Getting up before the dawn at what I've heard someone call "Insane O'Clock" with the dog, I headed out of the house for the morning mile.
A hint to those who have a dog who is out of control or a nuisance barker - your dog is bored. Take the dog for three long walks a day. If you can't see your toes, your waistline will appreciate that. I have a Border Collie, the number one breed in boomerang dogs - dogs who end up at the shelter for a second or more time because people don't know how to live with such an intelligent animal. Almost every dog will benefit from more exercise. Living in these days, almost every human being would benefit from having a dog that requires three walks of a mile a day each. So go take your dog for a walk, leave this posting up and finish reading when you get back.
There, wasn't that pleasant?
My first walk this day had me out of the house well before 6AM. I had my headphones on and was listening to an audio book and taking note of what went on after the four day celebration of Halloween here in Wilton Manors.
For the most part, the central business district was markedly cleaner than I would have expected. The last four days were slammed with people walking up and down Wilton Drive at some time or another. Saturday Night seemed to be the peak of it with cars littering front lawns, parked in other people's driveways illegally, and people walking from their cars to the festivities on Wilton Drive.
I have seen similar celebrations in other cities. Places that were more conventional tended to have an almost Post-Apocalyptic look about them. In other cities, I could find bits of the celebration for months after they happened in corners and alleys if I just looked. Things may have been picked up but they weren't cleaned up for the residents, and for the most part things were only set right after the nearest home owner or business owner went out and "Flea Dipped" their property.
Wilton Manors doesn't seem to have that problem. I certainly attribute it to the demographics of the area. There were no fights that I saw. People didn't go out of their way to be rude. There was a festival atmosphere but there's a spirit of camaraderie that didn't have that edge I had seen in some places.
It was carried through to the way the city looked this morning. While we played host to some thousands of people, it was an orderly crowd. Yes, they were there to party but there were no broken shrubs, no upset palm trees, and no street furniture uprooted and placed on top of cars.
It was a success, although it could certainly have been better. Next year, halloween will come. Wilton Manors will have another influx of people. Expect it. Wilton Manors is the place to be for a party on most weekends, and Halloween is an amazing time here. It has been that way for years, and it will continue as long as we have a City Government that will plan for the future Flash Mobs that will show. With Wilton Manors Main Street assisting the bars to pick up the ball that was dropped by the original planners, we all made the best of a bad situation. Wilton Drive could not be closed because the Drive is a State Road. A State Road closure requires permitting that takes some significant amount of time and the deadlines were passed. There are some significant fees that are required to be paid as well, and that would require some planning so that nobody is left holding the bag for that sort of expense as well as making sure the Police get paid, the liquor is paid for and people are compensated fairly for their efforts, time, and inconvenience.
Keeping the Drive open was a requirement due to all of the above and more. It wasn't the best situation but it was managed exceedingly well by a coalition of business owners and civic organizations.
The only situation that I had heard that was unfortunate was that a woman passed out on Wilton Drive. Perhaps it was too much partying, but she passed out. The story I was told about the situation was that she went down in front of Current Mayor Gary Resnick and his partner Eric, and Candidate Joe Angelo for Mayor and his friends. I was told that Resnick and his partner "ran away" and Joe Angelo and his friends made sure that this woman made it into a bar to sit and revive herself.
Thank you Joe Angelo, the City of Wilton Manors should be grateful that good people like you are here to help others in their time of need.
Walking through the drive and turning down the back streets, I noticed that they were generally clean and cared for. The neighborhood changed from Commercial and High Density Residential to Low Density Residential fairly quickly. It took the usual South Florida view of tidy yards and plantings within a block of The Drive.
This being election season there were yard signs in front of people's homes supporting one candidate or another, as I have written before. I made it down to one particular lot that had been mowed last week and someone had obtained permission to place some election signs there. It's on a fairly major thoroughfare and people do cross through daily on their way to and from the Drive.
That plot of land eventually collected signs from almost every politician in the county and every one in the City who is running for office. When the management company came through and mowed it, they picked up all the yard signs and piled them neatly together in one spot. The next day, someone came through and sorted out three specific signs and placed them in the ground to see. That morning they were thrown down. Someone then picked them up again and by the next morning, they were down again. This has been going on for around a week now. I'm looking forward to seeing who keeps tossing the signs down because if I do, I'll make it a point to let the candidates know so they can file a complaint with the police.
They have left mine alone for the last two days.
So as clean as the drive has been, the neighborhood is being trashed by overzealous supporters of one or more particular candidates who don't think that their candidate has a good enough message to send by trashing a third party's yard. This is decidedly not in the tolerant spirit that drew me to this City in the first place.
Thankfully Wednesday November 3 is coming soon and we can all go back to living our lives without having to watch for trespassers.