Miami actually is controlled by a secret cabal of gay Cuban men known as Los Pollos Tropicales. (All right, we made up the name, but we're pretty sure about the rest of it.)

What more is there to say than "farewell"?
"There is a substantial likelihood that the “Cuba Affidavit' will be found unconstitutional," Moreno declared in a seventeen-page ruling in May of last year. And with that he suspended the so-called Cuba ordinance, which required that anyone conducting business with Miami-Dade County sign a document vowing not to transact business with Cuba or with any business that conducts business with Cuba. The most prominent targets, however, were county-funded activities that brought musicians and artists from the island. Moreno put the handwriting on the wall in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union, the Miami Light Project, GableStage, Teatro La Ma Teodora, and concert promoters Hugo Cancio and Debbie Ohanian. At the time the U.S. Supreme Court was reviewing a similarly repressive Massachusetts state law targeting business dealings, including cultural exchanges, with the repressive regime in Myanmar (the country once known as Burma). When the justices nixed that law in June of last year, Moreno dutifully followed suit with a pro-forma edict declaring the Cuba ordinance unconstitutional. Poof! County lawyers vanished from the courtroom without argument. Soon the highly uncomfortable (but constitutionally protected) rhetorical contortions performed by the ordinance's defenders, including county commissioners Javier Souto and Miriam Alonso, Mayor Alex Penelas, and lawyer Victor Diaz, also disappeared from view. There is, however, a substantial likelihood that some of them still believe it makes sense to oppose a dictator by thinking like one.
A repeat victory for the no-longer-so-boyish Herald columnist, who last won this award in 1996, following his arrest for disorderly intoxication at Johnny Rockets restaurant in Coconut Grove. (Charges were later dropped.) Five years later the still-single sportswriter has joined George Clooney, Derek Jeter, and Matt Damon as one of People magazine's "100 Most Eligible Bachelors." In the magazine LeBatard squats over a pool table and admits he's "never been in love." People made no mention of "I Am the Hunter," the notorious 1800-word essay LeBatard wrote for Cosmopolitan in 1997. "Men like me travel in packs, pursuing perfume, and we find the chase more intoxicating than everything after it," LeBatard admitted. "We dabble in relationships for the same reason we dabble in hunting: There's an incomparable rush wrapped in the search and discovery. But then, when the last bullet has been fired and the gun is spent, when the conquest is complete and the game is done and we get to see what we've done close up, all that remains is the blood and the smell and a mess to clean up. Doesn't mean we won't go hunting again, mind you. We drink after a bad hangover, don't we?" Hard to believe the guy hasn't found a mate.
For reasons unknown it was a banner year for errata brimming with political intrigue, even paranoia. Any number of conspiracy theories spring to mind while reading them. For example an El Nuevo Herald story that ran July 20, 2000, reported that fallout from the Elian saga had caused a decline in Republican Party membership in these parts. Wait a minute. That's impossible! Everyone knows the Democrats take their orders from Fidel. The correction, which editors craftily dubbed a "clarification," affirmed that the Democratic Party (you know, Janet Reno's people) suffered the loss.

Another intriguing erratum ran after an article by Miami Herald reporter Elinor J. Brecher this past April contained a curious case of mistaken identity. The story was an account of a Bay of Pigs conference in Cuba that brought together veterans from the revolutionary army and five open-minded members of Brigade 2506, the anti-Castro invasion force. Like the invasion, the story had problems. It reported that a real-life relative of John F. Kennedy, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, and Pierre Salinger were among the participants. It should have said Jean Kennedy Smith (JFK's sister) and Richard Goodwin (a JFK advisor) attended. Thanks to operatives deep inside the Knight Ridder organization, Anthony Shriver, who is considering launching a political career in Miami Beach, may have lost the Brigade 2506 vote. Unlike most of its corrections, this one did not include the phrase "The Herald regrets the error." Hmmm.

But the weirdest erratum resulted from an El Nuevo Herald story by Rui Ferreira about Radio Martí, the U.S. government station that broadcasts to Cuba. Angelica Mora, a Chilean journalist, filed a discrimination complaint after station management replaced her with a Cuban-American reporter. The original story read: "According to the testimony of Ramon Cotta -- at the time news director of Radio Martí -- [Office of Cuban Broadcasting director] San Roman [said] that the journalist's departure resulted from suspicions about her professional integrity." For unknown reasons the February 28, 2001, correction presented entirely new information, particularly allegations that the Cuban government had planted stories on Radio Martí and quotes from station employees about an open FBI investigation that was supposed to be kept quiet. "The paragraph that mentions ... Ramon Cotta should have said: “Cotta contacted the office of the Inspector General and reported that San Roman had told him the FBI was conducting an investigation about five reports transmitted by Radio Martí that were planted by the Cuban government. San Roman also told Cotta that Radio Martí employees could be involved in the conspiracy.... San Roman told Cotta not to talk to anyone about the FBI investigation." Oops.

The operative word is organic. This is the place to find it fresh and in a pleasant, natural setting. Cactus fruit and mustard greens, rutabaga and nectarines. Flax seeds and bee pollen to lift you up. Rows of tight green asparagus bundles, Brussels sprouts and broccoli. A rainbow of peppers like you won't believe: purple, green, red, yellow, orange. Fantastic mushrooms: oyster, portabello, shiitake, and crimini to name a few. Fruits to fit your moods. A variety of oils, butters, and freshly baked breads. Perfectly reasonable prices and a diligent staff of Birkenstocked twentysomethings to offer a helping hand. What more could you ask for?
For thirteen years Miami has been lucky enough to host the weird and wonderful sounds of new music concocted by local composers and freaks from around the world. Festival director Gustavo Matamoros looks for artists who push the boundaries of that thing called music into an exploration of pure sound. The Subtropics' sound safaris will travel anywhere from the street corner to innerspace. This year's festival captured, among other things, the random electronic patterns of Sony Mao and Needle; the analogue chaos of George Tegzes; the sonic deconstruction of Celia Cruz by Ileana Perez Velazquez; the musical meanderings of the Sephardic Jews as tracked by the Duo Kol-Tof; and Sam Ashley and Jens Brand's pseudo-collaborative performance "The Bugs Who Could Be Revived After Being Dead."
Call it a mixture of financial planning and public confession. "Money Makeovers," a column appearing every other Sunday in the Miami Herald's business section, is an addictive snapshot of a community's fiscal health. Readers volunteer to have their finances scoped by a certified financial analyst. While the volunteers receive free financial advice, they also must put their often-disastrous financial history on naked display. Notable participants include the high school science teacher who collects snakes. "My comfort level is not as okay as I'd like it to be," he said, referring to his stock portfolio, not to the albino boa constrictor he keeps on his property. There's the former professional baseball player who is dangerously -- perhaps embarrassingly -- leveraged in tech stocks. And there's the pathetic attorney and single mother who overspends her $70,000 income by $3000 per month, piling up enormous credit-card debt and squandering her IRA. Doh! Fortunately the column provides inspiration, too. Take the uniquely Miami story of John Quinteros. The former drug dealer, busted on national TV by Geraldo Rivera, is rebuilding his financial life after spending more than six years in prison. Now a restaurant manager, Quinteros wants to bump up his 401(k) contributions and increase his investment in stocks. "When I got out, I did not have a penny to my name," he said triumphantly. "Now I have a beautiful wife and a family, a nice house, and a growing portfolio." Beautiful indeed.

Government flacks are essential, and not just to disseminate information during emergencies like hurricanes or sewage spills. Good ones help journalists extract key, sometimes incriminating, public records from the bureaucratic maw. Whether they are called public-information officers, media-relations managers, or press agents, the best ones share some common traits: They are briskly efficient, and they understand the news business. Former Miami-Dade Communications Department director Mayco Villafaña set these standards for his staff. Anyone who observed the post-election insanity after the presidential vote witnessed Villafaña's Herculean effort to accommodate the media crush without letting that impede the important work of the elections department. As for Rhonda Barnett, she has never lost sight of the notion that public service means keeping the public interest foremost. Barnett always responds quickly and is never daunted by red tape. She also boasts a dream résumé: a master's degree in library science and a decade of experience as a television news producer in Boston and South Florida, picking up four Emmys along the way. Unfortunately politics and professionalism are uneasy bedfellows at county hall these days. Both Villafaña and Barnett were fired recently.
They get miffed about overdevelopment and lobbyists lurking at city hall. They've successfully battled high-rises, and don't even try to tell them what to do with their neighborhood's sidewalks. Go to just about any public meeting at Miami Beach City Hall, and you'll see a couple of them in the audience -- watching. They are members of the Tuesday Morning Breakfast Club, and they like nothing better than to chew on a squirming public official along with their coffee and toast. Each Tuesday morning this motley gaggle of Miami Beach property owners, entrepreneurs, and condo-board types converges on South Beach's oldest Cuban diner about 8:30 to get a clean shot at invited guests. When the chatter from their rear corner table rises above the general restaurant din, you know the guest speaker is being sliced and diced. Although the group began meeting in 1995, it became a force to be reckoned with in 1997, when its members took on high-rise developer Thomas Kramer and his $1.5 million campaign to defeat the "Save Miami Beach" referendum. The ballot measure passed overwhelmingly, and now a citywide vote is required whenever officials seek to increase density on waterfront property. Political foes sniff that the group is more attitude than substance, but we like the club's tenacity and political savvy.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®