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Take A Sign in South Beach

Take A Sign in South Beach

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Please do not be stupid in Paradise.
Please do not be stupid in Paradise.

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Published by: David Arthur Walters on Feb 03, 2014
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02/23/2014

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MIAMI MIRROR
–    
 TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page
1
 of
8
 South Pointe Park Center and Tot Park
TAKE A SIGN
Don’t Be Stupid in Paradise
 
2 February 2014 By David Arthur Walters MIAMI MIROR MIAMI BEACH
I received several suggestions from City Attorney Jose Smith subsequent to the publication of my article
about purse snatchings and other thefts in South Beach’
s South Pointe Park, which has been fabulously renovated under former City Manager Jorge Gonzales. He said his own family members had electronic valuables stolen at the tot park there. He recommended better police coverage, video surveillance, and public education including signs. Capt. Mark Causey, who heads up the Special Investigations Unit for the Miami Beach Police Department, said that efforts were being made to apprehend what might be a career criminal operating in the park.
 
MIAMI MIRROR
–    
 TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page
2
 of
8
 
Capt. David De La Espriella, well known for his pioneering work in Community Policing, said there were signs warning the public to protect their valuables, but too many people tend to behave stupidly in the beautiful surround. He noted that the Gonzales city administration was averse to cluttering up parks with signs. He said lockers were being set up for people to secure their valuables while on the beach. The aversion to signage seemed ironic to me in view of my investigation of the signage blight on the streets, with half of the signs unpermitted due to the lax and selective enforcement policy of the
city’s code compliance officials
. In any event, we should know from the Garden of Eden myth that we should not continue to be stupid in paradise after we are robbed of our innocence. I walked around the park again to examine the warning signs. I found many gaudy greenish signs warning people not to misbehave in one way or another, signs publishing a special rule for sex offenders, and a huge sign advertising the names of city officers, but I did not notice any signs warning against thieves until I asked a private security guard, who said there were a few such signs in the enormous parking lot. I surveyed the parking lot and found two
Park Smart
 signs on the north row of parking spaces, none in the center row, and three on the south row, for a total of five signs, each about a square-foot in size. A member of the valet service said there were virtually no few thefts in the parking lot when the service was operating because it was being watched. Yet many thefts occurred on the beach and within the park where most visitors had ventured from the hotels and surrounding streets. To be sure of the signage, I flagged down a Parks Department truck and asked Edgar Rodriquez.
“W
here were the
signs warning people of thieves?”
 
He said there were “big” signs in the
parking lot, and that was all, because there should be no signs inside the park. I pointed to the top of the hilly landscaping that elevates a portion of the walkway.
 
MIAMI MIRROR
–    
 TRUE REFLECTIONS 
 
Page
3
 of
8
 
“There should be a billboard on top of the hill saying,
DON”T BE STUPID, PROTECT YOUR VALUABLES!”
 I jested.
“They do not read the signs. Look!”
 Two guys were riding their bikes on the elevated sidewalk, disobeying the commandment set forth on signs below.
“No bicycles up there!”
 Edgar shouted. The cyclists shrugged stupidly, so I cupped my hands
and yelled, “Please do ride bicycles on the hill!”
 
“No English!” shouted one cyclist.
 
Maricon
!” Edgar answered with a
favorite Latino term of endearment. They got the message, dismounted and took their bikes off the hill.
“Do you know about the
Take a Sign
 
program?”
 he asked me,
“No, I’ve never heard of it.”
I told Edgar that I had often spoken with the Park Department guy who attended to the park before it was renovated.
“I think his name was Jimmy
, an Anglo, I believe. There was a discrimination issue, problems between the union and management. He sued the city for something and was proud to talk
about it.”
 
“You should not sue the city. That was a long time ago. There are always issues.”
 
“You’re Cuban?”
 
“No, I a
m Rodriquez, I am Columbian. Before I was transferred down here from the beach up
north, I was commended for my work,” he said proudly.
 
“Do you know Capt. De La Espriella with Internal Affairs? He’s Columbian.”
 
“No.”
 
“Isn’t Rodriquez
a Mexican name
?”
 
“Mexicans have mustaches. You cannot please everyone. There will always be complaints
because people are different, black, Cuban, Columbian, Mexican. This is the problem government has. Look at those trees there. One will claim it is getting less water than others, or that one is blocking its leaves from getting sunlight.
 

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Michael Wind added this note
great work,thank you.
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