By Chuck Strouse
By Scott Fishman
By Terrence McCoy
By Ryan Yousefi
By Ciara LaVelle, Kat Bein, Carolina Del Busto, and Liz Tracy
By Pepe Billete
By Ryan Yousefi
By Kyle Swenson
Stierheim: A Target for Friends of Odio
Regarding Robert Andrew Powell's interview with Merrett Stierheim ("The Stierheim Report," October 31), the Cubans are maligning an honest public servant who is Miami's friend. He is not deserving of the racist comments by a few people who are friends of Cesar Odio. The vast majority of my Cuban-American friends are appalled by Odio's betrayal of the city.
My prayers go out to Stierheim and to the people of Miami. They deserve more than what they have been getting.
Stierheim: A Feather in Carollo's Cap
Mayor Joe Carollo deserves credit for drafting Merrett Stierheim to conduct a review of Miami's impending financial crisis. Mr. Stierheim is very smart, has integrity and good judgment, and is a workaholic's workaholic. He should stay on the job to help solve the city's problems.
Robert Stewart Denchfield
Stierheim: A Bean Sprout amid the French Fries
After reading "The Stierheim Report," one might say, Welcome to Miami, where honesty is considered a career change. If scandal and prevarication were considered fast food, there would be golden arches over city hall.
Ronald C. Rickey
The Pistol-Packin' Personification of Perfection
I'm an admirer of Ray Martinez's work; however, I must comment on his article "What's a Little Gunplay Among Friends?" (October 24). For the record, Jose "Pepe" Alvarez did not always live a charmed life. It took him years of hard work and sacrifice to get where he is today. Absolutely nothing has ever been handed to him on a silver platter. Despite his successes, there isn't a kinder, more compassionate man, and it is unfair to paint him in such a cold light.
Instead of enjoying the fruits of his labor, Pepe is tireless in his commitment to helping this community. He honestly believes in giving something back. Actively encouraging his employees to participate, he sponsors food drives for the homeless at Thanksgiving, collects toys for needy children at Christmas, and is a sponsor of the annual Walk for Multiple Sclerosis. But perhaps closest to Pepe's heart is the church he's building (the St. Francis of Assisi/St. Claire Mission) for the Corpus Christi area here in Miami.
As for the "menservants" mentioned in the article, Pepe has only one personal assistant, Johnny, who is one more testament to his generosity. As a young African American living on the streets, Johnny would frequent the office for cars to wash. Pepe gave him a job, took him off the streets, and today Johnny is a trusted member of the family. He would be offended to hear himself referred to as a manservant.
I realize these points are not the issue, but in light of the article, it seems an issue has been made of his character. If truth be told, Jose "Pepe" Alvarez is an amiable, educated gentleman who is not given to violent fits of temper, especially not to the detriment of others. He has a gentle kindness that few men of his position have.
Despite Winston Noe Curtis's allegations, if something did occur, Mr. Alvarez was probably provoked. Assistant Miami Beach Police Chief Manuel Diaz and Det. Gary Schiaffo did their jobs. Why spend more taxpayer money on sacrificing an honest man for the sake of publicity?
It's understandable why the article was so one-sided, as Mr. Alvarez declined to comment. Unfortunately he was going through a difficult period at the time of the alleged incident. His mother was dying of cancer (she finally passed away on October 1).
I hope Ray Martinez's next article is back on par with his previous work, as the only truth to this one is that Jose "Pepe" Alvarez is, and always has been, a perfect gentleman.
B. D. Rodriguez
You Say Studio, Berny Says Stupido!
Month by month the area named after its now extinct coconut groves is becoming a miniature Kendall. Every new development is trying to squeeze more tacky units than the last onto plots of land that barely hold one small house.
Now, as Sean Rowe wrote, certain groups want to destroy the Merrill-Stevens boat yard ("Guess Who's Coming to Dinner Key?" October 17). The farmers'-market concept would not be a good fit on the waterfront. What would become just another strip mall for items available only blocks away does not need access to Biscayne Bay.
Putting up a movie studio is completely senseless. The old hangars could never be soundproofed. New structures would need to be built and soundproofed by having no windows. At best, some of the clerical workers might have a view of the ocean.
To make full use of the waterfront, it should be kept as a boat yard. Merrill-Stevens is one of the few places left in that part of Miami where boat owners can take their boats out of the water for maintenance.
Adding some docks, like at Dinner Key Marina, would be a welcome addition. Adding a few more businesses serving the boating industry would bring in more revenue. Most important, preserving the boat yard would preserve a way of life for Miami's seafaring community.
New Times, the Official Press Agency for Boffo Author Alex Daoud
Congratulations for having the courage to publicize a portion of the true story of the political corruption that existed in our community and that still exists ("The Haunting of Alex Daoud," October 10 and October 17). I certainly don't agree with everything Kirk Semple wrote about me, but at least an attempt was made to expose the truth about many of the guilty parties who evaded the penalties of prosecution because of my misplaced sense of loyalty -- a sense of loyalty that I now deeply regret. Unfortunately there is one glaring fault in "The Haunting of Alex Daoud." The flaw lies in the fact that the article only reveals a very small portion of the corruption that permeates Dade County.
The true revelations of how deep the political evils were and still are will be revealed in my book Miami Beach/Corrupted. What will be exposed is the name of that politician anonymously referred to in Semple's article -- the one who ran down two elderly pedestrians. The unanswered question of why your cable television bills are so expensive and who was responsible for the backdoor political deals that caused this will also be explained. My book will describe the violent acts of a group of police officers who formed a vigilante gang to fight against the endless wave of Mariel Cuban criminals that plagued our city. It will give an accurate accounting of the behind-the-scene dealings of local politics and how they were made to appear democratic. The endless stream of politicians who were doing illegal and unethical deals with me will be divulged. The unsavory influence of the labor unions on local political elections within our community will be uncovered. The numerous lawyers, lobbyists, and businessmen who brazenly bribed me while I was in office -- and who are doing business as usual today -- will be unmasked. The secret organization of wealthy people that controls the political destiny of Miami will be named. My book will allow the reader to experience the horrible emotions of witnessing a Miami Beach police officer slowly dying in a filthy alley after being shot in the back by a recidivist Cuban criminal. The reader will once and for all learn the truth about the rise and fall of CenTrust, the second-largest bank failure in the history of the United States. The names of many so-called community leaders and their involvement in political vote selling will be unleashed. The true political maneuvering that surrounded the visit of Nelson Mandela to our community will finally be made public. The story will go on to tell of the terrible, emotional ordeal of fighting a criminal indictment of 41 counts, with the reality of being sentenced to ten years of incarceration in a federal penitentiary.
All of these real events will be revealed in my book, along with many other horrifying, genuine experiences from a life in Miami Beach politics. But in order to publish the truth, I need help. If there are any investors, publishers, editors, or public relations people who would like to be involved in revealing the truth by having my manuscript published, please write me care of New Times. Or if you would just like to communicate with me, I will personally answer each of you. The story is not over yet!
John Grisham, National Treasure
In reviewing The Chamber (October 17), Todd Anthony gives us an interesting option in the title of his review: "This Movie or the Death Penalty." I've got a better one: This movie or six months of Klan infiltration.
You forget, kind sir, that before John Grisham is a writer, he is a lawyer. He takes seriously the adage, "A lawyer who is only a lawyer is only half a lawyer." His books and movies serve at least two purposes: They give us models of quiet personal heroism (which have been sorely lacking for the past twenty years), and they teach us about a part of life that is normally hidden. His bag of work tools includes lawyering, writing, researching, teaching, snooping, and community activism. On the other hand, he's a lousy actor -- those fresh peachy cheeks give him away every time.
I don't know what the producer or director was up to. Unlike in A Time to Kill, they did not hide Grisham's purpose with Hollywood schmaltz. The Chamber gives an excellent synopsis of the organization of hate groups in Florida, Minnesota, D.C., and California, as well as Mississippi. The book and movie also remind us that Jewish Americans, along with African Americans, are in the cross hairs of hate groups. And it shows that workers for justice come in all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. The characterizations of both the governor and his aide are perfect.
Mr. Anthony's confusion -- that Grisham is writing fiction -- is understandable. He's not. He merely changes names, dates, and locales. Try The Chamber again, not to be entertained but to learn.