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
Ollie's Nifty Fix-it Formula
I read Kirk Nielsen's article "Wheels of Fortune" (July 2) with dismay. If even a portion of what was reported about the Miami-Dade Transit Agency is accurate, this is a bad situation that needs to be fixed.
Overtime pay may be a fact of life for public transit operators, but there are budgetary realities to consider. We simply cannot afford to pay for an extended period of time the level of compensation noted in the article. If those bus drivers earning $70,000 to $90,000 are under binding financial obligations, their salaries should be maintained, but no more salaries in this range should be added.
The system can and would carry more passengers if emphasis were placed on frequent pickups, reliable service, and rider amenities. This is particularly true in high-growth areas such as west Dade. There is also a need for better coordination of schedules to eliminate long waits when transferring. In addition, facilities such as child care need to be included at transportation hubs such as Dadeland South, Martin Luther King, and Cutler Ridge. This will ensure that public transit is a reasonable option for those who currently find it problematic.
With many former welfare recipients about to enter the work force, there will be plenty of potential new riders at all hours of the day. USA Today reported that welfare caseloads dropped the most in counties with public transport. The New York Times noted that an increase in public-transit use in New York has been fueled by immigrant patronage. Good transit service -- safe, comfortable, reliable, and easy to use -- will attract and hold riders. This must be done at a price that people can realistically afford to pay.
Ollie Lee Taylor
Harvey Returns, Bile Intact
No wonder Miami High School principal Victor Lopez made so many stupid comments in Robert Andrew Powell's article "Double Dribbling" (July 2). Just look at the photograph of him. He really is Mr. Potato Head!
More than ten years ago a Miami Herald reporter told me in a phone conversation that every starting player of the state championship Miami High basketball team lived outside the school's attendance boundaries, but he didn't want to go public with the story. Why, I'm not sure. (I swear this is true and will take a lie detector test to prove it!)
I strongly suggest that New Times and the Florida High School Activities Association investigate those old Miami High state championship basketball teams.
Todd! Todd! Come Back, Todd!
Thank you for running Michael Sragow's review of Hurricane Streets ("Blow Hard," June 18). I can't remember the last time that a film screened at the Alliance Cinema made it into a newspaper. Although strangers ask me on a daily basis what will happen to the Alliance when the multiplex opens nearby on Lincoln Road, no one asks about our real concern: the loss of a local film critic at New Times.
A year and a half ago New Times let go of Todd Anthony, a superior film critic who could write, not just criticize. He also had his ear to the ground concerning issues of film and filmmaking in Miami. This topic is of extreme importance to this town, but apparently not to New Times. Instead the paper now publishes the vitriolic writings of West Coast critics, mostly about films produced in Los Angeles, none of which are worthy of reading by any Miamian interested in movies.
Hurricane Streets probably got reviewed only because Mr. Sragow felt obligated to watch a film that won three awards at the Sundance festival. Mr. Sragow's so-called review taught us two things: He hated the movie, and his writing about the plot is at a third-grade level. Not one word addressed cinematic issues such as direction, acting, photography, or editing.
Nor did Mr. Sragow ask why it took the Alliance Cinema a year of struggle to be able to show the film. Or why the Alliance would be screening a movie from MGM, a Hollywood giant that doesn't usually return phone calls from art houses. Or why the director was flying to Miami for the screening. Or how Jamin O'Brien came to be assistant director on his first feature. Or why the Alliance co-produced a locally made feature with Mr. O'Brien, a movie that was launched to the public at the opening of Hurricane Streets.
Of course Mr. Sragow didn't ask these questions. He doesn't live here. New Times purports to be a local paper, but in reality it is a large corporation based in Phoenix, and its movie reviews run throughout the country. If New Times wants to call itself a local paper, it should stop including a film section. We miss you, Todd.
Joanne Butcher-Zbornik, executive director
Alliance for Media Arts
Crime Stopper Tip #1: Throw Away the Key
I am amazed by the letter written by Marshall Washington in response to Tristram Korten's article "Taking Subway for a Ride" (June 11). As an ex-con, I am appalled by the ignorance of both Mr. Washington and the general public when they say let's not hire ex-cons, and God forbid they serve us food in a public place. What is the alternative? Should we not hire them and force them to commit more crimes in order to survive?