I can now reveal what I was only able to hint at last week: I am moving to the dark side of politics. I am collaborating on a book with a politician, Miami District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell. I became a writer because I wanted to tell stories — because I needed to tell stories. It was less that I chose writing than writing chose me. Words just tumbled out of me. Putting it down on paper was my only outlet. In the beginning, it was fiction and furtive. Short stories that no one ever saw, thankfully. I look back on my ...
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    West Grove, the historic Black enclave nestled within Coconut Grove, Miami, Florida, is currently threatened on all sides by White gentrification. The latest challenge is the massive Coconut Grove Playhouse condo/restaurant/parking lot/theater redevelopment project threatening West Grove. The Playhouse is at the extreme east end of Charles Avenue. It was designated a Historic Roadway because it is one of Miami’s oldest streets. It was laid out slightly out of true east/west alignment by E.W.F. Stirrup, who almost single-handed, created this neighbourhood and watched over its survival until he died in 1957. Stirrup was one of Florida’s first Black millionaires and at one ...
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    I finally received a reply from Miami-Dade country, answering my questions of Thursday last. I said in my previous post I would post these answers should they differ from those I got through my source. While the answers are quite similar, there are some slight differences. Here is the unedited reply to my email: 1). How many parking spaces are currently anticipated in the Playhouse redevelopment? The current proposal would accommodate 449 spaces. 2). How many residential units in the Playhouse redevelopment? The current proposal includes 31 units. 3). Of these residential units, how many are for Playhouse staff (however that’s loosely defined) and ...
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    A vote Thursday at Miami City Hall could be the lifeline West Grove needs to pull itself out from under decades of poverty and systemic racism. District 2 Commissioner Ken Russell will introduce a motion at the Commission meeting to finance a $25,000 “Finding of Necessity” study to create a West Grove CRA or expand the boundaries of the OMNI CRA CRAs are designed to attack city blight and reduce slum conditions in neglected areas. To pull this off a trust is created, ...
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    This post is a follow-up to The Parking Garage is the Thing. Something I did not mention in that post is how, after the HEP Board meeting, I introduced myself to Michael Spring, Miami-Dade’s Cultural Czar. We’ve spoken on the phone, but had never met. Spring was the lynch-pin that brought all the competing factions together to craft a delicate plan to restore the Coconut Grove Playhouse before the deadline imposed by the State of Florida. Had the parties not been able to come to an agreement before the sunset clause, the state could have sold the land as surplus to the ...
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