South Beach Lumpen Proletariat Alley Club

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The 633 Meridian Avenue Alley Club

27 October 2015

By David Arthur Walters SOUTH BEACH HERALD

The City of Miami Beach Police Department has recently responded almost every night to complaints about the loud music, shouting, and fighting behind 633 Meridian Avenue, a building located in the old crackhood known as Seventh Heaven below 7th Street, the butt end of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood and only three blocks off South Beach’s famed Ocean Drive.

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The apartment building and 7,000 sq. ft. lot on which it sets, appraised together at $1,225,000 by the county assessor, was purchased in 1998 by Candace Partnership LLC, a front for prominent Miami Beach slumlord David Muhlrad and his wife Candace. Mr. Muhlrad, who happens to have been the city’s first code compliance chief, owns numerous white with red-trim apartment buildings on South Beach that house the tourist resort’s Hispanic proletariat, on the fringes of which are the Lumpen Proletariat, living sometimes within the structures and sometimes without.

The police department, especially the gang suppression unit and narcotics unit, together with the economic downturn dubbed the Great Recession, rid the neighborhood of most of the issues aka problems in the crime-ridden neighborhood, including the noisy all night drinking parties mistakenly associated with ethnicity instead of vulgarity.

The hardened vestiges of those hellish nights along with new arrivals from Central American countries with high crime rates squat in one place or another and roam the alleys on foot and on bicycles probably stolen. Living on the margin, they survive by means of odd jobs and misdemeanors, and numerous pints of Old Milwaukee and Busch beer.

Now they have found a hospitable place to carouse to their hearts content just outside the alley apartment of 633 Meridian Avenue, a building long associated by the city’s code enforcement department with noise, over-flowing garbage bins, cockroaches, vermin and bedbugs.

Mind you that the majority of the residents are decent, law-abiding, mostly undocumented immigrants who do not have the means or the credentials to live in a better place, people highly unlikely to complain to the authorities and risk being deported despite President Obama’s facially lenient immigration policy.

As residents know all too well, one tenant can create hell for everyone in and around a building. The tenant in this case is not a bad guy at all. Indeed, he is well known as a nice guy, a fellow with a job, a wife, and a child. He excels in hospitality, wherefore the virtual nightclub near his back door, in the common area where women wash their clothes.

Now they dare not wash in the evenings. Indeed, most of the women and many of the men who live on the block take care not enter the alley. Lingerers even as late as 8:30 A.M. were seen last week on a big couch intended as rubbish; three men were “entertaining” a woman on the couch in broad daylight. Others may from time to time be seen sleeping, drinking, and urinating under their host’s window even later in the mornings.

Major Mark Causey deployed a special squad last week to roust the revelers when the party got going at 6 PM, but they were back in full force that evening. La misma mierda each night thereafter. Police came and went each night. Rumor has it that some partiers were taken to the airport on occasion. It is difficult obtain reliable information from the illegals because they are afraid of hence extremely hostile towards (expletive deleted) Americanos who do not speak their language.

People in the neighborhood go to work tired and irritable from being awakened by the public nuisance. Some wish that the cops were not so nice, that they were as mean as the ones the Hondurans and Guatemalans are running away from for good reason. One fellow wanted by the police back home actually stabbed his wife several time a couple of years ago as his friend looked on. She survived.

Those days were really bad. People today pray to Our Lady of Guadalupe that the rapes, thefts, robberies, and murders not return along with the noise. Wherever noise and other quality of life offenses are tolerated, serious crimes are encouraged. You see, it is a matter of respect.

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Absent a police state, it is a landlord’s business to keep the peace on his property with the help of the police if necessary. Neither David Muhlrad nor his son Mark Muhlrad have returned calls made and messages left at their headquarters, the Starlight Hotel on Ocean Drive. Whether the police department has had a word with them is unknown at this time.

The city’s code compliance department is responsible for responding to noise complaints during its working hours. Those complaints are handled by police officers after hours. It has been the custom for all complaints to be recorded for public view on the city’s web site.

Only six noise complaints currently appear on the city’s site, beginning March 2003 and ending November 2012. That figure is absurd considering the number of complaints made to code compliance and the police department during that period, not to mention the nearly night calls recently made. A formerly problematic property across the alley, owned by the father of a county attorney, used to generate numerous calls to the 911 operator, yet the police department neighborhood coordinator said only two calls were made.

The code compliance department has not responded by press time to an inquiry asking whether many complaints may have been unrecorded, or tampered with, or perhaps inadvertently dumped. The city recently alleged that it had created a system whereby only supervisors could make changes to the records, and that those changes were tracked. A previous request, however, for a tracking record, and an inquiry as to whether such a system really existed, was not answered.

The traditional absence of accountability and transparency has led to suspicions of corruption including favoritism. It just so happens in this instance that Mr. Muhlrad is a close relative and business associate of Russell Galbut, one of the most influential real estate developers in the city. They are indeed so-called Old Cronies of Miami Beach, as is the new reform city manager, Jimmy Morales, who answers to Mayor Philip Levine, a de facto strong mayor because he controls a commission majority.

The mayor’s right-hand commissioner, Michael Grieco, has said that the commission almost always takes the city manager’s recommendations for granted. Many of the city’s activists, tired of corruption, desired to have a city manager from out of town instead of an Old Crony, but Mr. Morales was shooed in despite the formal recommendations made by a profession recruiting firm.

Daniel Oates, a chief from out of state, was chosen for the police department to replace Chief Raymond Martinez, who had resolved many issues resulting from a clamor over the latest wave of F.B.I. busts of code enforcement officers.

There have been complaints about the new chief’s apparent leniency towards the Lumpen Proletariat except for the beating of a model and a man who came to her defense. Otherwise the police department appears to be up to snuff. Its response to calls is efficient and effective although a more right-wing approach would be appreciated by some stake holders.

A suggested resolution to the disturbances created by alley life has been floated. Mayor Levine plans on converting a huge parking lot behind the convention center into a park. That would be an ideal sanctuary for the city’s destitute; the ragamuffins; unemployed or underemployed aliens; vagrants; homeless; or anyone else, for that matter, who cannot afford to drink in the clubs and needs a community center to socialize. The self-policed park could be named Lumpen Proletariat Sanctuary.

Now it is said that every story needs some balance. Not everyone minds the noisome alleys of South Beach. An elegantly dressed lady at the senior center had this to say:

“Isn’t it wonderful at night to hear the young people celebrating their lives in the alleys?”

“You mean the sound of music, shouting, breaking bottles, that kind of thing?”

“Yes, I love it. It reminds me of my youth.”

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Hechicera del Fuego – Miraculous Appearance in South Beach

Hechicera de Fatima
Fátima Perez as Hechicera del fuego


A Miraculous Appearance at Manolo South Beach

22 October 2015

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

City of Miami Beach Mayor Philip “King” Levine graced the Tuesday Breakfast Meeting at Manolo Restaurant South Beach with his appearance on the twentieth day of October in the year of our Lord, two thousand and fifteen.

As he proceeded to bless the audience with his presence, I noticed a photographer taking pictures of His Eminence. He was standing beside a beautiful young lady who had introduced herself to me as Fátima.

That would be Fátima Perez, an accomplished lobbyist whom he retained as his Chief of Staff last February. A Court follower who calls herself Ladra, i.e. “She Barks,” speculated that Fátima, who is familiar with the powerful lords up north, would advance his career there.

I believe, however, that it is more likely that the reason for her being here at this time is to correct the public perception that the king has been going around without clothes after being sold an invisible suit by one of his high commissioners.

Hechicera de Fatima White Witch

Appearances are not always deceiving; that is why first impressions are so lasting. Fátima left me with the impression, after a twenty-second encounter, that she is a self-righteous, chronic worker, and that despite her serious demeanor, which was betrayed by her brightly striped pants, she is a romantic, nurturing woman, and a bit of a seductress. I would go further to suppose that her planet is Venus, her favorite color blue, and emerald her gemstone, but that would be sheer speculation.

Now Mayor Levine must have noticed that people were noticing that his staff members were supporting his campaign for reelection to the local throne instead of working at the castle. He interrupted his opening remarks to say that they had taken personal time to serve as his retinue. No doubt he appreciates their dedication and will reward them one way or another—gossipers say he is as rich as Midas.

Whether or not Fátima was derelict in her duty was of no concern to me. I could not take my eyes off her. I felt entranced, somehow bewitched. She began to glow as I beheld her, as if she were standing in a blazing furnace. Suddenly she split into two, each left hand holding a lamp from which a blue cobra rose.

She spoke to me with her eyes, confiding in me three secrets on condition that I not reveal them until after the election.

“Did you see that?” I asked the gentleman standing next to me.


“That enchantress,” I said, and I nodded my head towards Fátima—but her appearance had returned to normal.

“She is the mayor’s senior consultant.”

Hechicera Levine

Mayor Levine delivered the usual speech. His strategy is simple and effective. Propagate the positive whether true or not, ignore the negative. Sometimes he stumbles when repeating his mantra that his kingdom is great. Practice makes perfect.

He asked for questions, and without hesitation picked a woman sitting in the front row. She got up and sang out a well-rehearsed ditty on his virtues. He declared that he had not orchestrated her performance.

Hechicera Ship of Fools

I thought it wonderful that he had risen from being a slave on a cruise ship, a lowly hawker of tours, to his present eminence. The restaurant looked like a ship’s deck. Hopefully it is not a ship of fools. The King’s Printer, the Miami Herald, has endorsed him, which means the editors think he will win and will therefore need him for an Authoritative Source.


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City of Miami Beach Compassionate Parks Program

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Sleeping in parks now allowed by mayor’s reform regime

19 October 2015

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

City of Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine and City Manager Jimmy Morales in cooperation with Police Chief Daniel Oates, Homeless Outreach, and the ACLU have informally developed a much lauded Compassionate Parks Program that allows vagrants, homeless, gypsies, and anyone else for that matter to sleep in South Beach parks free of charge. The Miami Beach Police Department provides security.

PARKS provides security

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A few people objected to the informal program instituted by the reform regime, but they were dissuaded when it was pointed out that many distinguished people picnic and sleep in Central Park in New York City, the most civilized city in the world. People are people, and no distinction should be made between someone with a permanent address and someone without one.

An Allied Security officer who had been instructed by his superiors not to allow sleeping in Lincoln Park was corrected by a peace officer who instructed him to let houseless people sleep in the park because, “This is their house.”

PARKS this is their house

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The Compassionate Parks Program is expected to become very popular as winter sets in up north and tourists flock to the beach. Again, no distinctions should be made between a tourist and a so-called vagrant simply because the former prefers to pay $200 a night for a hotel room. And the latter may supplement his income selling coconuts or articles woven from palm fronds without any cost for materials.

PARKS for materials

PARKS for materials under

Food is available at the Lincoln Road Community Church, whose minister said at a recent meeting that he came to South Beach for the express purpose of feeding the homeless. Without them, he would be without a job.

It was noted at the meeting that other cities are far more compassionate than the City of Miami Beach. Los Angeles County, for example, accommodates 44,000 homeless, with large camps established to that end in the City of Angels.

PARKS city of angels

Miami Beach must not be outdone. Mayor Levine, an affluent propagandist and real estate developer, well known for his compassion, wants to convert the big parking lot behind the South Beach convention center into a park. He has been urged to provide ample sleeping areas there for all comers, and to install vending machines for the provision of food and beverage that can be accessed by qualified homeless persons with special vending machine cards. Wine, beer, and whiskey should be provided as well since tourists are allowed to drink on the beach.

Anyone interested in supporting the Miami Beach Compassionate Parks Program should contact the mayor’s office.


Miami Beach Officials Neglect Traffic Safety





17 October 2015

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

City Manager Jimmy Morales, Esq. has obviously failed to provide adequate safety measures during the rush to development in the city perpetuated by de facto strong Mayor Philip Levine and his bevy of contractors and developers.

TRAFFIC number cops

Many people have complained about traffic delays and the risks presented to pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers at improperly barricaded and marked intersections where police officers were not present or were present chatting with one another including their supervisor.

TRAFFIC Barricades nowhere to walk

Most of the barricades are provided by Bob’s Barricades, which advertises itself as the largest provider of barricades in the country. In 2005 the $164 million judgment against it for forcing a teen into onto an improperly marked lane of travel was recognized by the National Law Journal as the eleventh of the Top One Hundred Verdicts judgments for negligence that year. (McKinney v. Bob’s Barricades). Arthur W. Tifford, the plaintiff’s attorney, was criticized for persuading his client to accept a $5 million settlement before the jury returned with that verdict. He said collection of the large amount was doubtful and the process was long, whereas cash was immediately needed. Mr. Tifford ran afoul of the disciplinary arm of the Supreme Court during his career, and was disbarred by his own petition over a cash shortage shortly before he unexpectedly died this year.

Miami Beach is infamous for the desultory enforcement of traffic laws, and the rush to construction and increased traffic throughout the city has made the lack even more evident. The Miami Beach Police Department lays the blame on a persistent shortage of about 30 officers, but that explanation does not wash when they are seen in back parking lots and in the streets chatting while drivers regularly violate the laws. Motor Unit officers are few and far between, and they tend to lay the blame on a lack of training and experience of other officers rather than their outright negligence.

TRAFFIC Man down in crosswalk

Drivers turning left are always a great hazard to pedestrians. Vehicles turning left off 5th Street have been seen going up on two wheels as pedestrians run for their lives. Walk signals are inconsistent from intersection to intersection, and sometimes do not work at all, confusing pedestrians.

Evidently intoxicated young drivers are sometimes seen rapidly accelerating on Washington Avenue to show off how powerful they think they are behind the wheel. That is not to mention slower moving traffic. A left turning taxi recently knocked a Crunch fitness member flat when he left the gym at 13th street and Washington Avenue, seriously injuring him. The company turned out to be uninsured. A moped driver was killed down the street at the Five Guys intersection by a cab.


The city provides bicycle lanes where cars and delivery trucks are often parked. And the trucks park on the curbs outside of the times allowed. City officials excuse this as, “Oh, well, you know stuff has to be delivered, and we don’t have enough parking,” et cetera.


UPS trucks have been seen parking across the street where the man was run over on Washington. The drivers were dining at Pepper’s, an excellent Mexican eatery; apparently there was no room for their trucks across the street at the Post Office. Pedestrians had to walk out into traffic to get around the truck blocking the pedestrian lane.


The neglect of traffic safety is just one of several indications that the city is being badly managed under the mayor’s current administration. If we are to have a strong mayor, weak manager city, then both must go.


From Las Olas Café File – Chronic violations despite multiple complaints to city manager





The South Beach Compassionate Program for Vagrants

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“This is their home”

14 October 2015

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

Only a few tourists, residents and businessmen have complained about the South Beach Compassionate Program for Vagrants established by Mayor Philip Levine, Commissioner Michael Grieco, Police Chief Daniel Oates, Homeless Outreach Services, and the ACLU.

No longer are the involuntary homeless and voluntary vagrants periodically swept off the streets like so much trash. As a police officer explained the program to an Allied Security officer when he caught him following instructions to not allow vagrants to sleep in Lincoln Park in front of the new symphony hall, “Let them sleep here. This is their home.”

HOME  their home

Since then, security officers have little to do in the new park, and one of them was observed sleeping there himself, not to mention an overworked parks department employee who regularly retires there on a hot day.

Security officers have frequently complained about the leniency of police and code enforcement officers. The word is that Allied Security’s contract will soon be terminated.

HOME be terminated

A meeting on homeless issues was called by Commissioner Grieco was held last week at the Lincoln Road Community Church. Chief Oates was there along with the minister and few residents and business owners.

A disgruntled resident said cops should shake down known criminals, to which the chief and the commissioner shook heads and rolled eyeballs. Commissioner Grieco is a criminal defense attorney, just the kind of attorney city officials may need in the event of yet another wave of F.B.I. busts. I have urged the commission to hire Bruce Cutler as city attorney, but my suggestion was ignored.

A restaurateur extolled the new police procedure for dealing with complaints about unseemly behavior of vagrants, many of whom camp in Lummus Park across from the beach’s famous Art Deco buildings, where tourists love to dine at the sidewalk cafes. Many of the vagrants in the park are ruffians as is evident to anyone who listens to them converse. Not only do they panhandle, loll around and talk tough: I saw one man expose himself and urinate towards restaurant guests. Can anyone guilty of not supporting him blame him?

The cops are good about responding to complaints, but colorful behavior should be protected. Instead of insisting on a description as to whether the unwanted person is black or white, now all sorts of details must be taken down by the police or dispatcher, such as the color and type of clothes, the color of eyes and hair, and so on. By the time all that is recalled, if the complainant is Sherlock Holmes and can recall it, the undesirable person is long gone, and compassion is served.

The minister gave a heartwarming speech about how he came down to South Beach to serve the homeless people. He would be out of a job if there were none to serve.

The officials were careful to mention that Miami Beach has far less vagrancy than other cities. That certainly is true: Los Angeles County has 44,000 homeless, and huge camps can be found on city streets.

HOME city streets

Indeed, Miami Beach should strive to be more compassionate. The city should provide a big camping ground for hoboes, homeless, and vagrants in the big park the mayor would like to replace the parking lot behind the convention center with. Our mayor is a compassionate wealthy man as can be seen by the nice woman who has been living for months by the fence at his office building. City hall and the homeless service office are within eyeshot of that parking lot.

HOME parking lot

Anyone without a permanent place of residence should be able to obtain a special money card that he could insert into vending machines at the new park and get so many sandwiches and drinks every day.

Another compassionate step that should be taken in the mayor’s new homeless park: provide a daily ration of alcoholic beverages. This counter-intuitive approach has been taken by innovative churches bent on reducing homelessness.

Now it might be said that nobody wants to live in parks and on streets. That is not true in every instance. In any event, the City of Miami Beach should continue to expand its housing program for people who want to be formerly homeless. At least half the population should be on the dole to one extent or another. The best solution would be a guaranteed minimum income of $12,000 per year for every adult whether they work or not. That will reduce the competition for higher incomes so more people can get rich.

Heterotopia South Beach


Rendering of glass palace at 321 Ocean Enrique Norten




Is this reality? Does the artist’s rendering of a penthouse at 321 Ocean Enrique Norten in South Beach look like life on Earth for the most of us?

Who is the woman standing desolate at the world’s edge before a dazzling vista unhindered by human habitation? Where did she get this great fortune? Did she exchange her soul for the wealth so conspicuously displayed? Is she happy, or is she really lonely notwithstanding living large in exclusion of the madding crowd? Is she tempted to leap from the edge of her cliff into nothingness?

After all this climbing, this is the living end, a sort of utopia set off from the world, and it is indeed a lonely place, designed for ultra-high income individuals, the top 3% of the world’s population in monetary terms, located on the most affluent portion of the upscale South Pointe neighborhood.

Could that woman standing fully clothed on the extended floor slab be Sharon Stone, to this very day the sexiest woman in the world although she has lately had difficulty finding a single man to love her as she really is? Will I encounter her downstairs, at Starbucks?

The expected sale of the 321 Enrique Norten penthouse alone, for $25 million or more, was expected to more than pay for the stated $18 million cost of the entire development. Ms. Stone is well qualified with a hard-earned fortune estimated at $60 million, yet I fear she will be reluctant to plunk down half of that to own a glass box so divorced from reality even though any more than a million dollars is meaningless without love. Notwithstanding romance, her financial advisor would advise her not to board a ship of fools captained by fast-buck pie-in-the-sky artists.

HETEROTOPIA sky artists

321 Ocean Enrique Norten replaced a historic Art Deco building, the Simone Hotel, that perhaps Ms. Stone would have loved to shack up in when she was an aspiring model. It was destroyed by neglect so developers could eventually make a killing with a couple of big glass and steel boxes completely out of character with history.

Not only tourists vacationed in the old hotels on the beach; some people lived in them indefinitely as the area became a poor man’s paradise. I arrived when old folks mostly populated South Beach. Was I ever pleased when a forlorn porn star from Manhattan showed up at the hotel where I was the night manager after her sugar daddy dumped her in Miami.

The massive boxes named after star architect Enrique Norten is what Michel Foucault might call a “heterotopia.”

We would like to preserve history of one kind or another, to freeze time and find some comfort in the illusion that it does not pass as our mortal clocks run down. Historical preservation in the area known as South of Fifth Street in Miami Beach is not even an illusion. It is a farce unless it is the history of the progress of the wealthy who have historically led the preservation movement that preserves their tastes and wealth.

In ‘Of Other Spaces: Utopias and Heterotopias’ (1967), Foucault observed that Time cannot be severed from space, yet we are more anxious over space today than time given the population explosion and consequent competition for resources including space. People vie with one another to exclude each other by hogging space, or to “live large,” as realtor Saul Gross advertises in Miami Beach, in minimally furnished or uncluttered, luxurious condominiums that constitute for ultra high income individuals little heavens on earth contradicting the brute reality of the crowded and cluttered urban pavements.

These high end condos are, to cite a notion coined by Foucault, “heterotopias.” Whereas “utopias” are imaginary “no places” conceived as constructive criticisms of real places, “heterotopias” are countercultural attempts to enact or realize utopias. “All the other real sites that can be found within the culture are simultaneously represented, contested, and inverted.”

Foucault discusses “crisis heterotopias, i.e. privileged, sacred, forbidden places reserved for individuals who are, in relation to society and to the human environment in which they live, in a state of crisis.”   He mentions boarding schools and military service where young men live away from home and are initiated into their virility; honeymoon hotels where young women are deflowered; American motels where illicit sex may be hidden; brothels; rest homes for relief of the elderly; psychiatric hospitals where the anxious are supposed to find peace; prisons for the rehabilitation of criminals; gardens that recapture Eden before original sin; cemeteries with a box or crypt for everyone that can afford one. We may recall the withdrawal of the early Christians from the Jewish communities, the Puritan societies and Jesuit colonies, the monasteries designed by Joachim of Flora, and the various communes that set themselves apart from society and eventually failed.

We also have heterocronies such as modern museums and libraries where all times meet in one place. Whereas museums and libraries used to preserve times according to individual taste, “the will to enclose in one place all times, all epochs, all forms, all tastes, the idea of constituting a place of all times that is itself outside of time and inaccessible to its ravages, the project of organizing in this way a sort of perpetual and indefinite accumulation of time in an immobile place, this whole idea belongs to our modernity.” Similarly, we have theatres, where time may be reversed, and all times including future times may be enacted in one place in a short period of time. Add to that list ephemeral or absolutely temporal chroniques such as festivals on fairs on certain grounds.

“Brothels and colonies are two extreme types of heterotopia, and if we think, after all, that the boat is a floating piece of space, a place without a place, that exists by itself, that is closed in on itself and at the same time is given over to the infinity of the sea and that, from port to port, from tack to tack, from brothel to brothel, it goes as far as the colonies in search of the most precious treasures they conceal in their gardens, you will understand why the boat has not only been for our civilization, from the sixteenth century until the present, the great instrument of economic development (I have not been speaking of that today),but has been simultaneously the greatest reserve of the imagination.

“The ship is the heterotopia par excellence. In civilizations without boats, dreams dry up, espionage takes the place of adventure, and the police take the place of pirates.”

Methinks the cruise liner is the heterotopia par excellence serving the purpose of the passenger to nowhere in particular, the sailor who sails effortlessly for the sake of sailing, perchance dreaming of utopia. Is not civilization itself a ship of slumbering fools with no one at the helm? Of course there is always the “Invisible Hand” upon which fate can be blamed.

We neoterics have vacation fantasylands like Disneyland or dude ranches and the like. And over the bridge from Magic City we have Miami Beach with its luxury condominiums in stark juxtaposition to what was once a poor man’s paradise and a soldier’s barracks now being rapidly renovated into a rich man’s ghetto, with all due apologies to the historical poor in the form of historical preservation of the physical features where they once dwelled and have since been evicted to preserve the historical progress of the rich who dominate historical preservation for the sake of their privileged class.

And where those physical features may not yield a great enough profit, they may be referred to abstractly. The abstract referencing of historic architecture is a modernist innovation in which the compatibility of the new and old is suggested by the reduction of composite form to abstract shape. The abstraction may be taken to such lengths that other than a roof line, if even that, is all that is left of history.

Foucault is right: although space may not be divorced from time, space is what is wanted nowadays. Everyone wants breathing room. We want more than breathing room. Everyone would like to persist forever without resistance, but that would not be existence. Utopia does not exist because nothing and only nothing is perfect. We want to live large, high off the hog, in Heterotopia. That would be the end of the world, in a glass box with a spectacular uninhibited view at ocean’s edge.

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Miami Beach 2015

He is an honest man – That could cost him the election



That could cost Jonathan H. Parker the election

October 9, 2015

By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIRROR

Jonathan H. Parker, Candidate for Miami Beach City Commission Group IV, thanked his supporters and welcomed interested parties with generous provision of food and beverage at the popular Liquor Lounge establishment on the corner of Collins Avenue and 16th Street, across from Loews Hotel.

I was tipped off to the event by an acquaintance in the Flamingo Park neighborhood. He said he had met Mr. Parker and he seemed to be an honest man. I was not familiar with him, and had forgotten that I had seen his name in a long list of candidates for Group IV.

I looked up his profile on the Internet to discover we had a few things in common, such as experience as an executive in the travel and financial businesses, and a presence in Hawaii where he holds a law license in addition to licenses in New Jersey and Florida.

When he greeted me at the door, I asked him if he knew whatever happened to an old acquaintance of mine in Hawaii, Duane Carlsmith. Mr. Parker knew nothing of him and introduced me to his political consultant, Michael W. Kesti, Chairman of Government Relations Group, LLC.

I asked Mr. Kesti what it takes to be a successful lobbyist. Influence is the key to success, he said, so you must have access, and that can be gained by raising the money that puts candidates in office. Yet there should be no quid pro quo, or particular legislation in return for money you raised. Can you be against most politicians? No, politicians are your market, and you must be ready to represent their sometimes contradictory agendas. Do you have plenty of dirt you could tell after you retire? Not as long as it is under investigation. So what is up with Mr. Parker? He is an honest man.

Mr. Kesti is the Palmetto Bay lobbyist who tipped off the FBI in 2011 to possible corruption that led to the arrest of mayors Michael Pizzi and Manny Maroño, and lobbyists Richard Candia and Jorge Forte. Well, Jonathan Parker had better be an honest man with a lobbyist like Mr. Kesti around.

Most everyone gathered for the event at Liquor Lounge were intimates who have lived on the beach or in the county for many years. In other words, they were diehard locals. I was the odd man out. Leading questions: Where do you live? How long have you been here?

The first question in Manhattan, for example, especially in meat markets, is usually, “What do you do?” I guess that question is considered impolite here. One is left guessing. The gracious lady turned out to be wife to Jay Almeida. I guessed from Mr. Almeida’s prominent but reserved appearance that he was a retired police chief. In fact the gentleman is president and CEO of the PHN Group and also of Bank Vision US, and he also heads the prestigious International Business Council of South Florida.

I asked him if he endorsed Mr. Parker for commissioner.

“Of course I do,” he said, “I have known him for many years. He would be a good for Miami Beach as commissioner.”

“What do you like the most about him?”

“He is an honest man. Sadly, it will be difficult for him to win in this political climate….”

I tried to provoke Mr. Parker into denouncing the mayor, as has become the custom of late. But Mr. Parker steers clear of disparaging the mayor. The mayor’s failings are obvious, so he believes it is better to address the issues in a positive manner. For example, he is for rehabilitating the Convention Center, which has always been a political football, now carried by the mayor. He happy with the pretty new façade proposed, but is not so happy with other aspects.

He was finally moved to address a few scandals appertaining to the mayor and his cohort in a brief question-and-answer session. Namely, the Exaggerations; the Sleazy PAC; and the Rebecca Flap.

First of all, it is standard practice for incumbents to take credit for programs instituted by their predecessors.

Secondly, the now shut-down politically action committee’s fundraising activities were probably legal, but it was definitely unethical in the higher sense for the mayor and a commissioner to call upon organizations with business before the city to donate money to a PAC touting the mayor’s purported accomplishments.

Finally, The Rebecca Flap, a conspiracy theory sketched from scanty information that the mayor and his political consultant, David Custin, who is running the campaigns of the mayor’s slate, are conspiring to sell out the old folks’ home by the marina to a Chinese developer, roundly denied by everyone, including the mayor in multiple email blasts, is problematic.

One of his pet peeves is that is hard for people to get thing done at city hall despite the claims to excellent service and the fact that everyone there is quite nice.

I tarried to converse with a few other people. The adjective “honest” was prodigiously applied to Candidate Parker. Some individuals present were connected to the Miami Rotary Club, where Mr. Almeida manages its public image

On the way out I told Mr. Parker that in the past I had always seen many signs around my neighborhood during elections. The only signs I have noticed this election are a few signs advertising Mayor Philip Levine, side by side with the identically designed signs of commission candidate John Elizabeth Alemán, a nice lady whom I happen to like, and they all had been knocked down and were being anointed by dogs.

Mr. Parker said someone unknown was taking his signs down, so he had sent email to all the candidates advising them to alert the police if they have any information about the practice.

He offered me a few of his signs to erect. I respectfully declined, explaining that I like him, but do not know all the candidates, and must remain impartial, so to speak.

I have a habit of liking people once I get to know them, providing they keep their promises. Jonathan H. Parker actually emphasizes that he keeps his word, that he does what he says he will do. People who know him say he is an honest man. That is to say he is not thoroughly cursed with the underlying crisis or hypocrisy of humanity.