Irate Coconut Grove residents stormed Miami City Hall early Monday morning following catastrophic tree upheavals from Hurricane Irma. The clouds had not yet cleared from the weekend’s tussle with the gigantic storm system, whose outer bands hit Miami with marginally hurricane-ish wind gusts capable of knocking over the occasional fence and utterly crippling Florida Power and Light’s entire infrastructural grid. The line to get service at City Hall trailed out the council chambers, through the building’s entryway, and up three blocks, causing major roadway blockage as aggravated constituents intermingled with drivers fighting over depleted gas rations at the Marathon station on Bird Ave.
Outside Commissioner Ken Russell’s office in City Hall, Grove homeowners rallied against what they uniformly declared was a failed government incapable of prioritizing their rights. The commissioner’s jurisdiction over the eccentric Grove neighborhood is matched by his quirky popularity for having advanced yoyo skills and an artistic inclination toward woodworking from local growths.
“I’ve got a bone to pick with Ken Russell,” shouted South Grove gadfly Randy “Banyan Jesus” Whitehead to any reporter willing to take his statement (The Plantain being the only news service dedicated to giving him his voice). “Where’s Commissioner Tree-Guy and why hasn’t he put my Gumbo Limbo back up?”
The coalition of disenfranchised Groveites argued amongst themselves for five hours in a prolonged fit that clearly wasn’t staged to take advantage of City Hall’s generator-powered air conditioning—which, as of Monday afternoon, was the only functioning unit in a 72 block radius. Instead, the small platoon of agitated residents generated a tally roughly three hundred pages long, listing neighborhood foliage lost to Hurricane Irma, itemizing fallen trees by species, address, nickname, and lineage.
Commissioner Russell attempted to soothe his constituents by casually removing his button down shirt and shepherding them in the circular driveway in front of City Hall and addressing them through a megaphone:
“We are all heartbroken, but we need to remain neighborly,” said Russell. “We cannot control the weather—your city didn’t take away your trees. It was a hurricane—an act of God.”
“BLAME GOD!” exclaimed Patricia Dunfirth, an indigenous art gallery owner and North Grove resident of 33 years. “Where were His permits?”
The crowd immediately broke into chants of “GOD HATES TREES” amidst calls for citations against the Almighty for illegal tree uprooting. Petitions were issued demanding an official proclamation condemning the Lord for sending the storm that knocked down beloved flora.
Russell, meanwhile, returned to his office to coordinate with his staff on Hurricane Irma recovery efforts, including several projects which may restore some of the lost foliage. Prior to the storm, the commissioner collaborated with local organizations to launch an ironically-timed $4 Million funding allocation for the Million Tree Project—a program attempting to plant an eponymous 1 million trees in Miami-Dade County by 2020.
An unnamed source from within the commissioner’s office claimed to have overheard Russell mutter under his breath: “Maybe we should make that 2 million trees…”
By Bradford J. Treacle