Category Archives: Miami

Zika Ground Zero is About 7.5 Miles NE of Here

Wynwood to Coral Gables as the crow, er Aedes aegypti mosquito, flies.

(Corrected headline: NE not NW. Not that the mosquitoes care.)

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Got Me

Toll-a-paloozaDolphin Expressway to be Converted to 15 Consecutive Miles of Toll Booths

The Miami-Dade Expressway Authority (MDX) announced on Monday that it plans to greatly expand the number of toll plazas along State Road 836. The plan, which will take thirteen years and cost upwards of $1.4 billion dollars, will see 60 new toll installations along the 15-mile expressway. The design was unveiled to the County Commission and Metropolitan Planning Organization to resounding applause by an unnamed representative of the MDX, a Borg-like collective comprised of 13 assimilated, unautonomous board members.

This came up on my RSS feed, and I was really believing it, especially given the photo of the Sunpass scanners, until about the end.

Actually, like much great dark humor, it expresses a deeper truth.

Bonus dark: Mayor Gimenez to Open Manatee Hunting Season in Miami

Posted in Completely Different, Miami | Leave a comment

Darkness at Noon

Light is one of Miami’s signature characteristics. And lately we haven’t gotten much.

In Summer we enjoy a Caribbean sun; it can feel like a slap on the head when you step out of the shade. Then there is the Monsoon season, where it rains every afternoon. But in Winter, we are in a temperate Paradise: sunny, warm, bright.

But not this December, at least not so far. We have had unseasonable rain. Heavy rain alternating with blindingly heavy rain, and puddles so big they amount to small ponds. Thunderstorms. Daily. For a week. And the forecast is for it to continue. And when it’s not raining it is cloudy and dark. On Saturday I overslept badly–really badly–because the light I count on to wake me up on weekends never appeared.

I do grasp that many people reading this will be living in places where the sun rises late and sets early this time of year, and experience has taught me that such people are not in the main terribly sympathetic with complaints about our winter weather. But consider that this season is supposed to be our reward for the brutality of an August that usually runs from mid-May to some time in November, and perhaps you will see why I think Nature is not playing fair this year.

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Coral Gables Cops Offer Their Lobby as Transactional “Safe Space”

Coral Gables Central reports that the Coral Gables Police are offering their main lobby as a “safe haven” for people to meet to consummate internet-negotiated transactions. Think Craigslist deals.

The goal is to reduce the likelihood of a criminal act being committed. The Coral Gables Police Department is located at 2801 Salzedo St., Coral Gables, 33134

The department will not be involved in setting the meetings, but the lobby can be used for this transaction any day of the week between the hours of 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

This is a good thing, and the Police should be congratulated for doing it. But note that the cops say they only welcome legal transactions, so unsurprisingly this may not be the place for drug deals, escorting meets, and, they warn, nothing lasting more than 15 minutes. And I’m betting it’s not just watched by a bored desk Sargent, but all taped on camera.

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There May Be No Such Thing as a Free Lunch, But in South Beach There is Free Sunscreen

Yes, the City of Miami Beach has put 50 free sunscreen dispensers in public spaces.

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Trump in Your Head

Folks from Miami make a video about Donald Trump:

Could be better, but it’s a start and it has its moments.

The Miami Herald has more details about whodunnit.

Posted in 2016 Election, Miami | Leave a comment

Why Coral Gable Should Use STV for Commission Elections

Because Coral Gables does not have run-off elections, there is always a risk in multi-candidate Commission elections that a person might elected with less than a majority vote.  Indeed, this has happened more than once in recent memory, with the most recent case being now-Commissioner Slesnick who was elected with 32% of the vote in a six-candidate race.

A run-off, however, would be expensive, and also risks declining voter participation. Voter participation is already low enough in the April off-year election. One solution would be to move the election to the ordinary primary date in August, and have any necessary run-off in November. I have detected very little appetite for this among Commissioners and other movers and shakers in the Gables. The reasons vary. Some people think that too many people are on vacation in August. Others think that too people who don’t care much about local government would vote (the polite term for this is ‘fear of low-information voters’). Still others think that the non-partisan character of the race would be overrun with the partisan fervor of the regular election. And yet others fear that come November UM students would have too much sway. I don’t agree with most of these views, but they’re out there.

Fortunately, there a solution to the problem of running a fair multi-candidate election that produces a majority winner without having to change the election date or having a second, runoff, election. The solution is to switch from the current first-past-the-post voting system to Single Transferable Vote (STV), also known as Instant Runoff Voting.

With the very able help of my research assistant,  Steven Strickland, I’ve written a memo which outlines some of the advantages of using STV and sent it to each of the five members of the Coral Gables Commission. I hope that Coral Gables will consider changing to STV for future elections to ensure that our elected officials have the support of the majority of the electorate, and are seen to have that support.

The text of our memo, reformatted to make it more web-friendly, is below.
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