Sunday, September 17, 2006
The Miami Circle: What it could have been
Now that there is a strong possibility that the Miami Circle (which from this point on will be referred to as "the thing"*) might actually be a giant "Smiley Face" (see earlier entry) and the first earliest recording of man having a sense of humor, MVB would like to take this opportunity to show what could have been if county government had handled the original discovery differently. Instead of forking over nearly $27 million dollars of taxpayers money in 1999 to the developer to stop him from developing (with nothing to show for it as of this date-- the site is covered in sand to "preserve it"), a more rational approach would have required the developer to include "the thing" in the project's design. As can be seen in the picture above, "the thing" is enclosed in an air-conditioned atrium. This would allow unsuspecting tourists or people with way too much time on their hands to look down at it from the spiraling floors above and ponder the meaning of it all.
"What the *@#%?" they may well have asked. But alas, no one will ever know.
Our fear, however, is that even our suggested compromise would not be a win-win for both parties because we see, over time, that "the thing" will become nothing more than a giant ash tray and trash can for all those who see it, i.e., because of its pockmarked surface, it would have called eternally to our subconscious to throw something into it-- as the county did in 1999.
Lost Property Taxes
The irony here is that "the thing" lies within the City of Miami, one of the poorest cities in the U.S. If the developer had been allowed to build, it was estimated back then that the twin condo towers would have brought the city $1.1 million per year in property taxes which could have gone toward building public funded affordable housing.
*MVB thinks the circle is atrocious, lacking in the basics of the best archeological discoveries which tease the imagination. Too bad there isn't some sort of scale that would grade discoveries based on how they speak to the human spirit as being worthy or worthless of preservation. If it had been an ancient mosaic floor, MVB would be behind preserving it-- and incorporating it into a tax generating machine for the city of Miami.
Poor ex-Miami mayor Joe Carollo, say what you will about the man, for all of his shortcomings, he was the only one who wanted to preserve the circle and allow the developer to continue developing. His plan was to have a stone mason come in and move it so the buildings could be erected. His city, which was the poorest city in the U.S. at that time, could have used the taxes it would have brought in but he was overruled by the county commission and rival mayor Alex Pinellas. Carollo said at that time of Pinellas, "What he is proposing is the destruction of the City of Miami as an entity."
Well, the city is still standing albeit precariously on spindly-- but pretty-- legs because of condo speculators. But what will happen if the bubble bursts as predicted? Will the world see Miami and the county for what it may truly be, a provincial burb grasping for anything that falls out of a trash heap to justify its existence; a shallow, hollow city of empty high-end condos and possibly the brunt of a giant cosmic joke?