Friday, May 22, 2015

Sorry, Miami Beach is closed this weekend. Please go elsewhere


Click to enlarge.



Sometimes you have to wonder if Miami Beach Mayor Philip Levine is secretly planning to close down Miami Beach by 11 p.m. and have all residents in bed by midnight.

The other day he managed to get Miami Beach commissioners to vote unanimously to drive a stake through the heart of Miami Beach's tourist economy to cut off outdoor alcohol sales on Ocean Drive at 2 a.m.

And now here's an email (embedded below) that Levine sent out today regarding the city's Memorial Day Weekend preps.

In the email, Levine says "for more information on the city's detailed Memorial Day Weekend plans, please visit www.respectthescene.com"

Well, I wanted more info, so I headed on over to respectthescene.com.

Here's what I saw:




But when I texted 61721, this is what I got back:




But here at Random Pixels, we don't give up so easily.

So I decided to try a few of the "important numbers" listed at respectthescene.com.




Hmmm, let's try the Miami Beach Tourism Hotline, 305-673-7400.

I did, and this is what I got:




OK, dead end there.

Let's try the number for Miami Beach Information, 305-604-2489.

Ring, ring: "Thank you for calling the City of Miami Beach...for questions regarding noise complaints, water leaks, building permits, garbage pick-ups....blah, blah, blah."

Yeah, that's the kind of info someone here for Memorial Day Weekend needs.

Way to go, Phil!

By the way, Mayor Levine does suggest you kick off the holiday weekend by stopping by the Visitors Meet and Greet Center on the MacArthur Causeway - eastbound across from Jungle Island - Friday night starting at 7 p.m.

For your convenience, the center will be staffed by some of Miami Beach's finest who will be more than happy to help you finalize your holiday weekend plans. Have three or four drinks before you arrive.

But be sure you leave your styrofoam containers at home.



Philip Levine
             MAYOR 
                   OFFICE OF THE MIAMI BEACH MAYOR


Dear Friends and Neighbors,
  
As we prepare to celebrate Memorial Day Weekend, I assure you the City of Miami Beach is working diligently and taking all the necessary precautions to make sure that our visitors and residents have a safe and enjoyable holiday.   

The City of Miami Beach Police, Fire, and Emergency Management Departments have planned and staffed according to the needs of our residents and visitors.        

Here are a few things to keep in mind from Friday, May 22nd through Monday, May 25th, 2015: 
  • Traffic Plan and vehicular road Closure to Ocean Drive will begin at 7 am on Friday, May 22nd and Ocean Drive will remain closed through Tuesday, May 26th at 7 am
  • You will notice a visible law enforcement presence during the weekend
  • A traffic loop has been created to curb "cruising"
  • Changed traffic patterns on Collins and Washington Avenues. Expect traffic delays
  • Friday night DUI checkpoint on eastbound MacArthur Causeway. Police will be using License Plate Readers on the causeways to help with stolen cars and other law violations
  • The Venetian Causeway will only be open to residents. You may be asked to show ID's. 
For more information on the city's detailed Memorial Day Weekend plans, please visitwww.respectthescene.com 
  
Lastly, I personally want to thank all our service men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much for our freedom. I wish everyone a fun and memorable Memorial Day Weekend.

Sincerely,

Philip Levine
Mayor of Miami Beach   




Wednesday, May 20, 2015

I need your help


If you like what I do here, and you'd like to see it continue, then I could really use your help. I hope you'll consider making a donation to help keep this blog going.

Just click on the Paypal "donate" button at the top of the right-hand column and follow the instructions.

Thank you for your support and continued readership.


Tuesday, May 19, 2015

The way we were....the Coconut Grove Bed Race


Thirty years ago today, on Sunday, May 19, 1985, they ran the 7th annual Coconut Grove Bed Race.

WTVJ's John Holden covered the festivities.






Monday, May 18, 2015

Is this an actual recruiting video for the Miami Police Department? [UPDATED x1]


video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player


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UPDATED on May 19 at 2:00 p.m.:

The Miami Herald's David Smiley talked to former Miami police chief Manuel Orosa who said the video is not a recruiting video.


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However, Miami Police Lt. Javier Ortiz who is also president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, says this: "Chief Orosa authorized for that video to be taken. All officers including the female officers were on duty and authorized by Orosa. Everyone is pretending that it wasn't the MPD ever since the FOP pointed out how it exploits our female police officers and damages the image of our law enforcement professionals. As you see in the video, I am shown making an arrest. That video was taken during ULTRA three years ago. When I asked who was taking the video, [Chief] Orosa told me it was for recruitment purposes."

A spokesperson for the Miami Police Department declined to answer any questions about the video, instead referring me to Major Delrish Moss, the public information unit's commander.

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The people in the video below are actual Miami police officers. But is it a recruiting video authorized and sanctioned by the Miami Police Department?

Stay tuned for an answer to that.





Screen grabs from "The Real Miami Vice"
(Click images to enlarge)











Miami Fraternal Order of Police president Lt. Javier Ortiz believes the video below shows "what real cops deal with everyday."

On his Facebook page he writes:
"While the MPD released a recruitment video exploiting female officers and making us appear to drive Ferraris and helicopters (which ours isn't even working for over a year), this video will give you a taste of what is the typical call for a Miami Police Officer.

"There are no glitzy lights or shiny cars.

"They're professional men and women that combat crime as well as individuals that no one else will deal with. We expose ourselves and our families to not only violent offenders on a daily basis, but disease. God bless our law enforcement officers."





Miami Beach Police Department updates its policy on social media and social networking

Following last week's revelation that some members of the Miami Beach Police Department used city computers to send hundreds of pornographic and racist emails, Chief Dan Oates today updated his department's policy that governs his officers' use of social media.

In a press release, Oates says, "With today’s new policy, there is no longer any doubt as to what an employee’s obligation is when receiving offensive material, like pornography or racist messages. The obligation is to report the violation immediately, period. The message cannot be clearer. We will not tolerate any offensive emails, texts or social media postings in our Department.”

Turns out the policy that's been in place since 2011 also contains this passage: "Employees shall be aware that comments and statements made through electronic media including, but not limited to, the internet and text messaging are openly public and may be available and preserved for anyone to see in perpetuity."

Really, Chief, you trust these guys with guns and live ammunition, but they still have to be reminded that anything they post on the Internet can be seen by the public ... forever? Wow!

So there you have it, men and women of the MBPD, "If you see something, say something." Better yet, just don't use your city computer to send stupid sh*t!

On a related note, I'd like to take this opportunity to remind members of the Miami-Dade Police Department that the county gas pumps you use to fill up your police vehicles are monitored by surveillance cameras.  You've been warned. Apparently some of you didn't get the message the first time around. 


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Friday, May 15, 2015

Random Pixels Guest Columnist: Dr. Marvin Dunn


Arthur McDuffie was beaten to death at the intersection of 
NE 38th Street and Miami Avenue on Dec. 16, 1979 by six
Dade County police officers.

Why Did They Kill Arthur McDuffie?

by Dr. Marvin Dunn

Arthur McDuffie, an unarmed black man was beaten to death by half a dozen white Dade County police officers on the night of December 16, 1979 following a high speed chase through the streets of Miami. His head was split open and the cops tried to cover up what took place. On May 17, 1980 when all of the officers were found not guilty by an all-white jury in Tampa, Miami exploded in riots that left eighteen people dead most of them black. But why was McDuffie, a former Marine with no criminal record, beaten so severely that night and what lessons are to be learned from what happened?

Dr. Marvin Dunn
McDuffie was beaten for the same reason that has resulted in more recent deaths of black youths at the hands of the police in other cities.. He showed contempt for the police. He offered a finger to the first cop, Ira Diggs, as he ran through a red light. Digs and several other police units chased McDuffie through the streets of Miami at over 100 miles per hour. When he finally stopped on his own, the adrenalin-fueled police officers attacked him with a vengeance. They probably would have mistreated any man who had made them chase him at 100 miles per hour. But, was McDuffie’s race a factor in the savagery? Certainly it was. I doubt that the life of a white man would have been taken so casually. I believe the cops could have identified with a white or Hispanic victim but not with a black one and certainly not with one who had shown disrespect for the police by fleeing or resisting arrest. Some, if not many, police officers harbor contempt for young blacks. Even some black cops adopt the same attitude of disdain for the “low life” they see themselves confronting every day. The hidden racism and contempt which is ingrained in police culture becomes apparent from time to time such as has just been recently revealed in the Miami Beach Police department’s racist e mails between officers.

The lesson I take from all of this is that police officers must accept and expect contempt from young blacks. In many instances that contempt is earned. There is no law against showing contempt for a police officer. It’s a bad idea but there is no law against it as long as one cooperates with the police. There IS a law against resisting arrest or fleeing from a police officer. Young blacks who do that take the risk of legally losing their lives. But when a young black man is arrested on made up charges such as happened in Baltimore, that young man’s life is ruined. That arrest record follows him for the rest of his life. In the Baltimore case the cops claimed the man had an illegal weapon when in fact, it was a legal pocketknife. Had he not died in custody he would likely have had problems getting a job for the rest of his life. That is the kind of thing that wrecks the lives of so many young blacks (especially over minor drug charges) and that earns their contempt. The Lesson I take for young black men is don’t resist or run from the police. Arthur McDuffie did that in 1979 and it got him killed. The same could happen to any black man in America today.

After thirty-five years it is time for Miami to recognize this history.

I sent an e-mail yesterday to Tomas Regalado,the Mayor of the City of Miami, asking that historical markers be erected where McDuffie died (Northeast 38th Street and Miami Avenue and at the place in Liberty City where the first white victims were killed (Northwest 62nd Street and 12th Parkway.

I know the mayor to be a fair and reasonable man and I trust that he will take the lead in having the city recognize this history.


Dr. Dunn is a retired assistant professor of psychology and former chairperson of the Department of Psychology at Florida International University.