On a young team loaded with prospects and emerging pitching talent, we especially like the promise that Beckett holds. The right-handed pitcher from Spring, Texas, was named USA Today's high-school pitcher of the year in 1999. He was also the first prep pitcher drafted by the Marlins in the first round. After starting last season with the AA Portland (Maine) Sea Dogs, Beckett debuted in the major leagues in September. Immediately he proved he belonged, allowing only one hit in six innings in a victory over the Cubs. In four starts Beckett allowed only one-and-a-half earned runs and struck out an average of one batter every inning. That was good enough to be named the team's rookie of the year by area sportswriters. That's no small achievement on this young team. And Beckett is no small talent.
She was a late entry in this contest, but Alonso decisively swept the field of contenders. At press time the Miami-Dade County Commissioner was facing one misdemeanor charge, three felony charges, and up to five years in prison. More charges are possible. Way back in 1993 New Times devoted 13,000 words to Alonso during her failed campaign to become mayor of Miami. The opus by former staff writer Steven Almond, "Meet Miami's Next Mayor," began with this: "On those days when passions flare, when Miami cannot help revealing its more ominous shadings, half the city seems determined to have Miriam Alonso canonized. And the other half to have her eliminated. There is no middle ground when it comes to the woman who would be Miami's next mayor. She is savior or demagogue, invisible outside extremes, and impossible to ignore." In retrospect the criminal charges shouldn't really surprise anyone. Questions about Alonso's integrity began the moment she arrived in the United States with her husband Leonel, who has been charged with four felonies and faces up to fifty years in prison. What were the circumstances under which they defected from Cuba? When exactly did they arrive in the United States? How had Miriam managed to obtain a Ph.D. in only three years? Why can no professor at Catholic University (Washington, D.C.) recall advising or approving her doctoral thesis? Where did she and her husband acquire the half-million dollars they'd spent by 1979 purchasing Miami real estate? These troubling questions and others remain unanswered. But a Miami judge had a solid answer for her in 1988: He yanked her from her debut race for a seat on the county commission after it was proven she didn't live at the address she listed on her oath of candidacy. If she was willing to cheat in order to run for office, is it such a stretch to imagine her cheating once she gained office? Here's something else to imagine, something even Alonso's sworn enemies must have thought improbable: Miriam behind bars.

You know there's something going on when 600 people turn out to watch a football game featuring four-year-olds. Yet that's what happens, dependably, when these two Liberty City parks play each other in Pop Warner football. No matter what the weight class, from the four-year-old pee wees up to the fifteen-year-old midgets, a game between Gwen Cherry and Liberty City generates an astounding amount of community interest. It's not uncommon for dedicated fans to wager a thousand dollars or more on their teams. In the past few seasons Gwen Cherry has held the upper hand, winning most of the games and even winning a national championship last year in the 110-pound weight class. But in Hadley Park, where the Warriors play, they've hardly abandoned hope. "We started the whole thing," one Warriors booster crows. "Our program was the first program in the inner city. Gwen Cherry was a spinoff from us, and they got all the money from the [Greater Miami] Boys and Girls Club and all these grants from the county so now they've got better uniforms and better equipment and that means they're getting better players. But the one thing they don't have, the one thing they'll never have, is Warrior pride. And without that? Shit, man, you don't got nothin'."
After buying the dismantled 1997 World Series champion Marlins from H. Wayne Huizenga, John Henry made lots of promises to South Florida baseball fans, a couple of which he actually kept. In the process he proved the fallacy of the expansion-team philosophy: Add more teams because TV needs more sports and fans will come. He also proved that, these days at least, megamillionaires have a hard time convincing the public of the need to underwrite new sports stadiums, even when they issue threats and plead a kind of rich man's poverty. So Henry sold the Marlins to Jeff Loria for $158.5 million and disappeared from Miami-Dade. But not before plunking down $600 million to purchase the Boston Red Sox.
Why do so many sanctimonious people turn out to be wicked? And has there been anyone in public life more sanctimonious than Demetrio Perez? Back in the Eighties, as a Miami City Commissioner, he sought to consecrate the Cuban-exile cause by, among other things, introducing a resolution to have the city honor convicted terrorist Orlando Bosch, handing the violently anti-Castro group Alpha 66 a taxpayer gift of $10,000, and demanding that director Brian De Palma rewrite the script of Scarface to soften its harsh portrayal of Cuban immigrants. Later, as candidates maneuvered for appointment as city manager, he was accused of but never charged with offering to sell his vote for $50,000. As a member of the school board he argued that students should be forced to rise whenever an adult entered their classroom, that the National Guard provide school security, and that uniforms be mandatory at all schools. As a "safety measure" he wanted all students to squeeze through a human cattle chute lined with metal detectors and x-ray machines. Suspension as a form of punishment was ineffective, he argued, and should be replaced with hard labor. All this while lying about where he lived in order to run for his seat on the board. And don't forget his shrill pronouncements against the violence fostered by America's gun culture -- this from a man whose concealed-weapon permit allowed him to pack heat at all times, which he did with relish and without apology. He even was arrested carrying two handguns through a security checkpoint at Miami International Airport. His chain of private Lincoln-Martí schools teach a rigid and hateful form of moral discipline, to which he gleefully subjected little Elian Gonzalez while simultaneously and shamelessly exploiting the boy for publicity purposes. But the end of Perez's long turn on the public stage revealed the depths of his depravity. A rich man, he was caught stealing $18,000 in rent and subsidies from two elderly women who were his tenants. In September he pleaded guilty to five federal criminal charges, but he escaped prison time. Too bad. Some hard labor might have done him good.
Architect B. Kingston Hall designed the Seymour in 1936 for developer Benjamin London, who named it after his son Seymour. Sixty-six years later the tropical Art Deco jewel still stands, nestled in the center of the nation's only historic district composed entirely of twentieth-century structures. But it lives a new life. In keeping with the Miami Beach Community Development Corporation's mission of illuminating the economic viability of historic preservation, the property, acquired in January 1998, underwent a complete renovation and reopened in August 2001. Currently MBCDC headquarters, it also houses a local office of the Florida Department of Children and Families and a one-stop career center for the Hispanic Community Center, plus it plays host to exhibitions and lectures. The Seymour boasts smart touches, including original color schemes such as a gleaming white exterior and forest-green and deep-burgundy lobby, a restored ziggurat fireplace, and tile-and-wood floors in the exhibition space featuring patterns that outline the original floor plan. An exuberant example of Art Deco, the Seymour also accommodates the Urban Arts Committee, a group of concerned citizens passionate about preserving and promoting midcentury Miami modern architecture (MiMO), the Technicolor splendor of which was evident in the Seymour's inaugural art display: "MiMO -- Miami Modern Architecture, 1945-1972: A Photography Exhibit."

We like Don Noe for what he is not. He's not a bumbling grandpa bouncing through the low and high temperatures. Nor is he a slinky siren in a miniskirt relaying the boating conditions in a sweater tight enough to impede speech. He's just a no-nonsense guy, friendly enough but with a reliable weather forecast delivered quickly and without pretense. That's all we ask. Noe is no mere weather reader. He's a certified meteorologist, meaning he knows about the science of weather patterns. Armed with this knowledge, he shines brightest when facing a crisis, such as a hurricane, which fortunately we haven't had in a while. When we do, as we inevitably will, we trust Noe to steer us through it calmly, professionally, and capably.

Reasons the loquacious, pugnacious, and thoroughly informed emcee of Habla el Pueblo (The People Speak) likes his new home at WKAT-AM (1360), Radio Uno: "It's very professional. There's no interference from the management." Compared to, say, WWFE-AM (670), La Poderosa, whose owner canceled Milian's show this past November after the host criticized Miami City Commission candidate Angel Gonzalez. (Gonzalez then paid the station several thousand dollars to use Milian's time slot for campaigning.) Milian had inherited the show on La Poderosa from his father Emilio, whose legs were blown off by a bomb in 1976 after he criticized the violent tactics of anti-Castro extremists. A former Broward County assistant state prosecutor, Milian peppers his aggressive style of public-policy debate with the most elevated put-downs on the Spanish-language AM dial. (Habla el Pueblo airs on WKAT weekdays from noon to 1:00 p.m.) During one show about allegations that Jackson Memorial Hospital is saving money for buildings rather than spending it on suffering patients, Milian offered a characteristically sharp simile: "It's like having money in the bank while your relatives are dying of hunger." He recently upbraided a caller with this: "I came here to live freely, not to live in another dictatorship. The only thing evil needs to triumph is for us to remain silent." Staying quiet is not in Al Milian's program, which he sees as a tool for pounding the moral turpitude out of Miami-Dade's sleazy ancien régime. "We're going to overcome the corrupt bastards," he assures between shows. "I have the sledgehammer."
It's an enormous inverted salad bowl. Or maybe it's headquarters of the Justice League of America, where superheroes Aquaman, Superman, and Wonder Woman gather to hatch world-saving strategies. Actually the distinctive building that distracted you so much you nearly veered off the road is the Aventura Government Center. Dreamed up by Michael A. Schiff & Associates and Arquitectonica, the striking contemporary structure swathed in glass and Indiana limestone features a spectacular sloped rotunda, where elected officials meet to make city policy. Since it opened in May 2001, the 72,000-square-foot marvel, housing all government operations (including the police department) has become what its creators had hoped: a one-stop shop for dealing with city business. And quite the looker as well.

And girlfriend, we do mean personality. Although Mark Moseley did a decent job for years pretending to be queer, Lita lit up the airwaves with tough-as-nails humor only a real big queen could hammer home. Whether dispensing no-nonsense fashion sense to Hialeah hootchies or dishing the dirt on that tacky J-Lo, Lita told it like it is. We don't care if she did write a column for that other weekly. In these sensitive post 9/11 times, who else dared go where Lita went, beyond bad taste to the cavities where the vulgar becomes sublime? Who else could shut up the whole morning crew with tales of playing hide-the-bin-laden in a boyfriend's deep dark caves? We'll miss Lita so.

Best Of Miami®

Best Of Miami®