"Occupy Miami is hidden," one woman randomly complained to us over the phone earlier this week. "No one even knows that they are there!"
To be fair, she may have a point. Tucked behind the Stephen P. Clark Government Center like a cozy small-town college tailgating party, Occupy Miami has proved one of the nation's most peaceful -- and perhaps least confrontational -- anti-Wall Street protests. This Tuesday's march to Bank of America was a start, but maybe it's time to think bigger.
We're not advocating Oakland-style dumpster fires or anything, but here's a list of five places we think could do with a visit from the 99 percent.
5. American Airlines Arena:
So close to Government Center... yet so far from being picketed. How come? After all, sports are one of the few things we Toyota-Camry-with-the-ceiling-panel-falling-in-driving 99 percenters have to brighten our plebeian days.
So why shouldn't we pissed that incredibly rich and generally disliked owners like Micky Arison -- who doesn't even pay rent for the county-owned arena -- and incredibly rich (although mostly beloved) sports stars like Dwayne Wade and LeBron James can't figure out how to get back on the court and make sweet, sweet basketball love happen once again?
4. Miami Marlins' New Stadium:
It's the things we love most -- namely sports teams -- that most often turn around and kick us in the nuts. Like the Heat, the
Florida Miami Marlins has done its fair share of civic damage. First, owner Jeffrey Loria lied about the millions he had in his coffers. Then he and sycophantic politician buddies left Miami taxpayers with what could eventually be a $2.4 billion bill.
Then, as if to rub BenGay on our already aching testes, the ball-club unveiled its ridiculous new logo and an impossibly garish "signature home-run sculpture" complete with lasers and psychedelic fish.
Besides, you can't tell us that The Condome wouldn't look better with a big "V" spray painted on the side.
3. Ocean Drive:
Normally, "the 99 percent" refers to the vast majority of Americans who have gotten massively screwed in recent decades by economic deregulation, bank monopolization, political zombification, and growing inequality.
But here in Miami, there is so much more that 99 percent of us can rally around. Like a mutual hatred for people who buy those "I'm in Miami Bitch" t-shirts in South Beach. In fact, why doesn't Occupy Miami designate a delegation as Occupy Miami Beach. Shut down Ocean Drive!
Pros: lots of available camp space on the beach, and tons of restrooms (there's a Starbucks on nearly every corner).
Cons: It's hard to look like downtrodden class warriors against a backdrop of frolicking beach bunnies and jiggling silicone.
2. One Herald Plaza:
If Occupy Miami is serious about fighting the corporate takeover of America, look no further for a future ground zero than the current headquarters of the Miami Herald. That's where Malaysian zillionaire casino conglomerate The Genting Group wants to build the country's largest casino.
The proposed casino has already started a mad scramble to buy politicians' votes across the state. And, in a microcosm of the public risk/private profit problem that caused the recession, Genting looks like it will snap up acres of public land to build its private casino. If Occupy Miami is looking for a symbol of money, power, and politics, this is it.
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1. Star Island:
Government Center may be the epicenter of county politics, but it ain't where the money is. That would be celebrity-laden Star Island. We're not advocating leaving flaming bags of poo on Alex Rodriguez's front porch -- he already left enough of his own at home plate this season -- but Miami's rich could do with a little reminder that life is a bitch when you don't have servants and a swimming pool.
After all, Miami is the second most unequal city in the country. The average resident only makes $36,357 a year.
So if you're going to protest inequality, why not do it somewhere the rich will actually take notice?