Letters

Matti Bower: Eloquent and Busy
For Kirk Semple to say that Matti Bower "isn't a particularly articulate or precise speaker" is ludicrous ("Mistaken Identity," October 26). She is so articulate that her phone, even prior to this city commission election, never stops ringing. When people have a problem, it is Matti they call, hence the diversity of her campaign backers.

As chairman of the Miami Design Preservation League and past chairman of the City of Miami Beach Hispanic Affairs Committee, I can say no one I know has worked longer and harder than Matti Bower to bring people together to work in the best interest of the Miami Beach community.

The truth is that if every man, woman, and child Matti Bower has helped in her twenty years of service votes for her on November 7, she will win the election hands down. If she doesn't win, the bias in our community will be shamefully clear.

Betty Gutierrez
Miami Beach

Matti Bower: Erratic and Doubtful
I have met Matti Bower and her opponent Martin Shapiro and I have heard them both speak at numerous public forums. If Hispanics desire a credible candidate for the Miami Beach City Commission, I think they could probably do much better. Ms. Bower's English is erratic, and she leaves people wondering if she has the ability to grasp the plethora of difficult issues that confront the commission. I hope the voters elect the candidate best able to untangle the issues, not simply someone whose maiden name is Matilde Herrera Lopez.

Garth Guthrie
Miami Beach

Matti Bower: Independent and Energetic
No mistaken identity! Kirk Semple's article captured the essence of Matti Bower as a down-to-earth, energetic, civic-minded community activist. I have known her for more than twenty years. We worked together on many issues affecting the Beach's schools during her years as a leader of the Fisher-Feinberg Elementary, Nautilus Middle, and Miami Beach High School PTAs.

I'm sure some people will try to paint Matti as "a Hispanic" candidate or to criticize her because she has fought powerful interests on important issues, including preservation of historic buildings and the economic development of our city's neighborhoods. Some people don't want an independent, strong-minded, grassroots leader on our commission.

Matti has always been a "doer." When she makes a commitment, she follows through and gets the job done. I've been proud to have her as a friend, and I want to see her continue to serve our community as a commissioner for the City of Miami Beach.

Elayne Weisburd
Miami Beach

Matti Bower: Insider and Unqualified
Yes, Matti Bower's candidacy for the Miami Beach City Commission is a case of mistaken identity. Bower has been mistaken for someone who won't sell out to the power-broker elite of Miami Beach that runs most of the Beach commissioners and its mayor.

Bower has the cunning Victor Diaz and Armando Gutierrez helping to run her campaign, and it was her long-time associate and mentor at the Miami Beach Development Corporation, Commissioner Neisen Kasdin, who got her to run against the only Beach commissioner with the guts to stand up to Kasdin and the other commission whores.

Matti Bower, the purported "Little Red Riding Hood outsider," is nothing of the kind. She has aligned herself with the biggest tax-and-spend commission of all time on Miami Beach, and her constant support for upgraded (and more) low-income housing in a tourist-dependent city like Miami Beach bodes poorly for the city's property values and future tourism.

Shame on the Miami Herald for endorsing Matti Bower when it knows that her election will lock up a four-vote commission majority for the greedy elite that continues to take with both hands while giving the rest of Miami Beach one collective middle finger. No matter her ethnicity; her past coziness with the Beach's "nouveau cronies" makes Matti Bower eminently unqualified to be a commissioner.

I wish for Matti Bower the same jinx that appearing on New Times's cover brought to Miriam Alonso -- a stunning defeat.

Harvey Slavin
Hollywood

Matti Bower: As American as Arroz con Pollo
In reference to Kirk Semple's article "Mistaken Identity," not once did I see the word American used! How come in South Florida the word American has become a liability to a candidate?"

Irwin Feinstein
North Miami

To Serve and Protect and Taunt Morons
I can say I know how Victor Van Gilst felt ("Finally, a Solution to the South Beach Parking Problem!" October 19). I went through a similar experience, except this was over a possible parking infraction.

After parking and walking toward a nightclub, where I was going to meet some friends, a Miami Beach cop approached me and said, "Are you a fucking moron or are you from New York City?" I was floored. I said, "Why are you calling me that?" He replied, "'Cause you must be a fucking moron to park like that or you've got to be from New York City." All I could say was, "Hey, if I'm parked wrong, I'll move it."

He went off on me, so I just said, "If it's such a big deal, I'll move it."
"You're damn right you will," he barked at me, "or I'll have your car towed."

I was going to say, "What, are you going to arrest me as well?" Then I thought to myself, I'm not going to let Officer Dickhead spoil my evening. I turned and walked to my car, and all the while he kept taunting me. Funny, I thought, if I didn't know any better, I would say he was trying to push me to do something stupid so he could bust me.

So maybe Convention and Visitors Bureau spokesman Mayco Villafa*a should open his eyes A or should I say his ears. I'm not the only one who's been harassed.

Name Withheld by Request
Miami

Pit Bull with a Badge
There seems to be no end to horror stories concerning the rabid antics of out-of-control members of the Miami Beach Police Department. I'm sure these pit bulls in uniform are a small percentage of the force, but unfortunately they get most of the press.

Chief Richard Barreto should clean house. There is no excuse for this kind of behavior by beyond-Mark Fuhrmans who hate everyone, black or white, tourist or local. This is Dade County's premier tourist stop. Recent polls show visitors less than thrilled with police attitudes on the Beach; 35 percent would not return to Miami under any circumstances.

Mr. Van Gilst should sue, and appeal to the international police community for support.

Luisa Col centsn
Miami Beach

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