Letters to the Editor

From the issue of July 26, 2001

I regularly host guests here, about seven to ten people per month. These folks are prominent business people from the bigger cities in Latin America, North America, and Europe. They are appalled at the situation. I enjoy showcasing the Beach to visitors; it's my favorite pastime. But despite my best efforts to show off our city, the unruly mobs are impossible to circumvent or ignore.

I admit that Miami Beach is in somewhat of a downward spiral. Gone are the days when we got a new trendy nightclub every three months or so. Gone are the sophisticated, trend-setting crowds of a few years ago. These crowds certainly disturbed the peace on occasion, but we weren't seeing stabbings, assaults, and vandalism in the headlines.

The current state of the national economy likely requires Miami Beach be more open in searching for events to bring to the city. I understand we cannot outright deny the right of any group of people to visit our community, but can we not at least require promoters to file paperwork with estimated number of attendees, an impact study of the event (waste management, traffic congestion), contingency plans for overcapacity, and an explanation of why the Beach is right for this event? In this way the residents, hotels, restaurants, and clubs can get an idea of the overall scope of the planned event and how it will impact the community as a whole. (Remember that the Beach proper is such a small place!)

If we do not take action, we will end up exactly like another community that has all but failed as a tourist destination a mere two years after its height as a trendy destination. I refer to the Atlanta neighborhood of Buckhead. I spend most of my time traveling, and Atlanta is a location where I have spent quite a lot of time over the past couple of years. While it was the place to visit for many years, the recent influx of thug elements has residents, tourists, and -- most important -- businesses, running for the hills. We must do something to manage this impact on our community before it's too late.

Mitchell H. Peacock
Miami Beach

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