Francisco G. Aruca
Radio Progreso

Best Category Manny Expects to Win
I want to commend New Times on the "Best of Miami" issue. A colossal piece of journalism, it seemed to sparkle, to fuse with me as my curious eyes hovered over everything from the best food in Miami to the Best Marlins Player to Best Transvestite Strip Club Gone Straight. I do, however, have my reservations about the issue -- namely, that New Times did not include Best Letters to the Editor.

I now know why this publication is still in existence, and why it will be well into the 21st Century: because it brings out the best, and at times the worst, in people. I would like to nominate New Times as the best non-kissass publication in Miami. Hats off.

Manny Losada

You See Green, They See Greenbacks
Regarding Jacob Bernstein's article "The Final Harvest" (May 14), Dade County has precious little land that still retains a rural flavor. And once the farmland is gone, it's gone forever. What is sad is that we could lose this last corner of land that fulfills a basic need -- food.

Meanwhile whole areas of our inner city stand waiting for revitalization. Miami should learn a lesson from Boulder, Colorado, which has contained development by buying a green belt around the city. Farmers and ranchers still thrive, while land values both inside and outside the city increase.

Why can't the Dade County Farm Bureau understand that preservation will be good for farmers? Or are its members more interested in turning a fast profit than farming?

Bart Shaw
Miami Beach

Consider It Paved
I don't live in South Dade and I don't farm, but my friends and I do drive down several times each year to buy strawberries and squash and great tomatoes. The Redland area feels like a special place to me. Why not bed-and-breakfasts, bike rides, and strawberry shakes? There must be a way to preserve it. Must all of Dade be developed?

Diego Lopez

Now Entering Coral Gables, Have Your Passport Ready
It's amazing, isn't it? Politicians never learn. Don't bother to get both sides of the story, to verify facts, or even to explore the possibility of wrongdoing on the part of a city employee. Just cover your ass. As Tristram Korten reported ("Chop a Trunk, Go to Jail," May 7), Coral Gables city administrators have a well-known reputation, and it isn't for being open-minded, flexible, or remembering who they work for.

More than a hundred people stopped by while I was working on the tree-trunk sculpture that led to my arrest, and not one of them had any negative comments (this included at least a dozen city employees). As for threats made when I was confronted by city employee Troy Springmyer, I wasn't the one with my fists clenched, turning purple with rage. As for Springmyer being in fear for his life, he stands three to four inches taller than I, outweighs me by at least 40 pounds, is half my age, and was in my face.

Let's get real. If he was afraid, why did one of his own men have to tell him to "back off"? What constitutes inappropriate behavior on the part of a city employee? Is it appropriate to threaten to destroy my work out of spite?

Hurray for the "City Beautiful," even though it isn't a part of this great land of ours, where freedom of expression is a right, where a person is innocent until proven guilty, where it's a crime to bear false witness, and where the majority rules. And where a trash tree is considered more desirable than a work of art.

Arnold Wiseman
South Dade

Editor's note: The Dade State Attorney's Office declined to prosecute Wiseman, a general contractor who had been arrested and charged with felony aggravated assault.

Oh, Those Crazy Cubans (Heh, Heh...)
The subject of Mike Clary's April 30 article "Our Man in Havana" (why is La Habana never spelled right?) came up during a meeting of our organization. It was decided that someone should write a letter. So here it is.

We are not outraged! Rather (not Dan, please), we are mildly amused by Mr. Clary's lack of knowledge regarding the matter that is central to the ethos of this community. It's like, do you live in Miami, man?

The problem is not with the subject of his article. Most comments regarding Max Lesnik were on the order of "Who?" Neither is the general tone of the article a major problem. It was received with the usual resignation we reserve for most of what is written in English about Cuba or Cubans: "Estos americanos no aprenden ..." One of our members attempted a synthesis of both the article and its subject: "There's no business like show business."

But I will get to the point. You know how we emotional Cubans (elbow in the ribs, wink) like to beat around the bush. (Not George!)

Mr. Clary does violence to historical truth when he writes that Mr. Leonardo Viota was the author of the "ubiquitous bumper sticker 'No Castro, No Problem.'" He makes not one but two crass errors in such a short statement, probably a journalistic first. Mr. Viota had no special role in the adoption of the motto "No Castro, No Problem" other than being at that time (1994) a member in good standing (and sitting) of our organization. We would like to make clear that he no longer stands or sits among us.

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