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Updated | Gay activist Herb Sosa: South Beach a 'war zone;' demands end to Urban Weekend (with video)

Update (9:41 p.m. June 1, 2011)

BY STEVE ROTHAUS, srothaus@MiamiHerald.com

Since Monday, about a half-million Gay South Florida readers have viewed Herb Sosa's open letter to Miami Beach Mayor Matti Herrera Bower, the Beach commission and "concerned citizens" about Urban Weekend.

Sosa says he's shocked that the blog post went viral, thanks in great part to it being a lead story on The Drudge Report.

"It went crazy," Sosa said Tuesday morning. "People are pissed off. They're upset, What's the right way to take care of the city?"

Sosa, president of Unity Coalition, Miami-Dade County's leading Hispanic gay-rights group, said he's concerned some people have called him racist, after he demanded an end to Urban Weekend.

"It has nothing to do with racism," said Sosa, who lives in South Beach. "It's a lack of respect for the city they're visiting. It's as simple as that. This morning, there were six cars parked on my block with their mirrors ripped off, their antennas ripped off.

"The suggestion that this is a racist issue ... is absolutely ridiculous. If anything, the city of Miami Beach as been more than accommodating to Urban Weekend."

Sosa, an activist who once was executive director of Miami Design Preservation League and the Art Deco Weekend Festival, has asked residents to attend Wednesday's Miami Beach Commission meeting to voice their opinions about Urban Weekend.

He may not be there, however.

"This is not about me," Sosa said. "I'm not sure if I'm going to go the commission meeting or not. ... Yes, I'm passionate about this but it's not my sole cause."

Original post (10:04 May 30, 2011)

An open letter from activist Herb Sosa, who is president of Unity Coalition, Miami-Dade County's largest Hispanic gay-rights group:

Esteemed Miami Beach Mayor, Commissioners & concerned citizens.

Please view the attached YouTube video (one of many) already posted for the world to see, about Memorial/Urban Weekend 2011 in Miami Beach. http://youtu.be/cjxxGBJmOqQ

It shows our city as nothing short of a warzone - Filthy streets, a drive by shooting, multiple cars crashed in the process, and total chaos on the streets. This is unacceptable and must be controlled before we totally lose our city, tourism & residents. It is not limited to Ocean Drive or Collins - there isn't a residential street in South Beach not affected by tons of garbage, crime to our vehicles, excessive noise 24 hours a day, and simply a lack of respect for our community, citizens & property. THIS is the image the world see of our "American Riviera".

When did perceived political or social correctness override the safety & well-being of a community? This is not a race, economic or ethnic issue, it is an issue of visitors who have a total lack of respect for our community, its property & citizens. I know hotel rooms are filled, but at what price and for how long? How many events, meetings, conventions & vacations have been CANCEELLED because of this nightmare we endure each Memorial Day? Almost everyone who lives her that I know, get out of Miami Beach for Memorial Day - including many of you - because of this unruly & dangerous mob that we seem to invite back every year and turn a blind eye to the irreparable damage they leave behind.

If this was PRIDE weekend, The Boat Show, Fashion Week or Art Deco Weekend - would we allow this to go on each year? I am certain that if the real numbers of cost & crime are compared with like events we host throughout the year - Memorial/Urban Weekend is tenfold the headache, cost & damage of any of them. IS IT ALL WORTH IT FOR OUR CITY MANAGEMENT?

I am not willing to wait another year to see how many more people will be killed; how many more hotel rooms will be trashed; how many more cars & homes will be broken into; how many more residents need to leave in fear of hide in their homes for their safety; how much more police, fire rescue, sanitation & additional security dollars need to be spent to try & keep our city safe & livable for all each Memorial Weekend? - a Hell of a way for Miami Beach to honor our soldiers. Every resident & voter I speak to mentions Memorial/Urban Weekend as one of the top major problems our city has, when considering elections & our leaders - PLEASE TAKE NOTE, make the difficult but correct decision to put an end to Urban Weekend in Miami Beach and help us SAVE OUR CITY. We are not Disney or Universal. We cannot close a gate at night & go home. We ARE home, and inviting & accommodating the world to come and share our paradise - not destroy it and hold us hostage in the process. Unruly and unlawful visitors are NOT WELCOME in Miami Beach.

Respectfully,

Herb Sosa

Miami Beach, Florida

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"We can't carry guns on the planes, #2 many hardly know the streets of Miami. Therefore its your own people doing it."

Yes you can in Checked-luggage. Read the TSA's site.
http://www.tsa.gov/travelers/airtravel/assistant/editorial_1666.shtm

It gets worse every year. I learned years ago to vacate South Beach on Memorial Weekend. The trashy element who visit every year, at this time, is too much. Shame on a few giving a bad name to the many.

urban holidays at bal harbor,then they can go to the shul of bal harbor,that will be nice,in the spirit of love and peace,and man can get circumsized in surfside,then they can go to sunny isles beach and have a go with russian mafia,thats a event,what a country.

b KEEPS ON MICRO-IDENTIFYING THE LITTLE ALLEY-WAYS AND PARKS WHERE CRIME ISN'T ON SOUTH BEACH. AT THE HEIGHT OF NAZI GERMANY, I COULD SHOW YOU A MAP WHERE THEY DIDN'T GAS AND BURY THE jews to-my point-it is ludicrous to micro-justify a community allowing a thug element to take-over a holiday event! IT HAS GONE ON TO LONG, AND I BLAME THE CITY FATHERS FOR THE PERMISSIVE DEBACLE! un-fortunately-the baaaaaaad element issssssss of ONE ETHNIC GROUP-AND SQUEEZE AS YOU MIGHT TO AVOID RACIST REMARKS-THERE IT STARES YOU-RIGHT IN YOUR UGLY FACE! GUNS, VIOLENCE, OUTRAGEOUS BEHAVIOR AND ATTITUDES THAT FRIGHTEN OUR TOURISTS AWAY. WE CANNOT AFFORD THE NONSENSE-SO BEST GET TO CRACKING DOWN ON THE RABBLE. SO SAY WE ALL...

There's a problem here that's way bigger than Urban Beach Week. It's that Miami and its people are notoriously racist against blacks in both policy and practice. Frankly, Cuban-Americans haven't taken kindly to blacks ever since they descended into Havana in 1959.

It's time for a wake-up call. You can't corral your black community into confined ghettos and oppress them systemically and then expect to be taken seriously when you complain about them.

Yes, Urban Beach weekend is a big mess. Certainly, any civic event that is truly unruly and dangerous may be beyond the reasonable costs of doing business in a free society, and may reasonably outweigh societal desire to preserve civil freedoms. But until Miami and its people commit to addressing their own overt/covert desire to make black people disappear, how will we ever know whether complaints about Urban Beach Week are legitimate, and how will we justly address them?

Disgusting! That's the word I'm using to describe what I saw this morning when bicycling along Ocean Drive and Collins. Maybe we are not good at all, but this kind of events are giving us a real bad name, no counting with the headaches to Miami Beach residents.

you people are insane. you know sea level rise will eventually consume the beach, right? enjoy it while it lasts.

The Mayor and City Commission is having a meeting on June 1, 9:30 am. All who have taken the time to express opinion and want results, show up to the meeting.

I'm a country boy living in a rather small urban center In TN and all I can say is what I saw is a place I never want to be.

Galveston Kappa weekend was the same thing. Thank God for the Second Amendment. When the lights go out in the inner city due to whatever natural disaster causes it, look out. It'll be war. This is what Johnson's 'Great Society' has created. Gays aren't doing this. Hispanics aren't doing this. White people aren't doing this. Every person in these videos are inner city black...i.e. ghetto. I'm a former owner of an 18 and up inner city 'urban' nightclub, and I'm white. These people were not raised right. Which brings to mind: is it more racist to vote for a black president because he's black, or to not vote for him because he's black. Two sides to the same coin. Maybe a Warsaw style ghetto will humble these animals.

Memorial Weekend here on South Beach is one of the main reasons I am a racist.

All the closeted feelings on race that permeate the lives of ts most extreme racist Miami Beach residents came out to the forefront on this weekend. It seems everyone has an opinion that it was mumbled when the cash was received, at the cash register no one has an issue with the paying black customer, but outside the store, the club, the restaurant,the hotel, to the racist soul a black man driving a Maserati, must be a thug; a black woman wearing tattoos, has poor taste; look at your soul in the mirror, mankind: do you hold onto your purse when at night you see a crowd of young black teens coming toward you? Do you suspect a black man wearing a long white t-shirt when he comes to your store of possible shoplifting? Then you are profiling on the basis of race, you are not focused on the inequalities of our society nor its ill distribution of wealth...your eyes only see the pigmentation on the skin and if you do that more often than not, you are succumbing to racism. And such adherence makes you no better than the "thug" you abhor...

Mona wrote in first comment "We can't carry guns on the planes"

That is false.

Read the TSA's web site. You can bring them in checked-luggage.

Miami does not have allot of Police. I have always noticed that when I visit. It's been that way for 37 years. The governor got to get Miami cleaned up with more police.The weather is the best in the US. But the crime is unexeptable.

Now they call it Urban Beach Week? Nothing has changed since it was called Freaknik. Still the same ol' $20K a-year bratha-ina-Bimmer ruining the weekend for everyone. We learned our lesson in VA Beach and stopped inviting the urban 'spring break' crowd years ago. Btw, we had another great -crime free- Memorial Day weekend, tyvm.

Had to go to Miami in the 90's for work. At the time I thought to myself: WTF would anyone come here? This is like going to another country.

Those were some of the crappiest weekends of my life and never wanted to go back. Looks like it got worse, not better, so far.

Cut it off and let it slide into the ocean. Too bad Al Gore is wrong.

This weekend has a long history of nothing but problems. All local residents flee the beach for fear of personal danger. The visitors; trash the neighborhoods, hotels, and leave our city destroyed. It is true that the majority of damage is caused by locals, not out of towners, but enough is enough. The value added to the city and residents is far outweighed by the damage and security problems.

Hotels (and the related travel agencies) are valuing greed over all else.
I tried to cancel my expedia reservation with this occuring just outside my hotel room.

They offered me a travel voucher instead.......

There is no way to ban this event on Memorial weekend. What we can do is this; Declare a limited Marshall Law from Friday at noon until Tuesday at 8 a.m. from the entrance to Miami Beach at the McArthur Causeway east bridge north to the west end of the Venitian Causeway, extending east along Dade Boulevard to 23rd Street each to the ocean.

Everyone is subject to search for weapons only. If drugs are found they are confiscated and the person is immediately released.

No automobiles permitted on Ocean Drive as it is now. After 6 p.m. no vehicles permitted on Washington and Collins Avenues from 5th Street to Dae Blvd. and 23rd Street, respectively, until 7 a.m. the next morning.

During the limited Marshall Law from ten p.m. each night to 6 a.m. the next morning only commercial trucks and commercial passenger vehicles and vehicles registered on Miami Beach will be permitted over the east bridge of the Mc Arthur Causeway. The check point and turn around point will be the east bound light in front of Star Island.

After ten p.m. each night only Florida Registered commercial trucks and commercial passenger vehicles and vehicles registered on Miami Beach will be permitted over the east bridge of the Venetian Causeway, and the check point will be before the east bound toll booths as it will be the turning areas back to Miami.

All the parking lots around the arena and the Arnst Centre can be used for parking and paying shuttle buses can bring in the people after a security gun check screening. All bags searched and wands used to find guns.

Will this stop all the violence, no, but it's a start.

Gays and lesbians on Miami Beach have been protesting blacks coming onto the Beach since the nineties. The cops have been just as obnoxious since before that. The heathens prove them right every time.

Herb,
I agree with you that this has to stop. Please post what the organized plan is. I will attend and support, as will so many other beach residents.

To any MB politician that will not support shutting this mess down, you will hear our voice. Stand behind your voters(99.9%)of do not want this crap here anymore. BTW,I am not gay and just got back to town after escaping for 3 days.

J

Miami has been taken by Hispanics: Cubans and Mexicans.

They don't speak English, they fly Cuban and Mexican flags.

This is what an open border does for the US.

This little war will spread. It's just glimpse of what American will look like in the not too distant future.

"There's a lot of good comments on here but most people dont realize the truth of the matter at hand. First of all, you may not like us in Miami Beach but there is no other demographic willing to pay the overcharged prices that we do during Memorial Weekend. Clubs and hotels increase charges by almost 300 percent for this weekend. So one thing that the business owners do like is our money. Now I also see people commenting on here with these crime statistics so now lets bring up a little history. The Civil Rights Act was passed in 1964. Thats less than 50 years ago. So less than 50 years ago, we could not vote, we could not go to south beach, we couldn't attend certain schools and so on and so forth. Please stop acting like institutionalized racism is ancient history in this country. Most of you commenting on here are probably well over 50 years old. Face it, we are America's dirty little secret. The high crime rates committed by blacks in this country is a direct result of what we have been subjected to since arriving in this country. I just wished more of my brothers and sisters would know their history then maybe they would stop spending their money where they are not even wanted."

Oh god, Just stop it Al Sharpton. You're making your race look even worse by trying to pass off as an intellectual african american.

Savages.

You bigots sure find a way to express your displeasure for Barack O. What does HE have to do with this situation? This is why YOU will never get pass this situation. It's disgusting.

Get over yourself and make a change. I am a native of Miami and avoid South Beach all together because of the madness that occurs 365 days a year.

Look at this video. It looks like Iraq. The thing needs to be cancelled.

"Let's keep the gays off south beach"

Not a good idea. If a pile of gays invaded any location on this planet, within a week, they'd open 30 art galleries, 25 new restaurants, would drop the crime rate 50%, and would renovate and rebuild everything within 50 miles. Dumping a whole pile of gay people offers better urban renewal than any government agency or welfare program.

To allswell,

From the Boston Globe two days ago: "In a nation 13 percent black, African-Americans comprise 20 percent of the active-duty Army."

This is an example of humans at their worst and so sad that a weekend set aside to honor our war dead is abused.

To the locals, you have my sympathy and I encourage you to work with your civic and business leaders in trying to solve this problem for next year's memorial day.

As a suggestion, play up the meaning of Memorial Day. Maybe a giant parade that is family based, with high school bands, boy scouts, girl scouts, military units, etc. Host a huge bar-b-que on the beaches with free food for active duty military, reduced prices for veterans. Chambers of commerce and civic organizations could host the events and volunteer for cooking. Local citizens would be encouraged to attend, would pay full price, bring their families, have fun and honor our service men and women. They would feel like part of the solution in helping their community.

Hotels and restaurants could give discount rates to military and veterans, thereby filling rooms and restaurants with people who will be polite, tip, and take care of the property.

Additionally, put many more police officers and firefighters on duty or on call. Anyone who so much as spits on the sidewalk is hauled off to jail. Good luck to all of you in trying to take your beaches and streets back.

For those of you who are tempted to make this solely a race based issue, I remind you to think of the many fine black citizens we have serving in the military, in law enforcement, as teachers, as fire fighters as preachers. Do not paint these good people with the broad brush of racism.

I too believe that it's Miami's own citizens who spill over into South Beach and cause the mayhem and destruction that happens during Memorial Day weekend. I can't think of any person that I know from out of town that would intentionally try and hit a Miami police officer and expect to return home unscathed. How about clean up the projects and warzones there because that's where a majority of the problem lies. I would say that the majority lies in the locals and not the visitors so I would hope you clean up your own backyard before you're so quick to judge others. Just my opinion...

Miami Beach Shooting - Memorial Day 2011

Check this out.... It has video from TV and Live Footage from the scene:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5nkz8fzSxI

Wait till the Heat win the Championship title this year, then you'll see the same behavior.

The writer sounds like an ignorant racist.

Celebrate diversity!!!

Folks, I've been a police officer for 32 years, and I can tell you that it's no coincidence that everything black people touch turns to crap. Deny that all you want, at your own peril. This country is self-destructing from five decades of social re-engineering that has been forced upon us by the degenerate liberal elite.

Who is steve rothouse? A fictional character? You do not represent gay stuff. You reflect the Herald without commentary. Who are you?

wow, this guy fights for gay's rights, and yet he's a racist who wants to take away rights from black men who scare him. Yes there was a shooting, could it have been a local? Are there not shootings on other weekends? How many families come to Miami Beach on a PRIde weekend only to be offended by the public gay sex on display? you people hate blacks and hip-hop and young black men, just come out and say it....

I just moved to Miami (Bal Harbour) two months ago. I have been "warned" no less than 5 times by different people to get the hell out of Miami during this weekend, and I underestimated how bad it would be. I agree with the author. This is no way to honor those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country.

Everyone here needs to realize most straight people don't like a bunch of gay people in "their" neighborhoods either...so lets get over what people do and don't like and just let people have their weekend...gay people have taken over entire urban settings..i hate seeing 2 men kiss...as much as i hate seeing people shoot it out on south beach...but i think this is everybodys world and if u don't like something u can stay home and make ur own world. But apparently the fact that there IS an urban week shows that some people besides yourselves are enjoying it..LONG LIVE THE HIP HOP CULTURE. WITH OUT IT THERE WOULD HAVE BEEN NO N.W.A...NO LUKE..AND THE GAY COMMUNITY ESPECIALLY SHOULD BE GLAD THAT Hip Hop CULTURE BROKE DOWN A LOT OF CENSORSHIP BARRIERS FOR YOU. The Gay community is starting to seem like a racist community...and thats a difference i'm not willing to live and let be.

But Herb Sosa, these thugs are the base of your beloved Democratic party. What happened? Aren't you gays and blacks fighting for more liberalism? That's the result. I bet liberals and the Urban week crowd are all for the new wars that your beloved POTUS has started, right? You're all being played, and the more there are racial incidents like this, the more the DNC (and the shady group behind both parties), loved it. I bet you're all in favor of having Feds putting hands down your daughters pants in SoBe, you know, "to make the children safer". The US is done, stick a fork in it...and you all helped to destroy it. You all should be proud.

I made the mistake of coming here from Canada, severals years ago to Miami Beach, on Memorial Day and it was a horrible experience!. Now I live here in this beautiful place, But still today I remember and stay home all long Weekend, when I could have been at the Beach...Let get together and take the streets to protest and let politicians know we don'd want this kind of "Party" in our city!.

I call a spade a spade. The chaos is caused by the unwanted bums and party goers, we all know that. However, permitting it to go on rests solely on the Chief of Police, for not directing his personnel to enforce the laws. I don't accept any excuses, or buck passing, as I've been there and done that. The police don't have to violate anyone's rights , just enforce the applicable laws equally and fairly. If the D.A's and the Judges do not support them on the other end, then the people will have to police that sector by throwing those bums out.

Is there any other city that allows the rights of their residents to be trampled on during a significant holiday weekend? Forces law abiding citizens that choose to stay in town..... to stay at home?
At the same time the residents foot the bill for extra police presence and emergency services, as well as the clean up of its streets that are littered and smell of urine.This is a disgrace!
Where is the ACLU to protect the rights of residents from harassment from those with a chip on their shoulder? Where is the ACLU to defend the victims of theft, etc? Miami Beach welcomes diversity of all types, as long as it is respectful and law abidding. It is about time that the leadership of MB puts the rights of its residents first! Otherwise, I suggest we organize and get new leaders that do not fear the ACLU black mail/political correctness/sense of entitlement crowd and their threats..... Mr. Sosa is 100% correct!!! Mr. Sosa for MAYOR!!

It's funny to see one liberal democratic group bash another liberal democratic group. I thought we all got along so well. This must be Rick Scotts fault.

Wasn't like this 40 years ago when mostly whites dominated the city and State. Now with gay nonsense parades showing moral decadence and the influx of lying scammers that claim political assylum and with the high percentage of hispanics...look what happens. Chaos amongst the streets and cities..You wanted diversity, now you have it !! No assimilation what so ever and a damn lawyer for each of those rats.
Civil war is certain or an entire collapse of this once great Nation.

I lived in Miami for 18 months - the worst 18 months of my life!!! Miami is a third world armpit, not even part of the USA anymore. Everyone told me "ohh if you get about 2 hours north, you're back in the USA". Ohhh and the drivers are the worst in my experience in living all over the USA!!!

It's funny to see 1 liberal bash another. I thought Obama taught us to love each other and now you are talking racism. Sad. Love each other as Obama says.

I don't care what this guy had said. Even though he has a point, but you can't control what people do 24/7. People act like shootings don't happen in Miami let alone South Beach. It's going on everywhere whether you like it or not. If you know something is going to happen during Urban Weekend, then DON"T GO TO SOUTH BEACH. END OF STORY.

I agree with the sentiments of the writer. We certainly are to a point where political correctness should be looked at for what it is: doublespeak. It has no place in todays more pared down economic society. We can't afford to replace broken things: not cities, not people"s possessions, and certainly not people. If your a lazy worthless jerk, color is blind, but worthlessness ablaze like a beacon. Leave the people pulling the cart for you alone. And for the people in charge, we're not going to be towing garbage forever, no matter the color or doublespeak. Period.

"This is not a race, economic or ethnic issue"

Yeah it is. This is the end result of 50 years of
coddling and romanticizing black and latino street
culture... drifting mobs of young men, vandalizing
property, assaulting one another and selling drugs.

Let's dump the political correctness and face reality.

Floridians are so damn clueless.

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