Granted, when he wrote his article, A Park in Need Is a Park Indeed, Jim W. Harper probably had never heard of Barbara Kramer. He does now.
The thing is, residents of North Miami Beach are wont to complain about life in our little town. Not that there isn’t plenty to kvetch about – from a Customer Service Department that doesn’t answer the phone, to a lackadaisical code enforcement, to marathon Council meetings. We even complain about each other! North Miami Beach might be a hokey little mess of a town, but it’s OUR hokey little mess. And we don’t take kindly to strangers comin’ round, pokin’ their noses in our business.
All of a sudden, along comes this reporter, Jim W. Harper, and starts dissing our Highland Village community AND the name of our city! He wrote:
“Ah, Highland Village. Sounds like a quaint little town perched high atop the Swiss Alps. But this village sits in a town with no elevation and, despite the town’s name of North Miami Beach, no beach. The area is not quite a village, either. Highland Village is known, in common parlance, as a trailer park. Now hold on a minute. I know what you’re thinking. There’s a park within a trailer park? Must be trashy.”
As if that weren’t “clever” enough, he followed that remark up with:
“Highland Village Community Center, a humble, two-room recreation building, stands in the middle of this rectangle of grass. Inside the recreation building are kids who have come home from school, but for some reason they congregate here instead of in their trailers.”
Nice. Real nice. Never mind that he just insulted every single person who happens to live in Highland Village by calling them “trailer trash,” he also made fun of the after school activities offered by the community center.
Judging by Mr. Harper’s condescending attitude toward working class people, I’ll go out on a limb and take a guess that the reporter hails from one of the richer cities in South Florida – perhaps Aventura, or Coral Gables, or even Weston. If that’s the case, when did it become fashionable to make fun of those who are less fortunate than yourself? Even more importantly, when did bathroom humor become an acceptable substitute for journalism? Not even the Gadfly is that crude. And, she’s not even a reporter!
Oh and, by the way, Jimmy Boy, we know we don’t have a beach. And your point is? Yeah, I didn’t think you had a point.
In any event, Councilwoman Barbara Kramer was absolutely livid when she read Mr. Harper’s article and felt a need to respond. So she wrote a letter to the editor of the Biscayne Times, which he just published. The Councilwoman quickly came to the defense of Highland Village and our entire City At Large. In response to his nasty aside about our lack of a beach, Barbara wrote the Best Line Ever:
“And yes, that’s “Beach” because when the city changed its name back in the 1930s from Fulford by the Sea, we had beachfront property in our municipality. I guess we should have changed back the name knowing you would mock us some 80 years later.”
But, Barbara really hit drove home the point when she wrote
“It is a sad commentary to see a published writer like Mr. Harper make fun of lower-economic neighborhoods like Highland Village, a small local community where hard-working, taxpaying families provide a warm and caring environment for their children and extended families.”
And it’s certainly a sad little man who obviously needs to make himself look better by looking down his nose at an entire community simply because to him they’re nothing but “trailer trash.” Guess he can share Myron’s Asshole of the Year trophy.
So, yeah, even if we complain about our city and make fun of ourselves, we don’t take kindly to outsiders trashing us or our neighbors. We’ll take no prisoners.
And, whatever you do, DON’T Mess With Barbara Kramer!
“Spreading the Wealth”