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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Urban Beach Weekend -Today's 4 p.m. mtg. on Miami Beach may prove to be a High Noon for some hospitality industry sycophants -truth or more Kool-Aid?



Josh Wilson video: Miami Beach shooting -Memorial day Weekend 2011 [Official Video]

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Urban Beach Weekend Fallout: Today's 4 p.m. meeting on Miami Beach of the Miami Beach Chamber of Commerce's Board of Governors may well be a "High Noon" of sorts for certain sycophants of South Florida's insular and greedy hospitality industry, so often disconnected to reality and forever offering up a smile to out-of-town visitors while often treating them in a second-class fashion -when not ripping them off.

Not that anything will happen to anyone on the CoC Board, per se, rather now we may well see who in that group can see the situation for what it really is, and will say so publicly, and who still swallows the Kool-Aid and will try to obfuscate, conflate and dissemble behind that curtain.

And despite the fact that someone was killed, almost unmentioned in the subsequent discussion among South Florida residents?
The truly dreadful performance of the Miami Beach Police Dept., seeming to show no appreciation for the fact that their unprofessional behavior -by losing their cool- nearly killed innocent people.
Is it merely bad training or... and their amateurish/standoffish handling of the media's legitimate inquiries are only making it look worse.

Here's the thing: nobody-but-nobody who lives in South Florida and who pays attention is the least bit surprised at what happened last week on Miami Beach -a police-involved shooting.

Most residents of South Florida, especially those who have traveled anywhere and have a history of having attended large outdoor events/festivals elsewhere in the country or the world, will tell you that all the ingredients were there for an explosion.
And now that it's gone off, what will happen?

Question: which newspaper had not a single word about this incident in their Sunday edition?
Yes, the same day that Channel 10's Michael Putney had an excellent discussion of the issue on his This Week in South Florida telecast on Sunday morning, following ABC-TV's This Week telecast?
Answer: the Miami Herald.

(I was going to post the video of the TWISF segment on UBW aso you could see it for yourself, but Channel 10 STILL hasn't put it on the website yet, as their most recent one is from May 22nd. It's the year 2011 -what's the hold-up???)

Seems to me that this afternoon's meeting could turn out to be ONE hell of a meeting!


Channel 10/WPLG-TV newscast video with reporter Ross Palombo: Video Gives Up-Close View Of Officer-Involved Shooting.
Includes video of Miami Beach Policeman who grabbed bystander Narces Benoit's cellphone recording and smashed it; driver kept SIM card!

Channel 10/WPLG-TV newscast video with reporter Roger Lohse:
Questions Linger Over Police-Involved Shooting

And proving that some people never quite 'get' it:

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Miami Herald

Man behind rally to end Urban Beach Week says efforts got him fired
By David Smiley
June 7, 2011
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When Peter Tapia took to Facebook to protest the rowdy parties that descend on South Beach every Memorial Day weekend and organized an anti-Urban Beach Week rally at city hall, his goal was to end the city’s annual but unofficial hip-hop street festival.
So far, the only thing Tapia’s activism has ended is his job.

Tapia, 23, says he was fired from his position as a Shore Club concierge Thursday after his bosses learned he was pushing to end Urban Beach Week, a rowdy and controversial hip-hop street party that was marred this year by two police-involved shootings in which an alleged gunman was killed and four bystanders were shot.

“I became unemployed because of all the attention I got,” Tapia said. “My employer decided it was a breach of contract.”

Tim Nardi, general manager of the Shore Club, said hotel policy would not allow him to discuss Tapia’s employment.

“I can’t confirm or deny his employee status,” Nardi said. “But any issue related to Peter did not have anything to do with this weekend.”

Nardi is also chairman of the Greater Miami and the Beaches Hotel Association.

Leading up to Memorial Day weekend, Nardi said Urban Beach Week is a historically positive event for Miami Beach’s hotels, which are typically packed with guests during the weekend. Nardi said Monday that he isn’t advocating for or against Urban Beach Week in the midst of controversy, but said the city’s hotels “welcome everybody to South Beach.”

Tapia said he had been previously warned by the Shore Club not to have involvement with the media and signed some kind of agreement. He also mentioned on Facebook that he was a Shore Club concierge, which he said his bosses didn’t appreciate.

“That’s something I shouldn’t have done,” he said.

Though Tapia was fired Thursday, he went ahead with a Friday rally that drew roughly 150 people. He said he will continue to push to end Urban Beach Week while looking for employment.

“Even though I lost my job I will still continue to fight for the community,” Tapia said. “I’m still active in this. We’re still organizing.”

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Miami Herald

It takes just one fool to ruin everybody else’s fun
By James H. Burnett III
June 2, 2011
There’s a civics lesson to be learned from the debacle that was the 10th annual Urban Beach Weekend in Miami Beach, and it’s a lesson we all learned in kindergarten – either when we were mush-headed 5-year-olds or when we read the book All I Ever Really Needed to Know I learned in Kindergarten.

And here is part one of that lesson: Even if nine out of 10 people exercise good sense, when number 10 makes a habit of acting, as my grandmother would say, “a fool,” he will ruin the other nine folks’ good time.

Eight people were shot at this year’s UBW along South Beach — one fatally — and three police officers were injured. Granted, fair questions remain as to whether some of the injured were actually innocent bystanders shot by cops who’d fired at a dangerous drunk driving suspect — and missed — like they were “shooting” a scene in a John Woo movie. But still.

During the gathering’s first year, 2001, a fatal shooting took place on South Beach. UBW has been tame some years. But in 2006, police snagged more than 70 firearms from partygoers, and in 2007 two men were killed in a drive-by shooting.

And no one with the ability to keep a straight face — and who isn’t a defense or civil rights attorney — would dare suggest that the occurrence of these crimes and weapons confiscations were likely to happen on South Beach when they happened, absent the coinciding UBW festivities.

I’ve never attended UBW — I’m too old, too far removed from college age, too easily bored by parties, and beginning to turn gray. But here’s how my good time was ruined by a similar gathering.

In the fall of 1989, when I was a young, svelte, even better-looking high school student in Virginia Beach, I held the unfortunate part-time job of women’s shoe salesman at the Leggett department store in a local mall, squeezing oversized, sweaty feet into new shoes that hadn’t done anything to deserve that punishment. I was working the night a riot broke out at the Labor Day weekend Greek Fest, a similar event to Urban Beach Weekend in that it brought together thousands of black college students (and thousands of local non-students who mingled with the visitors) for several days of nightclub and beach parties.

Residents of beachfront neighborhoods had been complaining to city officials for years that the rowdy spillover from Greek Fest was putting a serious crimp in their quality of life.

No one was seriously hurt, but stores and hotels along a 10-block stretch of Atlantic Avenue suffered so many broken windows it appeared they’d been visited by a hurricane. Police were overwhelmed. Looters had their way. Rifle-toting National Guard troops even responded.

When I left the mall close to midnight after staying late for inventory, the rioting hadn’t started, but the tensions were high. And before I’d made it three blocks on my drive home, I was pulled over by a police officer, who for the next 15 minutes questioned me nervously about where I was going and warning me that it had better not be to the beach. He let me go after I convinced him that my proximity to the mall, my suit, tie and name tag, and my lack of beachwear, were enough proof that I was going home.

The officer was out of line. But I’d never have encountered him if the fool (multiplied by several hundred) in my grandmother’s anecdote hadn’t turned a party sour. By way of the rioters, Greek Fest ruined my good time.

Frankly, I don’t care one way or another if Miami Beach decides to ban UBW and all related gatherings. But I hope the city follows Virginia Beach’s lead and makes the issue behavior and not race. If the majority of UBW attendees over the years had been white, their skin color would never sneak its way into the conversation. The conversation would be “Let’s keep these crazy folks off the beach…without chasing away the harmless people they mingled with.”

If UBW does come to an end, part two of that civics lesson is: You don’t have to do anything wrong to have your quality of life negatively affected. Spoilers are everywhere. And as the students and other mannerly attendees to UBW grow up and move on, hopefully they’ll remember this year and keep in mind that good times can be maintained if we can slap a scarlet letter on the spoilers and figure out how to impress upon them that they have two choices: straighten up and behave or be isolated out of the mainstream.

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#HOLLYWOODFL based photographer and entrepreneur Esther Chuang with Hollywood Mayor-elect Josh Levy

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North Miami Beach High school alumni

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers

North Miami Beach Senior High School, the Home of the Chargers
Before I was a Hoosier, I was an NMB Charger, Class of 1979.

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation

In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation
"In the Heart of a Great Country, Beats the Soul of Hoosier Nation." -South Beach Hoosier, 2007.