By Terrence McCoy
By Allie Conti
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
Kinko University, Specializing in Custom-Designed Degree Programs
Judy Cantor hears the music but does not get the rhythm ("The Politics of Music," September 17). Despite the protests that so bothered her (in Ms. Cantor's perfect world, the First Amendment applies to everyone except Cuban exiles), Cuban musicians from the island have been performing in Miami for some time. I must admit I have heard some of this so-called great music and I sincerely ask myself if it is really any better than some of our local talent. Or is it just the fact it's considered forbidden fruit that makes it so attractive?
Let's face it: The music is not the real issue. As Ms. Cantor's article shows, with some minor inconveniences, this music can be played and heard even in "fascist Miami." Why doesn't Ms. Cantor ask these musicians real questions, such as where do their earnings go and how much do they actually keep? How free are they to perform where they please? Are they allowed to take their family members to foreign venues if they so desire? Musicians from the island can come to the States to perform, so when will Gloria Estefan, Willy Chirino, Celia Cruz, and others be allowed to jam in Havana?
South Beach Whiners to the Rescue
If South Beach's nightclub owners are such bad whiners, as John Lantigua reported ("Fueling the Feud," September 17), then why do they pay so much for the support of the police department in taxes, off-duty assignments, and general assistance?
If South Beach has too many whiners, as consultant Rob Teir contends, then why do the citizens of the world flock here for the attractions, the nightlife, and yes, the whining club owners who provide for those seeking satisfaction?
If the homeless people are so bad, then why don't we just pack them up and ship them to Mr. Teir and have him eliminate the problem, possibly by giving them jobs at his consulting firm?
In any case, we need to look at the situation as a whole. The citizenry, those who can vote, should be drawn into the simple act of exercising their constitutional rights, much in the way David Dermer did with a small yet vocal group of activists. Think carefully about those you call whiners today, for you may be calling them "commissioner" tomorrow.
South Beach Whiners to the Gutter
John Lantigua's articles about clubland continue to prove there is a serious problem on South Beach generally and on Washington Avenue in particular. Something needs to be done right now about the delinquency on weekend nights. In the last couple of years, this area has been been going steadily downhill in terms of safety, cleanliness, and desirability.
Ten years ago, while the South Beach area was still developing, there were plenty of nightclubs to be found between 1st and 23rd streets. These clubs were full all the time, even on weekday nights. Yet the Beach did not have the problems it faces today.
For the past decade I have watched as clubland has gone to the gutter. What has changed is the quality of the nightclubs. I cannot imagine any other area of South Florida (or elsewhere for that matter) that would allow so many hole-in-the-wall operations to open up in such close proximity to one another.
Also look at the music being played and the types of crowds being attracted to most clubs. The clubs need to be cleaned up. The owners and promoters are to blame. They need to refocus on what they are trying to do. Who are they trying to attract and why?
I think the Miami Beach Police Department has done all it can and has done it well. What more? Should they close off Washington Avenue to vehicular traffic? Should they check IDs for everyone walking up and down the street? Hey, maybe we could get the National Guard to come on down and patrol the streets from 11:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.
I believe the time has come to hold nightclub owners and promoters responsible for the areas surrounding the clubs. If people loiter, it is the responsibility of the club. Heavy fines and other penalties should apply to those who can't control their crowds. If the problems persist, then the clubs should be closed. (The teenage curfew must also continue to be enforced. In the late Seventies and early Eighties, Coconut Grove had a similar, serious problem with teenagers. The problem was fixed and is now history.)
I've made my living as a nightclub DJ, club promoter, and nightclub owner for more than fifteen years in South Florida, Europe, and South America. I can say from experience that South Beach and Washington Avenue need help quickly, before the problems get worse. I can only hope that the two sides involved can come to an agreement and resolve this issue once and for all so the decent people, the ones who love to go out and spend money, will feel safe and welcomed enough to return once again to South Beach.