A.J. Johnson

Killian Nine: Toss Dawson in the Slammer
After reading the Killian pamphlet, I was very impressed. These kids showed remarkable vocabulary, artistic clarity, mental ability, and logic.

If I had enough cash, I would offer them effective legal counsel. And I would be happy to see principal Timothy Dawson behind bars, just to see how he likes it. I only hope the Killian Nine remember, years from now, what an assh- - - this Dawson is. Now I can see why he is not highly regarded by the students.

Mikel Adones
Coral Gables

Killian Nine: Bust the Busters
Yes, there is no question the Killian pamphlet was against school policy, but the fact that these students were arrested is an outrage! No laws were even remotely broken. Criminal charges should and must be brought against the principal and anyone else involved in the arrest and attempted prosecution of the students involved.

Tad Swackhammer
Cutler Ridge

Nice Try, Richard
Just a few brief comments on Jim DeFede's recent coverage of Commissioner Bruce Kaplan's mortgage application ("The Case Against Kaplan," March 5): For one thing, the accusations appear to be based largely on hearsay, secondhand verbal reports, and subjective interpretation. There also appears to be considerable political motivation involved.

For another thing, exaggeration or distortion on a mortgage application is like fornication or adultery -- if everyone who has ever done it were prosecuted, half the population of the United States would be in jail. Moreover, it seems to me that if Commissioner Kaplan is making his house payments, not only should he not be accused of a criminal offense but there are not even any grounds to sue him in civil court.

If someone does exaggerate their income on an application, gets a mortgage, and does not make their payments, then it should be strictly a civil matter, and the lending agency always has the option of foreclosure. It is the responsibility of banks and mortgage companies to investigate the income, assets, and credit-worthiness of applicants.

Don't we have enough real corruption in local and regional government without this sort of nonsense?

Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

No Harm, No Foul at Munisport
This letter is in response to Paula Park's article "What Are a Few Toxins Among Friends?" (February 5) regarding the Munisport Superfund site. After reading the article and considering the time taken by my staff to answer questions from Ms. Park, I would like to correct and clarify some of the misrepresentations and errors in the article, which does not adequately reflect the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) position in this matter.

Much of the article pertains to the potential involvement of EPA's national ombudsman and the Department of Justice (DOJ) submissions to the U.S. District Court regarding the role of the ombudsman at the Munisport site. The article implies that the EPA ignored the concerns of the community and provided incorrect information to DOJ. The article fails to note that after a review of the concerns raised by the Munisport Dump Coalition (MDC), a letter was issued to the organization on November 3, 1997, by Tim Fields, EPA acting assistant administrator, Office of Emergency and Remedial Response, stating that after a review of the issues, it was concluded that "it was not necessary nor appropriate" for the ombudsman to review this site. Additionally, the article failed to note that the inspector general's office issued a determination on January 7, 1998, acknowledging that the EPA and the DOJ had been contacted, that their response was satisfactory, and that no further action was required.

The EPA, along with the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) and Dade County Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM), has spent more than a decade investigating this site, collecting hundreds of samples, and considering concerns raised by the community environmental groups, at a cost of millions of dollars. Contrary to the article, EPA has never asserted that the site has been fully cleaned and needs no further response. In fact, we support FDEP and DERM in their efforts regarding the closure of the landfill and the management of contaminated groundwater in accordance with their regulations. In essence, the EPA's decision is a determination that the threat to the environment has been mitigated to the degree that further response by the federal government is no longer needed.

Another error in the article is the date on which the EPA was reported to have made its decision that no further federal action was needed. The article states that the EPA decided in 1990 that the work was "progressing well enough that it could begin packing its bags to leave." It was July 1990 when the EPA initially decided that an action was needed to protect the environment. It was not until later, in 1996, after the tidal improvement to the wetlands and extensive studies, that the EPA began to see improvements in water quality. A formal decision that no further action was needed by the EPA was issued in September 1997.

It is important to understand that this site does not pose a threat to health or the environment that would require further federal involvement, and that the landfill will soon undergo final closure to bring it into compliance with FDEP and DERM requirements, which are much more stringent than the EPA's.

John H. Hankinson, Jr., regional administrator
Environmental Protection Agency

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