Less Dead Than You Think
Too often Miami and Dade County's worst enemy is the unfounded negative perception. Predominantly fueled by a steady stream of sensational journalism, even long-time residents succumb to the media malaise and struggle to find the positives in our community. When national network news shows open their broadcasts with a single tourist murder in Miami, where does that leave reports about a huge drop in the murder rate?

That is why it was such a pleasure to read Sean Rowe's article "Dead Wrong" in the July 18 issue. Great strides have been made by this community to combat crime, and we are finally seeing significant, if not incredible, results. Although even one murder is unacceptable, a twenty-year low in Dade's murder rate is information that every resident and tourist here should remember and repeat to their friends and family. We've been psyched into believing that our community is undesirable. Now let's deal with the real facts and continue to work on the challenges we face with well-deserved pride in our hometown. Nobody believes that crime statistics should be sugarcoated, but there is no excuse for pouring salt in the wound, either.

Donna Masson, president
Chamber South
South Miami

Hats Off to Powell, Heads Off to Chiefs
Hats off to Robert Andrew Powell for his excellent article "Three Lies" (July 11) on Edward Figueroa, and also to New Times for printing an article that goes against the big boys. As we sat and read it, we were actually wondering how many people go through the same problems but we never hear about it.

Once again we the taxpayers will have to foot the bills for the mistakes of the chiefs. When will enough be enough? Maybe we should get rid of the chiefs and their boys and keep the good honest cops like Figueroa. Maybe then Miami would be a better place.

Kathleen Bryant
South Dade

Three Lies, One Fan
As one looks through the pages of intense research, one can clearly see that the issues are fogged and confused regarding Ed Figueroa's dismissal from the Miami Police Department. Thirteen years of loyal and excellent service were smeared due to personality conflicts and pandered for sensationalism. Having known Ed since he was five years old, I know how truly dedicated he was to his police career. Community activists are appalled that this situation went on for so long.

The public is tired of cruelty and harassment in the name of doing the job. Why shouldn't Ed's case be a landmark in the name of justice gone awry? We appreciate the fact that Robert Andrew Powell looked upon Ed and his family as deserving of a good quality of life and civil rights.

Myrna Pavilack
North Miami

Commissioners, the Doctor Will See You Know
Jim DeFede's article "As Nasty as They Can Possibly Be" (July 4) described quite a dog-and-pony show: one county commissioner sniping at another, lack of decorum, nastiness at a peak, bitching, moaning and groaning about any number of issues. It's amazing what a mayor's race and a bunch of commission seats up for grabs can bring out in this body.

DeFede stated that the nastiness reached a peak during the county commission meetings of June 18 and June 20. But I attended a meeting on June 21 and saw that the best was yet to come. This was a workshop with the Boundaries Commission to discuss incorporation, fiscal equity, and community councils.

Metro Commissioner Gwen Margolis and Hialeah Mayor Raul Martinez, in a discussion, likened Metro's spending to "pissing" and "bladder" problems (their words). If that's the case, I suggest they see Darwich Bejany, an accomplished urologist and surgeon at Cedars Medical Center. I am sure he will suggest a procedure to stop the flow.

The Boundaries Commission was concerned that the more affluent areas leaving the county will pose serious threats to fiscal equity and might lead to a disruption in services in unincorporated Dade. Their report discussed the unequal and homogeneous cities being created as having potentially serious consequences for all of Dade. It mentioned that boundaries of new cities should include less affluent areas. The report to the commission stated "the fiscal future of the unincorporated area is at risk."

So what did this commission do? Did it impose a moratorium on continuing incorporations until there was an understanding of how the results would be dealt with and what those results would be? Did it follow the Boundaries Commission's suggestion to include adjacent areas of ethnic, minority, and lower-income residents in these city-wanna-be's?

No. After all, there is an election coming up and the mayoral hopefuls certainly don't want to alienate the voters in the city-wanna-be's.

All of this came to a head during the July 2 commission meeting. With Key Biscayne, Pinecrest, and Aventura (all upscale white/Hispanic, having created their own boundaries) out of the county, and Miami Lakes, Aventura Beach, and Palmetto Bay in the process, and with some residents of Country Club Lakes, East Kendall, West Kendall, and God knows where else panting to catch up -- the commission decided to be reactive instead of proactive, allowing the process to continue.

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