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
You Don't Have to Be a Kook to Hate the Sanctuary
It's a shame that Sean Rowe's article "A Key Battle" (January 9) portrays such a narrow view of why the referendum on the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary was defeated in the last election. He didn't seem to talk to more than a handful of players involved, and never even mentioned that recreational anglers -- not just commercial fishermen -- are also up in arms over the no-fishing zones in the proposed management plan.
While there were certainly many anti-government votes cast, there was a huge number of people who would like to see the benefits of a federal sanctuary but were disappointed in many elements of the management plan. Rowe barely mentioned that the initial enthusiasm for a sanctuary was based on its hope of deterring oil drilling and ship groundings, and improving water quality.
Keys residents were instead presented with a bewildering barrage of confusing regulations that include lockout areas for anglers and segregation of selected user groups. The excuse by sanctuary proponents that they lost because of negative campaigning by the other side is a bit time-worn -- and the mudslinging was far from one-sided. Even if the sanctuary had won the referendum, it's obvious that too many people in the Keys haven't embraced what should be a mom and apple pie program.
Indeed, sanctuary officials have arrogantly decided since the referendum to make no changes to the plan -- even the most unpopular elements -- unless forced to do so by Governor Chiles and the cabinet or by congressional oversight committees. That's the very attitude that chased away many voters from supporting the sanctuary in the first place -- years of little listening on the part of sanctuary officials, except to those who supported NOAA's views and to cooperative environmental groups hungry for federal research grants.
Rowe's casual mention that only one percent of sanctuary waters will be off-limits to anglers doesn't come close to touching on all the explosive problems with zoning in the management plan. He fails to point out how unscientifically the sites were chosen, how worldwide studies show that any benefits to the surrounding ecosystem are largely speculative, that those pushing for the zones will be the ones compiling the statistics and will decide if more and larger ones are needed, and that anglers are booted out of zones but divers would be allowed in them, despite 1.6 million divers each year negatively impacting the resources of the Keys. This "divers in, anglers out" inequity will never be acceptable to anglers.
The Florida Keys are a national treasure, but that doesn't mean they deserve a flawed management plan. The heavy-handed manner in which the federal government has handled the sanctuary is giving pause to people around the state who are considering a sanctuary in their own back yards -- and that doesn't make most of them kooks or potential terrorists, as Rowe's article seems to portray those who voted against the sanctuary.
Let's have a marine sanctuary in the Keys, but one that concentrates federal money and resources in a positive, effective manner.
After Teetering on the Brinks, City Is Saved!
In Robert Andrew Powell's recent story "It's Official: Miami Is Now a Charity Case" (January 9), St. Petersburg resident Arthur Fleming suggested that Mayor Joe Carollo pray for a miracle to end Miami's financial woes. Well, that miracle arrived on the morning of January 8, on an overpass above Overtown -- the Brinks truck that rained money onto the streets below.
I can only hope that Mayor Joe and his aides had the presence of mind to recognize a miracle when it happened and grabbed shovels to help fill the city coffers. I also hope he had the presence of mind not to mention the incident to city commissioners as they would probably go overboard, show up with bulldozers, and then clog the drive-through lines at their local banks.
Thomas V. Gardner
North Miami Beach
Go Ahead, Shoot the Pianoman
Jim DeFede's mention that Miami Herald political editor Tom Fiedler sees Miami City Commissioner J.L. Plummer as the "whorehouse piano player who pretends not to know what goes on upstairs" gave me the hiccups ("Miami's Undertaker," January 2).
I don't know this Plummer fellow. He looks like quite a slob, so maybe he's not all bad. Or maybe he is all bad. One thing I do know: At worst, Plummer is just the guy in the whorehouse vestibule. It's Fiedler at the piano, pretending. If you feel like saying "Amen," go right ahead.
Let Camacho Guide You Out of the Wildnerness of Capitalism
For a number of years now, I have considered myself a bona fide revolutionary, engaging in a variety of legal activities the purpose of which is to bring about the overthrow of capitalism in this country and the establishment of an industrial democracy by means of a working-class revolution.
I suppose that to most people I must seem an oddball, a disgruntled weirdo who hates capitalism because he's been kicked in the teeth one too many times. Guys like me are always looking for potential comrades and for signs of the apocalypse written upon the granite facades of Wall Street. That is why I was immediately drawn to your January 2 issue, the one emblazoned with the headline "New Year's REVOLUTION." I eagerly read Kirk Semple's article, hopeful to detect fissures in Babylon's monolith and Ezekiels ready to prophesy its downfall. I was disappointed.