Letters

Imagine Marcia and Greg Ambling Down Ocean Drive
In response to Robert Andrew Powell's article "TV from There" (September 24): It's disappointing to see that WAMI-TV, which started with the aim of boosting South Florida TV with original shows and series, has only served to drain its talent. I can't wait to see The Brady Bunch make an appearance, or perhaps shows such as Wayne's World. At least they were good.

Robert Seplin
Hollywood

Live in Concert: The Sexcapades
I commiserated with the musicians featured in Adam St. James's story "Live Music: Dead on Arrival" (September 24). When I moved from Miami up to Macon, Georgia (population a lousy 150,000), local musicians told me how pathetic the environment was for local music. They said there was nowhere to play, et cetera. But by my count there are five places that regularly turn over their stages to local or regional bands. Talk about culture shock. Don't get me wrong, the scene here is pretty pathetic, especially compared to Atlanta and Athens.

I can't think of any advice except to exhort musicians not to give up. They should think about somehow making their events more special, maybe by making fans expect a sexual encounter. Sex definitely sells, especially in Miami.

Jim Murphy, entertainment writer
The Macon Telegraph
Macon, Georgia

Poor Clinton, Rich DeFede
I am disgusted with people going on and on about our president, including Jim DeFede in his article "I Am Truly Sorry" (September 24). If all the subjects of DeFede's apology did as much for our country as the president, then maybe DeFede really should be sorry for attacking them.

I don't know the people he described. I don't know what they have done for me, my family, or this country. But I do know what President Clinton has done. I think the American people know this also. President Clinton is the best president the United States has seen.

DeFede must be a rich man who just can't understand how life was before Clinton. The president's achievements allow us to forgive him for having had an affair and lying about it. I don't believe in doing the things he did, but I forgive him for lying to us about something that was none of our business. Sex is something I would not ask my best friend about, much less the president of the United States.

Seleta Wallace
Leesburg, Florida

Since When Is Knowledge a Job Requirement?
Yesterday while browsing through your September 17 edition, I was amazed by Jen Karetnick's article "To the Victor's Go the Spoils." It described my new favorite hangout: the new and improved Victor's Cafe.

I have gone to Victor's for about six years. But a couple of months ago I had one of the best dining experiences ever when my husband treated me to dinner there. We were delighted by everything, from the warm and cordial welcome by new owner Jose R. More to the wonderfully improved menu to the very professional staff. In fact the maitre d' made us feel like we were at Maxim's in Paris.

But none of that would have made a difference if the food weren't magnificent. My lamb was cooked to perfection, the caesar salad was in a class by itself, and my husband's lobster was to die for. The desserts were unique and exquisite.

All in all it was incredible! I suspect your restaurant reviewer either went to the wrong place or has a vendetta against the new owner. Moreover she doesn't know much about ordering wines. Have you thought about hiring someone who at least knows what she is talking about?

Maria-Fernanda Martinez
Miami

And Just What Do They Speak in Machu Picchu?
I've been a resident of Miami for 36 years, am well traveled, and have frequented many restaurants both here and abroad. Yet I've never read such an unjust and vile review as "To the Victor's Go the Spoils." I've visited Victor's on numerous occasions and have also hosted company functions there. I have found the service and the food superb.

Just last week I ate at Victor's with my husband and several of his friends. We found both the food and wine excellent. Nothing smelled rotten, and the atmosphere was incredibly wonderful. This is where I feel New Times needs to do a reality check.

I truly believe Jen Karetnick must have a hidden agenda. As for her Peruvian friend, maybe he speaks a Machu Picchu dialect and is unaccustomed to Spanish. I've always encountered fully bilingual personnel there. But I am sure Ms. Karetnick is not fully bilingual.

Or maybe Ms. Karetnick doesn't like real Cuban food, which Victor's serves with good taste and excellent service. Believe me, I'll think twice before picking up New Times. Too bad Ms. Karetnick does not have gourmet taste but rather an insatiable urge to print untruths.

Isabel Young
Miami

South Beach: Uncivilized
After reading John Lantigua's article "Fueling the Feud" (September 17), I must remark that it is a shame civilized people cannot attend South Beach nightclubs. It is even worse that club owners don't feel responsible for the area. I've had it.

First it was the parking situation, but I kept going because I had fun. But now with crime and a bad element all over the place, my friends and I stay away from the neighborhood, especially Washington Avenue. What will it take to return things to normal?

At least New Times isn't scared to report the problems and shed light on what goes on behind the scenes. Please continue the stories about clubland. With more coverage of the problem, maybe someone will listen.

Margot Suarez
Miami Shores

South Beach: Home of the Innocent Homeless
In a recently released report about disorder on the streets of South Beach, consultant Rob Teir alleges the city and club owners have done nothing to control the mayhem. The study by the Center for Livable Cities encourages "the city to crack down on the people, including the homeless, who clog sidewalks and streets," according to Mr. Lantigua.

Mr. Teir rebuts advocates' criticisms, saying the homeless "should not be encouraged to remain on the street, feeding their addictions.... I don't think it's harsh to ask that someone not lie on the sidewalk."

Mr. Teir's organization is based in Washington, D.C. One stroll down Washington Avenue did not acquaint him with the real situation. As any local person would attest, the homeless are not guilty of sidewalk clogging.

Washington Avenue is filled with drunks holding cellular telephones and driving 1998 convertibles. In their inebriated stupor and cocaine haze, they meet pathetic nightclub patrons who resemble themselves. The homeless inhabit the locked entrances of S&M stores and vintage clothing stores, their soiled rags and covers blending in with the pavement.

It is ultimately the responsibility of the city, not club owners, to adequately enforce the laws and to make it safer to stroll down one of the city's most profitable streets. Inside, club owners must shoulder the risk.

Mr. Teir's report has more to do with creating beautiful scenes than with accommodating the less privileged. And if the city follows through and gets rid of South Beach's homeless, the public will no longer be forced to face crude reality. The traffic and disorder problems will remain, however, because the homeless do not create them.

Frances I. Suazo
Sunny Isles Beach

South Beach: Tomorrow's Kid-Free Zone
I couldn't agree more with the views stated by Rob Teir. The fact that he drew such apt conclusions about South Beach in four days should tell us something about the city. Why shouldn't we be able to clear youngsters and the homeless from the streets after a certain hour? Neither group contributes to the economy.

Miami Beach was once a glorious place. These days would any Miami native send an out-of-town guest there? No! Why? Because we know what is out there -- and it is not the police. Teir recommends increasing police presence and says club owners are whining about that. I am disappointed to see that club owners care so little about potential customers. Teir also advocates raising the legal age for nightclub admission to 21. Why not? Isn't there a curfew in effect? What are children doing on the streets after 1:00 a.m.?

The last time I went to South Beach I was more irritated than satisfied with the police. They were not looking out for public safety. In fact the only officers I saw belonged to the gang task force. They were pulling over minors to search their vehicles. We could probably return the streets to normal if such minors were not permitted on South Beach. The result would be more visitors spending more money. Maybe this would stop the club owners from whining.

Claire A. Stefan
Miami

Au Revoir Kmart, Bienvenida Salsa
I am writing in response to Judy Cantor's article "The Politics of Music" (September 17). I catch up on the goings-on in Miami by Internet. It seems people there are finally able to enjoy and participate in musical festivities a la cubana simply for the sake of music.

In Paris we get it all the time -- for both the old and young. People from all walks of life take part in the fiesta del sabado. There is always a group from Santiago, Havana, or Matanzas to make us dance. The Cuban groups have become like an oeuvre d'art and very à la mode.

The beauty of all this music is that it has yet to be Americanized: bottled, marketed, packaged, and delivered to the Kmart nearest you. Perhaps that is why these musicians have stayed so pure to the cause.

Cheryl Vasil
Paris, France

Residents Cook Up Good Stuff
I was dumbfounded by the first paragraph of Jen Karetnick's review of Johnson and Wales University's Islands Cafe ("Restaurant 101," August 27).

Ms. Karetnick addressed apprenticeships at places such as Johnson and Wales, which trains students to be chefs. To compare this with a medical residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital is grossly unfair and prejudicial.

True, residents don't have years of experience, but how else can they learn? Not to patronize hospitals that employ residents is unjust and arbitrary. Residents have the advantage of high-level instruction and supervision. They are on the cusp of every new medical development and research finding. They do not offer second-rate service but are essentially skilled, dedicated, and compassionate. They are also often tired.

My life was saved twice at Jackson Memorial Hospital. Though I had my own staff physician each time, I'm sure residents participated in the surgery and follow-up procedures.

To not trust these doctors -- and they are doctors -- to care for us is folly in the extreme. A little different from chefs in training.

Myrna Gust
North Miami Beach

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