Last night’s Orchids and Onions event, organized by theÂ Urban Environment League (UEL) of Miami and hosted by the Coral Gables Museum, presented Orchids (those are the good awards) to Miami’s leading civic and environmental activists – people who have spent the better part of the last decade, or in the case of Sallye and Jim Jude, their entire lives, preserving Miami-Dade’s historic landscapes and landmarks alike. Some other deep-rooted members of the community received a less glamorous kind of recognition.
Why I’m writing about an award ceremony.
Nearly every organization holds an annual awards reception. Outstanding members of the community come to the mic, one by one and accept their accolades with humility. With all of the negativity portrayed in mainstream media, we need more of that, right?
UEL believes in acknowledging integrity when they see it. They also take a kick-in-the-butt approach to acknowledging integrity when it bottoms out.
Part two of the evening focused on the Onion awards (those are the bad awards). Unlike the Orchids presented in part one, UEL reserves the Onions for the figureheads who stand in their way.
Won’t they look like jerks for calling out the “bad” people?
Not really. At least not in the eyes of fellow event attendees who tend to share in their sentiments. Not surprising, Onion recipients don’t make appearances to receive their well-deserved recognition. Heck, they don’t even send interns.
A man disguised as Florida Governor Rick Scott accepted an award for “unraveling Florida’s environmental regulations in favor of conventional industry practices.” To make sure Mr. Scott doesn’t forget his onion, tweet this article to @FlGovScott.
The Onions aren’t only meant to highlight political tom-foolery. This seemingly negative approach to public recognition has a silver lining. The hope is that award recipients, if they haven’t already changed their tunes after listening to the general public, will shift gears after being roasted by Miami-Dade’s who’s who.
The Epic Hotel, formerly an Orchid recipient, earned an Onion this year for parking a construction trailer in the middle of the Miami Riverwalk, blocking the pedestrian path. After refusing to move it, they had it zoned as a yacht sales trailer to prolong its unwelcome stay on the waterfront. If you know how to share this with them, let me know.
Miami-Dade Expressway Authority has put forth some effort in recent months to curtail its public opinion from highway construction and toll increases, but UEL spotlighted them for promoting “needless suburban sprawl” and raising tolls to fund their vicious circle. On behalf of UEL, Street Plans Collaborative’s Tony Garcia, presented the agency with Scallions (not quite a full Onion) in an act of good faith that MDX will go the way of good transit in the future. Let them know about it at @MDXway.