Miami Mirror – True Reflections 


February 19, 2011 MIAMI MIRROR By David Arthur Walters THE MYSTERIOUS FIRES

“Aren’t these the blighted Art District buildings you wrote about? Someone set them afire.” The question was posed by a typically sexy Miami Beach undercover cop I had met some time ago at a Washington Avenue Hip Hop club while investigating the Gonzalez Administration’s mishandling of the Flamingo Park Tennis Center lease, its maladministration of the City of Miami Beach’s code enforcement division, and its campaign to shortchange the city’s police department. Her email included links to media stories with pictures of the amazing blazes. Naturally, arson was suspected. I began my private arson investigation with a fire meditation.

Pandara & Amitabha 

“I, Pandara, am that which fills man's mind, so that he loses awareness of nothingness. I am the creator of civilizations, of ideas, of dreams, of martyrs. I create the higher goals to which all men
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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

strive, and also the distractions which keep them away. I manifest the great goddesses of fertility and destruction. I am the urge to change, to reproduce, to kill, to be reborn. I create and pulsate through the cosmic cycles. I take the sun and move its forms. My lord is Amitabha, quintessence of Drama. Most high and beautiful, he is the essence of duality. He creates all relationship, both pleasing and ugly. He breathes life into form, and gives it reason. His glorious rosy light sheds beauty across the endless planes of the universe. He directs the cosmic stage. He is the source of laughter and tears. With his great hand he halts the life of a thousand worlds. With his gentle touch they rise in awe and wonder, to begin the striving of a new age.” Since man discovered or was informed by Prometheus and the like how to put fire to use, to create and maintain it, spreading it all over the world, he has outdone lightning, eruptions, wind and other natural events. Fire definitely fascinates the animal kingdom and has always captured the human imagination, to the point that it was the chief deity for some imaginative peoples, represented chiefly by the Sun, the greatest visible source of creative-destructive energy, and its consort, the Moon. Fire-worshippers may divine the origin and nature of the universe by staring at the Sun; thus blinded, they may truly see in the dark.


The South Beach spate of fires was on point, at least mystically speaking, i.e. where there is nothing but the One. I had proceeded to write a series of articles about my recollections during my “Moses-like trek in search of the promised tennis courts,” and had already posted two articles including photographs on the subject of blighted buildings in South Beach’s art district, most recently heralded as the Cultural Arts Neighborhood District Overlay, or CANDO, a district ordained by ordinance “to create affordable housing for cultural workers and encourage artsrelated businesses to establish within the district and in this way try to reverse the gentrification process whereby high rents and property values displace artists, art galleries and cultural activities within this area.” A brief discussion of CANDO housing history shall provide some context for the current files. CANDO ARTIST HOUSING

Collins Hotel - torched in 2007

“Zoning code to allow arts district,” the heading of a July 1, 2007, Miami Herald announced before the ordinance was passed, and quoted Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez as saying, “This is not about providing housing for artists who make six figures.”
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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

When confronted with the fact that talented struggling artists would not be able to afford CANDO housing as “affordable” was then defined, as available to “moderate income” families, Ms. Fernandez waffled to the point of eventually saying that there would be no lower limit to the income qualification under the ordinance; that is, an artist might have no income, providing s/he could make the monthly payments. The Miami Herald selected two representatives for its article on the subject of who would qualify; namely, Jill Hotchkiss and David Rohn. Extrapolating from the current expenses the two revealed in the article, the former would have had an income around $40,000 per annum to cover her expenses, and the latter would have had around $105,000 for his. The Miami Mirror’s example, artist Darwin Leon, had merely $12,000 per annum income, from teaching classes at Art Center/South Florida and selling a few paintings, to support himself, a wife and two kids. The heading of a 2006 draft of the CANDO Resolution stated that the district would be established “for the purpose of promoting and marketing the areas as a cultural arts district.” I coined the key word artéstaté for the marketing strategy, i.e. capitalizing on bourgeois artistic sensibilities to promote real estate development. Struggling artists, including some homeless people whose only solace is their art, take over blighted areas because they cannot afford anything else. Eventually the bourgeoisie get wise to the cheaper real estate, move in and push the struggling artists out. The struggling artists will have to innovate somewhere else. It was already too late for them in South Beach; the rent was too already too high in the area before the new art district was created. That is, unless they were homeless. They certainly could not afford the museums and other cultural facilities enjoyed by the entrenched bourgeoisie. Further gentrification and not affordable artist housing was the intention of the civic leaders, and the gentrification accelerated under the façade of anti-gentrification rhetoric.

Darwin Leon’s cubo-surrealist perspectives on struggling-artist housing

In ‘CAN CANDO DO? Rehashing Former Miami Beach Mayor David Dermer’s Pipe Dream,’ I noted that the CANDO propaganda was trumpeted as low-income residents including “cultural workers” were literally evicted from their humble apartments all over South Beach, and area once known as a “poor man’s paradise” before promoters dubbed it “South Beach” – although the City promised temporary housing for a few days, there were many sad scenes of people standing on the sidewalks with their few possessions. However, as far as the gentry were concerned: good riddance. The “cultural trash” was gone and the rehabilitated Art Deco buildings were quite pretty to behold and perhaps profitable to speculate on.
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But there were a number of buildings in the CANDO district that were left behind, including vacated, blighted buildings around Collins Park at the very heart of CANDO and South Beach. Collins Park, by the way, is sacred ground to those who know the history of Miami Beach – it is named after the founding father who developed the land in the area. And that is the very neighborhood where the fires occurred; too many fires, one might reasonably conclude, to be coincidental. “Someone is doing this for the thrill of it,” Fire Chief Eric Yuhr told the Miami Herald after the third fire near Collins Park. “Two might be coincidental, but three? No.” And then the three became four: Copley Terrace Apartments, Tyler Apartments, Collins Plaza Hotel, The Miljean Hotel. Lo and behold, Joel Paul Williams, a 33-year old drifter from Miami with “RAGE” emblazoned on his belly, three knives under his waistband, and multiple arrests to his name, was arrested for the Miljean Hotel fire, and for setting a fire in an occupied seven-unit apartment building north of the CANDO district. He said he made sure no one would be hurt, checking out all the rooms on all floors of the Miljean before setting the vacant hotel ablaze – there goes the insanity plea. He said he likes fires because he is insane, and for that reason he did not expect to be put in jail but rather confined in a mental hospital. He proved his demented state by thoroughly trashing the interrogation room. The police said other persons could be involved in the fires. Arson-for-hire was written off. SYNCRONICITY

Synchronicity photo by William Perls 


I agreed with the police, but I speculated that Fire Chief Yuhr might be mistaken in his understanding of coincidences, for we are all connected with everything else in a way that no mere mortal can comprehend. Perhaps the apprehended culprit will confess that he set all of the fires. Still, the fires may have been set by different people, I thought, and for a motive not considered by federal and state law enforcement officials when they draw their arsonist profiles – it is difficult to profile arsonists, anyway, since only a few of them are caught, and the profiles so far make everyone suspect. What may have occurred in this case is a very unusual coincidence, something beyond mere coincidence: synchronicity. Synchronicity refers to the startling experiences most of us have at one time or another during our lives, when meaningful coincidences occur, not by chance but by virtue of a meaningful relationship of the individual to the cosmos. “Is this a coincidence, or does God really exist?” an
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atheist might consequently ask, before turning to other explanations. The experience of synchronicity is mystical, a revelation of the greatness dwarfing the petty self. The facts may in themselves be insignificant; it is their meaningful juxtapositions that count. For example, I pulled a book from the shelf of the library and took it to a table, where I soon discovered that the only few pages I wanted to photocopy were heavily underlined in pencil. It is my custom to erase underlining when possible before photocopying anything; I could then make my own emphases. To my dismay, I recalled that I had left my eraser at home. I decided to return the book to the shelf and photocopy the section the next day. As I slid the book into the space from which I had taken it, I felt something underfoot. I moved my foot aside to see what was there, and there was a brand new eraser of the same but well used type that I had left at home. Similarly, finding myself almost broke on Ocean Drive, I found myself thinking that it would be nice to find a wad of money to buy breakfast with. Several blocks later, a man ran in front of me and picked something up; it turned out to be a roll of bills; he was ecstatic. Again, two days later, on Washington Avenue, I was waiting for a bus, thinking about Kantian antinomies, when I felt something underfoot. Figuring I was standing on trash, I moved away. A man hurried out of the café directly behind me and picked up the “trash” – it turned out to be a roll of bills, with a hundred-dollar bill on top. I was beside myself. I learned my lesson, to look down. On another occasion when I was lonely for dollars, I strode up to an elevator, the doors opened, and there was a hundred-dollar bill on the elevator floor. And during my trial membership at South Beach Equinox, I was thinking it would be nice if I had some extra money. I looked down and found a hundred-dollar bill on the gym floor – people were walking over it so I picked it up. Right now I am thinking it would be nice to find a garbage bag full of money washed up on the beach. I do handle dirty money, so I shall wash it at the ghetto laundry at 6th and Meridian. Those who insist on the separation of mind and body may find parallelism at play here; that is, although there is no cause-and-effect relationship between mental and physical events, there is a meaningful correspondence between mental and physical occurrences; what happens in the one may coincide with what happens in the other. And everything in the universe may correspond to the unfathomable structure of the mind of the Supreme Being. What appears to us to be causeand-effect relationships between perceived events are merely occasions of the transcendental psyche. The dramatic revelations of synchronicity are symbolic of the underlying reality we are largely unconscious of.

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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

Pyromaniacs, even though the insanity pleas may not save them from adjudication of guilt, may be subject to or interwoven into a crisscrossing pattern of forces beyond our ability to understand in terms of cause/effect and space/time. In a way, they may be meaningful symbols constituting omens of good and evil, portents that warn us of our own inclination taken to extremity. What we may behold rising from the insanity is a tip of the collective iceberg that could very well sink the purportedly unsinkable titanic civilization.

Fine art representations of the Sibyl Pythia at Delphi


“Who is the CANDO firebug?” I asked the I Ching – The Book of Changes, and tossed the coins, which returned the 30th hexagram, for the present situation, with trigrams symbolizing fire over fire, or FIRE, with the first and fourth lines of the hexagram changing to make the 52nd hexagram, mountain over mountain, or MOUNTAIN, to indicate the future. What a coincidence!

Fire is symbolic here of clinging; as fire clings to its fuel for nourishment, so man should cling to his cow for milk if he would prosper. Fire in this hexagram rises twice, so should the bright man rise, continuing the natural process of lighting the world, hence enlightening humanity. The text for the changing line in the first place means, according to translator Richard Wilhelm, “The footprints run crisscross; if one is seriously intent, no blame.” And for the changing line in the fourth position: “Its coming is sudden; it flames up, dies down, is thrown away. A commentary notes that Fire arises from a pit, i.e. the Abysmal, the name of the previous hexagram. The outcome, MOUNTAIN, is stillness; imagine depopulated mountains standing close together, to which a superior person goes to keep still, not allowing his attention to be diverted to anything
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beyond the immediate situation. Perhaps if he meditates properly, he shall be enlightened as to the identity of the firebug(s)! THE SOUTH BEACH AUTHOR

My fire libels vainly began with myself as the lead person of interest. I suspected that I was suspected because I had so recently drawn attention to the blighted buildings and had done so in a bad light. Maybe I had better shut up, I considered, before the investigators show up at my door and find out that my alibi is that I was asleep, dreaming of a woman who does not exist elsewhere, at least not in the wonderful form I somehow imagined, and therefore she cannot testify that I was with her and doing what I was doing at the time. Sometimes arsonists are after power when disappointed; fires give them a feeling of the power they always craved. Former Mayor David Dermer’s assistant A.C. Weinstein once said I would qualify for artist housing because “writers are bullshit artists.” The fire marshals might think that I used dried-up bullshit chips to set the fire. I recalled that I had mentioned a formerly homeless man with a huge goiter and a retinue of flies, in my brilliant article, ‘South Beach Blighted CANDO Hotel’ – he threatened to set that hotel on fire – perhaps my diatribe had inflamed him. In suspecting myself I think I was suffering from the modern mental disease, paranoia, characterized by delusions of grandeur, on one side of the coin, and of persecution on the other. Given my somnolent alibi, I must resort to the standard defense of philosophical arsonism aka anarcho-arsonism: I may be inflammatory from time to time, but only in philosophy and never in deed. My brilliance is merely figurative; in no way do I advocate actually setting fires. In fact, I am a sort of fireman: my rhetorical mission is not to ignite fires but to detect them and incite people to fight fire with fire before their houses burn down – in case of flood, to tear down their houses and make rafts of them.

Mind you that fire magicians believe they can set something afire at a great distance. Even modern intelligence agencies have experimented with telepathic fire-balling to see if cities might
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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

be destroyed via action at a distance, as warriors of old reportedly did – that would save a great deal of money on means, bombs and delivery systems. My suspicions, having been diverted from my arrant self, the Nobody who blinded the Cyclops, turned to other persons of more remarkable interest; first of all to a collective person: I mean THEM, the Bourgeoisie. THE BOURGEOSIE & THE FIREBUGS

By THEM, the Bourgeoisie, I refer to everyone whose means exceed the means test for affordable artist housing as defined by the City of Miami Beach Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez. Radical leftists have personified THEM collectively, for the sake of convenience, as members of the Suidae family, the physical and mental characteristics of which closely resemble those of Homo sapiens. We retain that figurative reference even though we realize that Left and Right, Communists and Fascists, once mortal enemies, are in the process of merging so that analysts today have trouble distinguishing the difference. Unconsciously or not, everyone from the mediocre middle of the middle class on up was likely part of the plot to raze the blighted CANDO buildings, as we may learn from Max Frisch’s comedy, The Firebugs (a Learning-Play without a Lesson). Well, there is an enlightening lesson: class differences aside, we are allowing poseurs to burn our own house down. We have invited the firebugs into our abodes, where, to give them the benefit of the doubt, and to think highly of our charitable disposition made necessary by our own greed, we refuse to understand the significance of the cans of gasoline they bring into our spare rooms, particularly into the attics where our ideals are gathering combustible cobwebs and dust. We recall ever so well the hypocritical cigar-smoking Gottlieb Biedermann, i.e. the “God-loving, conventionally worthy man” who resided in a town populated by people who prided themselves on their generosity, especially towards homeless people to whom they offered scraps of food from time to time. The tranquil town was endangered by arsonists at the time, but Biedermann sensed little personal danger. The chorus of fireman standing by chanted their willingness to save the town from fires. Biedermann allowed a man named Sepp Schmitz into his abode, believing he was a peddler, or so his maid Anna had advised him, although he had just been reading that firebugs were posing as peddlers to gain entrance to homes. Mind you that Anna had told him that the man at the door wanted kindness and humanity, something Biedermann prided himself on – a former employee

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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

of his would come to see him later, to plead for food for his wife and kids, but Biedermann turned him away, and the man committed suicide. Biedermann really warmed up to Schmitz when the poseur told him he was not peddling, but was an unemployed wrestler. Schmitz revealed that he had heard Biedermann say, in a pub the night prior, that firebugs should be hanged, a punishment Schmitz said he found quite agreeable. His host entertained him with cigars and food, and, prompted by the man’s request for a bed, invited him to stay in his attic, where there was no bed; but Schmitz did not mind, saying the floor would do. It was not long before Schmitz’ comrade, Willi Eisenring, showed up. The conversation at one point turned to the subject of stealing sawdust, and Biedermann was told that his kind of people seldom get arrested for stealing sawdust; he would not be arrested because of his class difference. “I don't hold with class differences,” Biedermann propounded. “You must have realized that by now, Mr. Eisenring. I'm not old-fashioned, just the opposite, in fact. And I regret that the lower classes still talk about class differences. Aren't we all of us, rich or poor, the creation of one Creator? The middle class, too. Are we not - you and I - human beings, made of flesh and blood? ... I don't mean reducing people to a common level, understand me. There will always be rich and poor thank heaven; but why can't we just shake hands? A little good will, for heaven's sake, a little idealism, a little, and we'd all have peace and quiet, both the poor and the rich. Don't you agree?” Biedermann would find the two visitors rolling barrels of gasoline into the attic, and convinced himself it was hair tonic. The chorus of firemen would try to save him but he refused to believe his own eyes and nose and told them to mind their own business. In fact, Schmitz feared that Biedermann would call the police on them, but Eisenring thought not. Eisenring: “Why would he call the police?” Schmitz: “Why not?” Eisenring: “Because he's guilty himself - that's why. Above a certain income every citizen is guilty one way or another. Have no fear.” Precisely! Biedermann and his wife perished in the fire. The audience was to be warned of fascism or communism creeping into their midst, or both, among other dangers to the self-satisfied bourgeoisie. Case proven: although we might blame particular fire bugs or homeless people for setting fire to the sacred blighted Art-Deco structures around Collins Park. The firebug(s) were perchance only the instrumental cause of the destruction: the bourgeoisie motivated them to do the flagrant deeds, to realize the final cause of a much higher order. Just what that Cause is, is hard for the cultural worker or the CANDO artist to say, but it may be known by the theoretician. As Aristotle observed, theoretical knowledge is “more of the nature of Wisdom than the productive. Clearly, then Wisdom is knowledge about certain causes and principles.”

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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 


Everybody who watches much television knows that firemen must be included in the list of usual arson persons of interest because, first of all, fire is their business and they like to be seen as heroes. Firefighters have also set fires to retaliate for grievances against fire chiefs, to cover up crimes, to get work, and to terrorize certain people into moving away. Anyway, everyone knows that firemen have big egos and resent the fact that they do not get as much attention as police officers. South Beach is crime magnet but is pretty slow fire-wise. If there are not enough fires to go around, why not set a few here and there to prove oneself a hero? A little sleuthing on my part brought up the name of a fireman in news about a fire in another blighted Collins Park building, the old Collins Park Hotel, four years ago! His name, Javier Otero, appeared in the 2007 articles because he was the Fire Department’s Information Officer back then; another account identifies him as the Support Services Chief. Lo and behold, he surfaces again in accounts of the current fires, and is identified as the Assistant Fire Chief! Could he be the firebug, perhaps setting mysterious fires so he can then shed good light on the entire Fire Department for putting them out and conducting an investigation into their cause? Well, probably not, but one cannot help but think that the culprit is hiding in plain sight, so the state fire marshal had better check his alibi – unlike lonesome bullshit artists, he was probably with his family or at work. THE FLAMING REDHEAD

I thought of another leading figure in plain sight, Ray Breslin, longtime president of the Collins Park Neighborhood Association. Carefully note that most arsonists, according to FBI profiles, live in the neighborhood where the fires are set. A little detective work has turned up a letter Mr. Breslin wrote in 2007 to SunPost reporter Angie Hargot regarding the Collins Park Hotel fire.

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“You only hit the tip of the iceberg in talking about losing the historic Collins Park Hotel,” he wrote about the fire-gutted hotel. “I’d love to take you on a tour of Collins Park and show you the other historic landmarks threatened by owner neglect.” He praises himself for being on the CANDO Committee and actually attending its every meeting – unlike Committee member Ron Bloomberg, the developer who has a handle on a whole block of blighted buildings next to Collins Park – and for taking pictures of all the blighted buildings so people could see what was really going on in his hood. “The most notorious is the Collins Plaza just one block from where the Collins Park Hotel’s burned-out shell barely stands. This property, along with others in the neighborhood, is owned by the Lieberman Family of SBI Realty fame. They have made no attempt to be good neighbors or come to a neighborhood association meeting or do anything that might indicate a plan for development. This is sad, but this is Collins Park today.” Lo and behold, the abandoned Collins Plaza Hotel was one of three buildings engulfed by fire over the last week! Of course it is highly unlikely that an important civic leader like Mr. Breslin became so exasperated by the recalcitrance of the landholding lords that he wreaked revenge upon them and now gloats on his inflammatory power to have a real effect. However, if he is a firebug, he could not have set all the fires, for he has a good alibi: The Miami Herald reported on February 16, 2011, that he, ‘a Collins Park property owner and president of the Collins Park Neighborhood Association, said he learned about Tuesday night’s fire after returning from an association board meeting in which the week’s previous two fires were the main topic of conversation. He said he’s concerned about whether the city is doing enough to prevent the fires, especially because he lives across the street from one of the only vacant buildings that hasn’t been set on fire. “How do I know there’s not going to be a fire set off there?” he said. Clearly, he must not be the only firebug if he is one; that much is certain. IRRESPONSIBLE PROPERTY OWNERS & GREEDY DEVELOPERS

Naturally the first persons of interest considered by a fire department would be the property owners themselves, either for the insurance proceeds, or to “improve” the historic properties so they would no longer be subject to historic preservation laws hence would be easier to develop. But in his 2007 letter Mr. Breslin swore the irresponsible owners would not be able to skirt history: “They will have to be rebuilt exactly as the original buildings were. No one will be allowed to get away with this injustice in our historic district.” Developer Ron Bloomberg said back then that he has some sort of option on several of the blighted buildings, but does not own them. They are on the property rolls under the name of G-2 Development. The Feb. 16, 2011, article reported that Shane Rolls, G-2’s director, “declined to comment Monday about a fire marshal’s 2007 investigative report that revealed gasoline was
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used to light G-2 Development’s building at 2000 Park Avenue. But he told The Herald he has struggled for years to keep homeless people from breaking into his building while also fighting a lender in court.” Aha! So he does not want to talk about the gasoline! What’s up with that? Interestingly, Mr. Breslin has lately said that he would not mind seeing the blighted CANDO block purportedly controlled by Ron Bloomberg used for the placement of the Grande Conventional Center Hilton Hotel. Mr. Bloomberg, as we know, despised the city machine when he was a new kid on the block. But since then he became tight with the city machine, and sat proudly on former Mayor David Dermer’s Blue Ribbon CANDO Committee. Do we have enough dots in place to draw a conspiracy theory? Have the fascists if not the communists or both together taken over CANDO? As far as the current Miami Herald reports are concerned, CANDO, which was touted by the Miami Herald, is nominally dead, and so is the “art district,” for the area is now solely identified in the fire coverage as “the city’s Museum district.” The newspaper’s February 20 report mentioned that the city enacted “a plan to transform the district into Miami Beach’s cultural epicenter, and has sunk millions into public initiatives to engineer the revival of the neighborhood….” CANDO is not mentioned; everyone knows by now that it was a canard. EIN WARMER ABBRUCH

Harry, a Crunch trainer who happens to be my Austrian consultant on certain vital issues, said that savvy Austrian developers, when confronted with historical preservation laws, resort to what is known as a warmer abbruch, translated roughly as “destructive warming,” a sort of housewarming accomplished by renting out buildings to poor itinerant workers who cannot afford electricity therefore tend to cook and keep themselves warm by means of open fires. “That way,” said Harry, everybody wins except the historical preservation people. The landlords collect some rent until the buildings burn down, are no longer subject to preservation, and can be developed accordingly.” Modern English is said to be closer to original German than modern German, and English speakers have told me that German is easy to learn. I do not know about that: I looked up warme on the Internet, and the first page that came up said it meant “gay”, which can be used in a derogatory sense. “It can mean that,” Harry responded to my inquiry, “but it also means warm. 4 warme together is a central heater!”
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“So four gays having sex together is referred to as ‘central heating’?” “I’m afraid the joke got lost in translation,” he replied – I still did not get it, but I found something pertinent to warming up historically significant houses in a German blog translated by Google: “EinVerwandter von mirkriegt bald eineKrise. A relative of mine gets a crisis soon. Er hat 30 jahrelang seine Villa und den Garten in Schleswig-Holstein gepflegt. He has 30 years of his villa and garden in Schleswig-Holstein maintained. Jetztkommt der Staat und will seine Villa unterDenkmalschutz und seinen GartenunterNaturschutzstellen. Now comes the state and wants his mansion listed building and its garden set under protection. Der war schonmitseinem RA zuirgendeinemTermin und meint die Situation istaussichtslos. He was already with his RA at any time and says the situation is hopeless. ErsuchtKontaktzu den Kreisenbzw. Erfahrenen in Sachenwie man seinEigentumgegenDenkmalschutzschützenkann. He seeks contact with the circles and experienced in terms of how to protect his property against a historical monument. Hat jemandTipps und Empfehlungen? Does anyone have tips?” “The last possibility will eventually be at a summer festival of fire followed by a warm Riesen sauferei Abbruch, where possible, little or nothing from the "to be preserved buildings' remains wirdirgend wann beieinem Sommerfest der Feuer wehrmitanschlie ßender Riesen saufereiein warmer Abbruch werden, beidem möglichstwenigoder gar nix von der ‘zuerhaltenden Bausubstanz’ übrigbleibt.” So the suggestion is that a sort of drunken housewarming be held where everyone gets smashed and destroys a building so that nothing historical remains to be preserved by conservatives. The developer, no doubt a creative-destruction ideologue, can more effectively deny responsibility, relying on Joseph A. Schumpeter’s doctrine to assuage twinges of conscience. Yes, the CANDO blighted buildings were unoccupied, but the strategy there is to leave the buildings unsecured and rent-free so vagrants including crack-heads could occupy them with the same effect. In fact neighbors have complained that the charred buildings were easy to get into. Never mind. Only a fool would set fires to several more of his buildings or intentionally encourage squatters to occupy them when knowing he was at the top of the list of usual suspects hence under an ongoing investigation. Mind you that a standard profile of arsonists states that many pyromaniacs are of low mentality; arson is very often committed by someone who is retarded and/or angry, although some bright young fellows get a kick out of setting fires. But here we entertain the thought of situation where a maniacal moron or intelligent juvenile delinquent may not be the perpetrator, a case where fires may not have been set for the thrill of it or because of anger, but for economic reasons; the so-called profit motive.


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                           The mayor supports small business                     Flamingo Park Activist 


Matti Bower, the illustrious mayor of the City of Miami Beach, wants to hold irresponsible owners’ feet to the fire. According to a Feb. 15 Miami Herald report, she has called a meeting with city officials to consider what may be done to protect the historic buildings from “demolition by neglect.” She said she did not want to make accusations, but she is looking into forcing the owners to take care of the blighted carcasses, bloated corpses that progressive activists believed should be seized under power of eminent domain and converted to affordable housing in order to correct the blasphemous hypocrisy of using anti-gentrification rhetoric to accelerate gentrification. A confidential conspiracy theorist has identified Mayor Bower as a person of interest in the arson case: “Matti Herrera Bower and Denis Arthur Russ (founder and Director of Community Development for Miami Beach Community Development Corporation, present president of the Flamingo Park Neighborhood Association) have been conspiring for years to siphon low income housing grant money to MBCDC. Denis has kept three of these buildings, located across the street from the convention center and purchased with city money at premium prices, in limbo while waiting for the opportunity to sell them at a peak price to a casino developer. To close the deal, several more adjacent buildings must become available through eminent domain due to fire destruction. A neighborhood activist from the Flamingo Park Neighborhood who has no apparent source of income may be getting paid gobs of money and weed to set the fires. A gambling referendum will mysteriously appear out of nowhere on the November ballot. Matti already has every chad in place to tilt the vote approving gambling. By next year, Matti and Denis will be celebrating with mojitos on a yacht off the coast of Cuba.” THE CITY BOSS & HIS MUSCLE

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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

There is always the possibility that City Manager Jorge Gonzalez had Assistant City Manager Hilda Fernandez, who does much of his heavy lifting, set the fires to clear the way for new hotels to serve the half-billion dollar Grande Convention Center project they have in mind. Note well that their offices are just a few blocks from Collins Park! That they served to directly ignite the flames is unlikely, but one never knows; certain aspects of the profile suit them. What we all know by now is that Boss Gonzalez has mismanaged the city because he did not have to earn his keep with a weak mayor, part-time commission, and indifferent electorate, all too lazy to dismiss him over the last ten years of ineptness – or is corruption afoot? The Miami Herald has received volumes of complaints about Boss Gonzalez but has virtually ignored them in its civic-minded unwillingness to alienate its prime source of authoritative “news” on the beach. But now that the city has burst into flames, it would enlighten the people on the subject, attributing some of the negative remarks to unnamed sources called “some critics.” Underlying all the factors contributing to the blaze, “some critics say, is a failure by the city’s administration and political leaders to act assertively in guiding the district’s revival and safeguarding its vulnerable architectural treasures when it faltered.” A city building official did dare to identify himself as Richard McConachie and relate that, after the 2007 fire, the city failed to force owner of G-2 Development to appear before the Unsafe Structures Board, allowing the building to stand in a state of disrepair for years. And the paper actually printed preservationist Nancy Liebman’s questions: “Where are the police? Where is code enforcement?” Code Enforcement was, for example, at Las Olas Café as the dog waste piled up in the old crackhood now dubbed ‘The Toilet.’ The police were working overtime, running around the beach trying to keep up with one of most crime-ridden small cities in the nation – that population does not include the crowds of tourists from all over the world, the itinerant criminals who prey on them, and the dregs of humanity looking for a warm place to get drunk. As soon as the police sweep them away whenever the appearance of impropriety becomes outrageous, even more appear. Otherwise the police are preoccupied investigating the murders, rapes, car thefts, assaults, robberies, drug dealing, and the like that are seldom reported by the Miami Herald – the police report section of the newspaper leads one to believe that most South Beach criminals are apprehended for shoplifting by the off-duty police officer at the Lincoln Road CVS. It is hoped that casinos will be allowed on the beach, and that crime will become more organized than it already is in certain fields like human trafficking of illegal aliens and prostitutes, drug trafficking, money laundering and so on. The city does “reach out” to the chronic homeless; a bath, food, clothes, and psychotropic meds are provided; the characters are put back on the street – where one of them has been openly masturbating for years. Now Ray Breslin said he has been telling the city that it is the old buildings that bring people to Miami Beach. A city commissioner said that one of the main attractions for tourists is the colorful bums on the beach.

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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 


I present one more person of interest: David Smiley, the frustrated and bored Miami Beach beat reporter for the Miami Herald. After months and months of reporting on small town, picayune affairs, and having his dreary reports buried in the Neighbors section, his reports on the South Beach arson made the front page! Yes, other reporters accompanied him, but still, his byline made the front page. In such a case as this, he, like firemen who set fires, should be a person of interest, for such a reporter may set fires to report on them. First of all a disclosure is in order: As editor of the Miami Mirror, the virtual opposition press in South Beach, for which I am also reporter and publisher thanks to Three-Stooges-In-One Unlimited, I am often moved to editorialize on the greatest historical fault of the Miami Herald: that it prostituted itself to the rich and powerful, bedded down with real estate developers, and served as a leading propaganda organ of the forces of darkness of commercial tribalism that led this humungous nation of ours to the very brink of infernal hell. I must also say that the Herald supplies plenty of useful information to its readers. I know it gives me plenty to complain about, especially when its investigative reporters receive several awards for recklessly disregarding the truth hence maliciously libeling a former public official; or when its political hack writer pens a one-sided story because he hates Rick Scott’s guts and then insists it is a fair and balanced report; or when the publisher stops stapling the TV guide pages, cuts TV coverage back, then throws the guide into a bunch of advertisements where it is too easily discarded – another strategy to force people to look at the ads when all they buy the Sunday edition for is the TV guide. And I must say the paper is good for stuffing into shoes soaked by South Beach flooding; or subscribing to so papers will pile up on one’s doorstep, thus alerting neighbors to the dead bachelor within, or thieves to his or her vacation. One newsworthy activity the Herald is excels in is sucking the hind teat of prevailing authority, the main source of its advertising posing as news. This so-called fourth branch of government is too often stems from one of the three branches. When and if the propped-up authorities fall, the paper is sure to put on its muckraking guise, and kick them when they are down, all too late to do anyone much good. Indeed, the Herald is like stock analysts who go with the flow while it is profitable to do so; focusing on the now; blind to any future not wished for. The culprits cleaned out the house and were way down the street before the watchdog woke up. The paper certainly is not in the business of preventing fires but of reporting them. The Miami daily rag pays scant attention to Miami Beach, without which Miami would not be worth much despite its corruption. Still, it is careful to cultivate the cash cow, taking care not to
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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

run stories that would scare tourists away. Given the fundamental concern with power, people are naturally fascinated by sex and violence, but the Herald has done its level best to ignore the persistent crime wave in Miami Beach, which is one of the top five most crime-ridden cities with a population under 100,000 in the country. At least the paper has reported that ordinances are passed in Miami Beach so they will not be enforced. People love power in all its forms; they cotton to political leaders, curry favor with the wealthy, and literally worship celebrities for lack of deities. We notice well that whenever there is cause for many eyebrows to be raised over political policies in Miami Beach, David Smiley, if he mentions the doubts because they have become too pressing to cover up, will usually conclude his report with some official’s reassuring lie, to which those in the know say, “Liar, liar, pants on fire!” – but that politically incorrect statement will seldom be reported, at least not until the buildings have almost burned down. A case in point is David Smiley’s desultory and misleading reporting on the Flamingo Park Tennis Fiasco. The question of whether or not five tennis court surfaces should be hard or soft, concrete or clay, was rocking the city hall of cards to its sandy foundations, bringing the mayor to the verge of a nervous breakdown. If only the Herald had properly reported on the real subject at hand, those who believe everything they read in papers would have called for the resignation or dismissal of the Gonzalez Administration. But our beat reporter was bored: he yawned at the scandal underlying the superficial issue, and slept on it. He wakes up from time to time; for example, to expose a little brawl between two city employees; and an unruly teenager was slapped by a city employee; a strip club owner filed a complaint against the city attorney with the Florida Bar; and so on and so forth life creeps on in its petty pace. Admittedly, the front-page arson reports were quite well done according to generally accepted journalism standards that bury the truth in objective mediocrity; however, given the fact that other reporters were involved, we do not know how much credit to give David Smiley for his part. We see he played second fiddle to Andres Viglucci in Sunday’s Feb. 20 front-page report. In any event, we appoint him as a person of interest. The main issue we have with the initial reporting by David Smiley is that it failed to distinguish between junk and jewels, a distinction that should have been obvious to eyewitnesses including reporters on the scene. THE JUNK & THE JEWELS

Blighted buildings the Herald called “beloved”, “jewels” “treasures” and “gems”

Not everyone including artistic architects loves “the city’s beloved historic buildings,” including hotels, just because they happen to be ornamented in the cheaper, American Art Deco style. The boxes ordinarily have a broad flat faces with eyebrows over the windows; the streamlined ones
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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

have rounded corners including perhaps a round forehead. A hat is usually placed on the head; e.g., a ziggurat, turret, cupola, pinnacle, or a raised parapet wall.

Examples of older South Beach Deco buildings including the abandoned Plaza South hotel

There are plenty of old Art Deco buildings in Miami Beach for people to enjoy. Perhaps one or two of the blighted buildings around Collins Park might be rehabilitated if not razed and rebuilt as they previous stood. Nevertheless, it would be best to demolish the junk at this late date and to erect some gems.

Gems at Collins Park including old rotunda telling the story of civilization

Yes, South Beach is replete with older gems, including the WPA Post Office.

South Beach post office with turret atop, fountain, fasces, and light

No, the Miami Herald would not dare to offend preservationists by dwelling at length on the widespread opinion that the blighted buildings, what David Smiley first identified as “jewels,” should be seized by the power of eminent domain, demolished forthwith, and the land be put to higher use, i.e. productive uses, such as truly affordable housing, or as an international school of the fine arts including housing for students and faculty. After all, creative architects certainly know how to allude to a particular decorative style when designing new buildings.

What later can-do architects have done

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Miami Mirror – True Reflections 

CONCLUSION So who is the CANDO firebug? As we have seen, there are quite a few persons of interest. Only one person has been arrested so far, and he appears to be the instrument of forces rooted in the collective unconscious. Thousands of firebugs responsible for fires may go scot-free; or so they think: there is always karma. What remains to be done is obvious to everyone concerned. Some day it may be done. Whatever is done, South Beach shall eventually be paradise. As Ray Breslin said, “Once all this develops, it’s going to be lovely. I should live that long, right?” And that makes this world the best of all possible worlds.


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