Letter From Miaminby Alan R. TurinnJudicial Tyranny andnMinority RightsnIn 1959, Frank Sinatra starred in immigrantnfilmmaker Frank Capra’s lastnmovie, Hole in the Head. Featuring thenAcademy Award-winning song “HighnHopes,” it was about a widower |-athern(Sinatra) struggling with a mortgagednhotel on Miami Beach. Miami was anyear-round, warm and sunny resortnfor Northeasterners. Culturally, it was ansuburb of New York or Philadelphia.nEverything in Miami revolved aroundnthe tourist season. Miami—the WinternBorscht Belt.nTen years later, Alan Arkin starrednin Poppi, another period piece. Arkin is anwidower with two sons. They are PuertonRicans living in a ratty neighborhood innNew York City. Arkin sees the benefitsnCuban refugees get and plots to float hisnboys in a boat so the Coast Guard willnpick them up as Cubans. The boys willnthen enjoy the good life.nArkin goes into a downtown Miamintavern at night, walks along the pier, hasnslapstick escapades in a hospital. Thenbartenders, boatmen, nurses, hospital orderlies,ndoctors all speak English] Whennthe sons need to speak to the doctors, orngovernment officials, or anybody at thenhospital, an interpreter must be summoned.nThe boys can speak English, butnto get benefits they must fake beingnCubans by speaking only Spanish. Thenhospital has no one, save the interpreter,nwho speaks Spanish, hi 1969, Englishnwas the language of most Miamians.nThe capstone was the 1993 film HomenAlone 2: Lost in New York. MacaulaynCulkin gets separated from his dadnat Chicago’s O’Hare Airport. The familyngoes to Miami, to the same resort hotelnwhere his uncle and aunt had theirnhoneymoon 20 years ago. The hotel isndecrepit. Lights are burned out. Thenweather is awful. As the family tracksndown the missing Culkin, the childrennwatch Capra’s It’s a Wonderful Life—nin Spanish—on the hotel TV. Fromn38/CHRONICLESnCORRESPONDENCEnCapra’s Hole in the Head through Poppinto the Home Alone 2 cameo of Capra’snIt’s a Wonderful Life in Spanish. A filmntriptych of Miami.nRelated to this is the electoral transformationnthat has occurred in Miami. Inn1993, thanks to a federal judge’s readingnof the federal Voting Rights Act (VRA),nthe office of mayor ceased to existnin Dade County. Countywide commissionersnwere also axed. The VRA requiresnthat electoral districts be drawnnwhere minorities are in the majority.nThe question for the judge was whetherncountywide elections unfairly dilutednminorities’ votes.nIn Miami, Cubans are the majorityn(53 percent). Hispanics nationally are anminority. For purposes of electoralncounting, Hispanic means born outsidenthe United States in a Spanish-speakingncountry. If both of your parents are fromnCuba, but you were born here, you’re angringo. Here “non-Hispanic whites” isnthe euphemism for white Americans.nIn 1992, Dade citizens voted on single-memberndistricts and a pay raise fromn$5,000 to $50,000 for county commissioners.nThe voters rejected the measure,nbut the judge ignored the vote, dissolvednall countywide voting for the countyncommission, including the Office ofnMayor, and ordered special elections.nThe first act of the new order was tonraise gasoline taxes and abolish the voterapprovednEnglish-only ordinance. Thenordinance, passed “in fear” in 1980 bynvoter referendum, required that no taxpayernfunds be used for promulgatingncounty government information in anynlanguage but English. A compromisenwas struck for information on emergencies.nThe new Establishment explainednthat the ordinance was passed back thennbecause of fear and ethnic animosity.nThe Mariel boatlift began April 1980.nIn just three months, 114,000 Cubannrefugees arrived in Miami. Castro usednthe boatlift for the social engineering ofnboth Cuba and Miami, emptying hisnprisons not of political prisoners but ofncriminals and mental patients. MostnMarielitos were neither criminals nor insane,njust poor Cubans who saw a fastnway out of the “workers’ paradise” intonthe land of the big PX. But if only onenout of ten was a bad apple, that gave Miami,nin 90 days, 11,400 new bad applesnnnwith which to cope.nToday there is no longer any ethnic ornracial animosity or fear in Miami. JorgenMas Canosa, of the Cuban-AmericannNational Foundation, was interviewed byna Spanish magazine. Question: AfternFidel falls, won’t Americans take backnCuba? Mas Canosa’s reply: “Bulls—t!nThe Americans can’t take back Miami!”nMas Canosa says he was quoted out ofncontext.nNortheast Dade condominium voters,nlargely Jewish retirees who vote a straightnDemocratic ticket, have been marginalizednovernight. The “condo vote,” oncena major force, is finished. In the springnof 1993, the county commission includednone black and two Hispanics. Sixnmonths later, there are two “non-Hispanicnwhites” out of 13 commissioners.n”Non-Hispanic white” enclaves in unincorporatednDade are planning to incorporateninto cities. No, there is no ethnicnor racial animosity animating politics innDade anymore.nSuit was filed against the school boardnfor single-member districts. The onlyndispute is about when the single-memberndistricts will be implemented. Of thenstudents in Dade public schools, 54 percentnHispanic, 30 percent black, and 16npercent non-Hispanic white. Miami’snwhite population, both American andnHispanic, is leaving for neighboringnBroward County as many homeownersndid upon receiving their insurancenchecks after Hurricane Andrew. Hispanicsnwho want to be American get out ofnDade, while Hispanics who like living inna Spanish-speaking enclave stay put. It isna self-selecting process that widens thengulf between Miami and the rest ofnFlorida.nIn the 1980’s, a popular bumper stickernin Miami read, “Will the last Americannleaving Miami please take down thenflag.” The counter sticker was, “The flagnis staying and we’re not leaving.” Thosenstickers are gone. The folks on both sidesnof the issue have left. Miami’s most popularnbumper sticker today is Hermanos lanrescate (“Brothers to the Rescue”), whichnis the name of a group of Cuban pilotsnwho fly the Florida straits looking fornrafters from Cuba.nLate last summer, a “slow motionnMariel” began. This created a wave ofn”nonfear and nonanimosity” in Miami.nWith the Flaitian refugee influx, Mi-n