Letters 1

Hey George, Why Don't You Just Arm-Wrestle Bruce Matheson and Be Done with It
I have been visiting Crandon Park for 35 years and have some comments on its proposed future, as described in Oscar Musibay's article "His Own Private Paradise" (April 4).

It was a bonehead decision to install ball fields on one of the most spectacular tracts of land on the planet. Besides its aesthetics, the park is an extremely important potential natural area. It should be reforested and managed as such. Key Biscayne's council members should stop insisting that the ball fields remain, and instead make a deal with the school board to tap their underused school yards for that purpose. It is called the park-school concept; the City of South Miami provides a perfect model. However, Bruce Matheson errs in insisting on the dismantling of Calusa Park except for one tennis court. Its environmental impact is basically nil.

The tennis center, golf course, and marina are facts of life. Environmentally friendly management regimes should be insisted upon for them. I disagree with Mr. Matheson that the fiscal health of the restaurant, Sundays on the Bay, would be compromised by limiting its use. Nighttime dancing there does not make any difference.

We already have a world-class botanical facility, the financially strapped Fairchild Garden. It would be folly to try to create another at the Gardens at Crandon Park (the old zoo), and I detect absolutely no inclination by any except the most elite -- if that -- to add a budget-busting sculpture garden there. Both would be forlorn failures at best and should be dropped from consideration.

The park's master plan as it now exists relies on a two-headed monster of a parking lot separated by a huge lawn. The lawn is there ostensibly to allow motorists to get a glimpse of the ocean from the road. This feature, the land-swallowing traffic circles, and the roadway overpass all reflect too much homage paid to the automobile.

Delete all three. Instead, let's design a single but larger lot as far south as possible, even encroaching into the present "garden" while paying due respect to the residential areas to the south by creating a wetland buffer exploiting the lakes already there. This wetland demonstration area could be made to coalesce with an environmental education building, which would follow part of the southern edge of the parking lot. Following the lines of the existing cabanas and defining part of the lot's eastern perimeter would be a very open snack bar, carousel, and petting zoo, with a large picnic area beyond. This sinuous branch, along with the equally winding cabanas and wetland area, would form a cartwheel design. Where they meet at the T-intersection, a plaza would be defined by a modestly majestic two-story building on the fourth edge, housing park offices, lifeguard headquarters, and an observation deck on the roof.

If followed, this plan would maximize the use of already-existing disturbed areas (including school yards within the City of Key Biscayne), minimize auto-dominated and turf areas, allow for through traffic to flow unimpeded, and create a villagelike focal point for the eastern half of the park. Kudos to Mr. Matheson and all of those aboring to create a better Crandon Park.

George Childs

Harvey Drops the Herald
Regarding Jim DeFede's article "Union Mad" (April 4): [AFL-CIO union organizer] Ed Feigen is mistaken when he accuses Miami Herald publisher Dave Lawrence of "violating the tenets of good journalism" to get his way on a given subject.

The Miami Herald, in my opinion, has almost never practiced the tenets of good journalism, so how could Lawrence violate them? Personally, I canceled my Herald subscription recently to protest Tony Ridder's egomaniacal effort to give rich brat Micky Arison an early Chanukah present -- public park land and a new arena financed by the suckers, er, taxpayers of Dade County -- all with no vote by the public.

Talk about conflicts of interest -- former Herald publisher Dick Capen now sits on the board of Arison's Carnival Cruise Lines.

If any other business pulled this kind of bullshit, investigations editor Jim Savage and his Herald reporters would be all over it like stink on A well, on the Miami Herald.

Harvey Slavin

Greens with Plenty of Green
Kirk Semple's article "A Whiter Shade of Green" (March 28), on the nearly exclusively white and Anglo composition of the local environmental movement, made many good points but left out another important reason that this movement lacks credibility among minorities and poor people.

The politically vociferous members of groups such as the Tropical Audubon Society or the Sierra Club are almost totally upper-middle-class people who conceive of saving the environment as essentially an effort to make someone else do something or stop doing something, frequently at the expense of his job or income.

The notion that this effort should begin at home with these activists' own lifestyles is simply unthinkable. Turning off their air conditioning and thus lessening the need for power -- nuclear and otherwise -- would never occur to them; neither would trading in their gas guzzlers for economy models or (perish the thought) giving up their second and third cars entirely and riding public transit with the peasants. Selling their wasteful suburban homes and moving to much more energy-efficient multifamily housing is not even worth considering.

Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help
Miami Concert Tickets