The Bitch, an oceangoing mammal by nature, is keenly aware Miami's waterfront is being converted into condos and that available boat slips at marinas are disappearing. The city's maritime community has been trying to deal with this issue for years, with little to show by way of results. This disappearing access exacerbates commonplace squabbles, like the one going on at Consolidated Yachts on NW Eleventh Street in Little Havana.
When the marina's owner filed for bankruptcy, a court-appointed trustee took over. He arranged for new buyers to take control of the property and, acting on a court order, began the process of removing all assets and tenants, including the nearly dozen live-aboards with barnacle-encrusted anchors.
"We just want to be allowed to stay until the end of hurricane season," says engineer/Vietnam vet/sailor extraordinaire Alfred Irving, a live-aboard who is trying to persuade the trustee, Alan L. Goldberg, to give him and his neighbors until November to find a new haven.
"It's very difficult to find affordable space for a boat in Miami," Irving says. "And this guy is just merciless -- he's giving us a couple of weeks. I'll be all right, but there's a family here with no insurance and a child in the hospital. They don't have the money to do anything but move out into the middle of the bay. What will they do in bad weather?" One of the other live-aboards, according to Irving, is an octogenarian who is in the hospital and may lose a leg to diabetes.
Irving's claim to fame is that he was "the second black guy to circumnavigate the Earth alone." It took him five years, and when he was through, he limped into Miami on a sailboat badly in need of repairs. He's been here for three years getting his boat back into shape. When he leaves, he says, he's leaving Florida for good. (The Bitch wants to know if she can go with him.)
Goldberg says he's not trying to be merciless; he's just following the court order: "And anyway, how do I say this nicely? I have no degree of assurance if I tell them they can stay until hurricane season ends that they'll actually leave. Several of these people are behind in their rent, and some have committed acts of vandalism."
Irving says Goldberg has been intractable and hostile. "Look, I don't mind leaving," he insists. "It just takes awhile to find a new place. And the thing that's scaring everybody is hurricane season. If he would just wait until November 1, there wouldn't be any problem."
New Gold Dream
The Bitch regularly marks her territory from SW 17th Avenue to SW 37th Avenue on Coral Way, so she quickly noticed the 423 new floodlights the City of Miami has installed in the boulevard's median. These spots illuminate the long-limbed branches of the historic banyan trees that have been part of the local aesthetic for more than 50 years. According to a city sign on SW 27th Avenue, the $673,031 used to pay for the floodlights came from the city's Homeland Defense/Neighborhood Improvement bond issue. The curious canine couldn't help but wonder how in the world shining a bright light into a tree constitutes an antiterrorism measure. Are bomb-strapped Muhajadeen warriors expected to hop onto the hoods of Miami motorists?
City spokeswoman Kelly Penton revealed the floodlights are simply intended to beautify the median. "It's going to be an economic catalyst for businesses in the area," Penton noted, adding that the funding for the project was one of many items voters approved in 2001 as part of the bond issue. Nevertheless the floodlights are a tangible example of how city leaders hoodwinked the public by exploiting the fear of terrorism in getting voters to okay the bond issue. Of the $255 million voters approved, only $31 million, or twelve percent, actually went to public-safety projects.
Would You Be Interested in Some Literature About Our Cross-Dressing Fashion Show?
Sundance Film Festival. Snowboarding in Little Cottonwood Canyon. Being able to leave the doghouse unlocked. Cheese and rice! The Bitch has nothing but love for Utah and longs for days as a desert dog.
Still something smelled as funny as a wheat grass martini (that's an alcohol-and-caffeinefree beverage for all you nonBeehive State denizens) about the Miss Ocean Drive female impersonator pageant to be held at Score (727 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach) on August 29. Nothing to do with the event itself, but the beneficiary: an "animal foundation" based in Provo, right down the road from the zoology research lab at Brigham Young University -- a place where, The Bitch often observed, llamas went in but didn't come out. Not only does a city that boasts a department at Nordstrom devoted to "modest fashions" (for those certifiably XX chromosomed) seem like the last place on Earth to receive funds from a female-impersonator beauty pageant, but where was the local angle?
Turns out Pet Assisted Services, the pageant beneficiary, is a nonprofit founded by veterinarian Yoeny Dobson, owner of the Riverwoods Animal Hospital in Provo. According to Christina Lauritzen, Dobson's assistant, the good doctor may reside in Orem, but she grew up in Miami, graduated from the University of Florida's prestigious veterinary school, was a onetime competitor for Miss Miami, and visits on a regular basis. In developing her charity, she reconnected friends with colleagues in the Miami veterinary community for some national reach. Proceeds from the South Beach version of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Loincloth will aid animals without caretakers, wild animals, and dogs forced to endure living with low-income families. Fans of both knee shorts and knee pads may rest easy.
More Gender Blending
Whenever The Bitch feels a bit lethargic, she finds it helpful to spike the water bowl with something to give her an extra kick to make it through the night. Though Red Bull or coffee usually works great, The Bitch prefers to lap up a Bawls Guarana. It's not so much that it offers anything any other caffeinated beverage doesn't; it's attraction to the spiky collar design on the blue Bawls bottles that just screams, "Bad dog!"
Besides, the snarky pup is so used to hearing humans say things like, "The Bawls on that Bitch!" she figured it would be appropriate to have a pair of her own. That's the reason The Bitch wouldn't be caught dead without at least two of these bad boys on hand. So when the Glass Packaging Institute awarded Bawls the 2005 Clear Choice Award for best packaging of a carbonated beverage, The Bitch's tail began wagging. There's just nothing better than that feeling of validation. Props to the Glass Packaging Institute for recognizing what canines have known for a while.
Who's Fighting Now?
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Saturday, July 30, began as a typical night on the town for Abraham Sanchez and his partner Alberto Perez. The two went out to Hierbabuena Nightclub at 2224 Coral Way for some drinking and dancing. It wasn't until around 3:00 a.m. (the club closes at 4:00 a.m.), when a female staff member told the pair to leave, that the situation turned aggro. "We were paying for our drinks; we were well dressed," says Sanchez, "and we weren't ready to go." At this point the club's bouncers allegedly grabbed the two men, pushed them from behind, and forced them to leave. "They start kicking me on the floor while saying, öYou faggots, you never come back here. We do this to teach you a lesson,'" recounts Sanchez. Perez quickly called 911, but when the paramedics arrived, Sanchez says, they told him "there was no visual sign of damage" and walked away. The next day Sanchez was treated for contusions at Pan American Hospital.
The police report of the incident mentions nothing of the discrimination Sanchez feels he was subjected to, nor the name of the establishment where it occurred, although it does note that the "victim seemed to be intoxicated." A staff member from Hierbabuena said she would not comment until the establishment consults with its lawyer, who was on vacation at the time.
In the meantime, Sanchez says he will press charges. "I'm not seeking any money, just the costs from going to the hospital, and they have to train their staff. We're nice guys," he says. "We're hard-working guys. I'm a homosexual. People say we party hard, but it's not that way. I'm lucky I wasn't hurt."