As A-Rod Battles His Neighbor, Miami Beach's Film Renaissance Hangs in the Balance | Feature | South Florida | Broward Palm Beach New Times | The Leading Independent News Source in Broward-Palm Beach, Florida


As A-Rod Battles His Neighbor, Miami Beach's Film Renaissance Hangs in the Balance

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There are other proposals to quell the fight. Libbin, for one, has offered a seven-day compromise. So far, neither Friedman nor the movie industry has accepted it.

The commissioner has also put forth a more radical idea: a list that residents can sign to block their neighbors from filming. Friedman loves the idea, and on San Marino Island, Buchanan, Valdesuso, and other neighbors say they would sign up.

But this suggestion has movie executives crapping a celluloid brick. "They are afraid that everyone will run out and put their name on the list and it will kill the industry," Libbin admits. Orosz says such a list "sends the wrong message."

Other ideas are simpler still — but even less likely to gain traction. Levey, who lives next to Villa Vecchia, says the only solution is compensation for neighbors.

"What about the homeowners?" he asks. "Real estate taxes are so high here — why should I have to put up with this nonsense? [Renters] must be making $15,000 to $20,000 a day while the rest of us are waiting to get into our driveways."

When it comes to compensation, Levey claims Miami Beach's young movie industry lags behind places like Hollywood. "We haven't risen to that level yet," he says. In fact, compensating neighbors is "very frequent" in Los Angeles, says Philip Sokoloski of FilmL.A., that city's nonprofit film office.

Miami Beach's Neighborhood and Community Affairs Committee is set to discuss the film permit fight next week. A full committee vote could happen by the end of the year.

By then, however, Friedman's flap with A-Rod might be over. Less than a year after moving in, Rodriguez recently put his house up for sale for $38 million. If it sells at that price, the slumping slugger will reap a $12 million profit. Friedman isn't surprised.

"That's not Alex's house next door," he says. "It's his real estate. He's got real estate in New York and all over the place. It was built to be a business. And now that a famous person lived there, it's worth even more."

Friedman's fight could continue anyway. He warns he's ready to sue the city if commissioners don't clamp down on the movie industry. Besides, he has no idea who will buy A-Rod's house or if the new owner will pimp the place out for more filming.

"I don't want to have a big mouth about this. I just want to live in peace," Friedman says. "I moved here to live in paradise. I don't want Tarzans swinging from the goddamn trees."

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Michael E. Miller

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