We Built This City

Turns out the best possible way to rescue Miami-Dade's remaining rural farmland is to incorporate as a ... city. Huh?

While Knights welcomes the debate Losner brings, he worries about the banker's impact. "He has no regard for what we are trying to do," Knights concludes. "I don't think people will want to incorporate if they are incorporating a permanent feud."

Knights rules out running for office himself, preferring to prod from the sidelines. He says activists are ready to disavow their unique experiment if, in its creation, the boundaries or other key parts of the proposal are changed too much. "If this thing gets bastardized, we would probably be the first to sink it," he maintains.

Meanwhile he busily works to formulate a preliminary charter to offer voters for approval. He has studied about 40 municipalities to get ideas, he says. His criteria is to determine what matches with the mission to save agriculture. Some of the ideas being tossed around are a weak-mayor system of government, residency requirements, unpaid elected leaders, and a professional manager.

Even if this revolutionary rural community fails to materialize, activists welcome the serious debate on the future of Miami-Dade's farmland that will result. "If the commission and these hidden forces don't want agriculture, let them come out and say it," comments Pat Wade.

Each of them professes to be slightly in awe of watching what could be a historic process unfold. "It's a chance in a lifetime," says Knights. "It's going to be hilarious to watch."

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