By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By David Villano
By Jose D. Duran
By Michael E. Miller
By Allie Conti
By Kyle Swenson
By Luther Campbell
One Lobbyist You're Lucky to Have Around
In response to the article "Don't Call Me a Lobbyist!" (July 23) by Jim DeFede, please allow me to give your readers another perspective on Chris Korge. For the record, I'm not a business partner or political associate of Chris. In fact, I'm a Republican, which has led to many spirited and friendly discussions. He and I met at Epiphany Catholic Church and our families have formed a deep friendship.
It is my assessment that Mr. DeFede's article was accurate about Chris Korge's personality traits. He is indeed intense, aggressive, and possesses superior negotiating skills. I have observed his competitive nature during our weekly golf games, although his business and political acumen far exceed his golf skills. I hope New Times realizes that those of us in the world of business do not regard any of those traits as negative. Those traits, along with a strong work ethic, usually lead to success and influence in a free, capitalist society.
I wish Mr. DeFede had taken the time to interview those of us who call Chris a friend. The article would have had more credibility had it attempted to expose all of Chris's sides, including his being a loving husband and dedicated father. Mr. DeFede quoted former Congressman Dante Fascell, who described Chris as always "on the move," but neglected to mention that a large part of that "move" is spent at dance recitals, cheerleading competitions, basketball games, and church fundraisers. In addition, Mr. DeFede would have found a man who devotes a lot of energy to charitable causes. I'm aware that he and his wife Irene hosted a fundraising event at their home for the Children's Home Society.
I hope New Times readers will agree with me that all of us benefit from Chris's influence. If we are selected to host the Democratic National Convention, Miami-Dade residents from all stations of life will benefit. And finally, I hope it is not lost on New Times readers how lucky we are that Chris has taken the responsibility to be involved and, as he put it, "support good people." If he had not chosen to be involved with Mayor Penelas, who knows who we would have ended up with.
In consideration of these facts, my friend Chris Korge doesn't seem like such a bad person. Whatever his motives might have been, I guess you could even say he's New Times's friend as well.
Korge Participants, Shouldn't You?
Occasionally when I run into Chris Korge, I tell him (somewhat jokingly): "At one time I could say I taught you everything you know!"
Chris's reply: "I don't know much."
Many people have assisted Chris in his development. I met him when he joined the Jaycees while he was an assistant city attorney. Since then he has played an important role in many years of successful community development. He has a very strong personality and a desire to excel and to win.
Chris effectively represents the interests of his clients, which is what a lawyer and lobbyist is expected to do. In my own experience as an unpaid lobbyist, I have found that many times representatives in government need or want to know the facts concerning situations about which they must make decisions. For 30 years I have educated officeholders about my understanding of issues I felt were important, and have shared with them perspectives that differ from their own. I have also provided analysis and insight that officeholders have used to say no to paid lobbyists.
There has not been an officeholder I know of who has been able to read people's minds; their constituents must tell them what they are thinking. When talking with your governmental representative, don't be obnoxious and don't tell untruths of any sort, otherwise your credibility will be destroyed. Officeholders can weigh the information they receive from all sources, paid and unpaid.
This is a participatory democracy in which, as Thomas Jefferson said, eternal vigilance is the price of liberty. We can see that there has not been enough vigilance in South Florida, where we have had problems with our local governments throughout much of their history. If this is your community, you must either participate or expect bad things to happen.
My friend Chris is participating. Have you participated lately?
Peter to Tanya: Hawk It to Me
I recently read Peter Rainer's review of the movie The Mask of Zorro ("The Z Stands for Zzzzzz," July 16) and, based on his review, decided I would not see it. But after my boyfriend begged and pleaded, we went.
To make a long story short, Peter Rainer has no sense of humor and would not recognize talent if it spit him in the face.
North Bay Village
Adult Role Models Succeed Once Again
I just got back from summer vacation and read Ted B. Kissell's article about Miami Northwestern Senior High School principal William E. Clarke III and his alleged indiscretions with staff ("A Real Class Act," July 9), as well as Robert Andrew Powell's "News Flash: The State Stuffs the Stingarees" (August 13), about sanctions imposed on Miami High School by the Florida High School Activities Association.