Letters

Dukes to Heat: Take Your Turkey and Stuff It
I have just read Norma Jean Walker's opinion of the Miami Heat's support of the Overtown community ("Letters," November 14). Now let me give you my opinion. The letter states that the Heat sponsored the first Thanksgiving celebration and will do so again this year. This contribution should not be overlooked, but it's certainly not enough.

I am a single mother of a three-year-old daughter who attends Frederick Douglass Elementary and is enrolled in the Head Start program. Not once has she brought home a notice saying, "As role models of the community here to exert positive influences on the young people of the future, the Miami Heat will be appearing at your child's school to lecture on the importance of staying in school, setting good examples, and stressing the need for a college education." These are things I am instilling in my daughter, but to hear them from world-famous Heat players would reinforce the issues for my daughter and a lot of other kids.

When I ride Metrorail on occasion into downtown Miami, it pains me to look out at Overtown and see all the dilapidated buildings. Some buildings are in need of nothing more than a paint job. The Miami Arena, however, sits pristine and unscathed by the overwhelming poverty.

Overtown is not full of mansions and expensive cars like some neighborhoods, but it is home to one and many. I sincerely believe that the Miami Heat players and owners felt they would build the arena, throw scraps at the residents of Overtown, and think nothing of it. Everything the Heat has done for Overtown has been vestiges, offered to Overtown residents as an afterthought.

I challenge the Miami Heat to take action. The players make millions of dollars per year, yet all they contributed as a monetary gift to Overtown was a check for a little over $500? Overtown is one of the poorest places in the country; the people do not need to be patronized. I do not commend the Heat on anything they have done to uplift the Overtown residents. Why? Because a lot more could and should have been done. The Heat made promises to Overtown that they half-heartedly fulfilled. The Heat should be ashamed to call themselves contributors to the Overtown community.

If the Miami Heat cannot think of enough things to do for Overtown, I'll be happy to help them out with a few suggestions:

*Provide free bus passes to teenagers actively enrolled and attending school. They need more than Heat T-shirts to make it.

*How about some paint?
*Schedule more appearances in local elementary and junior high schools in the Overtown area.

*Set up a program that's ongoing and everlasting -- involving Heat players and Overtown residents -- to help beautify Overtown.

Yolantha V. Dukes
Miami

Is Sam Thomspon Fighting a Winnable War?
Whoa! I hope Sam Thompson ("Uncommon Law," November 7) is not trying to manage the University of Miami School of Law the way the Vietnam War was managed. We all know the result of that: a lot of casualties and a big goose egg in the win column. Already there appear to be a lot of casualties.

Remember, "it takes a village" to build a law school, not someone trying to go it alone. You must "build a bridge," not just use worn-out old campaign slogans such as "top 20 law school" over and over again.

James W. Kelly
Miami

Perfectly Professional Paula
I must pay Paula Park the ultimate compliment of saying that I don't know what she personally thinks of UM law school dean Sam Thompson. It was a fine piece of writing by a genuine professional.

Judy Lubitz
Miami

Going Hungry and Going Broke
Jen Karetnick's complaint that the new Pacific Heights restaurant ("Fear of Flying," November 7) serves tiny portions with high prices reminds me of the first and last time I ate at sister restaurant Pacific Time on Lincoln Road. The entrees contained so little food that we left hungry after paying too high a price for what we were served. I am not a big eater, but three times the amount of food on our plates would have equaled the main course at any other restaurant. The owners of these restaurants insult their customers.

Scott Toth
Miami

A Museum Is Railroaded
Mr. David Frankle of the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) clearly displays why a problem without resolution has developed. Saying that the Gold Coast Railroad Museum ("The Little Museum That Couldn't," October 31) was a Volkswagen before the storm and that we now expect a Cadillac to be paid for with taxpayer's money is not only misleading to the community but once again reaffirms that the volumes of documentation submitted by the museum have been either not read, not understood, or ignored.

I, and any other taxpayer, would not want to think that any government employee or agency would knowingly waste more than one million tax dollars on a nonfunctioning structure. What was not made clear in the article is what created this waste of funds.

As Sean Rowe reported, the Gold Coast Railroad Museum has followed instructions provided by the State of Florida Department of Community Affairs employees. The State of Florida is the grant recipient for FEMA funds. The museum is a sub-grantee. We have never had direct access to the Federal Emergency Management Administration staff.

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