Hate Shack, Not Where It's At

Hate Shack, Not Where It's At

Filed under: Culture

Tourists love 'em. So say Miami Beach city officials.


Charlie Crist

But the new, not-entirely-improved lifeguard shacks are making South Beach denizens cringe. Local blog Critical Miami recently lamented the loss of "the great old lifeguard stands" with a photo of out-of-order Art Deco shacks in a parking lot off Dade Boulevard. But Miami Beach officials defend what the blog called the city's new "boxy monstrosities."

"With Art Deco, everything goes. And the community loves them," said Viviana Alemany, Miami Beach's capital projects coordinator. "Gloria Estefan and Emilio were taking pictures in front of one stand."

Twenty shacks were replaced in 2006 after Hurricane Wilma whacked them. The Federal Emergency Management Agency paid for 12 stands, and the city paid for eight.

After an earful of community bashing about the blasé design, the city might revert to a more whimsical Art Deco motif in the future.

"The City of Miami Beach has a plan to start proposing the Art Decos, but they are really expensive," Alemany said, adding that the Art Deco structures cost twice the $26,000 price of the boxy variety. "Somebody will have to find a budget to it. These 20 were on an emergency basis."

Scott Timm, who heads outreach at the Miami Design Preservation League, said the shacks are out of the organization's jurisdiction because they lie in the sand and not in the historic district. "I have heard and seen that the really fanciful ones now seem to be replaced by bland boxes," he said. — Janine Zeitlin

Global Charming

Filed under: News

Why is it that the two governors most keen on curbing global warming hail from states where people go to flee winter? Florida Gov. Charlie Crist and California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger stood side by side last Friday at a podium in the Inter-Continental Hotel in downtown Miami, dozens of lenses trained on their sculpted faces and starched collars. The cause was Crist's newly enacted legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the Sunshine State. But as in every one of Schwarzenegger's public appearances, homage had to be paid to Hollywood.

The Governator made the first reference. "Actions speak louder than words," said Ah-nold, referring to Crist. "And here is another great action hero." Mass laughter erupted from the audience, which included Florida Speaker of the House Marco Rubio and Miami Mayor Manny Diaz. But for his leathery pallor, Crist might have blushed.

Then it was on to the film Twins, that oft-forgotten crowd pleaser. Schwarzenegger recast Danny DeVito with Florida's diminutive leader. "Governor Crist and I, we're a good twin team," he said, chuckling. Indeed the governors share some physical traits, including deep orange tans that suggest the states' competing citrus industries, and wind-resistant hair.

Onlookers were delighted, so much so that the last movie reference came from one of their own, who asked Schwarzenegger whether he liked Florida.

"Ah yes," said the Californian, nodding. "I have relatives in Florida.... I love Florida, I always have. I've done movies in Florida," he couldn't resist adding.

"So you will be back?" asked the sneaky audience member. The crowd giggled and applauded.

"You usually have to pay me for that line," scolded Schwarzenegger. He paused for a moment, grinning, and then leaned into the microphone. "I'll be back." — Emily Witt

Not-So-Sweet Charity

Filed under: Flotsam

Tiny Sweetwater has become such a hotbed of discord that even charity offers an arena for conflict.

After Telemundo reporter Ivan Taylor and Father Luis Amado Peña gathered recently in the town's Jorge Mas Canosa Center to collect donations for the poor children of Managua, Nicaragua, their former colleague-in-charity David Carcache-Guzman alleged Peña had absconded with previous donations made in June 2005.

"People there told me that he took the clothes and goods for his friends and family and then sold whatever he wanted in the market," said Carcache.

Worse, he claimed, the priest has ties to the country's Sandinista government. This came as a shock to Sweetwater's Nicaraguan refugee population, many of whom despise their homeland's current leadership.

Peña could not be reached for comment. But according to an Inter Press Service report from 1984, he was imprisoned by the Sandinistas after being accused of receiving weapons and supplies from a supposed head of the opposition front. Carcache said he was not aware of that fact.

Carcache himself has a history of theft. In April 2006 state law enforcement agents arrested him for stealing from his boss, state Sen. Alex Diaz de la Portilla. Carcache was caught forging his employer's signature on checks made out to himself, his cell phone service provider, and Nicaraguan charities. He continued to remain active in politics — appearing six weeks later at a Katherine Harris fundraiser and actively supporting Sweetwater Mayor Manuel Maroño's recent re-election.

Nevertheless last month he set out on a campaign to brand members of Peña's fundraising drive as communists.

"Regardless of party affiliation, it's inhumane not to allow people to donate food to poor people," said Maroño, who traveled with Carcache and Taylor to Nicaragua on fundraising trips in the summer of 2005.

Carcache, who denies allegations from the other side that he is attempting to launch a bid for a seat on the Sweetwater City Commission, insists the donated goods will never make it to Managua. — Calvin Godfrey

Shack Attack

"Whoever thought this piece of shit up missed the spirit of the originals by a mile, and should be kicked in his patriotic balls."

— Alesh from Critical Miami, referring to a shot of a red, white, and blue Miami Beach lifeguard stand (www.flickr.com/photos/alesh/229856439)

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