Study the photo. From the poses and the gestures to the sinister gleam of that unholy rutting bull, here is a metonymy for a urban center which by the laws of nature shouldn’t exist. An economy dependent on the caprices of real estate developers and the gyrations of the mighty Central Florida theme parks has a new fiscal ephemerality on which to gamble its fortunes. Francis Suarez, a man who exemplifies energy without matter, loves the headlines. He has no qualms about turning his city into enterprise zones for vulture capitalist while development pushes out the poorest and blackest among us.
A couple months Ago Financial Times ran a piece that will age as well as Time Magazine stories in 1986 gushing over the changes Miami Vice had wrought. After skimming paragraph after paragraph devoted to vacant assholes extolling the lack of COVID restrictions and the crispness of the croquetas, I lingered on this one describing how a Xanadu-esque property on plutocrat-governed Fisher Island addressed Florida’s uh climate problems:
To compensate for the rising tides due to climate change, the house was lifted 16.5 feet above sea level, the space underneath turned into an outdoor living room, kitchen and dining room abutting the water. The roof has been affixed with hurricane straps to keep it on. In the city of freedom, you can watch tidal flooding through floor-to-ceiling windows in a Mia Cucina-designed kitchen with Statuario marble countertops.
The last sentence is rummage sale Joan Didion. Countertops and hurricane straps for the rich, rezoning and destruction for the poor.
Fabioloa Santiago has seen this before:
The city became known as the exotic multilingual Gateway to the Americas, a world-class wannabe destination, attracting the attention of Europeans and the mega wealthy, art-collecting crowd.
The evolution was truly innovative back then and the one thing that kept us from reaching even higher were the same ills holding us back now: Third World politics and corruption.
Suarez was supposed to be the mayor who modernized the provincial city hall environment, but he’s gone way overboard selling Miami to outsiders while he abandons the issues of longtime residents.
An example: The Black residents of Coconut Grove, descendants of founders, losing their electoral voice to Carollo’s personally motivated redistricting. From Suarez, silence.
He seems to have decided not to involve himself, at least in a public way, in the discussion of policy issues with commissioners or residents. He’s not being an advocate during meetings.
Regardless of which political party they belong to, our leaders lack an incentive to hide their cruelty.