Monday, February 20, 2006

Watching Time Go By In North Miami
or....adjusting to the board of adjustments

Wednesday evening is the next Board of Adjustment meeting. I'm on the board. there was an article in Sunday's newspaper about a different issue completely, but our city attorney was quoted as saying to the effect that a citizen has a duty to report wrongdoings to the authorities.

This puts me in a quandry. At an "ethics" seminar a week or so ago I discovered that I can skip a meeting, but not recuse myself from any particular item on the agenda. I'm wondering the best way to just announce to everyone who is there seeking a variance that they shouldn't bother. Just build what they want. Odds are that they won't get caught because we have a bunch untrained code enforcement people. I was told that they were former trash truck drivers. When bulk pick-up went from weekly to twice a month, rather than lay off the surplus drivers, they were reassigned to code enforcement with little or no training. Not like the days of yore when people like Charlie Zarzour and Ed Krause patroled the city. They knew the code book inside out and backwards, and after years of driving the same streets day after day, week after week, for many years, would immediately spot any new construction. They'd make sure that a permit was posted. They cared.

If you try to be a good citizen and report a violation, maybe even photograph it as it happens from a vantage point on public property (the street, in this case), and the contractor decides to beat the shit out of you, leaves you semi concious on the side of the road? North Miami cops won't investigate it because they didn't witness the beating. Why didn't they? They were summoned via phone when the beating was first threatened and called a second time while it was going on. Ten or fifteen minutes later they showed up. I was semi-concious laying on the ground by the side of the road. They could have detained the contractor because he admitted that he didn't have his drivers licence with him, but they let him drive off. Not even a ticket for operating a motor vehicle without a valid drivers license in his possesion!

I was the "good citizen". I'm still having dizzy spells. What I'm considering doing is just telling everybody who's there seeking a variance to "just do it", forget the variance. Why bother? If somebody complains about it just beat the shit out of them or have your contractor do it. Here in beautiful North Miami nobody is going to get arrested for it unless they do it right in front of the cops. I plan on taking an 8x10 color photo to the meeting. My son shot it the following morning. Two black eyes, bright red bruises and still oozing abrasions galore, a real pretty sight I was.

To top it off, the cop who was questioning me after the beating, and I was still delerious at the time, was acusing me of being drunk. I hadn't had a drink in over a year. Just about everybody in town knows I don't drink, not after watching it kill my mother. Yeah, I'm pissed! and there's still a bunch of uninspected construction at that house, done without proper permits, and in need of variances to bring it into compliance. I guess it's easier to just blame the victim.


Anonymous ChainLink said...

Victims make themselves up. You are never a victim. If someone beats you up, you are a citizen. You are only a victim if you like the profile, can't think of anything else to call yourself, or you let other call you that. It's the naming. Once you name something, you have to almost no choice but to defend yourslef against it, unless you're fine with being a victim. Personally, I'm not into at all.

I think if the variance crew is so inept, you should just forget about it. Let North Miami go for about five years, ten years, without a variance crew, and what the might get a very interesting town. People could paint their houses all different colors, build them as high as they wanted, as close to the street as they might really get something out of it....North Miami that is. You might get a great tourist trade out of it. The City That Built Itself! I like it.

When things get as out of hand as you report them, and the response is not what you seem to think it should be, you have to become very creative in your mission. As far as I can tell, "they" still have the upper hand. Where is your political power? You haven't built yourself a base yet. You have to expect this if you haven't built a base yet.

Let's say you became well known...outside the city of North Miami (because what good is your reported "fame" doing you there anyway...according to you).....that you published a book, a book about all these things that happen in North Miami...a kind of tell all...anything to change anything.

But if all you're going to do is go along with everything, think you can settle things by sitting down to tea with to board meetings...then you've got another think coming.......

Lose that 60's thing, put up or shut up is kind of what we'd like to see from you, and everybody else who complains things don't go the way they think they should....all you guys at the "tea party"....and at "tea time".....Sun Tzu wrote a book for's call the Art of War...and it's pretty darn clever.....and believe me, none of your suggested solutions to the problems are in there.

12:46 AM  

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