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SOUTH BEACH HERALD

THESOBECOMPASSIONATEPROGRAMFORVAGRANTS
Thisistheirhome
14October2015
ByDavidArthurWalters
MIAMIMIRROR
Only a few tourists, residents and businessmen have complained about the South Beach
Compassionate Program for Vagrants established by Mayor Philip Levine, Commissioner
MichaelGrieco,PoliceChiefDanielOates,HomelessOutreachServices,andtheACLU.

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SOU
UTH BE
EACH HERAL
H
LD

No longeer are the involuntary homeless and


a
voluntaary vagrantss periodicallly swept offf the
streetslikesomuchtrash.Asap
policeofficerexplainedtheprogram
mtoanAlliedSecurityofficer
nstructionsttonotallowvagrantstosleepinLinccolnParkinfront
whenhecaughthim followingin
oftheneewsymphonyhall,Lettthemsleeph
here.Thisistheirhome..

Sincetheen,security officershavvelittletod
dointhenewpark,and
doneoftheemwasobseerved
sleeping there himsself, not to
o mention an
a overworked parks department
d
t employee who
regularlyyretirestherreonahotd
day.

Security officers have frequently complained abou


ut the leniiency of police and code
enforcem
mentofficerss.ThewordisthatAllied
dSecuritysccontractwillsoonbeterrminated.
A meetin
ng on home
eless issues was
w called by
b Commisssioner Grieco
o was held last week at the
Lincoln Road
R
Comm
munity Church. Chief Oates
O
was th
here along with the minister
m
and
d few
residentssandbusine
essowners.
P
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SOUTH BEACH HERALD

Adisgruntledresidentsaidcopsshouldshakedownknowncriminals,towhichthechiefandthe
commissioner shook heads and rolled eyeballs. Commissioner Grieco is a criminal defense
attorney,justthekindofattorneycityofficialsmayneedintheeventofyetanotherwaveof
F.B.I. busts. I have urged the commission to hire Bruce Cutler as city attorney, but my
suggestionwasignored.
Arestaurateurextolledthenewpoliceprocedurefordealingwithcomplaintsaboutunseemly
behaviorofvagrants,manyofwhomcampinLummusParkacrossfromthebeachsfamousArt
Decobuildings,wheretouristslovetodineatthesidewalkcafes.Manyofthevagrantsinthe
park are ruffians as is evident to anyone who listens to them converse. Not only do they
panhandle, loll around and talk tough: I saw one man expose himself and urinate towards
restaurantguests.Cananyoneguiltyofnotsupportinghimblamehim?
Thecopsaregoodaboutrespondingtocomplaints,butcolorfulbehaviorshouldbeprotected.
Insteadofinsistingonadescriptionastowhethertheunwantedpersonisblackorwhite,now
allsortsofdetailsmustbetakendownbythepoliceordispatcher,suchasthecolorandtypeof
clothes,thecolorofeyesandhair,andsoon.Bythetimeallthatisrecalled,ifthecomplainant
is Sherlock Holmes and can recall it, the undesirable person is long gone, and compassion is
served.
TheministergaveaheartwarmingspeechabouthowhecamedowntoSouthBeachtoserve
thehomelesspeople.Hewouldbeoutofajobiftherewerenonetoserve.
TheofficialswerecarefultomentionthatMiamiBeachhasfarlessvagrancythanothercities.
Thatcertainlyistrue:LosAngelesCountyhas44,000homeless,andhugecampscanbefound
oncitystreets.

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SOUTH BEACH HERALD

Indeed, Miami Beach should strive to be more compassionate. The city should provide a big
camping ground for hoboes, homeless, and vagrants in the big park the mayor would like to
replace the parking lot behind the convention center with. Our mayor is a compassionate
wealthymanascanbeseenbythenicewomanwhohasbeenlivingformonthsbythefenceat
hisofficebuilding.Cityhallandthehomelessserviceofficearewithineyeshotofthatparking
lot.
Anyonewithoutapermanentplaceofresidenceshouldbeabletoobtainaspecialmoneycard
thathecouldinsertintovendingmachinesatthenewparkandgetsomanysandwichesand
drinkseveryday.
Anothercompassionatestepthatshouldbetakeninthemayorsnewhomelesspark:providea
daily ration of alcoholic beverages. This counterintuitive approach has been taken by
innovativechurchesbentonreducinghomelessness.
Nowitmightbesaidthatnobodywantstoliveinparksandonstreets.Thatisnottrueinevery
instance.Inanyevent,theCityofMiamiBeachshouldcontinuetoexpanditshousingprogram
for people who want to be formerly homeless. At least half the population should be on the
doletooneextentoranother.Thebestsolutionwouldbeaguaranteedminimumincomeof
$12,000peryearforeveryadultwhethertheyworkornot.Thatwillreducethecompetitionfor
higherincomessomorepeoplecangetrich.

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