The Bitch

Dead Air

LaBonia just doesn't seem to get that the station belongs to the public. Regarding the communication smackdown memo, LaBonia huffs to The Bitch: "I don't see what the big deal is. We're just like any other corporation where there's a clearinghouse for expressing official opinions and policies."

Meanwhile, this past Saturday, more than 400 people showed for a memorial service for O'Neil. Betty Wright sang and the Consul General of Jamaica read a moving tribute to "The Godfather of Reggae." Not a bad show of community support for a show that airs in the middle of the night while WLRN management sleeps on its future.

Who's Fighting Now? Round Two

Um, isn't rum made of sugar?
Jonathan Postal
Um, isn't rum made of sugar?
What The %$#@? Fawns belong in the forest, not in formaldehyde. What is Rocket Projects thinking with its latest exhibit?
What The %$#@? Fawns belong in the forest, not in formaldehyde. What is Rocket Projects thinking with its latest exhibit?

Ever hear of the Seventh Avenue Corridor Initiative Board? It is apparently a group made up of representatives from Miami-Dade Transit, the nonprofit Martin Luther King Development Corporation, the Belafonte-Tacolcy Center, and others tasked with figuring out how to spend about several million dollars that Carrie Meek brought down as she retired from Congress (now up to about $7 million). The money is earmarked to improve said corridor.

Obscure quasi-governmental organization or not, its meetings sound thrilling. During the last week in September, community activist Max Rameau told the board he hoped the project didn't become another agent for neighborhood gentrification. Rameau and supporters wanted guarantees in writing that the money would go to support existing black businesses, low-income housing, and such.

Billy Hardemon, chairman of the Martin Luther King Economic Development Corporation, countered with an impassioned speech that this was simply growth, not gentrification, so there was nothing to worry about. Rameau continued to press for written guarantees. Hardemon didn't like this, walked over to Rameau, and poked a finger in his chest. Hardemon turned and walked away, and then turned around, and either punched or slapped Rameau in the face (depending on whose account you hear). "I touched him, I didn't slap or hit him," Hardemon asserts. "I felt disrespected when he continued interrupting me."

Chaos ensued. Board members called for police to eject Rameau. Witnesses in the audience shouted that it was Hardemon who should be arrested. Hardemon got nervous. Activist Leroy Jones stepped in and brokered a peace: Hardemon would publicly apologize and no one would go to jail. Hardemon gave a mea culpa, which Rameau acknowledged but didn't accept, and peace was restored.

"It could have gotten ugly in there," Jones recounts. "I give Max credit for not getting physical. I'm disappointed in Billy, though. We respect him because of his experience. I would never have expected this from him."

Insulin Rush

Even though she can see the wondrous stained-glass confection that is the Bacardi Museum from her window, and notwithstanding her occasional enthusiastic support of the product, it is hard for The Bitch to get respect, let alone a straight answer, from the people at Bacardi. The liquor conglomerate that seems to sponsor everything around here from art openings to hubcap-tossing contests recently launched a billboard advertising campaign declaring that a cocktail made with diet cola and Bacardi rum had "0 carbs. 0 sugar."

"But," thought The Bitch, "isn't rum made from sugar -- sugar-cane molasses? Isn't alcohol full of sugars, calories, and toxins?" After being bounced around the Bacardi PR pinball machine, the straightforward inquiry: "What are the ingredients of Bacardi rum?" got a response from Laura Baddish of New York City's Baddish Group, the agency that reps the rum throughout the U.S.: "I need to know the context of your story before I can answer that question."

What with the recent death of Jacques Derrida, Baddish picked the wrong week to deconstruct The Bitch.

Dissembling aside, rum is made from sugar cane, yeast, and distilled water.

Claws Come Out in Panther Pursuit

Collier County State Attorney Stephen Russell charged two Everglades denizens with a crime for tethering a goat that was later attacked by a Florida panther. Jack Shealy, co-owner of Trail Lakes Campground in the Everglades community of Ochopee, and his employee Richard Scholle confined the goat to a well-lit space in the campground in hopes of attracting a Florida panther that had been killing livestock and approaching campers, as documented by New Times ("Wild and Crazy," October 7). Shealy and Everglades scientist Jan Jacobson believed that state and federal wildlife authorities should have contained it.

Jacobson, Shealy, and Scholle will not comment since the State Attorney's Office issued the animal cruelty charges, but in the past they have said that their intention was merely to lure the panther into the light so that Jacobson could get videotape evidence that the cat wore a radio collar and could easily be tracked by the authorities. The predator, however, attacked the goat, mauling the animal until Jacobson scared it off. The cat was packed off to a rehabilitation center. The goat survived. Scholle and Shealy face misdemeanor charges that could result in as long as a year in prison and fines of $1000 each. Jacobson hasn't been charged, though Chere Avery, spokeswoman for the State Attorney's Office, says charges against him are still pending.

Banyan Chainsaw Massacre

The disappearance of the giant banyan tree, symbol of Flamingo Park in Miami Beach, has been lamented by many. Couldn't the shade-yielding, parrot-sheltering mini habitat toppled by a hurricane, have been uprighted instead of uprooted?

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