written by on November 29, 2022
  • miamitodayepaper.com


Truth: Nothing Says Miami (Government) Like Billboards

Those of us who mistakenly thought our big local needs were things like affordable worker housing and transportation upgrades missed the biggest need of all: more and bigger billboards simultaneously on our skyline.

While the rest of us were napping, our thoughtful commissioners knew that what every Miamian wanted to see were bigger and brighter and ever more intrusive ads on billboards and buildings.

In addition, the commissioners were aware that the visitor industry was starved for a year following the Art Basel effect with public art everywhere: great outdoor art known as billboards plastered on every public building, parks Fills up and is high on the highways. What a great attraction it is for tourists who are tired of the beauty, nature, exquisite architecture and landmarks that now fill our landscape.

In fact, the new rules are creating a great tourist attraction for the Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau to promote globally, with its own slogan: “Nothing says Miami like billboards.”

And what’s amazing is that three elected officials got the brilliant idea of ​​bigger and bigger billboards at almost the same time. It must be coincidental, because none of the people who put the idea into law or are close to doing so have ever mentioned the high-powered, deep-pocketed billboard lobby, which has been cornered by politicians for years. is in his pocket. Just coincidence – but it seems to be catching on like the flu.

Sure, nearly everyone needs bigger billboards closer to home because only two county commissioners voted not to oust outgoing president Jose “Pepe” Diaz on the final day of his many years on the platform via billboard legislation last month.

Certainly none of the public spoke against it. Perhaps this was because the vote had been scheduled after the December 22 public hearing, but was quietly pushed until November 15, as the commission suspended its own rules that required committee review and prior hearings. required and waived the requirement that municipalities have four weeks to six weeks’ notice prior to action.

Mr. Diaz was right, of course: If people had proper notice they would be clamoring to raise the legal limit for billboards along highways to 20 feet tall and to allow billboards 200 feet near estates and single-family homes. . Just make sure they’re not there to object and get over it.

In the city of Miami, two commissioners simultaneously “independently” dreamed up their law. It’s flashy, and then based purely on coincidence the apparent public need to blur the sunlight with the bright light of digital billboards.

First out of the box was former mayor Joe Carollo, who had been watching for the public for decades and knew we were missing digital billboards in our bayfront parks. These billboards will give parents an opportunity to tell kids to put away their always-on cellphones and walk to our great open-air parks without missing a single digital minute.

He must have been right as he faced only one vote from Manolo Reyes, who didn’t know digital beauty when he saw it as he asked how these billboards would “affect the environment and the city’s residents.” What could he possibly be thinking? Or maybe he’s not talking with the right lobbyists. For example, former Miami commissioner Mark Sarnoff once said that he wanted to make Miami like Times Square. Looks like he’ll get his wish.

While Mr. Carolo’s plan would get billboard art in three parks, he apparently didn’t go far enough. The competitive law by Alex Diaz de la Portilla calls Mr. Carolo a picker and says he allows billboards up to 10 stories tall and three times the total area of ​​the largest highway billboard on all government land in the heart of Miami. , Now there is a game.

Again, only Mr. Reyes did not vote in the first round. “It opens up every property in town to one of those signs,” he complained. Yes, and every other government property as well. And more than one sign, because there is no limit.’

Well, there really are limits: At 10 stories, the sky’s the limit.

In the county, Mr. Diaz suspended rules for passing Billboard Bonanza without facing vexatious public comments. In the city, Mr. Diaz de la Portilla changed the rules so that the Commission-appointed Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board couldn’t slow down the billboard steamroller with troublesome questions. Just another coincidence, no collusion.

The final city vote on what has been billed as a revenue-generating tool for billboard fees is coming. This claim is a good cover for bad law when times are bad. But the city is drowning in tax revenue and expanding workforce.

No, the real sales pitch for giant billboards that change digital messages every eight seconds should simply be their natural beauty. Like putting lipstick on a pig.

Seriously, nothing says Miami like a (gov) billboard.

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