SkyRise Miami Approved, Developer Promises "It's Better Looking Than the Eiffel Tower"

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SkyRise Miami is happening, and its developer isn't shy about it.

The 1,000-foot entertainment tower on Biscayne Bay has been billed as the "Eiffel Tower of Miami." After county commissioners approved the project yesterday, however, developer Jeff Berkowitz said SkyRise will surpass its Parisian competitor.

"I think it's better looking than the Eiffel Tower," he told reporters.

See also: Skyrise Returns to Commission Today For Vote On $9 Million In Taxpayer Support

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Skyrise Returns to Commission Today For Vote On $9 Million In Taxpayer Support

Categories: News

Up until October, developer Jeff Berkowitz's audacious plan for a 1,000-foot tall tower on the bay front had sailed through with scant opposition from politicians or residents. The city commission quickly signed off on the Skyrise plan, and voters gave it a green light in August. But then came news that contrary to Mayor Tomas Regalado's very public promises, Skyrise would be asking for millions in taxpayer support.

That revelation has lead to huge headaches for County Mayor Carlos Gimenez and a big speedbump for Skyrise when the county commission stalled out on a vote last month on $9 million in funding.

Today, Skyrise is back in County Hall, and it's anyone's guess if it will garner enough votes to stay alive.

Update: The County Commission has passed the $9 million in funding.

See also: Miami Taxpayers Could Pay Millions for SkyRise Tower After All

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Miami-Based Muslim Pilot Says Spirit Airlines Fired Him Over His Religion

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photo by Andre Du-pont via Wikimedia Commons
Spirit Airlines is no stranger to complaints. From its tiny seats and crippling pilot strike to advertising campaigns that have used devastating oil spills, MILFs, and prostitution scandals to hawk tickets, no airline draws groans from consumers quite so regularly than the South Florida-based budget carrier.

But even for Spirit, Ilyes Yakoub's beef is an eye-opening allegation. The Miami-based pilot says he was run out of the company and even subjected to FBI interrogation for his religious beliefs.

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Hialeah Cop Pulls Over Harvard Grad For Playing N.W.A. Song "F*ck Tha Police"

Categories: News

Illustration by Kevin Cannon
Thanksgiving morning began sweetly for Cesar Baldelomar. No work. Beautiful weather. And good tunes thumping from his car stereo. As the 26-year-old cruised through Hialeah toward his parents' house, he could practically smell his mother's cooking wafting down 24th Avenue.

But when Baldelomar pulled up to the stoplight at West 60th Street, Hialeah Police Officer Harold Garzon was standing nearby, filling out some paperwork from a traffic accident. At that moment, another song came on Baldelomar's stereo. "Fuck tha police/Comin' straight from the underground," N.W.A. rapped. "A young n**** got it bad cause I'm brown / And not the other color so police think / they have the authority to kill a minority."

Then came the song's eponymous refrain -- "Fuck tha police!" -- four times in a row.

"Really?" Garzon said to Baldelomar through his open car window. "You're really playing that song? Pull over."

See also: Graffiti Artist Demz Dies From Injuries After Police Car Hit Him in Wynwood

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Anonymous Street Crew Launches "Operation Demz Revenge" Calling for Graffiti and Protests

Categories: News

Photo via baneripdemz's Instagram
Demz in front of his tag.
On Tuesday night, 21-year-old street artist Delbert "Demz" Rodriguez died from a brain injury caused by a collision with a Miami cop car. Demz had been tagging a wall in Wynwood during Art Basel when an undercover detective chased him down.

Hours after Demz's death, a strange video was uploaded to YouTube. In it, a group calling itself the Anonymous Street Crew tries to link Demz's death to other instances of police brutality and calls for murals and protests in honor of the slain artist.

"Miami Police, you have caught our attention," says a computerized voice. "Art is not a crime, and we will not tolerate fellow artists being in danger for expressing their first amendment rights by the same people who swore an oath to uphold and protect that very right."

See also: Demz's Death: Witness, Cop's Record Raise Questions About Graffiti Artist's Killing

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Floridians Bought an Amazing Number of Guns on Black Friday

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photo by Glasgows via Wikimedia Commons
For shoppers in most of the country, Black Friday is a chance to dive-bomb the mall to load up on price-slashed Christmas gifts, clothes for the new year or that laptop that's been too expensive to until now.

Floridians, though, apparently thought the day after Thanksgiving was the perfect time to re-up their home arsenal. New statistics from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement show Black Friday 2014 was the third busiest day ever for gun sales in Florida. Yes, Ferguson may have played a role.

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Graffiti Artist Demz Dies From Injuries After Police Car Hit Him in Wynwood

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Thumbnail image for delbertrodriguez.jpg
via Delbert Rodriguez's Facebook
Delbert "Demz" Rodriguez
Update: A witness reached by New Times disputes the police version of events. Danny Garcia, a friend who was with Demz that night, says there's no way he had time to disappear down a side street before police hit him. New Times also reviewed the officers' IA record, which shows numerous complaints for aggressive behavior. Read the full story here

This past Friday night, thousands of protesters marched through Wynwood and blocked traffic on I-195 to protest police brutality, including the killing by Miami Beach Police officers last year of a young graffiti artist named Israel "Reefa" Hernandez.

Unbeknownst to most protestors, just a few hours earlier and a few blocks away, local cops had chased another young tagger -- 21-year-old Delbert "Demz" Rodriguez -- and hit him with an unmarked cruiser, leaving him with grievous head wounds.

Late last night, Demz died from those injuries.

See also: Graffiti Artist in Critical Condition After Cop Car Hit Him in Wynwood

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Kalan Sherrard on Dildo-Wielding Art Basel Protest: "Had We Been in Darker Bodies, We Would Probably Be Dead"

Categories: News

Kalan Sherrard
On Sunday, avant-garde NYC subway performer Kalan Sherrard and partner Maria Valenzuela were arrested after protesting inside Art Basel. Most of the media headlines centered on Sherrard's suspiciously large package. The 27-year-old had a dildo stuffed down his pants and when he removed it, Miami Beach police officers apparently mistook it for a gun, causing them to throw Sherrard to the ground.

Worried that the point of his protest had been lost amidst the penis jokes, Sherrard sent us a statement explaining why he took on the art fair.

"It is tragic to see one of the last tools of liberation and elevation appropriated by the very people who are standing on the throats of those they are keeping it from," he wrote. "Wealth is based on poverty, privilege on oppression, and we decry the colonial irony, privatization and commercialization of potentially transcendental forms and ideas by bourgeois elites."

See also: Two Performance Artists Arrested for Shouting "Fuck Art Basel" in Collector's Lounge

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Two Performance Artists Arrested for Shouting "Fuck Art Basel" in Collector's Lounge

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via YouTube
Update: Performance artist Kalan Sherrard spoke to New Times about his arrest and the meaning behind his antics.

If Art Basel organizers thought they could keep the political statements on the walls and the protests outside on the streets, they were wrong.

This afternoon at around 4 p.m., two protesters in bizarre costumes walked into the Collector's Lounge and caused a disturbance. Kalan Sherrard, a New York "avant-garde nihilist subway performer," played with a balloon as his partner, Maria Paz Valenzuela, read a manifesto text from Art Basel's website. When security ushered them towards the door, Sherrard began yelling "Fuck you!" and "Fuck Art Basel" while flipping people the bird.

The two were arrested outside the art fair and remain in jail. We're posting video of the protest and the arrests below.

See also: Police Brutality Protesters Shut Down 195, March Through Wynwood

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Sunday Protesters Once Again Shut Down 195 in Both Directions

Categories: News

Photo via @UnabridgedQueer's Twitter
Protesters march up the 195 onramp
For downtown-area commuters, the peak weekend of Art Basel is ending this afternoon much like it began: With 195 shut in both directions by protesters participating in the #shutitdown movement against police violence.

The protesters marched from Wynwood onto the highway around 5 p.m. This time, police had apparently already blocked off traffic before the protesters arrived.

See also: Police Brutality Protesters Shut Down 195, March Through Wynwood (Livestream)

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