Lawless Miami: Way Too Much Fun!
There once was a time when, on election day, all saloons and taverns were closed until the polls were closed. Seems some citizens were known to sell their vote for a drink. And they weren't Cubans!

In addition, lots of deceased voters managed to get their absentee ballots into the box on time, despite their obvious handicap. This has been a recorded phenomenon all over our nation. Some dead folks just like to do their civic duty, that's all. So now comes Rosa Townsend with more news about vote fraud and the disappearance of political operative Ray Molina ("Ray Molina Is Alive and Well!" July 23).

Just another amusing reminder that some Cuban-American voters may sometimes overdo it a touch. After all, how many voting-age adults can we have living in a two-bedroom, one-bath dwelling, no matter how friendly they might be? Now that is getting inventive.

Problem is, Cubans didn't originate this sort of crime. Folks have voted where they didn't live (and didn't pay taxes where they did live) long before the first Cuban landed here.

As reported some time ago in the Miami Herald, at what was to be a debate between Joe Carollo and Xavier Suarez at a power lunch, a political hack took Carollo to task for being a traitor to all Cuban Americans for allowing Cesar Odio to take a fall for his part in a rather involved bribery scheme. You'd think the real crime wasn't what he did but getting caught.

Meanwhile other Cuban Americans, including Humberto Hernandez, are waving the Cuban flag and playing the discrimination card. What we're hearing is that if there weren't Cubans doing it, fraud and bribery really wouldn't be crimes.

Professor Dario Moreno seems like a real sabio kind of guy. His 60 Minutes observation that Miami has become almost the definition of a Third World banana republic sure got more players on the field.

Funniest thing of all, just to lend living proof to his point, our state Rep. Jorge Rodriguez-Chomat rose to the bait like a mullet to a bread ball and threatened Florida International University president Mitch Madique with funding problems if he didn't rein in his guy Moreno.

What nerve!
After the Spanish American League Against Discrimination (S.A.L.A.D.) jumps Moreno, who is Cuban American, for bringing shame upon his own, Rodriguez-Chomat, right in front of God and everybody, lets his alligator mouth overload his hummingbird butt, much to the delight of all us spectators and to the chagrin of S.A.L.A.D.

And now we've got Ray Molina somewhere in Panama, and Sen. Al Gutman under indictment, and Humbertico in the Crossbar Hotel.

Ain't this fun?
Tom Rich
Miami Lakes

Mr. Senator, You'd Better Check with DeFede First
Congratulations to Jim DeFede for his outstanding exposes of State Sen. Daryl Jones (July 16, June 25, March 19, and February 26). His articles undoubtedly contributed to the U.S. Senate's rejection of Jones's nomination by President Clinton to be the new Secretary of the Air Force.

Jones would have ruined what is left of the morale in the air force. His rejection is a wonderful message to the Clinton administration to start nominating quality people and not problem children like Daryl Jones.

Pierre Liberte
Erath, LA

Sum of a Ditch
This letter is in response to Jacob Bernstein's article "Life's a Ditch" (July 16). People in that part of the eastern Everglades known as the 81/2 Square Mile Area are sick and tired of the way our tax money is mismanaged by Miami-Dade County officials. The quoted price for the job of filling in the ditches that make up our drainage system was $69,000. This seemed a bit steep to me, so I priced the job myself.

The ditches are three and a half feet wide and were filled with about three feet of dirt. Before the work was halted by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, a total of 3578 feet of ditch had been filled -- about half of what was originally contracted.

The math: 3578 feet x 3.5 feet wide x 3 feet deep = 1391.44 cubic yards, or 1878.44 tons of fill.

Clean lime-rock fill sells for two to three dollars per ton at the closest rock pits.

The math: 1878.44 tons of fill x $3 = $5635.32.
There was a small bulldozer on-site for five days. A bulldozer and driver cost $360 per day.

The math: 5 days x $360 = $1800.
Trucking the fill to the site is $50 per load, and there were 92 dump-truck loads.

The math: 92 loads x $50 = $4600.
Cost of fill $5635.32 + cost of equipment $1800 + cost of trucking $4600 = total cost of completed work (50 percent of entire job) $12,035.32.

H&R Paving, the company with whom the county contracted for the work, has tried to pass off demolition debris as clean fill, at taxpayers' expense. (The material they dumped would have cost them $56 per ton to dispose of at a landfill.) It was full of construction rubble, PVC pipe, old carpeting, and other miscellaneous debris. H&R Paving is now hauling off the dirt -- and leaving garbage along our roadsides. I wonder if they're selling it as clean fill to some other unsuspecting victim.

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