Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Larry King to hang it up

Former Miami radio talk show host Larry King is saying good-bye to CNN.

Judging from some of the comments here on NYTimes.com, his last day can't come soon enough.

One thing's for sure, he's come a long way since his days of hosting his radio show from a Miami Beach deli!

But now, the speculation begins over who will succeed him. My money's on Keith Olbermann!

from the Miami News, Jan. 22, 1970

Enduring images

I've been taking pictures since 1965 when I first picked up a camera while serving in the army.

In 1983, I turned professional, and for many years I freelanced for the Associated Press.

Over the years, I've been lucky enough on more than one occasion to be in the right place at the right time.

In 1992, I took a detour down a palm-shaded Coconut Grove street and was rewarded with pictures of a pop-star posing nude on the lawn in front of a grand mansion.

At the time, the pictures caused a stir but were soon forgotten.

But there are some photographers who are destined to make pictures that will never be forgotten; pictures that change the course of history.

Bill Hudson was such a photographer.

He died the other day at age 77. His name isn't well known, except to those who knew him. But one of his photographs, taken on May 3, 1963 in Birmingham, Ala., probably played a part in changing history.

Birminham police turn a police dog loose on Walter Gadsden, May 3, 1963-photograph by Bill Hudson.

In Hudson's obituary, Miami AP reporter Matt Sedensky wrote, "In 'Carry Me Home,' Diane McWhorter's 2001 book about the civil rights era in Birmingham, the author refers nine times to the photograph, saying it helped move "international opinion to the side of the civil rights revolution."

Phil Sandlin, a former civil rights-era photographer for UPI, stood shoulder-to-shoulder with Hudson at many demonstrations in the South in the 60's. Sandlin, now a retired Associated Press Florida photo editor, sent me this remembrance of his friend and colleague, Bill Hudson.

by Phil Sandlin

William “Bill” Hudson, of Ponte Vedra, Fla. passed away Thursday, June 24, 2010 at Baptist Medical Center Beaches, Jacksonville Beach of congestive heart failure. Bill was 77 years old and was born in Detroit, Michigan August 20, 1932. Bill is survived by his wife of many happy years, the former Patricia Gantert and his younger sister Sharon Garrison, of Laguna Beach, Calif.

Bill served in the Army from 1949 to 1952 and covered the action in the Korean War as a military combat photographer.

Bill continued his photographic career from 1955 until 1962 by joining the Mobile Press Register and later the Chattanooga Times before becoming a staff photographer for The Associated Press in Memphis, Tennessee In 1962.

It was with the Associated Press that Bill made his outstanding reputation as a fearless news photographer covering the Civil Rights movement.

Bill was on the scene with his camera in Birmingham, Alabama when police used fire hoses on black demonstrators in an effort to break up their attempts to register to vote. His photos captured in Birmingham on May of 1963 of the police using attack dogs biting black children were seen around the world and became a focal point for those working to overcome the injustices blocking the Civil Rights movement.

Former AP photographer Charles Kelly, who worked with Bill in the Atlanta office of AP called Bill the bravest man he knew. This came from his working with Bill in the streets during the 1960’s.

“Bill Hudson was one of the finest photographers I’ve ever worked beside,” said Phil Sandlin, who was with United Press International during the Civil Rights movement and spent days with Bill in Birmingham and in Selma, Alabama during the Selma March. “Bill was a great competitor but was someone who would cover your back when the bricks started flying,” said Sandlin.

Bill left the AP in 1974 and joined UPI and was remembered by his colleagues as a “be there and do it all” photographer.

When the Pittsburgh Steelers faced the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl X in Miami in 1976, Bill shot a photo that captured Lynn Swann as he made the dramatic catch of a 64-yard Terry Bradshaw pass that won the game. The photo graced the front of most of sports pages.

Bill enjoyed spending his afternoons with his wife, Patricia, and their pet cats that Bill enjoyed photographing at their Ponte Vedra home.

No funeral arrangements have been made as Bill, in his typical fashion, just wanted a quiet cremation.
Hudson's death comes just a few months after the passing of another great civil rights-era photographer, Charles Moore, who died last March.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Friends of Random Pixels make the news!

Two Miami friends of Random Pixels show up in national newspapers today.

Long-time friend Raul DeMolina - a former photojournalist and co-host of the Univision show, "el Gordo y la Flaca" - gets some play today in the NY Post with a harrowing tale of his close brush with death in Africa.
TV host Raul De Molina (above with wife Milly and daughter Mia) feared he would be eaten alive by lions after his car caught fire while on safari in South Africa. De Molina -- nicknamed "El Gordo" and Spanish-language TV's best-known personality -- has been hosting Univision's World Cup coverage from Johannesburg. He took a few hours off for a safari last weekend when his Mini Cooper suddenly burst into flames, forcing him out in the middle of the lion enclosure.
A park ranger later told De Molina that 10 years ago, a Chinese tourist had got out of his car and was eaten alive by lions. There you have it! African lions love Chinese food but aren't crazy about Cuban. Go figure!

In other news, Joann Biondi, author of Miami Beach Memories - A Nostalgic Chronicle of Days Gone By, gets some major ink in USA Today with a story about her cat, Lorenzo. She rescued Lorenzo from a trash can and he now pays her back for her kindness by posing for her in all kinds of costumes.

I'm not normally a fan of dressing up any kind of animal, but Joann's pics of Lorenzo the Cat have a certain kind of quirky charm about them; about 95% of that is due to the fact that Lorenzo actually looks like he enjoys having his picture taken!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Random Pixels random thought

Just wondering how long we'll have to wait before these start showing up?

Good luck to General McChrystal this morning as he meets with President Obama...but remember gentlemen; no fighting in the war room!

Michael Putney's South Florida

There are a few journalists left in South Florida who have been practicing the craft longer than Michael Putney.

After all, Putney, who settled here in 1977, is a relative newcomer.

But when it comes to knowing what and who makes this town tick, no one can touch Putney. He is, quite simply, the best connected journalist in South Florida.

On the air, he comes across as cool and uflappable. But some have learned - sometimes painfully - it's best not to piss him off!

This year, Miami New Times again named Putney, "Miami's Best TV News Reporter."

And after almost 45 years as a journalist - more than 30 of those in South Florida - he shows no signs of slowing down.

In addition to hitting the streets and doing almost daily live shots for Channel 10, Putney also hosts the long-running Sunday morning newsmakers show, "This Week in South Florida." And he still finds time to write a regular column for the Miami Herald.

I recently turned the tables on Putney and asked him the questions.

Read his answers here at MiamiBeach411.com.

Monday, June 21, 2010

A tale of two photographs

This has been a busy year for Miami Herald photographers.

The year started off with a devastating earthquake in Haiti.

Herald photographers and reporters have been rotating in and out of Haiti since January. The Herald's Pat Farrell has made several trips this year to the island nation. (It was Farrell who won the 2009 Puliter Prize for his photographs of the resulting devastation in Haiti after four hurricanes hit the island in 2008.)

Two months ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion occurred, causing the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. The Herald is all over that story too, sending reporters and photographers to the Gulf region.

But there's other news, too.

This morning's Herald had a front-page story about the record-breaking heat wave that's blanketed South Florida for the past two weeks.

Pretty much your standard heat wave story.

We had to chuckle, however, at the dissimilarity of two of the photographs used to illustrate the story.

Anyone care to guess which one was taken in Miami and which one was shot in Pensacola ... aka the Redneck Riviera?

Score bonus points if you can guess which one made the front page what those boys are drinking!

Miami Herald photo by Patrick Farrell

Miami Herald photo by Walt Michot

Monday afternoon with Count Basie

One O'clock Jump

Count Basie, piano; Wardell Gray, tenor sax; Buddy DeFranco, clarinet; Clark Terry, trumpet; Freddie Green, guitar; Jimmy Lewis, bass; Gus Johnson, drums, from the film, "Rhythm and Blues Review," October 1950

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Where are Rick and Sally when we really need them?

A couple of weeks ago, "without much fanfare," according to the Miami Herald, "WPLG-ABC 10 promoted morning newsman Calvin Hughes to the nighttime co-anchor seat next to Laurie Jennings."

In TV news-speak, "without much fanfare" usually means no build-up and none of those embarrassing, sappy "Calvin-Knows-Miami" promos that will live on in perpetuity on YouTube long after Hughes is shipped back to the early morning show....or worse.

Now, I've got nothing against Hughes. He seems like a nice enough guy.

The kind guy who takes his kids to birthday parties at Chuck E. Cheese or softball games on Saturdays.

But he just showed up in my living room one day with no notice....and no fanfare. He's got no chops. Where are his battle scars? Has he ever covered a drug war or a quadruple homicide? Where was he when we were up to our asses in dead bodies? Can't Channel 10 find a guy who's paid his dues on Miami's mean streets?

And let's talk about that delivery of his. Delivery that can best be described as somnambulant. This guy is the Mister Rogers of Miami TV news.

I can just hear the ABC honchos in New York calling Channel 10's news director. "Hey, Hughes is killing our ratings for Nightline and Kimmel. He's putting everyone to sleep!"

This is Miami! We work hard, play hard and drink hard.

We need an ass-kicker in the anchor chair. Not the host of a kids show.

Ass-kickers like Rick Sanchez and Sally Fitz.

Sally with her breathless, end-of-the world delivery and Rick "huffing and sweating, [racing] around town for his nightly Crime Check segment."

Rick's paid his dues. OK, so there was that embarrassing DUI thing a few years back, but we all make mistakes.

But Rick was an in-your-face anchor and Sally was many things but somnambulant was't one of them.

The Herald's Carl Hiaasen practically went into mourning when Sally and Rick split up. In a November 1993 Herald column Carl wrote:
Sally Fitz is leaving the air at the end of the year, and co--anchor Rick Sanchez is job-hunting in Los Angeles! It signals the close of a sensational era. Nightly news won't be the same without Rick and Sally.
Ah, memories. It's impossible to open an atlas without thinking of Rick, squatting gravely over a vast map of Iraq while explaining the Gulf War.

And who could forget Sally's teaser line for a recent 10 o'clock feature: "Is the world really coming to an end? Stay tuned . . . " It turned out to be a minor story about cultists who believe in Armageddon, but I was already hooked.

Channel 7 is unabashed in its agenda. Viewers know to expect blood, raw gore and more. Rick and Sally aren't queasy about puddles of bodily fluid, close-ups of grieving relatives, or paramedics pounding the chests of lifeless victims. Other stations deliver the same pictures, but in smaller doses. Channel 7 mainlines the stuff.
Last spring, two friends from Montana came here for the first time. Feeling mischievous, I tuned the TV to Rick and Sally's cavalcade of gore. Jaws dropped. Gasps were emitted.

The first night, we clocked 17 minutes of murder-mayhem without commercial interruption. The second night, the streak ran to 19 minutes. My horrified visitors said they couldn't imagine living in such a dangerous place. As much as I like them, I was glad to hear it. The last thing Florida needs is more people.
Rick and Sally are a show-biz team, the Tracy and Hepburn of trauma TV. Replacing them will be almost impossible. The news stories might not change, but nobody else can deliver them with such a deft mix of revulsion, titillation and incredulity.

So maybe they do hype and tease. Maybe the world's not ending tonight. But when it does, I want to get the news from Rick and Sally themselves. Every lurid detail.
Congrats to Calvin Hughes. May you have a long run.

But in the meantime, does anyone know how to get a hold of Rick Sanchez?

Thursday, June 10, 2010

WTVJ - July 4, 1976

WTVJ's Bob Mayer recently announced his retirement.

But he'll live on in our memories thanks to YouTube!

Check out that 70's big hair along with those wide ties!

And in the video below, Bob Mayer does WTVJ's first ever "Breaking News" live shot; Nov. 20, 1975
They call it 'Breaking News' today, but on November 20, 1975 this was a first - breaking into regular programming for a 'LIVE' field report. WTVJ was the only station in South Florida at the time with live capability. The station had sent reporter Bob Mayer to cover a speech by Ronald Reagan, who had just announced he would challenge Gerald Ford for the GOP Presidential nomination in 1976. But WTVJ didn't send a photographer. When it appeared an attempt had been made on Reagan's life, the station sent its 'Live-Eye' van to the scene to meet Mayer, two hours after the podium had been removed. It was all over but the 'Live' report! Watch here as legendary anchor Ralph Renick breaks in and throws to Bob Mayer for the station's first live field report.

The way we were

Various views of Downtown Miami.

Flagler Street - 1927

Flagler Street - 1927

Aerial looking west - 1930

Aerial looking northeast - circa 1950's

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Photography is not a crime! Part II

A great photograph shows the famous doing something unfamous. -Andy Warhol

I happened to catch the documentary film, "Smash His Camera," last night on HBO.

The film, which is scheduled to re-run at different times over the next several days, recounts the remarkable career of America's first paparazzo, Ron Galella.

These days, it seems, anyone with enough money for a digital camera and a laptop computer can become an instant paparazzo.

But Galella was the first. And three or four decades after some of his pictures were made, they now sell for thousands of dollars in chic New York galleries.

Once reviled, now at age 79, Galella has finally gained some respectabilty, and has also earned the grudging admiration of those he once sparred with.

Watching the film last night, I was reminded of a line from the movie, "Chinatown," in which a crusty John Huston says, "'Course I'm respectable. I'm old. Politicians, ugly buildings, and whores all get respectable if they last long enough."

Galella endured some rough handling along the way - Secret Service agents protecting Jackie Onassis once detained him after he shot pictures of the president's widow - he persisted and countered by suing Onassis and the Secret Service. But he never took his setbacks personally. He just showed up again the next day and made more pictures.

Chicago Sun-Times film critic Roger Ebert describes Galella this way:
"He is a viper, a parasite, a stalker, a vermin. He is also, I have decided, a national treasure. Ron Galella, the best known of all paparazzi, lost a lawsuit to Jackie Kennedy Onassis and five teeth to Marlon Brando, but he also captured many of the iconic photographs of his era. At 77, he is still active, making the drive from his New Jersey home and his pet bunny rabbits through the Lincoln Tunnel to Manhattan, the prime grazing land of his prey."
And as Galella enters the eighth decade of his life, he has a fine house in New Jersey that sits on top of a basement that contains 3 million of his images.

If you enjoy great documentaries, try to catch this one when it appears again on HBO!

Monday, June 07, 2010

Random Pixels recognizes...

...Elinor Brecher of the Miami Herald.

Ellie - as her friends call her - knows where the bodies are buried.

She writes obituaries for the Herald....those newspaper stories that sum up the life of the recently departed in 600 or 700 words. Stories that usually end up running on page 6B if the person was marginally famous. Or a longer story that runs on the front page if the person was someone famous... or infamous.

The only problem with obits is that the person they're written about never gets to read them. Pity.

Ellie's very good at writing obits. It's a process that usually involves looking through old newspaper clippings about the deceased. Clippings that are kept in what used to be called - appropriately - "the morgue," the place where old newspaper stories go to die. Ellie digs them up and gives them a second chance.

Then she gets on the phone and calls friends of the deceased and listens for a quote or two, that when put together with other quotes, will paint a word picture of her subject.

Ellie is usually able to sum up a life in the first paragraph...or "lede" in newspaper-speak.

Consider this simple but beautiful lede from Ellie's piece in Sunday's Herald on the life of "Baron" Sepy Dobronyi, a true Coconut Grove character, who died May 29.
The party's over: Sepy is dead.
Any recounting of his history must carry a disclaimer: The only person who could separate fact from fiction in his colorful life died of liver cancer just after midnight May 29 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Miami Beach.
Ellie masterfully sifted through the Baron's 88 years, and in the process put together an exquiste and elegant retelling of the life of a man who had lived through "African safaris, New Guinea tribal-war wounds, Swedish marriages, and Mexican divorces."

Ellie's story ran to almost 2,000 words and took up a good part of page 1B and all of an inside page.

If you missed the story, do yourself a favor and click here.

And if you're an animal lover, be sure to check out Ellie's blog: Crazy for Critters.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

Photography is not a crime!

Being a news photographer has always had its drawbacks.

Many times, photographers are assigned to take pictures of people who are less than thrilled to have their picture taken.

Back in the 1950's, one photographer, the legendary Charlie Trainor of the Miami News, seemed to have an uncanny ability to capture confrontations between news photographers and their reluctant subjects.

Trainor - with Speed Graphic ready and loaded for bear - always knew when to snap the shutter at just the right time!

On Oct. 16, 1957, Trainor got word that a camera-shy Dade circuit judge named Stanley Milledge had just attacked four photographers outside his courtroom.

By the time Trainor arrived, the judge had retreated to his chambers.

Trainor waited.

TIME magazine wrote about the confrontation that soon took place:
[The judge] was just coming out of his chambers when newly arrived Herald Photographer Steve Wever, 41, caught the judge twice in blinks of his strobe light.

"I've had enough trouble with you photographers," roared Milledge. "I want that film. Bailiff, get this man! Take his film!"

Photographer Wever, who stands 5 ft. 4 in. and weighs 115 Ibs., was all but smothered in the arms of the law. Bailiff Charles Michel rushed him head on. while the judge himself grabbed him around the neck from behind. Before they sent his camera and strobe unit crashing to the floor, Miami Daily News Photographer Charles Trainor leaped out of a phone booth in time to get the shot that best pictured the law taking things into its own hands.
Earlier that year, Trainor was ready when sports photographer Herb Scharfman was attacked by a cop a baseball game in Miami.

And a year earlier, in Feb. 1956, Trainor photographed fellow Miami News photographer Don Wright as he was attacked outside the home of a doctor on Palm Island where the wife an atomic spy was speaking.

But back then photographers didn't make a federal case over such confrontations. It was just all in a day's work.

(Note: I wrote about Charlie Trainor and Don Wright, who, in Aug. 1956, photographed Elvis Presley when he came to Miami for two days. Read that story here.)

Random Pixels en español

Yesterday, according to my stat counter, a curious soul in Berlin landed on this page on my blog.

But using a Google tool, they translated the page to Spanish by simply entering the page's URL. And this is the result.

My Spanish is pretty basic - I read it better than I can speak it - but the translation looks amazingly accurate.

Also, if one hovers the cursor over any block of text, the original text in English pops up in a separate window. Pretty cool!

And using the toolbar at the top of the page, you're just click away from translating the Spanish version to another language...like French or Vietnamese.

Google rocks!

Saturday, June 05, 2010

Former Miami news anchor gets front page treatment

Alycia Lane, former WTVJ (Miami) anchor, shows up on the front page of the New York Daily News today.

It's not the first time that Alycia's picture has graced tabloid front pages.

Why is Alycia on the Daily News front page today?

Something about some "flrty e-mails" between her and a married sportscaster yadda yadda yadda.

But we don't care. We just wanted an excuse to post another picture of her.

What all of this does prove however, is just how boring our local anchors are here in Miami.

Or maybe not.

Who's in charge at the Herald?

Flooding at Alton Road and 9th Street - June 5, 2009.

If you need any more proof that that Miami's number one information source is on a collision course with a large iceberg, look no further than front page of the Miami Herald this morning.

There were a number of big stories that occurred on Friday that warranted front page play.

First, oil from the BP rig explosion has finally reached Florida.

Second, a four-year-old boy fell 70 feet from a condo in downtown Miami....and lived!

Third, in one of those classic, what-else-can-happen-here? stories, torrential rains hit Miami Beach, flooding streets and tying up traffic for hours. Not a big deal in tropical South Florida you say? However, these rains hit us a day shy of a full year since a similar deluge hit Miami Beach, flooding streets and tying up traffic!

All of those stories belonged on the front page of this morning's paper.

Only two made it.

Instead of the flooding story, the editors at the Herald chose to run a story about the arrest of dissidents in Cuba. The dissidents, the Herald tells us, belong to Agenda para la Transición and Unidad Liberal de la República de Cuba; not exactly household names.

(Note to Herald editors: Sorry guys, having lived in Miami since 1957 and read hundreds thousands of Cuba stories, the only Cuba story I want to see on the front page of your paper at this late date is the one with this headline: "CASTRO DEAD." All the rest is inside baseball. Until then, is there any chance you could print a few stories that actually matter to the rest of us here in South Florida?)

Flooding at Alton Road and 10th Street - June 5, 2009

The flooding story is a big one. For years, Miami Beach residents have begged city officials - to no avail - to fix the city's inadequate drainage system.

"The City of Miami Beach was supposed to do something about reducing the water flooding that we're having here," Dr. David Roth of Miami Beach told CBS4. "But obviously they haven't done anything yet."

But the Herald, it seems, has turned over its coverage of hyper-local news to clueless bloggers, who withhold news, rather than report it.

To be fair, the Herald did make a half-hearted attempt to cover the flooding, which it turns out, is one of the most popular stories on the paper's web site today.

But sportswriter David J. Neal turned in a story better suited for a weekly paper in Grand Junction, Iowa.

Neal, an experienced journalist, saved what should have been the lede of his story, for the last paragraph.
Almost one year ago, 364 days to be exact, similar rains made several Miami Beach residents park their cars along main thoroughfares in any parking space they could find and slog several blocks through brown knee deep water to get home. .
And I'm still trying to figure out this line: "....similar rains made several Miami Beach residents park their cars." Several?

The only thing more embarrassing than Neal's story, were the amateurish photos he shot. Neal's on-line story was accompanied by a few under-exposed cell phone pictures he shot. There are also some equally embarrassing pics by Herald multi-media editor Rick Hirsch and Herald systems editor Mike Agrifolio.

The Herald used to have one of the most talented and competent photo staffs of any paper its size. Back in the good old days, they would have been mobilized on a story like this. No more.

Instead of covering a story that matters to readers, the Herald gives us coverage of Cuban politics. I'm sure the thousands of Herald subscribers who were stuck in traffic in Miami Beach yesterday and who wanted to learn more, were thrilled to find a story with a Havana dateline on the front page of this morning's paper.

Flooding at Alton Road and 10th Street - June 5, 2009

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

A Jim Greer flashback

September 1, 2009
"As the father of four children, I am absolutely appalled that taxpayer dollars are being used to spread President Obama's socialist ideology." Jim Greer, Republican Party of Florida chairman

June 2, 2010
Herald/Times Tallahassee Bureau
Jim Greer, the big-spending former chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, was arrested Wednesday morning and charged with six felony counts in connection with a secret consulting contract he struck with the party, state police said.
Greer was charged with money laundering, committing a scheme to defraud and four theft charges. The theft charges carry a maximum five-year prison sentence. The others call for a maximum 30-year prison term.

So, if I'm reading this correctly; if you're a Republican, socialist ideology is a no-no but money laundering and thievery are what...family values?

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

2010 Miami Beach Memorial Day arrest report

UPDATED May 31, 2011:  Miami Beach police have released arrest figures for the 2011 four-day Memorial Day weekend. Police made a total of 431 arrests this year: Sixty-six arrests were for felonies and 365 for misdemeanors. That's up from the 2010 weekend when police made 341 arrests.

I'm getting a lot of visits to my blog from readers looking for arrest figures from this weekend's party on South Beach. (One visit came from the Department of Justice in Washington.)

So let's cut right to the chase.

Here's the tally for this year's, (2010,) Urban Beach Week on Miami Beach according to CBS4.
According to Miami Beach police, they made 341 arrests over the four-day period (Thursday May 27th – Sunday May 30th). That's down from 454 arrests in 2009. In addition, police say most of the arrests were misdemeanors and did not report any major incidents.
CBS4 also reports that Miami Beach towed nearly 700 vehicles. That number is higher than the 450 towed vehicles the AP is reporting.

The run-up to this year's festivities was greeted with varying degrees of hysteria - some of it warranted - but most of it just the usual kvetching.

``We are a city that is being advertised as party 'til you puke, come to South Beach,'' retired lawyer and activist Frank Del Vecchio told Miami Beach commissioners in April.

Here's a look back at past Urban Beach Weekend arrest figures courtesy of the Miami Herald archives.

548 arrests

Two of those arrested were pro athletes: Miami Dolphins defensive end Randy Starks and boxer Jermain Taylor, arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest without violence.

The Herald's Barry Jackson reported that, "Starks was charged with aggravated battery early Sunday [May 24] after allegedly veering his slow-moving truck into an officer trying to stop him on Ocean Drive."

Taylor, according to the Herald's Joan Fleischman, was arrested for disorderly conduct and resisting arrest:
[Taylor] stopped the car in the road, blocking traffic. When told to move, he climbed back in the Rolls, drove it another 100 feet, then stopped again. He got out and "began to yell and dance," a police report says. A crowd of about 50 gathered.

Officers tried to arrest Taylor for breach of the peace when he resisted and pushed a uniformed cop in the shoulder, the report says. Police got him to the ground, cuffed him and booked him into Miami -Dade County Jail at 2:23 a.m. Memorial Day .

777 arrests
approx. 80 guns seized

Miami Beach City officials called the 2007 Memorial Day weekend "incident-free," despite the "city's first two homicides of the year," reported the Miami Herald's Tania Valdemoro.

Two men were killed in the parking lot of David's Cafe near Lincoln Road and Meridian Ave. when someone pulled a gun and fired into a crowd of men who were fighting.

One of the witnesses to the shooting was rapper Fat Joe.

1,010 arrests
145 felonies
865 misdemeanors
76 guns seized
cost to city: $944,000

Cops arrested more people during the 2006 weekend than any other weekend before or since: 1,010. They also seized 76 guns.

According to the Herald's Elaine de Valle, "Miami Beach police spokesman Robert Hernandez said most of the [misdemeanor] charges were for disorderly conduct, drinking in public, public drug use or minor possession."

One of those arrested in 2006 was Washington Wizards guard Gilbert Arenas, who tried "to intervene after his teammate Awvee Storey had been arrested by Miami Beach police on Collins Avenue.

"Arenas and Storey were both charged with misdemeanors for disobeying police," according to the Herald.

(Arenas made headlines again earlier this year when he was charged with felony gun possession when he took a gun into his team's dressing room.)

571 arrests
115 felonies
456 misdemeanors
56 guns seized

Despite 115 felony arrests and 56 guns being seized, in 2005, Miami Beach city spokeswoman Nannette Rodriguez told the Herald that the biggest problem was, "the fliers and posters plastering the city. We definitely saw an increase in that this year, and we will be going after those responsible for code fines." According to the Herald, "city employees collected more than 4,000 posters and handbills that were posted on public property and vehicles."

278 arrests
46 felonies
232 misdemeanors

A shooting death was loosely connected to the weekend festivities.

The Herald reported that a
"20-year-old Hallandale Beach man was shot in the head early Sunday from a car headed to Miami Beach on Interstate 395 in downtown Miami . It happened not long after he joked and flirted with a carload of girls, attracting the attention of the man accused of killing him.
Miami Beach police caught the shooter in Collins Avenue traffic at Seventh Street in Miami Beach about a half-hour later in response to a description of his vehicle broadcast by Miami police.

Miami Beach police Maj. Carlos Noriega told the Herald, "This was by far the biggest Memorial Day weekend ever, including 2001." The weekend crowds were estimated at 200,000.

From the Herald:
[T]here were some pockets of discontent with the intense police presence.

After a fight broke out on Ocean Drive near 10th Street on Saturday night, Beach officers in riot gear ordered the crowd to disperse and briefly closed the road. Some observers questioned whether the full riot gear was necessary to diffuse the incident.

For some, just the numbers of police were offensive. ``There are too many police out here,'' said hip-hop fan Tyson Bennett, 26. ``There aren't enough people out here to justify that many police.''

265 arrests
58 felonies
207 misdemeanors

Of those misdemeanors the Herald reported, "One person was arrested for playing the car radio too loud."

"By comparison," according to the Herald, "169 people were arrested during Winter Music Conference this year, 99 during Winter Party and 89 on New Year's Eve weekend."

Some of 2003's action as reported by the Herald:
Members of the Miami Beach Police Field Force, a squad of 40 officers equipped with shields, wooden batons, tear-gas canisters and paint-ball guns, were brought in on at least three occasions.

They were called when somebody was said to have flashed a gun at 12th Street and Washington Avenue and again when a brawl broke out at Billboardlive at 5 a.m., sending four people to the hospital with minor injuries.

The squad also arrived when crowds from ZNO nightclub spilled onto Washington Avenue just after 3 a.m. Dozens of people said either Mace or pepper spray was used inside when a fight broke out. Club ZNO representatives could not be reached for comment Sunday afternoon.

148 arrests

A year after being caught unprepared for the Memorial Day crowd that descended upon the city in 2001, cops were ready.

The Herald's Nicole White wrote: "Miami Beach officials and event organizers are calling this year's Memorial Day weekend festivities a success attributable to one thing - planning."

 "Police responded to two stabbings, no one was seriously hurt."

Miami Beach police "were [also] involved in one of the weekend's most disruptive moments. Officers shot mace pellets to break up a fight Sunday on Washington Avenue. The sound resulted in a stampede outside the nightclub Level," reported the Herald.

211 arrests

This is the one that started it all.

Everyone in the world knew that Urban Beach Weekend was coming. Except for the cops and city leaders.

Reported the Miami Herald:
Miami Beach Commissioner Nancy Liebman, a mayoral candidate, wrote in a letter to concerned citizens, ``This Memorial Day Weekend was a tragedy for the City of Miami Beach in many respects.

``We degraded our worldwide image which we had carefully restored over the last six or seven years.''
City officials vowed never to be caught off-guard again and it's a vow they haven't broken.