Attorneys R Us
In her cover story, "Street Sweepers" (December 24), Kathy Glasgow did an excellent job portraying the difficult choices faced by homeless people, their advocates, and the police. We felt, however, that your readers should be informed of another important service available to homeless people living anywhere in Miami-Dade County.

With the support of the Miami-Dade County Homeless Trust, Legal Services of Greater Miami has developed a special project designed to provide legal representation to homeless clients. The issues we can assist with include: getting into the shelter system; obtaining identification, food stamps, Medicaid, Aid to Families with Dependent Children, and SSI/Social Security; and housing problems. We can also help ensure that children remain in their old schools when their families become homeless.

To get help from Legal Services or to find out about some of the other legal matters we can assist with, homeless or low-income individuals should come to our main office at 3000 Biscayne Blvd., Suite 500, Miami 33137 any time between 9:00 a.m. and 4:00 p.m., Monday through Friday. We can also be reached by telephone at 305-576-0080. Any questions about our homeless project, or about our other office locations, can be referred to the same address and/or telephone number.

Jeremy Rosen
Vivian Zaribaf
Legal Services of Greater Miami

How Does Miami Love Its Homeless? Let Us Count the Ways
As sexton of the Miami City Cemetery I am at ground zero in homeless territory. Awhile back a man was apprehended for throwing a homeless woman to the ground and assaulting her in the cemetery. The city officials who dealt with the matter humiliated the woman. She was mocked and told she got what she deserved. Her attacker was released and told he had already been punished enough because his victim has AIDS.

Recently a city official told me I could not give any homeless person a drink of water from the cemetery office. I replied I could not deny a person a drink simply because he or she was homeless. That would be discrimination. My reply so infuriated the official that he stated, "I hope I can find something on you so I can arrest you."

Is this the new and improved City of Miami government or just a new cloak to appease the ACLU and the courts?

Clyde Cates
South Miami

Some DOH Employees Are Silenced by Fear
Ted B. Kissell obviously did extensive research before writing his article on public health care ("The Doctor Is Out," December 10). I do need to inform your readers that the critical comments about physicians attributed to me at the end of the article are actually the comments of some of my patients (adolescents seen at the STD clinics). They mentioned certain physicians when they described how they were treated. This, however, should not be a generalization of all STD physicians.

Also note that the core public-health functions are epidemiology and assessment, policy-making, and assurance. Epidemiology is one of the priorities of Dr. James Howell, secretary of the state Department of Health (DOH). I was, therefore, enthusiastic about being director of epidemiology and disease control. Having worked at Jackson Memorial Hospital for several years, having a private practice, being a pediatric pulmonary consultant for Children's Medical Services and several health plans, and also being a member of the medical staff at several hospitals, I am keenly aware of the inequity in health care received by our citizens. I expected to use the data that is routinely collected by DOH to address some of the health problems that exist in our county.

Because of the financial troubles of the department, the administration had to make difficult choices about the personnel whose positions were eliminated. I was concerned, and remain concerned, about how those choices directly affect the ability of the department to perform the core functions of public health.

Several years ago I learned the role politics plays in public health. During my year as a scholar at the Public Health Leadership Institute of Florida, College of Public Health, University of South Florida, I also learned the importance of looking at the big picture when making decisions that affect the health of so many people.

In the past two years the need for strong leadership in public health has become obvious to me. In one of the first leadership classes organized by the Office of Quality Assurance/Improvement, we were taught that the most admired qualities of successful leaders are honesty, forward thinking, inspiration, and competency.

Developing a strong infrastructure in public health is crucial to the health of all our citizens and visitors. Partnerships with other providers of health care must be developed. There are many employees in the Miami-Dade office of the DOH who have dedicated their lives to public health. They have expressed their concerns about public health in Miami-Dade privately and publicly. Unfortunately many have been unable to disclose their names owing to fear of retribution. Therefore their opinions have not been heard. Although I have been accused of having a personal agenda, my problem is that I spoke candidly and on the record when Mr. Kissell interviewed me.

Next Page »
My Voice Nation Help
Miami Concert Tickets