To that end, Breslin is gathering a growing number of his fellow residents into their Neighborhood Association, hoping to work with the Miami Beach Planning Board in properly managing the nabe's growth -- rezoning or perhaps offering tax incentives to attract the type of businesses that have disappeared. One way or another, he adds, it's Collins Park's residents who'll be forced to deal with the situation once the developers have packed up their sales offices and moved on to the next hot neighborhood.
Still, however plucky Breslin and his neighbors may be, they have some powerful forces arrayed against them -- the hundreds of millions of dollars flowing into their back yards carries an awful lot of influence at city hall.
Ray Breslin: "I hope these developers don't forget that people are
actually going to live in their condos once they've bought them."
Such opposition only makes Breslin more determined. Here comes Jimmy Stewart again: "In 1979, when my partner and I first settled down, there weren't any laws on the books to protect us. The right to get married?" He shakes his head incredulously at the very thought of such a demand in an earlier era. "Back then you were forced to work things out for yourself. You had to take care of each other. And if you cared about your community, well, you had to look out for that too." He pauses and then breaks into a triumphant smile: "And that's exactly what we did."