By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
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
The Sound Card Samples W's Compassionate Impression of Karla Faye Tucker
A University of Miami graduate has launched a board game (because most Republicans can't operate a computer) mocking non-conservatives.
The game, called Liberalopoly, is the brainchild of Thomas Williams, who also happens to be the grandson ofApollo 13 commander Jim Lovell. "The objective of the game," says Williams, "is to show how Democrats, not just Republicans, are dependent and accountable to powerful special-interest groups and the liberal media outlets that apply their own bias to their coverage of social and political issues."
Williams sells the game and runs its parent company, Poligames, from his Coral Gables apartment. The Website is http://www.liberalopoly.com.
Bored with the CRA
South Miami City Commissioner Craig Sherar and some of his constituents are on a mission to kill the city's embattled and controversial community redevelopment agency. "The CRA is nothing more than a black hole," gripes local resident and vocal CRA critic Valerie Newman. "We need to get rid of it."
Created by the South Miami City Commission in 1997, the CRA is charged with revitalizing the area bounded by SW 62nd Street on the north, Sunset Drive on the south, 62nd Avenue on the west, and 57th Avenue on the east. Under an interlocal agreement adopted in 1999 by the CRA, the city, and Miami-Dade County, the CRA receives roughly 50 percent of the ad valorem taxes generated by the properties within the CRA's designated area -- tax money that would otherwise go to the city's general fund. The CRA also receives state tax incentives through the county's Office of Community and Economic Development. Although the CRA is independent of the city, the city commission serves as the CRA board of directors. The CRA has the power to take people's properties through eminent domain and to dole out grants to landowners and investors who want to redevelop properties within the CRA's area.
To date, the South Miami CRA has collected more than three million dollars in taxpayer money to fund its operations and the redevelopment of homes and businesses in blighted neighborhoods. But Sherar, Newman and other residents have long complained that the CRA has done little to revitalize the area, which includes the Shops at Sunset Place and other not-so-blighted commercial properties near and along Sunset Drive. For instance, the CRA has doled out roughly $53,000 to local homeowners for upgrades on the facades of their houses and other home improvements. Yet the CRA has spent more than a half million dollars on consultants. "When you do an analysis," Sherar notes, "you can see we are not getting anything in return."
Now the CRA is scrambling to extend the interlocal agreement, which expired last year, with the city and the county so it can continue to receive funding. "They were supposed to have a plan submitted to the county in January," says an exasperated Newman.
At the CRA's August 24 meeting, a visibly angry Sherar did his best to kill CRA director Joseph Gibson's request to pay a consultant $124,250 to help the agency develop a new plan that would extend the CRA for the another 25 years. Although Sherar's bid failed, he succeeded in cutting down the number of years from 25 to 10. Gibson did not return phone calls seeking comment.
So Wrong Soho
On a recent Friday night, Joseph NeSmith and his date headed down to SoHo Lounge for Revolver, the popular post-punk/power-pop showcase which has featured DJs from Carlos D. from Interpol to Miami's own Alex Caso.
NeSmith, 22, self-described starving artist and a stage manager at New Theater in Coral Gables, typically orders only a round or two of cocktails because that's about all he can afford. On this particular evening, he and a companion spent $27 which included a generous tip for the bartender.
But the pair, who share a bank account, got a nasty shock the next day when they discovered that SoHo had charged their bank card $100. This was a problem. "We are not rich people and $80 is enough to break us," complains NeSmith. "We couldn't buy food like we had planned on our Saturday afternoon. I couldn't even change the oil in my car."
So NeSmith trudged down to SoHo that evening to try to get the matter sorted out. He walked up to a bouncer at the door and told him he needed to speak to management about his bill. Standing nearby, listening, was a woman. She turned around and walked into the club without a word. "Well, that was the owner," the bouncer told NeSmith. "So, I guess she doesn't care."
NeSmith was adamant so the woman returned, whipped out a marker and had him write his number on a club flyer, saying she'd call. She didn't. NeSmith faxed the club a copy of his bank statement and the receipt, which oddly, bears the date of New Year's Day, 1980 (roughly two years before NeSmith was born). Nada.
So finally, NeSmith called his bank, which refunded the entire $100 because of the weird date on the receipt. But he's still pissed at the brush-off and wants other SoHo patrons to start checking their receipts. "They were hoping I was some rich kid with deep pockets who wouldn't notice," he says. "We used to go to Revolver every Friday. Now I have no desire to go back."