The angry and affluent bayside dwellers of Miami Shores, who recently lost a battle to install guard gates, are striking back. After the council of the Village Beautiful quashed the keep-out-the-poor effort, the swells decided to throw a shindig. Or actually a countershindig. This Saturday night, October 16, when many village dwellers will be attending the Mayor's Ball, the easterners will offer an alternative: the Welcome to Kosovo Party. Fatigues and shrapnel optional. "We're not just a bunch of rich snobs," insists resident Alice Burch. "We call it Miami Serbia Shores. Our rights are being denied."

Riptide's favorite political ad of the season: a flyer circulated by 24-year-old Jason Walker, who is challenging Dinner Key dinosaur J.L. Plummer. "Retire the Head Clown. Twenty-nine years of doing nothing has brought Miami down." Walker even went to the trouble of including a likeness of the commissioner, which we reprint here.

First the Miami Herald was humiliated by national stories that an editor from the cultural metropolis of San Antonio, Texas, named Bob Rivard turned down the paper's top newsroom job. Now management has circulated an e-mail to staff with the following, um, embarrassing message: "Wanted: China and utensils. Two months ago we bought 200 china plates and in less than three weeks, more than 150 disappeared. This is the reason that, for a while, we have turned to Styrofoam and plastic. We are appealing to everyone to help us recover as much china and silverware as possible. Some of it may be abandoned in some corner of your office or break room. For every ten china plates or every ten trays or ten sets of metal utensils, we'll give you a free lunch at the cafeteria. No questions asked."

Just in case you were thinking about purchasing Coconut Grove's most famous bomb shelter, forget about it. The 37-year-old, 900-square-foot hideout at 3636 Hibiscus St. will likely go for $156,000, about $3000 less than the asking price, says Dee Quintero, one of the listing agents. She wouldn't name the buyer (and later said she shouldn't have mentioned the price). That's cheap considering its many features. Here's what architect George F. Reed had to say about the building soon after it was completed: "The shelter rooms [are] buried under the earth. To stop radiation, lead-lined doors, gasketed, lead into a zigzag entrance hall. The shelter is set in solid rock that has been cement-plastered and waterproofed with hot tar. In the event of city water and power failure, an electric generator fueled by butane gas will operate air conditioning, water heater, lighting, refrigeration, and a pump.... If the generator fails, a hand pump will supply air, batteries will supply light, and the sanitation will be by chemical means."

A week till the Herald's faux alternative, Street , hits the stands and boy is Riptide excited! The newspaper is selling itself as "Not the New Times." (York, york, sound familiar? Think Carl Bernstein and Bennett Cerf.) Our favorite feature, as touted in a promotional release: "Party in Your Pocket." Our favorite adjectives (and do they love adjectives!): "accessible," "lifestyle-oriented," "immediate." Perhaps it'll be more like a video game than a work of journalism. Best of all -- and the Streetmeisters thought this was important enough to italicize: "Street will not have ten-page cover stories of investigative journalism."

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Chuck Strouse is the former editor in chief of Miami New Times. He has shared two Pulitzer Prizes and won dozens of other awards. He is an honors graduate of Brown University and has worked at newspapers including the Miami Herald and Los Angeles Times.
Contact: Chuck Strouse