It’s not hard to find the Gowanus Canal on a hot day in Carroll Gardens or Park Slope. Just follow your nose, and the tangy miasma of raw sewage and harbor brine will lead you straight to its oil-slicked shores. It is one of the nation’s most polluted bodies of water, but beneath the rainbow… Living | New York Post
An advocacy group is demanding that an iconic public space in Boston be renamed due to its ties to slavery.
The New Democracy Coalition has been petitioning Boston Mayor Marty Walsh to rename Faneuil Hall, which was named after wealthy colonial merchant and slaveholder Peter Faneuil, for more than a year. Because nothing has been done, the organization launched a boycott last weekend, encouraging African Americans not to shop at Faneuil Hall and the Quincy Marketplace.
“At this point, we clergy members and community activists are deeply disappointed that Mayor Walsh has never responded to any of our efforts to discuss the matter of changing the name of Faneuil Hall,” said Kevin Peterson, the founder and executive director of the group, reports The Boston Globe.
Peter Faneuil (Wikimedia)
Faneuil purchased property in Boston in the 1740s and constructed a central marketplace that he gifted to the city. Some of its funding, however, was accrued by profits he gained after selling a young enslaved boy. The hall was then named after Faneuil shortly after his death in 1743 at the age of 43.
“It is important for the citizens of Boston to know changing the name of Faneuil Hall is not about changing history,” Peterson told ABC local affiliate WCVB. “It’s really about ensuring there’s full inclusion of all citizens in Boston.” He launched the campaign for a name change to Faneuil Hall in the aftermath of the racially charged Charlottesville rally in 2017. Peterson has also suggested that the landmark be renamed after Crispus Attucks, a black man who was killed in the Boston Massacre and is widely considered as the first American to sacrifice their life in the American Revolution.
Mayor Walsh, who is not in favor of changing the name, says the boycott will actually hurt people of color who work in the area. “A lot of the people who work over there are people of color and by doing a boycott it’s going to hurt their livelihood.” He also released a statement saying Bostonians should learn from the city’s problematic history, not erase it. “We can’t erase history, but we can learn from it. If we were to change the name of Faneuil Hall today, 30 years from now, no one would know why we did it.”
http://www.acrx.org -As millions of Americans strive to deal with the economic downturn,loss of jobs,foreclosures,high cost of gas,and the rising cost of prescription drug cost. Charles Myrick ,the President of American Consultants Rx, announced the re-release of the American Consultants Rx community service project which consist of millions of free discount prescription cards being donated to thousands of not for profits,hospitals,schools,churches,etc. in an effort to assist the uninsured,under insured,and seniors deal with the high cost of prescription drugs.-American Consultants Rx -Pharmacy Discount Network News
In this op-ed, Sam Escobar examines the global significance of Ireland’s historic vote to repeal its Eighth Amendment, which effectively banned abortion for women, even in cases of rape and incest. Allure
LEMOORE, Calif./USA (Sunday, May 6, 2018) – Today, the World Team made history by winning the inaugural World Surf League (WSL) Founders’ Cup of Surfing presented by Michelob ULTRA Pure Gold.
The first-ever, official event at the WSL Surf Ranch, in front of a sellout crowd, was a showcase of incredible surfing and competition as the world’s best female and male surfers battled in teams for their home countries.
Highlighting how globally strong the sport of surfing is, it was the combined World Team who took an incredibly tight win ahead of Brazil in 2nd, USA in 3rd, Australia in 4th and Europe in 5th.
World Team was spearheaded by South African pair Jordy Smith (Team Captain) and Bianca Buitendag and superbly backed up by Michel Bourez (Tahiti), Paige Hareb (New Zealand), and Kanoa Igarashi (Japan).
Heading into the last heat of the Final, Brazil held the lead and the World Team needed a big performance from Smith on his last wave as he came up against USA Team Captain Kelly Slater and Filipe Toledo of the Brazil Team. Under pressure, Smith delivered a phenomenal final ride to earn the required score for the Team’s victory at the Founders’ Cup of Surfing.
“It’s an incredible feeling to win as a team,” said Smith. “That was a wild few days and this just leaves room for bigger and better things to come. We’ve been talking about it as a team all weekend, and you can’t leave anything on the table when it comes to Finals Day. You just let it all hang out and enjoy it, and if you can pull that off you’ll walk away with a win. I think all week long we’ve been the underdogs and determination got us through it. Collectively, we just held our confidence up the whole time and supported each other all the way.”
The stunning World Team’s victory saw all five surfers perform amazing feats in the Final against the star-studded USA and Brazil teams. In the Qualifying rounds, the World Team actually finished in Equal 3rd place with Australia, which then forced a surf-off in order to advance. The sudden-death matchup against Australia saw Hareb clinch the win to qualify her team for the Final that eventually opened the door for their first-place result.
“The last two days have been so surreal and it’s still sinking in,” Hareb said. “The win came from nowhere I feel like and it’s the perfect ending to such a fun week. I am so proud to represent this team alongside Jordy (Smith), Bianca (Buitendag), Michel (Bourez), and Kanoa (Igarashi).”
The Brazil Team came second, fractionally ahead of USA and Australia. Captain Gabriel Medina opened their final with an amazing 9.67 ride, the highest score in the Final. Toledo, Silvana Lima, Adriano de Souza, and Taina Hinckel pushed progression to new heights with miraculous tube-rides and imaginative aerial maneuvers.
“The team vibe was great and everyone was just pushing each other to do better,” Medina said. “I’m really happy with how we performed, even though it’s disappointing to come up short. We surfed really good as a team and it was a really fun event to show what we could do. It’s good to share this moment and have everyone talking to each other, especially with Taina [Hinckel] being so young. We’re so used to all the pressure, but it’s all new for her and we showed her a lot of support so hopefully, when she gets here in the future, she’ll be ready for this amazing atmosphere.”
Despite coming in second, the Brazil Team acquired the event’s highest single-wave scores and broke new ground at the WSL Surf Ranch. Toledo earned a Perfect 10 for his team, which also earned him the Jeep Best Ride Award for having the top-scoring wave of the contest. Toledo will drive out of Lemoore in the award’s prize, the 2018 Jeep Wrangler.
“It’s such an honor to be a part of surfing’s future and represent Brazil,” Toledo said. “Gabriel Medina, John Florence and I talked about how amazing it was to surf as teams. We were really tight together and the team had your back the whole way through supporting you. It was just an incredible experience and it’s something we will always remember.”
“This wave is just unbelievable and I wanted to stay in that barrel as long as I could, just going so fast,” Lima said. “It was such a great experience. We had a lot of fun together and we supported each other the whole way. I’m really proud of this team and what we did to get to that Final, and we almost won it, but I think it was the best time to surf for Brazil.”
USA Team looked unstoppable after an incredible opening day had them in 1st place by over five points, but their performance in the Finals lacked the flair of the other teams. Team Captain Slater went extremely close to forcing a surf-off against the World Team on his final wave as he required a 9.27 ride to draw level with World Team. Slater surfed incredibly on the final ride but missed the score by only 0.2 points.
“I think it was a huge success,” Slater said. “Everybody had a good time, from those who didn’t know what was going on, to the die-hard surf fans. I think it translated well to everyone and there were a lot of smiles to be had. The other teams came together a little bit better in the end maybe, we were pretty cohesive, but they had the better plan to the Finals approach. When the situation lined up on my part it was a cool thing just knowing my wave would push us into a tie with Brazil or the World Team would win — which them doing so was terrific and really represents what we were doing here as a whole.”
John John Florence’s desperate attempts to defeat Medina in the Final fell short, but the two-time WSL Champion still claimed the event’s Quiksilver Best Air Award with his brilliant 9.80 in his second run on Saturday. Lakey Peterson’s consistent surfing helped earn the USA’s only Final heat win after Carissa Moore fell short to Lima with an 8.77. But, Moore’s overall event experience was one of the team’s best weapons and was a clear standout all weekend.
“You really just wanted to do well for your team and we would’ve loved to win, but it was such a fun experience competing together,” Moore said. “Kelly (Slater) was so close, I think all he needed to do was a turn and I’m glad he pushed it. That’s how this sport is going to get better. I’m just going to really remember being part of a team and the whole experience. To be a part of the first WSL Surf Ranch event and witness the fans here was incredible, and it’s something I’ll never forget.”
Australia Team earned the fourth-place finish after barely missing qualification in their sudden-death, surf-off against the World Team. Unfortunately the experienced team, consisting of Team Captain and six-time WSL Champion, Stephanie Gilmore, three-time WSL Champion Mick Fanning, two-time WSL Champion Tyler Wright, and Matt Wilkinson, fell short under the pressure and was eliminated ahead of the Finals.
“It was an incredible event and even though it’s a little disappointing to not be in the Final, it was cool to be here and see how it all works,” Gilmore said. “To see the fans out here and how the team aspect comes into play was really positive. This opens the floodgates into a whole new realm of arenas and events in controlled conditions. But, as long as there’s a really good balance between this and the ocean, I think the two will complement each other really well.”
Earlier this morning, Europe Team’s Run 3 did not help them improve the needed scores to receive a Finals spot and saw them finish in fifth on the Jeep Leaderboard. Team Captain Johanne Defay scored two 7-point rides alongside Portugal’s Frederico Morais. Jeremy Flores and Leonardo Fioravanti had standout barrel rides but did not have the opportunity to continue into the Final. Frankie Harrer struggled to keep pace but is excited to return to the WSL Surf Ranch to continue to gain more experience.
“It was really good vibes and it’s new for everyone so we were all so excited, and I really enjoyed it,” Defay said. “I don’t feel like I left everything in the water which is really frustrating for myself, but everyone was great about cheering each other on and being supportive. It’s a bummer I couldn’t put more points on the table. There are so many things to take from, but it’s another dynamic to put a team first and the whole weekend will be in the mind of these surfers for years to come.”
Hannah Jewell is an on-camera host for the video team at The Washington Post. She was previously a writer at BuzzFeed UK. Hannah was born in London, but her parents whisked her away to California when she was a baby. She earned a degree from UC Berkeley in Middle Eastern Studies and an MPhil in International Relations and Politics at Cambridge, taking a year out to study and work in Beirut. She had a great time in Lebanon but now is unfortunately banned from that country. Now she lives in Washington and wishes she had cats.
Tourism is on the rise in Tunisia after the 2015 terror attacks, but international visitors remain in short supply in its capital, leaving its Roman ruins and key attractions largely empty
It’s late evening at Tunis’s Sidi Bou Said TGM train stop. A group of teenage boys skip across the tracks to disapproving looks and head for the waiting room where a homeless person is asleep. It turns out they are looking for somewhere with an echo so one of them can sing. When the boy begins, the sleeper sharply suggests they go away.
The boys move to another waiting area where the sound of unaccompanied singing soon drifts along the platform. Tunisians heading home after a Saturday evening wait to board the service for La Marsa Plage, the last stop on the line. The train, when it comes, is a little scruffy.
Not only did Beyoncé crush Coachella by bringing out members of her former group Destiny’s Child, husband Jay-Z and sister Solange to perform with her, she also made history as the first black woman to ever headline Coachella.
Fans are calling this year’s music festival “Beychella” in honor of Beyoncé’s historic performance and her two-hour set which kicked off with “Crazy in Love.” Queen Bey also sang “Déja Vu” with Jay-Z and belted out some of Destiny’s Child’s most famous hits like “Say My Name,” “Lose My Breath,” and “Soldier.”
With the city’s much-anticipated Brunel museum opening on Friday, we take a stroll around the streets, waterways and engineering wonders that define Bristol’s heritage
Since there’s no avoiding the great engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel in these parts – especially this week with the opening of a museum dedicated to him – you may as well engage with his legacy straightaway. Come to Bristol by train, alighting at Temple Meads station. When it opened in 1840, this was the western terminus of the Great Western Railway, 116 miles out of Paddington. Viewed from the front its majesty is emphatic, even ecclesiastical, given that its castellated form was, until the second world war, topped by a spire.
UMBC made more than history in the NCAA Tournament.
By becoming the first No. 16 seed to beat a No. 1, the Retrievers made about $ 1.7 million for the America East Conference. Loyola-Chicago’s buzzer-beating run to the Sweet 16 will be worth double that to the Missouri Valley Conference. Nevada’s consecutive comebacks were also worth about $ 3.4 million for the Mountain West. The MVC and Mountain West will pocket at least as much from NCAA Tournament units as the Pac-12, which had three teams in the field, all bounced after one game each.
Units are what the NCAA calls its revenue distributions from the basketball performance fund, which rewards teams for tournament performance. The NCAA Tournament generates more than $ 700 million in revenue for the association and its schools, the vast majority from its media rights deal with CBS and Turner.
Units for this year’s tournament are worth approximately $ 273,000, according to the NCAA, but their value ends up being greater than that.
The units are paid out annually each of the next six years, increasing in value each year by about 2-3 percent. The payout system means that one upset by UMBC should be worth more than $ 1.7 million. Units are earned every game a team appears in, with the exception of the first game played by an automatic qualifier and the NCAA championship game.
The money goes to the conferences, unless the school is an independent in basketball. The NCAA encourages equal distribution by conferences among its members, but it is not required. Most do.
The Missouri Valley has in the past received multiple bids, but only champion Loyola-Chicago got in as an automatic qualifier this year. The MVC distributes the units revenue equally among 10 members — though the NCAA Tournament participants receive an additional half-share to cover travel expenses, MVC spokesman Ryan Davis said Sunday.
The Atlantic Coast Conference has been rolling in units in recent years, with a total of 64 from 2015-17, worth more than $ 100 million . This season, the ACC got nine teams into the field, more than any other conference, and placed four teams in Sweet 16. Two of them — Duke and Syracuse — play in the regional semifinals, limiting the conference’s earning potential.
The Big 12 also placed four teams in the round of 16. The Southeastern Conference and Big Ten each have two.
For the ACC — and other Power Five conferences — NCAA units account for less than 10 percent of conference revenue. The ACC reported $ 373.4 million in revenue for fiscal year 2016 — most of which comes from a television rights deals with ESPN — and paid out about $ 25 million to each of its members.
For low-major Division I schools such as UMBC and the eight other members of the America East, those units are real money.
UMBC’s athletic budget for 2017 was $ 9.3 million. NCAA records from 2010-15 show the America East earned a total of eight units and $ 2,086,514 in basketball revenue.
Over that same period of time, the Missouri Valley earned 21 units and $ 5,477,099. The Mountain West earned 33 and $ 8,606,870.
All that money helps explain why the American Athletic Conference lured tournament-regular Wichita State from the MVC last year, despite the Shockers not having a football team, and why the Mountain West is trying to strike a similar deal to pull Gonzaga out of the West Coast Conference.
The Shockers went out in the first round, upset by Marshall, Conference USA’s only tournament team. But Gonzaga is back in the Sweet 16 after padding the WCC coffers with a Final Four appearance last year.
Chilean actress Daniela Vega made history Sunday night as the first openly transgender Oscar presenter. And she turned her debut into a dazzling affair, with a million dollars in statement-making ice hanging from her lobes. “The morning of the Oscars, I presented her with several million dollars worth of fine jewels,” says William Graper, who… Entertainment | New York Post
Nearly one in three 12th-graders report past year use of some kind of vaping device, raising concerns about the impact on their health. What they say is in the device, however, ranges from nicotine, to marijuana, to ‘just flavoring.’ The survey also suggests that use of hookahs and regular cigarettes is declining. These findings come from the 2017 Monitoring the Future (MTF) survey of eighth, 10th and 12th graders in schools nationwide in the United States. Teen Health News — ScienceDaily
But taking a moment to think about it, Wilkas realized that yes, he was probably part of something historic: a kiss between a gay athlete and his boyfriend at a mass audience spectacle like the Olympics, shown during network primetime television.
“It’s unusual, right?” says Wilkas, an actor. “It’s good that it’s televised because it normalizes it more. I would imagine it would be a huge moment for a young gay kid to see an awesome athlete so open and proud of himself and not caring what anyone thinks of his sexuality.”
Kenworthy has come under increased scrutiny over the past week of because of his public criticisms of U.S. Vice President Mike Pence. “Broke my thumb yesterday in practice,” he wrote on Instagram this week. “It won’t stop me from competing (obvi) but it does prevent me from shaking Pence’s hand so… Silver linings!”
Wilkas says dealing with the pressure has been difficult for his boyfriend. “He’s definitely been stressing out a lot,” says Wilkas. “It’s hard. He wants to be the voice, one of the heroes for his community alongside Adam [Rippon]. But I think it just adds a lot of pressure to the moment. There are people on both sides. The gay community looks up to him, then the people who hate him for being who he is and can’t wait to see him fail. There’s a sense of wanting to prove them wrong.”
“He’s said things about Mike Pence and the White House that provokes people that are easily provoked, that are so open about their hate,” says Wilkas. “People are saying, ‘I hope you break a leg.’ Literally, things like that.”
As he prepared to watch Kenworthy in the finals, Wilkas understood he was part of something bigger than a sporting event. “Does it hit me?” he says. “I guess it does. I just want him to be happy. But I get it. I see that it’s important.”
Philadelphia out-Patriots-ed New England in Super Bowl LII by playing like it had nothing to lose. The Patriots put up arguably the best offensive performance in a loss in NFL history. The Eagles just survived. www.espn.com – TOP
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LAS VEGAS (AP) — As Frank Sinatra asks Lady Luck to stick around, the neon red lights of one of Las Vegas’ most famous towering signs appear to dance under the night sky, revealing a beating heart and the rest of the marquee of a famed casino-hotel. Other rusted, dusted and broken neon signs in a large gravel lot ringed by a security wall appear to light up with neon not seen for decades as other classic tunes play in the background. Technology Headlines
Quick, call the cops. Someone stole an average of 5.8 million viewers from each of the four NFL divisional playoff games last week, statistics released on Wednesday revealed. The drop-off, about 16 percent from last year’s second weekend of playoff games, was even steeper than the 9.7 percent decline in TV viewership the NFL experienced… Media | New York Post
Through the midpoint of the season, we’re on pace for the fewest fighting majors ever. We dive into that phenomenon, plus thoughts on Canada’s Olympic team, All-Star snubs, dancing Russians, this week’s jersey foul and much more. www.espn.com – NHL
With women, especially women of color, still hugely underrepresented in political office, many feminists were moved by the historic progress made for political representation in 2017—myself included. While we celebrate the historic wins, we should also seize the opportunity to learn from these trailblazing new leaders and to think big about what women who are now considering running for office might gain from their examples nationwide.
Despite a surge in political activism among progressive women following Trump’s election, data shows that women are still significantly less likely than men to consider running for office themselves. A national survey from May found that only 23 percent of women say they have considered running for office compared to 38 percent of men, with men more than twice as likely to report having “seriously” considered it. Earlier studies found that this gap is present across women and men of different races, ages, and income levels. Even with the increase in women’s progressive political engagement since Trump took office, researchers note that “other factors that impede women’s political ambition—in particular, their self-assessments of whether they’re qualified to run for office—are longstanding and deeply embedded.”
Some of the trailblazing women who won elections this year were open about their initial doubts about seeking public office. Kathy Tran, one of the first Asian American women elected to the Virginia House, told CNN: “I never thought I would run for office. It was something not in my wildest dreams—partly because nobody ever looked like me that was elected to office.” A woman elected to the city council in Anchorage, Alaska earlier this year said that as the filing deadline approached, “I kept thinking, surely someone more competitive will sign up.”
Watching other women take that leap, run and then win can open up new ideas about what is possible in our own lives.
Of course, there is more to the story than simply shifting beliefs about running for office. Many women—disproportionately women of color and low-income women—face entrenched barriers that can make it difficult for them to run, even when the interest in serving in office is already there. As Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams told The Grio earlier this year, women of color can come up against the dual challenges of their own doubts about preparedness and external discouragement: “I think for women of color, it’s not only being ready to run but it’s also feeling the pressure not to run because we’re often told it’s not our turn.” Relatedly, women of color often face a deck stacked against them when it comes to accessing the fundraising money that political gatekeepers use to determine whether someone is a “viable” candidate. It’s a problem exacerbated by a political fundraising landscape dominated by a tiny, unrepresentative slice of ultra-wealthy donors. In addition, the fact that local and state offices tend to offer very low pay often serves to exclude women who aren’t independently wealthy.
Even as we work to fix these structural barriers in the long-term, watching women from all backgrounds decide to run—and then seeing so many of them win—may help inspire others to reconsider assumptions about whether they, too, can run and win. One young woman who aspires to become the first black woman elected mayor of Philadelphia put it this way earlier this year: “If they can do it, I can do it. If she can run, I can run.”
Layne Amerikaner is the senior communications manager for writing and content at People For the American Way and coauthor of Thinking Outside the Girl Box: Teaming Up With Resilient Youth in Appalachia. She has a master’s degree in public policy and women’s studies from George Washington University.
The 1997 Heisman race had it all. Four first-round draft picks, three future NFL Hall of Famers and a controversial decision that gave the award to a defensive player for the first — and only — time. www.espn.com – TOP
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When Chad Smith's friend, producer Dan Catullo, approached him about hosting the PBS show Landmarks Live in Concert, the Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer wasn't sure if he was the right man for the job. "He was like, 'I've come up with this idea where iconic bands will play iconic landmarks anywhere in the
After winning a $ 52 million lottery jackpot in 2010, Miguel Pilgram used his winnings to launch his own real estate company, The Pilgram Group, and invest in properties across South Florida. Now, the successful businessman is committed to reviving Sistrunk Boulevard, a notorious corridor in downtown Fort Lauderdale once known as a thriving Main Street for African Americans.
Known as the “historical heartbeat of Fort Lauderdale’s oldest black community,” Sistrunk Boulevard runs through the city’s black business district. It was named after James Sistrunk, a black physician who helped establish the first African American hospital in Broward County in 1938. During this time, segregation laws banned African Americans who lived west of the tracks from crossing over to the east side after dark.
After desegregation, Sistrunk Boulevard gradually declined into an area plagued by gun violence and riddled with drugs and abandoned buildings. To restore the distressed community to its original days of glory, Pilgram has purchased three buildings and plans to build a jazz lounge, blues lounge, restaurants, and a center for performing arts.
According to community activist and legal specialist Edduard Prince, foreign developers are “drooling” to invest in Sistrunk. However, far too often, areas like Sistrunk are then stripped of their cultural identity while native residents are pushed out through gentrification.
“The black residents of the community know that they’re in [a] prime location, they know that they’ve been fighting for years, and developers are drooling over the property,” Prince told the station.
Pilgram’s plan for development, however, is to preserve the area for local residents. “I was raised in a similar environment,” he told The Sun-Sentinel. “There is a need, and in my mind, an obligation, to invest there.”
Over 45 days, BLACK ENTERPRISE shares 45 milestone events among the nation’s largest black-owned businesses that have had widespread impact on black economic development and American industry across four decades. This is in tribute to the 45th anniversary of Black Enterprise’s iconic BE 100s yearly list of the largest black-owned companies.
Today we reveal No. 34 in the web series “45 Great Moments in Black Business.”
2004: R. Donahue Peebles makes history in 2002 when his BE 100s real estate firm completes development of Miami Beach’s Royal Palm Resort, the nation’s first black-owned luxury resort. Two years later, he sells the property for a record $ 127.5 million.
(Real estate mogul R. Donahue Peebles. Image: File)
When BLACK ENTERPRISE covered him in June 2004, he was dubbed “The Prince of South Beach”—and for good reason. He had control of the 417-unit Royal Palm Crowne Plaza Resort in Miami Beach—the first black-owned luxury resort in the nation—and his company, Peebles Atlantic Development Corp. had amassed a $ 500 million real estate portfolio and demonstrated a pile-driving 141% revenue growth in a year due, in part, to its focus on “on the red-hot South Florida luxury real estate scene.” As a result, the company was named BE’s Company of the Year. (Today, The Peebles Corp. ranks No. 35 on the BE Top 100 with $ 102 million in revenues.)
Known for his appearances offering commentary on business cable network CNBC, real estate mogul R. Donahue Peebles has been known as a major industry game changer for years. The Peebles Corp. was recognized as the 2004 Industrial/Service Company of the Year due to its distinction as being one of the biggest black-owned real estate firms and making the historic acquisition of the Royal Palm Resort in Miami Beach, Florida—the first black-owned and -developed resort in the nation. Our editors appropriately dubbed him “The Prince of South Beach.”
To fully appreciate his deal-making prowess and phenomenal payout, one must review its dynamics. Here’s the blow-by-blow account as reported by BE‘s then-Features Editor Alan Hughes some 13 years ago:
While on vacation in Miami Beach with his wife, Katrina, and their then-infant son for the 1995 New Year’s holiday, Peebles came across an article that would reshape his business. “I was reading the paper, and there was a story in The Miami Herald about how South Beach had grown and the real estate market is on fire, and they gave an example of the Shorecrest Hotel that was owned by an investor who paid $ 900,000 two or three years ago and was now selling it for $ 5 million,” said Peebles. “And they said it was next door to the Royal Palm Hotel that was owned by the city, which was looking for an African American developer.”
It was the first time Peebles had heard of a project reserved for a specific race. “So I said to myself, ‘How many African American developers are in this county? Not many. How many have the capacity to do a project of this size? Even fewer. And how many are reading The Miami Herald right now? Probably not many.’ “
There was a reason for the set-aside. Several years earlier, prominent local attorneys H.T. Smith and Marilyn Holifield led a tourism boycott by African Americans, claiming city officials had snubbed South African leader Nelson Mandela when he visited because the former political prisoner made positive remarks about Cuban President Fidel Castro. Miami is home to the largest Cuban population in the U.S. This made the city, which was segregated until the mid-60s, a hotbed for political and social unrest.
As part of the 1993 settlement to end the boycott, which had cost the county an estimated $ 20 million to $ 50 million in lost convention business and tourist dollars, Miami Beach agreed to underwrite the development of a black-owned luxury hotel by putting up a long-term $ 10 million loan to acquire the property. But the deal stalled after four local African American would-be developers, known as the HCF Group, won the original bid but failed to secure additional financing for the estimated $ 60 million project. “Ultimately, in spite of H.T. Smith and other community leaders [urging] the city commission to reach a deal with HFC, the city commission terminated negotiations,” recalls Peebles.
When the Royal Palm deal came along, Peebles was familiar with both the real estate business and the politics of public/private partnerships. Even more important, he gained control of the Shorecrest Hotel, which would become a pivotal part of sealing the deal. When the city of Miami Beach issued its request for proposal for the Royal Palm, it was conditional on the development of the adjacent Shorecrest property. However, the city had earmarked $ 10 million to acquire both properties and used $ 5.5 million of those funds to acquire the Royal Palm, leaving insufficient funds in the budget to meet the $ 5.5 million asking price for the Shorecrest. Peebles’ earlier acquisition of that property turned out to be highly strategic, because any competing bids for acquiring and developing the Royal Palm had to include the Shorecrest.
The city received seven bids, mainly from major hotel chains that had partnered with African Americans to meet the 51% black ownership requirement. Each bidder was connected to a different hotel chain, including The Ritz-Carlton and Hyatt. Peebles partnered with Crowne Plaza Hotels & Resorts, hammering out a contract in which the hotel chain paid $ 6 million for the right to brand and manage the property.
The Hyatt team was named the top bidder by the city’s citizens’ selection committee, set up to make recommendations to the city commission. Peebles came in second, while Baltimore developer Otis Warren came in third. The three finalists were then invited to make presentations to the commissioners, but with the recommendation, Hyatt clearly had the edge.
Peebles knew politics was behind it all. “The city’s financial adviser had recommended us financially; we had three loan commitments and nobody else had any,” he said. Peebles, however, had an ace in the hole: the Shorecrest property.
While he hired lobbyists to help him state his case, he personally developed relationships with city councilmen and pressed for their vote commitment. Peebles also had to contend with public opinion from many who thought he was getting a sweet deal because he was African American. Peebles is quick to point out that during that same time period, neighboring hotel Loews also received money from the city. Royal Palm received $ 10 million to build 400 rooms – some $ 23,000 per room – while the city invested $ 60 million in the 800-room Loews – or $ 75,000 per room. Loews also had 99 years to repay the loan versus 25 years for Royal Palm.
Peebles’ strategy paid off. Not only was there a national spotlight on Miami Beach and the plight of an African American developer, but he wooed the commissioners to vote in his favor. He emerged as the winning bidder in June 1996.
Elated at the time, his joy would be short-lived. Then-Mayor Seymour Gelber, who voted against the Peebles deal, assigned Arthur Courshon, a bank president and staunch opponent of Peebles, to negotiate the final contract. Talks dragged on for months while investors became impatient with delays and mounting expenses. Peebles had hoped to complete the project by year-end 1998—a hope that would quickly fade. Then he had to leap a hurdle with the city’s historic preservation program so Peebles could tear down the faulty structure but had to “build an exact replica of the original.”
When all was said and done, the project came in nearly two years late and costs totaled $ 82 million—more than $ 20 million over budget. The property celebrated its grand opening in May 2002. By 2004, the property had a year-round occupancy rate of approximately 70%.
Its completion was heralded throughout the African American business community. “It was huge because it was the first time in the history of this area where you had a substantial development owned by an African American going up on the beach,” said Andy Ingraham, president of the National Association of Black Hotel Owners, Operators & Developers Inc. “Let’s not forget it was not too far in the distant past when people like Muhammad Ali could fight and train on Miami Beach but could not stay on Miami Beach.”
Peebles would eventually become one of the wealthiest African Americans in the country, with an estimated net worth of more than $ 700 million and roughly $ 5 billion, 6 million square foot real estate portfolio. One of his first transactions after that historic development: Selling the Royal Palm for $ 127.5 million two years later.
When it comes to this new administration, being a reporter must be frustrating.
First, you have a president who just says anything. Anything at all. No proof, no evidence, just BLAHHHThisIsAThingI’mSayingAAAAHHHHHH.
Then, journalists scramble to fact-check. Followed by White House spokespeople coming out to defend the president by … not defending the president at all. “I’ll let the president’s tweet speak for itself,” they repeat and repeat and repeat.
The White House’s surrogates are simply not very good at what they do. Can you imagine if they were the spokespeople during other major events in history?
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During the 30 years of the Cold War, America expanded its force of Minuteman inter-continental ballistic missiles. Today, some 450 Minuteman III missiles remain on alert across the Great Plains. Take a look inside the history of these missiles, and their role in the defense of the United States.Product DetailsVisit Minuteman Missile NHS to explore the Minuteman II system’s role as a nuclear deterrent during the Cold War. Text by the interpretive staff at Minuteman Missile NHSSoftcover booklet,37 pages and Dimensions: 6”W x 9”H
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Even after more than two centuries, mystery continues to surround Meriwether Lewis’s death—did the famous explorer commit suicide or was he murdered? Recently revealed truths and deconstructed myths are woven together in this fascinating account to form an unforgettable tale of political corruption, assassins, forged documents, and skeletal remains. New research implicating General James Wilkinson—commanding general of the U.S. Army and coconspirator of Aaron Burr—as the assassin is thoroughly discussed, while riveting testimony from 13 leading experts in wound ballistics, forensic anthropology, suicide psychology, grave-site exhumation, and handwriting analysis offers new insight into what Lewis’s exhumed remains might reveal. The new evidence not only destroys the foundation of suicide arguments by proving the primary evidence is a forgery, it also proves the Indian Agent escorting Lewis lied about his activities on the day of Lewis’s death. The book also contains evidence of a previously unknown plot by Aaron Burr to seize New Orleans and invade Mexico in 1809, a repeat of his 1806 plot. It explains why Lewis suddenly changed his plans to travel to Washington, DC, by boat, and instead chose to go overland on the Natchez Trace, where he met his untimely death on October 11, 1809, at age 35.