I asked for, and received, a sampling of those emails.
Although the emails are public record, I've elected to publish just the first name of the senders.
Related to this issue, Channel 10 reporter Michael Putney told me today he'll be discussing Urban Beach weekend and its aftermath on his Sunday show live at 11:30am on WPLG, Channel 10. Putney's guests will be Miami Beach commissioner Jerry Libbin and Urban Beach weekend opponent, Peter Tapia.
Putney tells that he tried unsuccessfully to get Miami Beach city manager Jorge Ganzalez to appear.
And now, here are the emails sent to Miami Beach city hall.
From: Cory [mailto: email@example.com]Here's one from a resident who lives at 28th and Collins ave.
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 12:48 PM
To: Bower, Matti H.
Subject: An anti-American atrocity
I had the luxury of being able to leave my residency in south beach for memorial day weekend (thank God) but I was unable to escape the filth that was left behind.
2 shootings & 2 deaths a block from my house. Nice. I'm sure my friends, family and other relatives will want to come visit me now- so much for improving tourism in south beach over the long run.
We (the people of Miami) Beach have sacrificed our time (had to drive 4 hours north to stay away from the disease that infests the beach, deal with road blocks and closed stores as well as losing out on sleep because of sirens blaring all night),
money (how many millions to pay the police for overtime to keep the 'peace', workers to clean the filthy streets? - please see my attached photos from previous emails),
safety (2 shooting/deaths),
Sense of security (so how many safety measures were taken, I.e. Police, sheriffs, personal security, to attempt to prevent the inevitable & proverbial hip hop shootout)
And more importantly our freedom- we no longer feel safe, secure or happy.
We have sacrificed so much this past weekend for nothing in return: two deaths, future tourists feeling alienated and fearful of a random shootout & millions of tax payers money squandered on extra 'security'.
All at the expense of degenerates who could care less about the state of the economy & our fundamental liberty; our basic rights given to us by our Bill of Rights & Constitution.
I'm not against a hip hop weekend- just not in my backyard thanks.
From: Melissa [firstname.lastname@example.org]Here's one from an Ocean Drive resident.
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 1:11 PM
To: Bower, Matti H.; Sklar, Max; Exposito, Jorge; Libbin, Jerry; Tobin, Ed; Weithorn, Deede; Wolfson, Jonah
Subject: Resident safety regarding Memorial Day Weekend.
To Whom It May Concern:
I am writing to you in hopes that this letter will create an impact or a chain reaction with a result of ridding our fine and fun city of these unwanted, highly costly visitors that terrorize, disrespect and endanger our streets and residents each and every Memorial Day weekend.
As I am highly aware of the recent and past shootings, violence and enormous tax payer monies spent on this event each and every year, which is bad enough in its own right, I do not feel that its right, nor do I feel comfortable that our Miami Beach Police department feels the need to carry automatic weapons in order to safely patrol our streets, what message does that send to us residents? When did we become a third world country? It endangers our police force, residents and peaceful visitors alike.
The fact that Collins is shut down to cars only aggravates the issue as you cannot go to your local spots, business' suffer, the only value I can see is for the large clubs and wouldn't the negative tone outweigh any positive benefits?
Sadly to say most of the Miami Beach residents make a mass exodus for other places as we feel not only is it not safe to stay here for the weekend, we don't want to patronize our local spots or drive through the maze of careless scooter rentals and bumper to bumper traffic for these loud and unruly visitors.
I live at 28th and Collins Ave.
I chose to stay with a friend off the beaten path in order to avoid any and all dealings with this weekend as I decided not to flee our fine city. As taxpayers we pay a premium to live here, shop here, eat here. I understand its our tourist dollars that really help, but how much money are we actually receiving from this event? I am sure not as much as Basel, Ultra, and others.
This is a valid complaint where I was affected in my own home and on my street. We as residents should not be disrupted at this level, nor terrified of potential shootings and any other type of violence. Please help. It is so unfortunate that people are afraid to take this on due to race. The track record speaks for itself.
From: Ross [mailto:email@example.com]Here's one from the CEO of a South Florida company.
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 11:19 PM
To: Bower, Matti H.
Subject: Urban Beach Weekend
Dear Ms. Mayor,
I would hope this email finds you doing well. I am writing to express my disgust with the events of this weekend. Unfortunately, this weekend was a disgrace to Miami Beach, its residents and personally my guests. I share your respect for the hard work of the law enforcement officers this weekend and the prayers for the injured.
I will recap the events effect on my life:
1) I was unable to enter 15th Street to enter my home at 14th and Ocean Drive on numerous occasions.
2) I had to leave my home at 1130pm to retrieve a guest that could not get to 15th and Ocean.
3) I left Lincoln Road at Euclid and it took an hour to get to my home at 14th and Ocean Drive.
4) It was an hour drive from 20th Street to 15th Street.
5) I witnessed numerous instances where drivers (urban beach visitors) would not move their cars with the flow of traffic. They would stop and refuse to turn at streets, blocking all traffic.
As you are aware, the whole South Beach and environs were littered with trash and “partiers” wore revealing clothing and shouted vulgar language including sexually riddled taunts.
It was an embarrassment to me as a resident and property owner. In 2010, I paid over $150,000.00 in real estate taxes. I don’t feel I should pay taxes and have access to my home limited and even restricted.
It is time to end this embarrassing event and restore order on Memorial Day. South Beach is known for fun and great times; it is critical that EVERYONE should enjoy that right. It is not acceptable for some to create an environment of violence that prohibits safe and easy enjoyment.
Thank you for your kind attention to this important matter.
From: Rachelle [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]This email is from a real estate broker.
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 5:34 PM
To: Bower, Matti H.
Cc: Sklar, Max
Subject: Memorial Day Wk End Should be...
Some of my students' parents whom own businesses on Ocean & Washington are afraid of what is to come every Memorial Day. Yearly, these parents suffer economic losses (theft). Their businesses are vandalized, and groups of women walk in with batons, and mace to facilitate their crimes.
Every year, friends of mine from Europe, Canada and the US, state that they must stay away from Miami for the week end. Last year, there was also a shooting. People died of drunk driving. One person on the 395 causeway was run down, because he ran a red light! This year Memorial Day wk end parties should have been banned!
The music industry has a tremendous impact on the type of clientele that make their way here. All artists that are advertising 2 weeks before should be banned from having any TYPE of party in Miami. They should not be allowed to advertise, and the clubs should not permit them to do ANY parties! Two articles that I read stated: to stop serving alcohol before 5 am. That is absurd.
People are utterly scared and flee Miami Beach for 3 days for fear of being killed, murdered, raped be a victim of theft. Those that cannot flee and have to work, are utterly scared. This is your responsibility to keep us safe. As it is mine as a teacher to keep my kids safe in the classroom!
This is absolutely critical. These matters should be taken seriously. Fortunately on the web there will be many locals like myself, posting these comments, and unfortunately it will devastate the tourism in Miami.
Take action soon! These videos on youtube (an actual citizen filmed the whole event, and circulated to Europe and Canada. My family and friends have called to find out if I were in and around those premises.
This is not smart on the city's part to NOT take matters seriously after last year.
Thank you for reading,
From: Deborah [mailto:email@example.com]Here's one from another person in real estate.
Sent: Wednesday, June 01, 2011 8:36 AM
To: Bower, Matti H.
Subject: its not fair we have to leave our homes
I have called your office several times. Please stop urban week. It is not possible to walk the streets during memorial day the streets are filthy and you are in fear of your life, it is not not fair and impacts all of us and our quality of life.
It also hurts the revenue of the city long term. My sister was thinking of relocating here to Miami beach she informed me yesterday she has kids and will not move to Miami Beach because the city turns into a war zone. She is going to Boca Raton.
I read your comment about rolling back club hours that will not work they will just pay the fine. Other cities have met with the club owners and hotels and held their feet to the fire with holding events that weekend. I am not for curfews but look at the videos blow look at the filth and the behavior of the group that comes to this event every year. If you can’t stop it I personally favor the curfew
From: Gary [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]And, of course, you get your point across more forcefully if you type in all caps. I'm sure the mayor and commissioners received more than a few like this.
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:05 PM
To: Bower, Matti H.; Libbin, Jerry; Tobin, Ed; Weithorn, Deede; Wolfson, Jonah; Gongora, Michael; Exposito, Jorge; Gonzalez, Jorge
Subject: From A Business Person in Miami Beach. Please read...
Dear Ladies and Gentleman,
Is it acceptable for us to welcome an event that has proven to be uncontrollable year after year and that results in injuries, death, gridlock, destruction of property and immeasurable damage to our city's reputation?
Early Monday morning there were several police involved shootings in our neighborhood resulting in one dead and at least 7 injured, including three police officers and four innocent bystanders..
Everyone is welcome to our beautiful city but protecting our residents, our homes, our businesses, our visitors and our quality of life is never negotiable.
Do the right thing.
From: Edward [mailto:email@example.com]Here's another from a South Beach voter.
Sent: Monday, May 30, 2011 3:30 PM
Subject: MEMORIAL DAY DISORGANIZATION AND POOR PLANNING AGAIN.
DOING AWAY WITH URBAN WEEKEND IS NOT THE ANSWER. CONTROL AND BETTER PLANING IS CALLED FOR. HAVE WE NOT LEARNED That these weekends are WILD? CITY MANAGER SHOULD HAVE KNOWN WHAT GOES ON.
I WAS WALKING AROUND AND SAW NO POLICE PRESENTS AROUND.
PEOPLE WERE DRINKING IN PUBLIC. WE NEED TO BETTER CONTROL THESE SITUATIONS, NOT JUST THROW UP OUR HANDS AND SAY NO MORE URBAN WEEKENDS.....
WE ARE NOT A PROFESSIONALLY RUN CITY. WE ARE LIKE A BACKWOODS OPERATION AND NEVER LEARN FROM THE PAST.......
IF WE NEED TO IMPORT MIAMI-DADE PERSONNEL, DO IT........OTHER CITIES CAN DO IT, WHY NOT MIAMI BEACH???
HOW MANY TIMES DO WE DO THIS UNTIL WE HAVE TO SAY SOME BUREAUCRATS HAVE TO GO? GOOD OLD BOY NET WORK GOING ON.
MAD AS HELL AND DO NOT WANT TO TAKE THIS ANYMORE. PLAN, PLAN, AND MORE PLANING. WHAT DO YOU NOT GET??????? JEEEEEZ. WE ALL KNOW THIS IS NOT A NUNS CONVENTION, BUT PARTY TIME...HEADS HAVE TO ROLL.
DISSATISFIED MIAMI BEACH VOTER
From: Ginger [mailto: firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Tuesday, May 31, 2011 2:49 PM
To: Bower, Matti H.
Cc: Gongora, Michael; Exposito, Jorge; Libbin, Jerry; Tobin, Ed; Weithorn, Deede; Wolfson, Jonah
Subject: Memorial Day Weekend
Mayor Bower and Commissioners:
I wanted to contact all of you today to make sure you are aware of how concerned I am as a Hibiscus Island resident about the continued violence that we see on the beach each Memorial Day Weekend. I understand from the City Manager that occupancy rates are the highest during this period and therefore the economic impact is important to the City and it's businesses. That however does not address the extra expense from the City to protect the tourists and residents during this weekend. Is money more important than lives? How many have to die before we understand this is not a productive theme for our City. If the policemen were killed, not just injured, would you allow this to continue?
Why does it seem necessary for the residents to have to vacate the City every year on this date in order to feel safe? Why not suspend issuing permits for Urban Weekend activities? I feel confident the majority of Miami Beach residents feel as I do.
Again, is the money more important than quality of life? Any response you might have regarding a solution would be appreciated.
Thanks for your part in making the City a great place to live.