Flower Power

Something other than  Amorphophallus titanium is causing a big stink at Fairchild Gardens lately.

More than 80 teachers, students and volunteers — including one dressed as an ape and one as an alien — lined the street in front of Fairchild Tropical Botanic Garden on Saturday morning to support Caroline Lewis, the garden’s longtime director of education, who said she was abruptly fired last month.

Lewis had been with the garden for eight years. She said she was forced out by garden management over an offhand comment she made during a November staff meeting about ethnic diversity.

“They were just looking for a reason to get me out,” she said. – Miami Hurled

You can find the story here including what appears to be an entirely innocuous comment (favoring diversity) that supposedly upset some people, but not the REAL story, which I imagine will leak out over the next few weeks.  But let’s take a peek and speculate anyway.  Isn’t that what snarky blogs are  for?

Thanks to the armies of politically correct sphincter police that patrol every facet of our speech and action these days, it’s a snap to find something that offends you, no matter who you are.  This makes it remarkably easy for your supervisor/boss/commanding officer to toss your sorry ass under the bus for  any reason at all, including the possibility that you’re doing your job so well it’s making him or her look lame, lazy, or incompetent.

That may be what’s at play here:  look at this letter in Sunday’s Hurled from a concerned Fairchild member.

All I know is what I read in the papers – all of which is linked here.  But as a non-profit executive, I’ve seen my share of organizations  travel down this path, hijacked by egomaniacal executives with their own agendas, blandly contemptuous of the agency’s objectives.   Insiders bewail their beloved institution’s “mission drift,” and protest the loss of focus, misplaced priorities, and sandbagged commitment.  The powers that be remind the rank and file that bills must be paid, payrolls met, investors (donors and sponsors) satisfied.  This sounds all too much like what I’m reading in the paper this weekend.

In any non-profit, there’s always tension at this  fork in the road.  There are better and worse ways to handle it.  In the “worse” category is airing out the dispute  where the neighborhood can comment, and attracting sufficient attention to warrant newspaper coverage counts as that – in spades.

Fairchild Gardens is a gem, an underrated exhibition of environmental beauty and scholarship of which south Florida should be proud.  It’s not like that decrepit Vizcaya abomination, or the mildewed Coconut Grove Playhouse.  There was more clamor over the Orange Bowl, ferchrissakes, a pathetic testament to South Florida’s sophistication index.

This dispute opens a window on something sinister and ugly.  Fix it.  Now.

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9 Responses to Flower Power

  1. Rick says:

    You HAVE been reading Eye on Miami, I assume? They’ve been all over this for the past couple weeks.


    • Squathole says:

      Totally and completely missed it. In fact, Alesh sent me the original Hurled article a week ago, suggesting I weigh in; and it’s been sitting here until I could get around to it. My cranial/anal inversion has been worse than normal lately.

      Anyway — after reading EOM’s coverage — it appears that the (belated) speculation and conjecture in this post are about right. Sometimes, what appears to be, is.

      The business with the videographer is particularly upsetting. It that fails to convey the message that somebody is out of control, nothing short of a sharpshooter-in-the-bell-tower incident will.

  2. 'Nonymous says:

    There was more clamor over the Orange Bowl, ferchrissakes, a pathetic testament to South Florida’s sophistication index.

    That’s a chunk of snark you slipped in that needs answering. The reason there was more concern over the OB is that most people, not just south Florida, care about sports than palm trees and flowers. That’s because most people, not just south Floridians, aren’t gays or liberals like you and the ones out there holding signs.

    I don’t care what happens in Fairchild Gardens’ boardroom. I care more about what happens on the football field. So do most people, and none of us need to apologize to tree huggers for feeling that way.

  3. Flaming Yon says:

    ‘Nonymous: THIS liberal fag likes football AND flowers. Cigars, too. You don’t have to care about Fairchild, nobody forces you to. But you and the rest of south Florida ought to be smart enough to recognize its value to the community and to science, and maybe be alarmed at what seems to be going on there.

  4. Rick says:

    ‘Nonymous….you left out “Birkenstock-wearing hippies.”

    Really, don’t you have better things to do, like look for Presidential birth certificates or something?


  5. 'Nonymous says:

    I see liberals come in swarms.

    I made my point, Rick, and even if you don’t agree with it, I assume you can count, and see that all 40,000 members of Fairchild Gardens don’t add up to one day’s attendance at the Orange Bowl back then. You and Squirthole can hang out with the costumed plant-petting freaks to your liberal heart’s content, that’s your right. Just don’t cry when nobody cares, which is all I was saying originally anyway.

  6. Squathole says:

    Indeed you made your point, ‘Nonymous, as well as a few others that you certainly didn’t intend. Most people understand that the lower the denominator, the higher the numbers, which is why football will always be more popular than opera, philosophy, and palm gardens. What you don’t see, I suspect, is that there’s room for them all, and all sorts of people participate in all sorts of pursuits. Not all liberals and fags, as you nicely put it, care about Fairchild, and not everybody who cares is a gay liberal.

    Perhaps when you dropped out of school in the 5th grade, you didn’t get exposed to these basic tentets of humanity.

  7. One Man's Opinion says:

    Yo NonymASS….just for the record, if the OB has 40,000 seats (since I’m not a football fan I wouldn’t know) then you’re right about there being more fans in the seats for a single game then are members of fairchild gardens & probably every other cultural venue here in SoFL. But, if you are representative of the football fan base, and I suspect you are, then let me assure that even just one of those members has a greater IQ than the collective group who go to games all year. And make no mistake…..I single out football because that’s the sport that seems to attract ruffians, rednecks and, well just plain ignorant folks the most, especially here in SoFL.

  8. 'Nonymous says:

    Ha ha! I bet you a beer “One Man’s Opinion” is a girl. Two beers.

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