Over the past decade, the celebration of hip hop music and culture called Urban Beach Week has become a Memorial Day tradition -- as has the specter of tensions between police and an occasionally unruly crowd.
The four-day weekend has forced a long-running dialogue among leaders, including representatives of the American Civil Liberties Union and the black community, on how best to keep the peace without violating basic civil rights.
"We are the destination of choice for Memorial Day weekend and in 2001 when it started, the city was not as prepared as it needed to be for the crowds that came," said Max Sklar, Miami Beach's Director of Tourism and Cultural Development. "Now we prepare for the sheer numbers of people coming from every aspect, police to firefighters to sanitation crews. We work every year with the ACLU and the Department of Justice to make sure the place is safe for residents and visitors."
As a local, let me say that no one is overly concerned about the crowds, the parties or any post party trash. After all, this is Miami Beach. That's what happens here.
But, what concerns people are the shootings, assaults and other acts of violence.
Those are public safety issues, not civil rights issues.