Florida is for other people, who may not know…

Most of you know how I feel about Florida.

Knowing I moved out says much of it, but there are a lot of reasons I’ll only show up when there’s a big family event. (Sorry, a high school reunion doesn’t count like it did, 20 years ago.)

OK, and maybe if it’s freezing here and going to stay freezing for too long, and my neighbor Verna is able to watch Casey and Frisky. Oh, and if I had the money to spare, like old times.

Over the weekend, a news anchor friend in Miami posted video from the PBS NewsHour Weekend about affordable housing in the city of Miami.

Notice I wrote the city of Miami, because it’s not as big as most of you probably think. It doesn’t mean Miami Beach, or even close to Fort Lauderdale. Not even near where I grew up, between Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

However, the reporting does bring up issues similar to many cities around the country. (How many of you are interested in a new $25 million condo here in Philadelphia?)

My first response after watching the well-reported, 10-11 minute story, was:

“I don’t know why anyone would want to live in the city of Miami, or even the region, except refugees escaping tyranny. I think all can agree, it’s not what it used to be (and climate crisis is only a small part of it, so far).

“Why are trailer parks allowed in a hurricane zone? If they’re not allowed to be replaced, then landlords will take whatever rent they can get for now.

“Why should new affordable housing for singles be any more than a studio? (Watch the video.) Shouldn’t interior space for $147/month rent be as small as possible, to help the most families?”

I still think I’m absolutely correct. Please let me know after you watch.

One friend I worked with here and retired to southwest Florida wrote she’s sorry I “have such jagged feelings for Miami and the area,” so I decided to expand on my thoughts.

Watch the video and then let me know what you think, below.

“I think Florida is unsustainable. The state is too dependent on the sales tax, mostly from tourists, rather than having income from diverse sources. The state constitution forbids any income tax, even on people who make more than $100,000 a year.

“And depending on parts of Florida, there are climate change issues and incredibly high home insurance prices, not to mention flood insurance. I’ve seen the aftermath of hurricanes in the Orlando area. You don’t have to be on the coast. What happens when (not if) ‘the big one’ hits? And Citizens Insurance puts the state in bankruptcy? (Heck, Citizens only exists because other companies don’t want the business, meaning risk.) Who will be required to help?

“The richest one percent will go back to their other homes in other states, while the majority of a metropolitan area will have no roofs over their heads. (Remember, storms have been getting stronger.) The luckier ones will have gas in their car and can drive away to family or friends.

“Will other states help? I’m not so certain. Think about people who have spent their lives working and paying their state income tax, and city wage tax, and buying two sets of clothes so they’re covered for each season, while the people of Florida brag about their sunshine, take money from tourists, and the pensions from so many people who earned them elsewhere.

“And if Florida loses population, it won’t matter as much in politics. The state needs to have a ‘rainy day’ fund which may cost it some rich new residents who spend just over half the year there, which would finally show an attempt to take care of its own people. But the people who often get paid in sunshine and don’t get pensions keep voting in lawmakers dead set against taxes. I think it will come back to haunt them.”

I did not change a single word of my first response on Sunday, or this one, from later in the day.

Notice, I did not mention the heat and humidity, Miami Dolphins, transportation issues, the boring flatness of the land, nor the feeling of entitlement and personality of so many of the people.

And anyone can pay to take a vacation. How many Florida residents actually use things that are positive and unique regularly? (When I lived on South Beach and stopped walking to the beach after a few years, I knew it was time to move.)

I suggest if you want to live in Florida, be older. Have your money already made. Live in a place you won’t need any material belongings — just insurance money if it’s destroyed, and where you can easily vacate far away — possibly for your life.

So, your thoughts on Florida, 2019? Or Florida, 2029, etc.?

At the top: Florida’s proud Confederate legacy of the stars and bars, still found on the state flag. Hurricane Andrew coming ashore, Aug. 24, 1992. My flooded corner at 11th and Alton on South Beach, I believe in 2013.

5 thoughts on “Florida is for other people, who may not know…

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