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When Crystal Wagar set out on her path to join the Miami Shores village council, she didn’t think about the chance she had to make history. She was focused instead on engaging more residents in their local government.
And she says it wasn’t really until she was elected that the history-making moment really hit her.
“Once the election was over I had time to sit back and say ‘Wow,” Wagar said.
We spoke with her about the history she made as the first black woman to serve as mayor, what she hopes to see in the Shores and across the county, and what she learned in her first run for public office.
Use the Public Space Challenge as a way to get to know your community — and make it better.
That’s the advice from Malone Matson, an FIU architecture student who submitted an idea to The Miami Foundation’s Public Space Challenge in 2014 and received funding for her project.
As an avid cyclist, Malone wanted to make it easier and safer to use her bike to get around the city. So she proposed adding bike repair and pump stations throughout Miami.
This year, the Public Space Challenge is looking for idea submissions related to mobility in Miami-Dade. Have an idea about how to create, activate or improve the way our community moves? Submit it today.
Learn more about Malone’s project and how the challenge helped her get to know Miami better.
Turn transportation ideas into action. Hear, interact and collaborate with Florida transportation leaders at #TCAMPFL19. Learn More ».
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State lawmakers approved a bill on the last day of the legislative session that will create legal hurdles for felons seeking to vote, despite the efforts of Democratic lawmakers and advocates.
After weeks of debate, a bill to regulate Amendment 4 was sent to Gov. Ron DeSantis and requires felons to pay off all fines, fees, and restitution before voting.
Democratic lawmakers have described the move as a “poll tax” — Jim Crow-era taxes that forced black people to pay extra fees before they voted.
The change could also be costly for Florida taxpayers because different court systems across the state handle court fees and restitution payments differently. So the state may have to spend nearly $60 million to create a system to standardize and track restitution payments.
There is a slight silver lining for the bill’s opponents, though, because the legislation includes a process that enables felons to appeal to a judge to waive any remaining fees on their sentence or to convert them into community service hours.
In other news…
Local lawmakers will have less say in creating affordable housing programs. The change came on the last day of the legislative session, as state lawmakers approved a bill that restricts local control over zoning decisions. It does preserve the ability for local governments to create inclusionary zoning programs but requires developers on those projects to receive financial bonuses or fee waivers. (Miami Herald)
Miami’s tech scene is right on the cusp of greatness, but we’ve still got progress to make. That was the message from AOL founder and tech investor Steve Case as his Rise of the Rest bus tour made its way to SoFlo last week. And his company Revolution invested $100,000 into SoFlo startup Xendoo. (Refresh Miami)
Looks like family plans don’t just apply to cell phone companies. Some Miami Beach firefighters are raising the alarm that nepotism played a big role in the latest batch of recruits for the department. Of the 21 finalists from the latest batch of applicants, six of the recruits are related to current employees. (Miami Herald)
📷 Photography Exhibition Opening Reception Join YoungArts for the opening reception of "Can we be as brave?" featuring works by 13 artists bravely investigating family, home and community.
🗣️Wednesday: Come hear and share stories about second chances for 10 Days of Connection (Little Havana)
✌️ Through Saturday, May 11: Take your own mindfulness challenge in the fourth annual Cushion Crawl, which includes 21 meditations in 21 spaces around Miami (Various locations
🌴 Saturday, May 11: Check out local DJs at Life House Little Havana’s “El Vinyl” tropical party (Little Havana)
🎥 Saturday, May 11: Catch a free outdoor screening of Spike Lee’s classic “He’s Got Game,” as part of the Black Lounge Film Series (Overtown)
🖼️ Saturday, May 11: Check out the work of more than 250 artists across Miami-Dade in Fountainhead’s inaugural edition of “Artists Open“ (Various locations)
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👯 Cheer on drag performers at this 2000s-themed showcase (Allapattah)
🤓 Test your smarts at this trivia night at Mama Tried (Downtown)
🍝 Celebrate 10 years of Joey’s with a special $10 menu (Wynwood)
🥃 Dance to R&B, dancehall and hip-hop at the Brown Liquor party (Downtown)
🎤 Unleash your inner rock star at this live band karaoke night (Miami Beach)
📖 Find out what made Dr. Seuss tick at Books & Books (Coral Gables)
💡 Dream up the next big idea for the Public Space Challenge at this workshop (Overtown)
👽 Immerse yourself in a mixed-reality world with Filmgate & Miami XR (Downtown)
🗣️ Speak your mind at Words & Wine Open Mic at Las Rosas (Allapattah)
🎶 Groove to the sounds of Jorja Smith and Kali Uchis at the Fillmore (Miami Beach)
🐶 Stroll and sip with your pup at a roving yappy hour (South Miami)
⚽ Cheer on the Miami FC at the first game of the 2019 U.S. Open Cup (North Miami)
🎵 Hear the Nu Deco symphonic suite of legendary producer Timbaland — through Saturday, May 11 (Wynwood)
🎸 Jam to bilingual femme alt-rock trio, Las Nubes (Upper East Side)
🌊 Talk climate change at this happy hour (Key Biscayne)
🍷 Sip wine paired with bites at Game of Wines (Coconut Grove)
💃 Learn to swing dance at Dance Band Night at the Bandshell (North Beach)
🎶 Catch hip hop heavyweights like Migos and Travis Scott at Rolling Loud — through Sunday, May 12 (North Miami)
🎨 See an art show with various artists celebrating the intersection of art and design at the Growth exhibition (Wynwood)
🎥 Catch the film “Every Cook Can Govern” and a discussion of the book “The Black Jacobins” (Overtown)
🎸 Catch Interpol at the Fillmore (Miami Beach)
💆 Elevate your vibration at an ecstatic dance party and cacao ceremony (Miami Beach)
We’re just past the halfway mark on 10 Days of Connection! After a busy weekend, we’re excited for today’s slate of events including an interfaith breakfast at Jackson’s Soul Food and a screening of the film “For Once in My Life,” about the Spirit of Goodwill Band, at the United Way.
And don’t forget, if you can’t make it to an event IRL more than 500 people are connecting and chatting over in the 10 Days Facebook group. We’ll see you there.
Have a great week, Miami.
– The New Tropic