Letters

Our Bodies, Our Shopping Malls
As Jacob Bernstein's article "The Final Harvest" (May 14) detailed, developers, speculators, environmentalists, politicos, residents, and farmers all have an interest in the last major agricultural area of Dade County. But one major issue was not covered by even as much as a single sentence: the public's health and safety.

With more and more reports about improper growing methods and contamination involving imported fruits and vegetables, why don't we realize the importance of our locally grown crops, which adhere to proper growing practices and handling? What comes first -- strip malls, housing subdivisions, gas stations, and high-rises or public health and safety?

If we do away with more and more Dade County farms and greenery, are we not causing future problems of inestimable proportions? Yes, property owners have their rights, but how far can developers' wishes be allowed to proceed? We must have a meeting of the minds for all involved.

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

Erratum
Owing to a reporting error, "The Final Harvest" incorrectly stated that Homestead banker Bill Losner settled a legal dispute with a South Dade community activist by paying an undisclosed sum of money to the activist. The legal dispute was settled out of court but neither side would discuss the terms. New Times regrets the error.

Best Idiotic Prescription for Disaster
Despite having been chosen Best Place to Jet Ski, Blue Lagoon -- along State Road 836 near the airport -- is not a cool place to Jet Ski ("Best of Miami," May 14). The lagoon is a manatee zone. Last year a baby manatee was killed there by a Jet Ski. How about doing better research and finding places for Jet Skiers where they won't have a chance of ruthlessly running over one of the most gentle and endangered animals in Florida?

And in regard to Best Kids' Thrill, feeding manatees is against the law. If you're caught, you can be subject to a big fine. Most people throw pizza and junk food at the creatures, which endangers their health. Feeding manatees also causes them to become attached to and dependent on people, which is not a good thing if we are trying to save a species.

New Times reaches a lot of people. How about supporting the preservation and survival of the precious manatee instead of hastening their demise?

Lynda Green
Miami

Editor's note: We sheepishly acknowledge that Ms. Green is correct regarding the feeding of manatees, so we have removed the Best Kids' Thrill item from our Website, where the "Best of Miami" remains posted for a full year. Jet Skiing at Blue Lagoon is not illegal, although it seems that posted speed limits are frequently ignored. Next year we'll find another recommended locale for those who like it fast and loud.

He May Be a Bully, but He's Our Bully
Conspicuously missing in Ted B. Kissell's article about Miami-Dade Community College president Eduardo Padron was any mention of the reaction of the student body to Dr. Padrón's "students first" restructuring program ("Schoolyard Bully," May 7).

The primary purpose of a community college should be to satisfy the educational needs of its student body, not to provide a sheltered haven for academic egos. If Dr. Padrón's reforms of MDCC have succeeded in securing that institution's ability to continue to provide a first-rate education to its student body, then he should be commended for his efforts, regardless of the bruised feelings of a few disgruntled faculty politicians.

In a community accustomed to mediocrity and tepid political leadership, bold and decisive action in pursuit of outright excellence should be congratulated, not questioned.

Victor M. Diaz, Jr.
Miami Beach

A Bully and a Half!
I thought Ted B. Kissell's story on Eduardo Padrón was outstanding. Calling Dr. Padron a bully was a huge understatement. I know this from firsthand experience.

I am the former sports information director for Miami-Dade Community College's Wolfson Campus. I left because of Dr. Padron. I saw one of the most successful intercollegiate sports programs in the nation get slashed faster than the Florida Marlins. Many individuals who had been there for more than ten or twenty years lost everything. The coaches at Miami-Dade dedicated their lives to the program and their athletes. Many of these individuals had families to support and had dedicated years to MDCC.

Present and future athletes lost many scholarship opportunities. Many of these kids need a junior college to be their stepping stone to a Division I university because either their grades aren't good enough in high school, they suffer a language barrier, or they just can't afford education at the university level.

In any case, Dr. Padron had no consideration for student-athletes, coaches, or the future of South Florida sports. I am glad that someone exposed him for the dictator he really is and the administrator he is not.

Alfred Caballero
Miami

WLRN: Stay Weird, Please
Having lived in Miami only ten years now, I enjoyed reading Kirk Nielsen's article about the history and the development of WLRN-FM ("Static," May 7). As a former radio program director, however, I disagree with his criticism of general manager Gustavo Sagastume's approach to programming.

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