Curiously, on paper it would seem that DeFede would be on the same team as Penelas and May. Both camps have demonstrated their commitment to cleaning up government and holding public officials to high ethical standards. To date, Mr. DeFede has chosen either to deride Penelas and May's reform agenda or to ignore it altogether.

Let's hope Mr. DeFede recognizes that "personal attack" journalism is not the same as "advocacy journalism." If he gets back on track, we'll all be better off.

William J. Collins
Coral Gables

DeFede: A Veteran of Pawing Through Other People's Garbage
I don't know how much money New Times pays Jim DeFede, but he ought to give back a recent paycheck. I mean, an article about Brian May forgetting to pay his water bill?

In the last year, I've watched with sadness as the quality of New Times has deteriorated, printing articles that run the gamut from the yellow (Cesar Odio's family profile) to the banal (some civil servant who wants to be a fashion model). But this one is definitely the most inconsequential and petty I've read in a long time. Even the National Enquirer does much better.

It's funny that in another article, Mr. DeFede wrote that May "doesn't have casual conversations. He has agendas ("You Make the Call," April 2). Seems to me that DeFede is the one with the agenda -- namely, to appoint himself Kenneth Starr to Penelas and his administration and find an angle to criticize everything the mayor does. Such tactics only undermine the credibility of the paper and make his motives questionable.

If Brian May was delivering pizza ten years ago (and looking at his photograph, he must have been very young then) and is now the mayor's chief of staff, I would say that's quite an accomplishment. DeFede may have been a journalist for more than ten years, but he still has not evolved from rummage-through-the-trash methods.

I've got a hot tip for him. I heard that Penelas tips only twelve percent in restaurants. Such cheap behavior is intolerable in an elected official, especially one who makes more than $90,000 per year. It must be exposed. Go get him, Jim!

Alejandro Barreras
Miami Beach

DeFede: Taking You to an Exciting New Level of Corruption
As Jim DeFede points out ("Take My Son, Please," April 9), the corrupt hiring practices at Miami International Airport are not news. I've known this since 1988, when I applied for the same position as the son of Dade Commissioner Javier Souto, but with a big difference: I had to pass a written test and wait for an interview and approval for a position in the airport's safety and security division.

I was disqualified, with no reasonable explanation.
It did not matter that I had ten years' experience with the airline industry in passenger sales and as a service agent at Miami International Airport. Nor did it matter that I had a college degree and knowledge of the airport facilities and procedures. Mr. DeFede's article proves once again that the corruption in this county reaches to all levels in government.

Rene L. Santana

DeFede: He's Italian, He's from Brooklyn -- Bingo!
I have been reading and collecting Hispanic-related articles from your sometimes-well-written paper for ten years, ever since I moved to Miami. After Jim DeFede's article "With Friends Like These" (March 26) concerning the sons of Jorge Mas Canosa and his questionable attack on Alex Penelas, I really have to wonder about objectivity -- and most definitely about New Times's obvious anti-Hispanic bias.

The only time the likes of you come to the aid of Hispanics is when they are impoverished, which achieves your self-serving goals. You enjoy seeing us in the place you think we belong. It reminds me of the time I spent living among Italian Americans in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. When the minute my neighbors found out I was Hispanic, the "Good mornings" ceased to be spoken and heads were turned. That was one good reason for moving down to Florida.

If you don't like the fact that we hold political and economic power, too bad. It will take a civil war to remove us from this land.

Corruption is as common in Anglo-Saxon, Italian, and Jewish politicians as it is in the Hispanic community. With luck, someone with some objectivity will focus on them also. It is quite obvious what Mr. DeFede and New Times are: the voice of South Florida bigots who want to see us as their maids and gardeners, but not as their equals.

Ernesto Bernadet
Coral Gables

DeFede: Pea-Brained Hunter of Witches
I read the hatchet job that Jim DeFede did on State Sen. Daryl Jones ("Secretary of Limbo," March 19). The character assassination by innuendo, unsupported allegations, and rumor puts New Times in a class with the Star and the National Enquirer.

Not only is Daryl Jones qualified without any taint to be Secretary of the Air Force, but he may be the single most outstanding leader in Dade County, and perhaps the only leader able to unify this diverse melting pot. Shame on New Times for attempting to impugn the integrity of so outstanding a man. To have allowed yourselves to become a pawn of bigoted, narrow-minded Republicans who are attempting a sub rosa derailment of Senator Jones's appointment because they are unable to confront his many outstanding achievements gives new meaning to the phrase witch-hunt.

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