Letters

Furthermore, I would like to applaud New Times for its unbiased reporting of the facts not presented during the inquest. The fact that relevant and essential evidence was discriminately omitted. The fact that if the State Attorney's Office had presented the entire case, the outcome might have been different. New Times, you did your job, and your presentation of the facts can only persuade the truth of "Justice Undone."

Harry Torres
Miami Beach

BEGINNER'S LUCK
I read with a chuckle Steve Almond's article, "Heard the One About Perry Mason Trying to Scalp Heat Tickets?" (April 15) but unforunately did not read it before approaching the Miami Arena for a recent Heat game, my first.

For the first time in fifteen years, I had gone to a game without a ticket. As I approached the arena, numerous people were hawking tickets at prices ranging from $40 to $75, most of them misrepresenting where the seats were. Unwilling to pay scalpish prices, I walked up to the arena, where a policeman told me, just like in your article, that it was unlawful to sell tickets, even at face value.

I walked down the street and loudly proclaimed that I was willing to buy a ticket for the game tonight but refused to pay scalpish prices. Believe it or not, God was kind on me, and a gentleman came up and offered an extra ticket for $29. We sat three rows behind Dan Marino, the Miami Dolphins quarterback.

Stanley K. Shapiro
Miami Beach

A LEAN, MEAN STRETCH OF GREEN
As a member of the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA) with a strong background in environmental science, I find it necessary to comment on Kirk Semple's article about the MacArthur Causeway reconstruction, "Asphalt Bungle" (April 8).

It is interesting to note that several architects and town planners were quoted alongside the LAs, all of them addressing the aesthetic ideals they envisioned with no acknowledgment to the environmental issues raised by the inclusion of a horticulturally biased vs. a native landscape. Not even from the landscape architects themselves. True that the causeway is dredge-and-fill and has, as such, forever altered the ecosystem of the bay, but that is no reason to encourage planting species (including sod) that require fertilizers, pesticides, fungicides, herbicides, and irrigation. The chemicals and runoff water will add to the pollution of the waterway, encourage growth of harmful micro-organisms, and kill marine life.

Agreed, views along the causeway should be enhanced where applicable and blocked where objectionable. The interesting part will be to observe the conflicts between the desires of the island residents, who want a green-belt barrier for visual and aural reasons, and the LAs, who want to open up and/or maintain the view. Here, the island resident is the client and should be heard.

As for cost, establishing a native, xeriscape landscape is initially costly, but the cost/benefit ratio improves within a few years, because after the plants are established, little in the way of maintenance is needed. Perhaps the low budget is a blessing in disguise, because it will hold back the eager LAs from planting an expensive-to-maintain landscape.

I find it hard to believe that a fussy landscape treatment is necessary to set the mood for the urban Art Deco district. Since when does a natural setting, more than a few miles from a district, need to be planted with "even stands" of mathematically precise groupings in order to invoke the architecture of an urban setting? More appropriately, it could be argued that the approach needs a design treatment, and is the right place for royal palms and Deco-evocative plants.

And what sort of ecologically correct views should the island residents and road travelers enjoy? Looking at the pros and cons of what has been accomplished on the Julia Tuttle roadway, and recognizing that mangroves colonize when and where they want, it can be concluded that the best way to go is with nature, not against her.

The "regional identity," it should be noted, goes both ways. By that I mean: why wasn't the fabulous modern skyline of Miami mentioned in the article? Why were the designers only looking east, with no concern about one of the most beatiful skylines in the world?

I hope residents realize that the best answer to the very real problem looming in the hurry to finish the causeway "improvements" is the formation of a multidisciplinary group, much like the Brickell Avenue Bridge Gateway Committee. The project is too big, too important, to be left in the hands of bureaucrats and project-oriented staff with little urban design and regional planning experience.

Anne E. M. McCoy, adjunct professor
Department of Urban and Regional Planning
Florida Atlantic University
Fort Lauderdale

WHORE'S SENSE
While I enjoyed Rafael Navarro's review of Raise the Red Lantern ("Days of Lives and Roses," May 13), I differ with him on a small but very significant event that shapes the entire story.

He says the protagonist, Songlian, "decides to drop out of college" after studying for six months. This is not correct. When Songlian's benefactor-father passed away and left the young girl and her stepmother bereft of any support, Songlian had to leave college. The film makes this clear from the beginning. Leaving school was not a voluntary act on Songlian's part, but rather, it was caused by economic improverishment resulting from her father's recent death. Her "choice" to become a concubine (read "prostitute") was a direct result of, and was informed by, her absolute financial dependence on her father, a circumstance that mirrored the plight of all women in such a patriarchal culture. The film stresses the complete and utter dependence on the male for basic survival, highlighting the lack of any real choice for women in that culture.

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