Letter From Miami: There's Trouble--Lots Of It--in Paradise

Restless locals call Miami a corrupt, exorbitant mess, and many are leaving

Jewelry, an actress once said, takes people's minds off your wrinkles. So too has Miami's necklace of pearl beaches and aventurine waters long distracted residents from the city's notorious imperfections. Crime and corruption were a small price to pay, people told themselves, for an otherwise affordable existence so near paradise.

That logic may no longer apply. Crime is down, but the city's old dysfunctions have been joined by acute new economic pressures on Miami's middle class and retirees. Now that the city's jagged growth spurt is showing signs of sputtering, regular Miamians are taking stock of their new city: traffic jams,...

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