Best Gadfly (2006)

Steve Hagen

Steve Hagen's advocacy on behalf of an array of causes can be best summed up as an attempt to make sure Miami's development explosion benefits residents as much as developers. The 57-year-old Belle Meade resident embodies the two most important qualities of a gadfly: He is persistent, and he is annoying. Hagen, a Miamian for 22 years, attends more public meetings than most reporters, and he e-mails notes to everyone in every organization he belongs to and then some. He starts new organizations, such as Save Bicentennial Park from Massive Museums and, most recently, Citizens Against Everything Bad. He has been the most visible member of other groups (Miami Neighborhoods United, for instance). He also champions causes that range from Miami's paucity of parkland to its surplus of billboards. When City Manager Joe Arriola, a frequent Hagen target, publicly berated the activist, Hagen sent out mass e-mails detailing the experience. Not since Russ Rector's heyday of attacking the Seaquarium has this town had such a pesky advocate. "I think through sheer repetition, some of what I've been saying has gotten through," he says. "I hear people at public meetings, saying, 'Miami is at the bottom of the list for parks, and we need to do something about that.' I like to think that I helped spread that message."


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