|Letters April 2017|
|Written by BT Readers|
Floating Libertarians: Think About It
I came away liking Erik Bojnansky’s “A Future Afloat” cover story (March 2017), and the potential for water structures of all kinds. But the section on the Seasteading Institute and the extreme libertarian thinking of its founders made me feel seasick.
They want to build thousands of structures across the oceans, probably all within the territorial waters of the poorest regions of French Polynesia and the Pacific, and sign deals so that the Seasteading communities are subject to no economic laws but their own and free to test new ideas for government.
It’s chilling, not reassuring, for the future of sea lanes, trade and defense treaties, currency laws, the environment (despite their claims to the contrary), and governance.
Buoyant Interest in Floating Structures
I found Erik Bojnansky’s article “A Future Afloat” interesting in that people are starting to take an interest in floating structures.
The Osaka Yacht Club contacted me in 1991 to design a new yacht club facility.
That area is often subjected to devastating earthquakes and possible tsunami damage.
As an architect, I wanted to protect them, so as you can see on my submitted design drawings, there are two separate styles suggested as a floating solution.
Before it got built, a major earthquake hit Osaka and destroyed their original facility.
Maule Lake Legal Fight a Waste of Time
Regarding “A Future Afloat,” it is interesting that none of the real concerns about the Maule Lake project have been addressed.
The problem of parking vehicles on land, and dock space for the private vessels of island home owners has never been resolved. In addition, the City of North Miami Beach would be responsible to the island home owners for emergency services, such as police, fire, and rescue. Once again, there is no public access for this.
Now that the Marina Grand Palms Towers are completed with 110 boat slips, it will be almost impossible for boaters to navigate Maule Lake for ocean access.
It is a shame that there will be a lot of time and money wasted on legal proceedings when we have other, more important, concerns for the City of North Miami Beach to address. How about traffic on Biscayne Boulevard? I would love to hear that North Miami Beach and Aventura have plans to alleviate the terrible traffic congestion we currently endure.
I can’t imagine what lies ahead when the high-speed train make 16 round trips daily to add this nightmare.
And Now for the Untold Story...
Though Francisco Alvarado’s story “Your Camera or Your House Key” (March 2017) was factually correct, the reporter omitted about 70 percent of the relevant and documented facts provided to him.
These facts directly pertained to what caused this entire problem from the beginning, including being fined $50 per day, ultimately resulting in Miami Shores Mayor Alice Burch, in conjunction with Richard Sarafan, village attorney, completely shutting me down from speaking to the Miami Shores Village Council on February 21 (when I was already placed on the agenda).
The reporter was given an audio version of what happened at the code enforcement hearing, along with the complete case file, including the then current code enforcement board chairman, Robert Vickers, mocking me for my desperate attempt to save my house from foreclosure, all due to a “nonexistent” code violation I received for installing low-voltage cameras, when there’s no such rule or regulation in any city, county, or state level requiring a permit for low-voltage cameras.
What facts were omitted:
Barry Asmus, chairman of code enforcement board when this “nonexistent” code violation was issued, questioned code enforcement officer Anthony Flores to explain how could I be in violation of Miami Shores Building Department ordinance Section 6.4 (last revised in 1971) when all I did was install plug-and-play low-voltage cameras, and there’s no text in Village Code 6.4 stating one needs a permit for low-voltage wiring or lighting.
Furthermore, Mr. Asmus asked Sarafan if I needed a permit for low-voltage cameras, or does any resident installing Malibu landscape low-voltage lighting, or any seasonal lighting that residents install for holiday decorations, also need a permit?
Or in the case of Mr. Asmus, he asked Sarafan if he personally needed a permit to install a mailbox next to his front door, since the mailbox cost exceeded $100, and as per Section 6.4 of the archaic 1971 Miami Shores building code, anything over $100 of value needs a permit.
The second sentence of this same code states that for any “remodeling” or “alteration” of “any value” a permit is required. In layman’s terms: If you live in Miami Shores, you need a permit to do anything. When discussing this permit ordinance with Ismael Naranjo, a current building department official, he concurred with my opinion.
Sarafan told the code enforcement board and Asmus that he’d get back to them with a legal opinion. He never did, and after waiting several months, and not hearing anything from code enforcement, I assumed the case had been dismissed.
It’s important to note that at the end of the audio portion of the hearing, Chairman Vickers continued to mock me, stating, “I’ll pay Shulman’s $500 fine just so he doesn’t come back before us.”
My Dog Gets It
I was disappointed to read that “Pet Talk” writer Janet Goodman appears to promote “pet angels” and pet communicators who claim that spirits help them heal animals (“She Sees Angels,” March 2017).
If I send “focus vibes” to my dog, he gets it and comes on over for a nice head scratch. I don’t have to thank the angels for sending him. If I massage him up and down his back, he’s in canine heaven, and that’s a term I use lightly.
I should pay someone for an hour’s worth of work when that person says that only “10 to 20 minutes” are spent on “actual energy work”? And when that person tells me that the size of my pet also affects the effort required for energy to get through?
Do big people have to pray harder, too?
If people are going to claim they can see inside bodies and find tumors, they owe it to medical research to allow their work to be observed and documented, because they’ll be making headlines one way or another.
I’m sure most of us support positive thinking, even positive “visualization.” But have we left the Enlightenment and scientific literacy so far behind us that we prefer to subject our pets to angel-winged whatever-it-is that sounds like some new-age Christian offshoot sect?
China Capital Syndrome?
I’m still laughing (through my tears) at the outlandish idea of the North Miami elected and civic leaders who think that creating a Chinatown from thin air will attract locals, day-trippers, or foreign tourists (“Chasing Magic Dragons,” January 2017). I’m dying to see their China trip pictures (can I submit a FOIA?) and to ask about any favors, swag, and “consulting fees.”
We’ll all come by to see the dragon gates? No, thank you. We have terrific Chinese restaurants where we live. Do they really think that Chinese parents visiting their kids at FIU will even stay in North Miami hotels? Or that tourists on their way to catch a cruise ship will say, “Let’s see America! Let’s go to North Miami’s Chinatown!” Excuse me while I get off the floor.
Please, take whatever funds are left, and build up your city’s infrastructure and employment base -- so that the people you are paid to represent can save up their own money to plan those overseas trips you take for free.
Check out the American Da Tang Group website. It offers “Chinese elites” what it calls “high-quality businesses to accommodate your high-quality lifestyle; high-end services to suit your high-class needs.” This real estate group develops and sells expensive residential properties and concierge membership services within its communities. If Da Tang’s representatives are the ones who came up with this Chinatown idea, trust me, they’re not looking for a few blocks of pedestrian dragon kitsch.
Ouch. Fell off my chair again.
Editor’s note: For more on North Miami’s efforts to create a Chinatown, see "Chinatown or Bust" this issue.
Volume 15, Issue 2, April 2017
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