It's a bird! It's a plane! It's another terrible Romero Britto sculpture, only this time it's not just hurting your eyes but also taking your spare change. Meters designed by the local hack artist have made their first appearance in Brickell. But don't blame Britto; blame another Miami-Dade dunce: Ron Book.
In October, the man responsible for creating the Julia Tuttle Causeway sex offender colony announced another winning plan. He would install parking meters in and around county malls, office buildings, and businesses to take money for the Dade Homeless Trust, which he chairs.
Book said the meters aren't his latest attempt at ruining hobos' lives, but a way to discourage giving money to panhandlers.
And in one of those matches made in Hell, he commissioned Britto to design them. It's pretty hard to foul up a parking meter, but there goes our Britto! He painted the poles a vomit-like yellow and dotted them with floral designs.
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The meters will be paid for by the businesses that choose to install them. A regular-sized one will set a business back $1,000, and a larger, pyramid-like meter will cost $1,200. So far, besides the Brickell meter, another has been installed in front of North Miami Beach City Hall. According to the city's website, it seems taxpayers have footed the bill.
The Homeless Trust, tasked with ending homelessness in the county, has an annual $40 million budget. Money from the meters will go toward meal programs and shelter for the homeless, it says.
When he made the announcement, Book didn't say how much Britto earned for the commission. You'll recall, Britto also had been commissioned to design the uniforms of Miami
International Airport employees until someone mercifully pulled the plug. Sadly, our homeless haven't been as lucky. And now, two people who shouldn't be trusted with easels, let alone money, are making them co-inhabit the streets with ugly, quarter-chugging meters. Haven't they suffered enough?