Screw the Curfew: Miami is Not a Communist Country

Uncle Luke, the man whose booty-shaking madness once made the U.S. Supreme Court stand up for free speech, gets as nasty as he wants to be for Miami New Times. This week, Luke takes on Miami City Commissioner Richard Dunn's demands that city police enforce the county's curfew for those age 17 and under.

I'm going to give the Tea Party and other racists a break and write about my old friend and current District 5 Miami Commissioner Rev. Richard Dunn II. Well, at least I was still his friend before I supported his predecessor, Michelle Spence-Jones, and then Pierre Rutledge, who was vying with Dunn to be appointed to the commission.

It's been five months since Dunn took the dais, and his first significant act was to crack down on kids hanging out past the county curfew, which has been on the books since 1994 but rarely enforced. Dunn claims paying more attention to this law, which requires those under age 18 to be home before 11 p.m., will keep inner-city kids from getting into trouble. It comes on the heels of several shootings.

That was a bad move. When you start imposing curfews, you start messing with people's rights. Curfews are a parent's responsibility, not the government's. Enforcing them is a way to gain control over people, but we don't live in a communist country.

Don't take my word for it. In 2004, the Florida Supreme Court ruled two

similar curfew laws in Tampa and Pinellas Park were unconstitutional.

The court found the laws unfairly targeted minorities and interfered

with their rights.

Besides, enforcing the curfew in Miami does

nothing if kids from the city are hanging out in places like Aventura

and South Miami. In these places, police are not on high alert over

kids on the street at night. If Dunn wants to get parents in his church

congregation to tell kids when they should be home, that's fine. Yeah,

kids shouldn't be out after a certain time, but it is not the

government's job to keep tabs on them.

I think the reverend needs to

go visit kids living in the projects. He needs to stay with them for a

while. Let's see how much time he spends inside a stuffy, hot apartment

that a kid has to share with his parents and three, four, or five other


These children usually live in homes with no air

conditioning and no cable television. They don't want to be sweating

inside a cramped house at 10 or 11 p.m. in the middle of summer. That's

why a lot of them hang out on their front stoops. Maybe if Dunn wants

to pay for them to have air conditioning and cable, then a curfew would

be okay.

If Dunn wants to get children to behave, then he should

be concentrating on what he can do to fix the neighborhoods in District

5. He needs to focus on revitalizing the parks and building some

affordable recreation. He should find ways to fix the baseball fields

and put in roller rinks. Dunn needs to worry about getting his district

a big ass water park, and golf course like the city put in over there

by Miami International Airport.

We can't fix the 20-year-old

irrigation system at Charles Hadley Park, but we can put a $500 million

baseball stadium in Little Havana with no black people helping to build

it. The city doesn't sponsor any of our youth sports programs. They

just give us free space. The Overtown and Liberty City optimist clubs

pay for the sports equipment and the people to run the program. The

city of Miami doesn't provide a dime for services it should be


Instead, Dunn wants to spend resources sending kids to

lock-up. He should just turn the fields at Hadley park into one big

jail pen.

District 5's leader should be helping business owners in

the community spruce up their stores so people can take pride in their

neighborhoods. Let's work on bringing jazz clubs, teen discos,

Starbucks, and outdoor cafés to Liberty City. Give adults and children

who obey the law a place to do and enjoy good things. Then the police

can concentrate on weeding out the criminals, including the little


Dunn needs to stop putting a Band-Aid on this area.

Ultimately it is up to him to see the bigger picture and really fix our


Follow Luke on Twitter: @unclelukereal1.

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