Tag Archives: Miami

President Trump, above all, lacks tact

On Tuesday of this week, President Trump announced his rescinding of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals Act, which was signed into law via executive action on behalf of former President Barack Obama in the summer of 2012.

donald_trump_official_portraitJust a week prior, Hurricane Harvey hit and devastated parts of western Texas, introducing heavy and highly damaging floods to cities like Houston.

Now, as the weekend nears, parts of the Caribbean as well as the state of Florida have experienced or are bracing for impact by one of the largest storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, Hurricane Irma. Some island nations are already preparing for impact by follow-up storm Jose.

Do you think, Mr. President, that now is the right time to rescind legislation that for nearly five years has given a previously disenfranchised group of people the ability to get jobs, driver’s licenses and the tranquility that an ICE/USCIS officer doesn’t await them at the next corner?

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Was DACA’s passage the right way to go about immigration reform? Not at all. In fact, as I graduated high school and witnessed Congress’ inability to come together on immigration reform, I accepted the fact that my parents were criminals in overstaying and had erred in stringing me along. I was happy to oblige the law that said I should get the hell out of Dodge before I accrued time in this country illegally. Obama’s use of executive action benefited me but it was incomplete (failing to help many illegal adults) and inappropriately issued.

Yet the reality of the matter is that I would have been silly to let an ineffective Congress and a unilaterally administered piece of legislation get in the way of an American driver’s license, work permit and social security number. I took it and ran with it, applying to an Honors college program, getting my first real job and building up my personal economy.

Following Trump’s Tuesday bombshell, however, I feel like the guy who chose not to get insurance when he rented a Ferrari for his 18 year old son to save on underage fees. I feel like I chose the lesser alternative that promised me more than I should have accepted; I feel like I should’ve left to Argentina after high school and continued my adult life there instead.

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That’s bullshit! It’s not my damn fault that the United States has failed, for years, maybe decades, to properly enforce its immigration laws. Why weren’t my parents and I forcibly arrested and deported after overstaying our 90-day welcome; the way my mom tells me it works in places like Europe? Myself and other DREAMers now become pawns in a shifty ideological game that has all of a sudden chosen to get strict.

The most insulting – though admittedly, the most irrelevant – aspect of all this is that it has all come out of the mouth of the most tactless public servant I have ever witnessed in my few years of life. Forget the man’s policy choices, forget the man’s personal beliefs, forget his riches and forget his appearance. President Trump has no tact, akin to nerds accustomed to staring at computer screens for fun that then freeze up when they talk to girls.

president-donald-trump-passes-out-food-and-meets-people-impacted-by-hurricane-harvey-during-a-visit-to-the-nrg-center-in-houston-saturday-sept-2-2017The only difference is that awkward nerds are funny. On the other hand, a President who rescinds legislation who has essentially given life to 800,000 young immigrants in the midst of two or more natural disasters, and a President who tells a crowd of people in the thick of flooded Houston to “have a good time,” is an absolute embarrassment of a public figure.

The Kardashian clan would form a better executive cabinet at this point! It would certainly make for better television, and who knows, maybe they’d leave stuff up to talented staffers and everything would flow better as a result.

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TRAILER for Inglorious Motorists

Driving around a dilapidated warehouse section of Miami a few days ago, I stumbled upon Alejandro Garduño riding his custom built motorized bicycle. As some of you might know, I tried my hand at daily-driving a motorized bicycle, but that was an electric build – a decently sleek one at that, if I do say so myself.

Garduño, however, has gone the way of gasoline in choosing his steed. I had to pull him over and talk to him about his whip, and maybe begin a conversation about and an investigation into the world of motorized bicycles in Miami.

Are they motorcycles? Are they bicycles? Are they safe? Are they legal? And perhaps most importantly – are they fun!

I hope to answer all these questions and more in my upcoming project, heretofore titled Inglorious Motorists.

Hope you enjoy the trailer!

Sasha and The Cat (A Documentary)

During the month of April, I spent a lot of time with these two girls: Catleya Sornmyura, an event planner at the Biltmore Hotel and an acquaintance of mine from high school, and her best friend Sasha Bruno, a herbal pharmacist and up-and-coming entrepreneur of paleo muffins.

This is their story: a feel-good documentary about the power of friendship and how two completely different personalities have found solace in each other’s company.

Continue reading Sasha and The Cat (A Documentary)

The art of finessing with DJ Luna

A few weeks ago, I hung out with budding DJ and big-time Wale fan and friend, DJ Luna, also known as Mikaela Sorina. I asked her a few questions and hung out with her at “The Art of Finessing” event at Footsoldiers Wynwood as she disc jockeyed for the first time. Here’s what I learned and saw.

Continue reading The art of finessing with DJ Luna

Perception and a bad business model are roadblocking the Ludlam Trail

Cyclists riding south on the Ludlam Trail cross SW 72 St/Sunset Drive. Photo by Tomás Monzón
Cyclists riding south on the Ludlam Trail cross SW 72 St/Sunset Drive. Photo by Tomás Monzón

On Saturday morning, I had the opportunity to ride on a section of the Ludlam Trail, a 6.2-mile piece of land currently owned by the Florida East Coast Railway. It used to host active railroad track, but after the rails were removed, only unkempt grass, trash and rusting signage were left behind.

The land is now a part of a vision to see it transformed into a walking and biking trail that could form a critical part of Miami’s half-baked bike route network.

During the event, which was organized by Florida East Coast Industires and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy, locals got the chance to ride a portion of the trail that had been fitted with compacted gravel suitable for fat-tire bicycles. That portion ran from AD Barnes Park to SW 80 ST, running through various commercial and residential portions of unincorporated Miami-Dade and the City of South Miami.

A longer, contiguous piece of the former railroad runs from Robert King High Park near West Flagler St and SW 72 Avenue south to SW 80 ST and about SW 72 AVE.

After riding the trail on a sunny Saturday morning, I must say – paving this trail and formally declaring it as a human friendly mode of transportation would represent a great asset to the community.

Florida East Coast Industires and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy hosted an event on Nov. 7, 2015 which allowed locals to ride a portion of the proposed Ludlam Trail. Photo by Tomás Monzón
Florida East Coast Industires and the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy hosted an event on Nov. 7, 2015 which allowed locals to ride a portion of the proposed Ludlam Trail. Photo by Tomás Monzón

The areas the trail runs through are littered with commuters who commute by car by choice. However, that choice is influenced by a lack of alternative transportation infrastructure and the perception that trying to deal with the current, broken system is impossible or calling for too much effort.

I know where those commuters are coming from. If you own a car and can make it to work, school and errands without resorting to a half-baked bike route network that makes you feel like a second-class citizen, it is only logical that you would resort to the automobile.

This reality may make others think there is no demand for safer cycling and walking routes, but to say so is to acknowledge the deadly cycle that’s kept Miami in an alternative transportation rut.

A lack of infrastructure produces a lack of interest in wanting to use it.

The lack of interest, though, makes those with the power of building the infrastructure to think there’s no point in doing so.

A view of the Ludlam Trail looking north from its southern terminus SW 80 ST in Miami, FL. Photo by Tomás Monzón
A view of the Ludlam Trail looking north from its southern terminus SW 80 ST in Miami, FL. Photo by Tomás Monzón

That’s unfortunate, and short-sighted. Any venture in public services involves a period of working to provide the service and waiting for people to pick up on it. A prediction as to how many people will eventually use the service – which in the case of the Ludlam Trail would be a large amount of them – is a better indication of whether it’s worth building the trail.

Supply would create its own demand, in this instance.

I don’t pretend to understand the specifics behind the roadblocks to the Ludlam Trail project, for I’m sure they’re very complicated and difficult to get a grasp of. But I do know that the incorrect perception of the trail’s relevance to the community is being held by the people who have the power to make it happen.

To that end, I congratulate the groups who made Saturday’s ride happen because it’s the only way that the people with the power to make the trail a reality will be convinced it’s a worthwhile thing to invest in. Hopefully those who have the ability to do so break out of the cycle, and do so soon.