Thursday, May 09, 2013

The Canadians are coming!!

It's time again for that most special of times in Miami Beach...Urban Beach Weekend.

According to the Miami Herald, "This year’s festivities are scheduled from May 24-27."

The Herald's David Ovalle and Evan Benn reported in today's paper:
Now in its 13th year, Urban Beach Week has long drawn complaints from residents angry about the debauchery and rise in crime, while spurring visitors and civil liberties groups to criticize what they call heavy-handed police tactics.
As the city prepares for another weekend, some 50 residents and business owners met with Miami Beach Police Wednesday, listening to investigators and neighborhood-resource officers discuss Memorial Day preparations.

Officers assured the group that the department will be ready to deal with anything, from prostitution to pot to drunken driving.

Officers will patrol Miami Beach streets on foot, on bicycles and in marked and unmarked vehicles in 12-hour shifts from May 24 through May 27. A DUI checkpoint will be set up on May 24th and DUI saturation patrols will be rolling on the 25th and 26th.

Like last year, police will use license-plate readers on the MacArthur and Julia Tuttle causeways to check for outstanding warrants and other red flags.
The Herald quotes Miami Beach Police Capt Enrique Doce as saying "[Last year's event] was safer and more enjoyable for everyone. And that’s our message: Come on over, and enjoy what we have to offer. If everyone follows the rules, we’ll all have a good time.”

But it wasn't always like that.

The first Urban Beach Weekend in 2001 caught Miami Beach cops and officials by surprise.

In June, 2001, Tristram Korten wrote in Miami News Times...
An estimated quarter-million revelers swamped hotels and restaurants, spilling into the streets in a bling-bling parade of ice, Lincoln Navigators, and Motorola two-way pagers, taking everyone by surprise. It all begs the question: Is South Beach ready to be thug paradise?

No one -- not city planners, not the police, not even the club owners -- was prepared for how popular South Beach had become to hot rappers and the middle-class kids who followed them here.
The concept of race was so problematic that the Miami Herald didn't use the words "black" or "African American" until its followup stories, a week after the action. Some Miami Beach police officers, paralyzed by the same issue, decided to substitute the word "Canadian" for "black" in radio transmissions, as in, "There's a large group of Canadians gathered on Washington and Fourteenth."

With that in mind, this year the Herald has produced a special issue designed to welcome our "Canadian friends" back to Miami Beach.

Pick up a copy at a newsstand near you tomorrow!

Click here to enlarge.

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