Downtown Government Center Gets New Hobo Spikes

Categories: Flotsam, News
spikes.jpg
Since the beginning of time -- or at least the Reagan era -- the courtyard of downtown Miami's Stephen P. Clark Government Center has been a hot spot for Schlitz-addled homeless dudes, toothless bag ladies who will gum your shoulder if you get too close, and Bible-waving Old Testament screamers who have decided the best way to serve Jesus is to rant at commuters boarding the number 7 bus.

We always sort of assumed a vibrant congregation of transients came with the territory of a downtown urban center. But recently, it appears the county has decided to fight back.

It's opening a new, state-of-the-art temporary-living facility a healthy proximity from the government center. The facility will offer free substance-abuse treatment and, for those willing to become productive members of society, low-paying but dignified full-time jobs.

Just fucking with you. The county is putting up spikes so the homeless can't sit. Hey, it works with pigeons.

Outside the building is a big, dry fountain that's sort of like the Peach Pit for homeless who want to sit and hang out. But county workers recently cordoned off the thing with yellow plastic while they outfit the perimeter -- traditionally the seating surface -- of the fountain with metal rods.

County spokesperson Suzy Trutie denies that the "renovation" has anything to do with the homeless. (She also adds that it will cost only a thousand bucks. "What it's about," she insists, "is constantly updating and refurbishing all of our buildings."

Yeah, but they look something like spikes. And they feel a lot like spikes. Yes, we tried to sit on them. They hurt our butt.

Problem is, homeless people are still hanging out at the government center. Only now they're looking for new places to sit. "It's had a completely backwards effect," says Sergio Trujillo, a home-having fellow who often visits the area to use the library. "Now all the homeless people use the benches, so if you're waiting for a bus, you have to stand."

On a recent weekday, that predicament was certainly clear. Homeless folks were either taking up bench space or had moved en masse to lounge next to a nearby fence. No tourist would mistake the courtyard for, like, Sweden. Alas, it turns out that when spiked, homeless people -- unlike pigeons -- don't fly to some far-away roost to quietly die of canker.

We even met one civic hero who had ignored the yellow plastic to sit on the only yard of fountain surface still awaiting spikes. His name was Ulysses, and he was happily popping almonds into his mouth. "This is my joint!" he proclaimed of the fountain between chews. "It's smooth. It's cold on a hot day. I told the construction workers to leave this little space open so that I could always sit here and watch the people."

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Vernon6
Vernon6

Everyone should watch this video. Produced in 1979, it has everything you need to know about a useful, enjoyable public plaza. Amazing how to this day, people can still be so clueless and ignorant on how to design useful public spaces. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

Kevin Arrow
Kevin Arrow

what's next a Gigantic 18 foot tall Owl?

myangeldust
myangeldust

YOU have options: help find a pragmatic solution, ignore the problem, or leave to a place where homelessness doesn't exist. A magical world where no humans live. Oh, the good times you will have! By yourself, because no one else will ever measure up to your idea of perfection.

myangeldust
myangeldust

@Kuroobi You work for the govt? You're barely literate. And all the slurs and the Reagan-era stereotypes? Seriously? There are four guards who look over the grounds around the building. What are you smoking that would make you believe spikes and missing benches prevent people from hanging around? That's public land and ANYONE can hang out there all day long if they want. Since when do criminals carry their luggage with them? Looks like someone just lost their crappy job and couldn't handle whatever rent they paid. I've walked through there and no one has asked for a hand out. You are a middle-aged Republican lying out both sides of your mouth cause you're afraid of the not-so-nice side of life. Boo-hoo-hoo! Say hi to Mrs. Gimenez for me, Carlito!

myangeldust
myangeldust

I doubt the prez is forcing folks into labor camps. The bums are responsible for their own lives, they deal with it, and I doubt any of them are asking you to take care of them. Spare change doesn't buy you a person. This is part of every society. Those who can't deal will move into the wilderness. So you have some options.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Working doesn't remove an addiction. Forced labor even less so. Homeless are made up of more than addicts. I'm sure if these imaginary jobs you want to force upon them exist, the unemployed would have applied. There are folks with jobs who also do crack and booze. They're as much a social drain as the jobless addict. Real life issues can't be fix with internment and slavery.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Roving teen gangs, copper theives, a manhole cover underground (no pun intended), special badges issued by corrupt municipal mayors, and now a central government that doesn't want people in our public spaces. Soon the land will split along the North Miami Beach canal and float southward to join the Banana Republic archipelago. Don't be surprised if you see cops with one hand on their AK-47 rifles. They're just there to scare you, NOT to actually stop criminals. All hail Gimenez!

Jose_Marti
Jose_Marti

fuck it, i support this. if they wanna be homeless, they can move to the everglades

myangeldust
myangeldust

YES! That's where we pushed the Seminoles and Miccosukees. What's another set of "savages" matter to us anyways? We've done our best to make life harder for the poor among us, the Everglades can only be a upgrade for them. Maybe they can win a car on Tuesday! Some people can live in a car.

Guest
Guest

they won't move to the everglades though, they'll move 20 feet to the side and still be in the way

Some Prick
Some Prick

This isn't going to stop the crazy religious people.  They usually stand in the walk.  Plus - I'm sure they'll start to bring their own chairs now, which will cause a slip/fall..:)

Racheldarah
Racheldarah

You had me with this one; first elated and then diappointed in the matter of seconds!!  "It's opening a new, state-of-the-art temporary-living facility a healthy proximity from the government center. The facility will offer free substance-abuse treatment and, for those willing to become productive members of society, low-paying but dignified full-time jobs."

Ronnie Rocket
Ronnie Rocket

The chairs and tables on the Cultural Center Plaza across the street have been removed as well.

myangeldust
myangeldust

Gimenez job stimulus: hobo spikes and bench removals across the county.

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