Letters

New Times: Soothsayers; Miami Herald: Mendacious, Deceitful Profit-Seekers, Hmmmmm

This letter pertains to Jim DeFede's article "Only Himself to Blame" (July 30). Mr. DeFede says he was surprised the Miami Herald supported Daryl Jones. The whores at the Herald never surprise me. The question Mr. DeFede should be asking is, How much did the Miami Herald get paid for the endorsement?

The Herald pretends to be above it all, when in fact they are under everyone's thumb. Who else but a prostitute would endorse Raul Martinez for Hialeah mayor? As long as New Times stays in business, I will be assured of one thing: If you want the truth, read New Times.

Joe Garcia
Miami

Daryl Jones Was No Victim of Racism
Please do not worry about Daryl Jones's future simply because he was not confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee. He is extremely bright, quick-witted, and good-looking. The question is not when or how he will succeed, but where.

The air force places a high standard on honesty and morality. So do the pilots. There really is no such thing as just a little lie in such an organization. When your butt is on the line, you must have confidence in the people you depend on for your life.

That said, I'd like to respond to Manny Losada's July 23 letter about Jones. There are many black top guns in all branches of our military. The vast majority got there by hard work and personal effort. To suggest that a black person must lie to achieve success is the ultimate insult.

Chappy James, one of the finest officers in air force history, made a relevant comment. After the court-martial of a young black airman in England during the late Sixties, the pilot questioned then Colonel -- later General -- James. "How could you do this to me, Colonel? I am one of your kind." Colonel James responded, "No, son, I am your color, but I am not your kind."

I have flown with many black pilots in both peace and wartime. They were neither better nor worse than whites or Asians. We as a nation must stop measuring honesty, ability, or any other quality by color. Mr. Jones was not rejected because he is black, nor should he have been chosen because he is black. He simply was not the person for that job.

Robert C. Gilden
Miami

Bridge Over the River Why?
As to John Lantigua's article "Brickell Keyed Up" (July 30), Brickell area residents who complain about the frequent openings of the Miami River bridge should remember -- they moved into the neighborhood after the span was built. Information about bridge-opening frequency was available to them.

Brickell Avenue has crossed the river for decades. The only exception was during construction of the present structure. The legal term that applies to the openings is "nuisance." The rule is well-established: if a person moves to an area after such a nuisance exists, his or her complaints have no standing. Frequent bridge openings on Brickell have been the norm for approximately 70 years.

David L. Willing
Miami

A Lobbyist's Retort: Back Off, DeFede
Jim DeFede's article on Chris Korge, "Don't Call Me A Lobbyist" (July 23), was nothing but a heavy-handed smear job masquerading as a profile. The article was bereft of any objectivity toward Mr. Korge. While it is true that he is a prodigious and capable fundraiser for politicians, he has also raised money for groups like the Children's Home Society and has spent years working on charitable matters for the Jaycees. These activities should have been mentioned in the article.

I have worked with Chris as co-counsel on a number of occasions. He is an excellent lawyer and rigorously maintains the ethical standards of the Florida Bar. Mr. DeFede's failure to comment on this aspect of Mr. Korge's professional practice was a gross oversight.

Political fundraising is not a crime. Chris Korge just happens to do it better than most other people.

Jeffrey Bercow
Miami

DeFede Makes Bad Breakfast Food
After reading Jim DeFede's fascinating, informative, stomach-churning article about Chris Korge, I threw up the breakfast I had eaten four days before. Handmade silk suits worth $3000 cannot camouflage the self-indulgent, slick, fork-tongued, egotistical weasel within. Just think, if that little power-mad braggart wheeled and dealed in another stratum of society, he'd probably be referred to as a pimp or a fence. Your soul -- for a price, sir? High-voltage power broker or low-life in a Gucci suit, is there a difference? I wonder how many readers really believe that lobbyists are merely goody-goodies just doing their jobs -- just making themselves available to provide a little information here and there. Bullshit!

As for Washington, D.C., lobbyists, they may be venerated in our nation's capitol, but to me and I'm sure to many others, Washington lobbyists are on a level four steps below used-car salesmen and Congress.

One final thought: Even the self-anointed high and mighty will eventually enjoy the privacy of a sealed pine box (gold ornamentation optional). Amid tears of sorrow and perhaps smiles of joy, they will slowly descend six feet below street level to rest for eternity in the company of the common folk. Ha, ha, ha!

Charles Travaglio
Miami

New Times: A Paradox Wrapped in a Mystery and Tied With a Boring, Banal Riddle

In many ways New Times is a strange paradox. While your movie and restaurant critics are often quite caustic and do not mince words, the reporters who cover local politics seem to tone down their language for public consumption. Recent editions of New Times prove my point. Witness a recent piece by restaurant critic Jen Karetnick, "Smells Like Teen Spiritless" (July 23), referring to a new Italian restaurant, Sfizi. Karetnick candidly remarks, "Right now the only craving customers might harbor is one to escape." A rather similar sarcastic wit may be detected in recent movie reviews such as Peter Rainer's review of The Mask of Zorro, "The Z Stands for Zzzzzz" (July 16).

Yet the recent article "Don't Call Me a Lobbyist" was, in my opinion, quite kind to Chris Korge, Miami's top political lobbyist. Here is a man who has done much to wreck local politics, subvert democracy, and marginalize voters. One would think Mr. DeFede would try to convey outrage. Instead he writes with watered-down neutral language that fails to communicate the urgency of our situation here in Miami, where rich and powerful individuals such as Korge run roughshod over poor minority workers and immigrants.

What we need in this community are writers and editors who can convey outrage, not just about over-cooked lasagna, about issues that matter. Above all, this information shouldn't cause the reader to just shrug and walk away. It should instill him or her with a renewed sense of urgency.

Nikolas Kozloff
Miami

So How Do You Say, "Buzz Off" in Urdu, Wise Guy?
I read and enjoyed John Lantigua's July 23 article, "Captain Courageous," about Capt. Dave Miller's retirement from the Coast Guard Marine Safety Office in Miami.

It is clear that New Times favors strong bureaucracy and big business over justice. Mr. Lantigua wrote the article brilliantly, but he used half-truths that make it practically impossible for the reader to understand the sensitive issues involved. If Mr. Lantigua wanted to praise Capt. Miller's brilliant career trajectory, his goal was achieved.

But even after reading the article, we still do not know whether the so-called Caribbean Cargo Safety Code is a violation of the constitutional rights of small American businesses and Haitian Americans. Nor do we know whether proper procedures were used to enforce this law. We need Congress to publicly declare this measure unconstitutional.

Obviously and unwittingly, Mr. Lantigua made two mistakes. First, the Pov Yola was seized because its ownership was disputed, not because of drugs. Second, Mr. Lantigua underestimated me. Though I don't have a glamorous office with central air conditioning and all the other amenities, I am a real man. I speak three languages. And I was a soldier in the war against communism. Mr. Lantigua didn't understand the plight of Haitian boat owners who work hard and follow the law.

Remember that God is the only one who can judge a person's behavior.
Eduardo Tamargo
Miami

Miller's Last Stand
I really enjoyed the creativity of John Lantigua's article on retiring Coast Guard Capt. Dave Miller. It portrayed Capt. Miller and his sidekicks as the heroic cavalry. It made Haitians and small river businesses appear like nasty Indians.

The only problem with this is that the U.S. Cavalry, especially the troops headed by Gen. George Custer, oppressed and nearly wiped out many Native American tribes. They drove the Indians from their homes and livelihoods.

The Coast Guard did the same in Miami. I see nothing glorious in the way Captain Miller handled his job as a public servant. I have been an agent for many Haitian boat owners who export rice, flour, cornmeal, beans, sugar, and other food products. Most have been prohibited from docking on the river. All of these small cargo-vessel owners dislike Miller's treatment of the Haitians. Haiti is now in a severe crisis caused at least partly by Miller's ban on many well-equipped vessels.

Captain Miller (one of the most ignorant people I have ever known) blames the Haitian community for pollution, poor vessel safety, drugs, and immigration problems. I just hope that some Haitian Americans sue him for his slanderous and racist remarks.

Mr. Lantigua's article encourages ignorance, and it stereotypes the Haitian community as unclean -- much like Adolf Hitler and the Nazis stereotyped Jews. This is America, where it is illegal to persecute people on the basis of race, sex, religious belief, or nationality. Maybe some people have forgotten what this country is all about.

Also, Mr. Lantigua misrepresented my father, Jose Machado. Lantigua said my dad "claims he is a former seaman." Actually he is a veteran ships captain.

Jose L. Machado
Miami

Try Putting That on a Job Application
In response to Tristram Korten's article "The Don" (June 25), letter writer Ricardo Ferreira left out one important qualification for Donald Warshaw's having been appointed Miami City Manager -- he's not gay! It's a well-known fact that gays and lesbians are the root cause of all the troubles in the world (witness the fires around Disney World). Mr. Ferreira should be thankful that, despite all Mr. Warshaw's alleged shortcomings, at least he is straight.

And for all the gays and lesbians in Florida, only you can prevent forest fires!

Frank Troha
Coconut Grove

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