In 2022, I sponsored and the City Commission adopted an ordinance to limit the sale of alcohol during Spring Break 2022. Subsequently, Miami-Dade Judge Beatrice Butchko struck down the ordinance. A few weeks later the City had to implement a State of Emergency, as it did in 2021 and now, once again, in 2023.
The message must clearly resonate that Miami Beach does not welcome the lawlessness of “spring break.”
While the tragic events of this spring break are still fresh in our minds, the City Commission should consider and take action on the following safety measures for 2024 at our upcoming regular meeting scheduled for March 27:
· Closing businesses earlier in the area south of 23rd Street along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue during the second and third weekends in March. History indicates that these are our most troublesome weekends.
· Rolling back alcohol sales citywide should be considered during the same weekends of March to control the tone of privately promoted activities for spring break beyond the geographical area south of 23rd Street along Ocean Drive, Collins Avenue, and Washington Avenue.
· Instituting curfews in advance of Spring Break’s busiest weekends for 2024 to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Additionally, the City Commission should direct the City Administration to study and report back on the implementation of the following measures:
· Establishing a fenced in gun free zone on Ocean Drive and Lummus Park with consolidated entry points with metal detectors by creating a fenced perimeter around the area west of the Beachwalk to Ocean Court. I would urge the City Administration to study the controlled perimeter of the Coconut Grove Arts Festival and the Ultra Music Festival.
· Increasing and/or limit non-residential parking during spring break to make it further difficult for criminals to drive into Miami Beach. This must be coupled with enhanced parking enforcement in the surrounding residential areas.
· Requesting additional support for law enforcement from Miami-Dade County, the State of Florida, and our other mutual aid partners to flood the area and side streets with highly visible police presence, strictly enforce open container and marijuana consumption, and protect our residential areas like Flamingo Park, West Avenue, South of Fifth, among others.
· Strictly enforcing traffic infractions and expanding DIU checkpoints in Miami Beach.
While our nighttime is challenging, it should not take away from the enjoyment of daytime activities such as the artists & music that the Kiwanis brought to Art on the Drive, or the excitement of the worldwide AVP Volleyball Tournament happening on our beaches, or the other family-friendly activities such as the Miami Marlin’s Family Fest concert that kicked off World Baseball Classic and the upcoming Miami Beach Fitness Festival.
Now is the time to stop the lawless behavior. It is time to adopt the necessary measures that will shut the door on the criminals terrorizing our city at night.