The Bitch has been thinking and cannot come up with one single reason why it would possibly ever be okay to drive a Boeing 747 up and down the boulevards of our municipality. The 100-plus decibels made by the airbus are nonetheless commonplace in Miami, courtesy of legions of "motorcycle enthusiasts" subtracting working mufflers from the collective urban experience.
Needless to say, the majority of the offenders are not the classic Wild Ones variety but the boomer-lawyer subspecies to whom chest-rattling engine noise is simply the latest way of demonstrating an overweening sense of entitlement. Leave it to Coconut Grove residents to slam the brakes on the disturbance.
Owners and patrons of the Grove's many restaurants with outdoor seating complained to the Miami Police Department about the noise pollution caused by some of the unmuffled bikes that rumble along Main Highway and Commodore Plaza. MPD came up with the amazing idea of having two motorcycle cops post ad hoc checkpoints around the Grove. Motorcyclists will be stopped and their machinery inspected for prohibited equipment, like illegal nonworking mufflers. Police will "work in the business district to target riders who victimize patrons of our many open-air cafés with the constant revving of their engines," in the words of Commander Steven Caceres, who penned the "Coconut Grove Police Report" for the May edition of Coconut Grove Times.
"To deliberately operate a vehicle that makes that much noise is really just rude as hell," shouted Armand DiCassi, a diner at Greenstreets trying to choke down some calamari amid clouds of exhaust and avid vrooming. Noting the shortcomings of one driver apparently endowed with six wheels, librarian and fellow diner Jack Sweeney noted, "That guy has a Trans Am and a Ducati? He must have a really small dick."
There Is a New Low
A few weeks ago the South Florida Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals got a call about a horse abandoned on the edges of the Everglades. The twenty-odd-year-old white mare, on the verge of starvation when the SPCA took her in, was apparently deserted near SW 202nd Avenue and SW 136th Street because she was old and blind.
The Bitch hereby calls for the head of whatever evil bastard decided to let this blind animal wander off into the wetlands and die. If you know him (or her), turn him in. Or kick him in the nuts. Did your summerteethed wife-beater-wearing dad tell you recently that your blind horse "went to a better place?" If so, he's a very bad man. Piss in his Pabst Blue Ribbon.
It is not enough that we have to be reminded of callous disregard for life with each day's fresh story of grotesque child abuse, hit-and-runs, or some schmuck stealing from teachers or schoolchildren; now we have a helpless animal consigned to long, drawn-out death precisely because of her helplessness. Maybe true justice would be letting the newly named horse Blanca have a shot at those nuts.
After some recuperation time, the SPCA will send Blanca to "a retirement home for horses" in Alachua. Here's hoping that the horse's former owner isn't so fortunate. With any luck, he's got children who inherited his cruel streak, and they'll put him out on the street when he gets too feeble to be of use stealing the neighbor's cable signal anymore.
Under the Influence
Yep, The Bitch thinks the stained glass building is swell and all, but did the booze barons at Bacardi really think they could get away with making thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to members of Congress without reporting them? Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), a D.C.-based nonpartisan group that (among other things) tracks the money trails leading to political action committees (PAC), has filed a complaint against Bacardi with the Federal Election Commission. CREW discovered that the rum company did not properly disclose at least $13,000 in donations to backers of proposed legislation known as the Bacardi bill. It aims to expropriate trademark rights for the wildly popular Havana Club brand from a French company and turn those rights over to Bacardi.
According to the complaint, Bacardi failed to disclose contributions made this year to at least three PACs: $1000 to U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), $2500 to House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Tex.), and $1000 to Connie Mack, Jr. , a Republican candidate in Florida's District 14 congressional seat (and son of the former senator). The liquor company also failed to disclose the recipients of $8500 in contributions made last fall. Those recipients included Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) and the Diaz-Balart brothers, Mario and Lincoln, both U.S. representatives for districts in Miami-Dade.
FEC regulations generously give corporate contributors a 30-day grace period after the deadline passes. Bacardi missed the April 15 cutoff; once the CREW complaint became public last week, it filed its reports. But Bacardi could face fines.
What's the big deal? "The big deal is that the law requires contributors to file also," says Melanie Sloan, CREW'S executive director. "Bacardi isn't just giving money randomly, they're giving money to people to pay for legislation."
A request for comment left at Bacardi's legal office in Coral Gables was forwarded to an account executive at Ketchum Public Relations in Washington, D.C., who said no one was available to respond.
Men of Little Valor
The Miami-Dade County Commission on Ethics and Public Trust cannot arrest politicians, bureaucrats, or lobbyists who violate said public trust. Public humiliation, however, is within the EC's purview.
On May 17, the commission slapped down Miami Beach Commissioner Simon Cruz, lobbyist David Lederman, and former North Bay Village Mayor Alan Dorne for unethical behavior.
According to meeting minutes, Cruz agreed to pay $750 for accepting campaign contributions last year from two companies with city contracts, in violation of a city ordinance prohibiting political candidates from accepting contributions from vendors. Lederman was fined $2500 for repeatedly violating the county's ordinance requiring lobbyists to file monthly expenditure reports.
Dorne agreed to pay $546.75 in fines and investigative fees after pleading no contest to violating the county's ordinance governing voluntary fair campaign practices. Dorne resigned in April after the Miami-Dade State Attorney charged him with a second-degree misdemeanor for allegedly violating Florida's Government-in-the-Sunshine Law.
James Earl Jones Is Not Happy
Doesn't Miami-Dade County Commissioner Dennis Moss know that The Lord of the Rings is the new mythologically freighted movie trilogy to reference when dropping heaviness, and that Star Wars went out with the lights in Georgia? Apparently not. How else to explain Moss's turn as Lord of the Sith as well as chairman of the county's Transportation Committee?
During the committee's meeting on May 20, Moss showed John Cosgrove, embattled chairman of the Citizens' Independent Transportation Trust, where the force was.
Moss interrupted Cosgrove, the former state legislator currently besieged by conflict-of-interest allegations, as he was about to answer a question during a discussion of the trust's request to hire an independent financial advisor to evaluate the People's Transportation Plan. The PTP is a massive, billion-dollar public works project to expand Metrorail and bus service over the next twenty years. The trust monitors the proceeds from a half-penny local sales tax being used to fund the PTP.
"Mr. Cosgrove, if we want to hear from you, we will address you. Sit back down," Darth Moss ordered. Cosgrove humbly obeyed.
Also Worth Noting, as They Say....
Professional art directing-type guy Dean Sebring was in full effect for the launch of Euro-attractive Miami lifestyle magazine VIP at a party Saturday at State, which would not have been the same without egregiously snotty bartenders reminding those snapping up free cocktails: "Don't forget the gratuity. "
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On the same night, at the other end of the manners spectrum, was Nerve Lounge promoter Sami Stormo. The charming, gracious New Orleans native, whose chapeau The Bitch adores, breezed through Aquabooty's City Session DJ showcase at the Delano, a mere prelude to her own superior event later on at Nerve: Frankie Knuckles, the virtual inventor of house music, spun a superb set of the dance club staple with more better bass and check-your-obscurity-quotient samples.
"Every time we have a crazy crowd, we put on 'Achy Breaky Heart.' People get upset for about a minute, then they settle down."
- Boris Morales, Club VIP manager on crowd control over Memorial Day weekend