” she said. “No one asked me anything about Cuba. And I don't sign anything without first letting my husband look at it, and he's not here.”
Shaking my head in bewilderment, I proceeded to search elsewhere for compliance. The beach was crowded with mothers and children pulling fruit-juice boxes from Igloo coolers as they lounged on low-slung nylon-and-aluminum chairs. I approached a second mother, her faced shaded by a wide straw hat.
“I don't consider going to the beach to be doing business with the county,” she told me. “I consider this using public property that I pay for with my taxes.”
“Ma'am,” I corrected her, “you just paid $3.50 to enter the park. You've transacted business.”
“I would consider it very burdensome if every time I wanted to use the park I would have to sign that form,” she protested. It should be noted that she too refused to give her name.
According to county law, this mother would only have to sign the form once. As long as her signature was on file downtown, compliance would be maintained. Still she balked at signing the form I presented to her. “Ma'am,” I clarified after explaining matters to her, “I don't make the laws.”
“You're not a county employee!” she shrieked. “You're citizens' auxiliary.”
“Yes, ma'am, I work for CACA.”
“You're not a county employee!” she repeated. “You have to take this up with the county if you have a problem with this.”
“Ma'am, please. How do I know one of your kids is not doing business with Cuba?”
“This conversation is over!”
“Would you like me to --”
LOCATION: VENETIAN CAUSEWAY
DATE: JUNE 14
TIME: APPROXIMATELY 5:30 P.M.
REPORTING OFFICER: R. GUERRA BADGE NO. 0001 NARRATIVE:This officer was making a routine trip to Miami Beach via the Venetian Causeway. As obligated by law, I paid my 50-cent toll at the booth located at the base of the causeway's drawbridge. While handing my coins to the attendant, a county employee, I noted subject's failure to determine my compliance with the Cuba Ordinance. This officer immediately parked the CACA patrol vehicle in the adjacent gravel lot. Hitching up my police-surplus belt and grabbing my clipboard, I made my way over to the four-lane tollbooth.
As usual when on patrol, this officer was wearing his Citizens' Auxiliary uniform, with CACA patches on the sleeves, a dark-blue patrolman's hat on my head, and a silver “Special Enforcement” badge affixed to a blue polyester shirt. Official appearance seemed to unnerve the attendant working the eastbound cash lane.
“Excuse me, sir,” I asked him. “Are you checking people to see if they are compliant with the Miami-Dade County Cuba Ordinance?”
The gentleman stared blankly. His eyes registered no understanding of my simple question. I repeated: “Are you checking to see if every driver who passes through your tollbooth has signed the Cuba Affidavit?”
He maintained the blank expression. I leaned closer to check for the presence of alcohol on his breath, but could not detect any. He continued to act as if he had no idea what I was talking about, simply shaking his head back and forth and shrugging his shoulders. Before I could continue my interrogation, a vehicle approached. I caught the driver's attention.