Thousands of us will be converging in downtown Miami in the next week and a
half, and the city has waged a two-pronged battle to make it difficult for
us to secure housing for that time period. The police intimidated community
spaces that traditionally open their doors to activists by threatening the
first church that offered its space weeks ago with zoning violations, while
also reserving most of the large public gathering spaces for "staging
One more way that they're trying to keep anyone from mentioning the
possibility that perhaps we could be making a mistake by destroying the
planet and trampling human rights.
All is not lost. Some community members here are aware of what's going on
and are pressuring the City Council to open up spaces and ease up on the
police intimidation. There is contact information below for all of them,
please contact them as soon as possible and as often as possible to register
your opinion in the following areas:
1. The City of Miami has invited the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA)
ministerial, and by extension thousands of demonstrators, to its town on the
week of November 16th - 21st. These people are coming to town whether
spaces are being provided or not; they will not be deterred by a policy of
protester antagonism. It behooves the city to help provide secure
accommodations for the demonstrators.
2. Support the efforts of the Community Relations Board in opening up city
parks within Miami for people to camp in.
3. Support the efforts of temples, churches, mosques, schools and other
community spaces that are willing to open their doors with assurances that
police will cease their policy of targeting such places for selective zoning
enforcement. Variances could be made to allow for and encourage the opening
of such spaces not otherwise zoned for housing but traditionally permitted
to house people for short periods.
4. Likewise, assure landlords in the City of Miami that would like to rent
warehouse space out for activist housing that there will be no harassment
from the police department if they do so.
5. Open up some of the larger enclosed arenas in Miami that are not being
used for police staging areas for use by people participating in the
demonstrations. Spaces could include the area of the American Airlines
Arena, Orange Bowl stadium, Miami-Dade Community College or perhaps
available hurricane shelters (Coconut Grove).
6. There is a precedent of cities opening their spaces for activists to
sleep, such as in a gymnasium at Lavel University when the FTAA met in
Quebec City in 2001. We can make arrangements to provide bathroom and
bathing facilities in the places that do not presently have such amenities.
Thank you for your willingness to address our concerns.
MIAMI CITY OFFICIALS CONTACT INFORMATION
City Manager Joe Arriola:
District 1 Commissioner Angel Gonzalez:
District 2 Commissioner Johnny L. Winton:
District 3 Commissioner Joe M. Sanchez:
District 4 Commissioner Tomas P. Regalado:
District 5 Commissioner Arthur Teele Jr.:
Mayor Manuel A. Diaz:
City Attorney Alejandro Vilarello: