And how about letting the parents of the UM students know they have an insufficient, underequipped police force? Look at the tuition they pay. Surely the parents believe they are getting the best police and equipment as well as the best education. I say let the parents know! Maybe then the UM police will get the supplies they need. This young man deserves the gold star award for his bravery. Hurrah for Allocco!

Maureen Hicks
Spartanburg, South Carolina

New Times: Good
UM Cops: Not So Good
I wonder why you guys haven't hired the staff of Tropic. If you had them and a coupon insert, I wouldn't even look at the Miami Herald anymore. You guys are terrific! I enjoy well-written and informative articles that are truly local and of interest (not always objective, but well written nonetheless).

In particular I want to comment on Tristram Korten's article "Keystone Cops at College." As a 1997 UM graduate I can speak for many people who lived on campus. First, the so-called rent-a-cops were a joke. No one took them seriously because we knew they were not officially part of the Coral Gables Police Department. They were a good attempt to make us feel safe that obviously didn't work, as demonstrated by the numerous car break-ins, dorm and campus apartment robberies, and attacks on campus.

It's sad that there were multiple attacks. One would think a private university that demands more than $20,000 annually for tuition, room, board, books, et cetera, could find a better security system. The gates are a joke because they only prevent cars from entering at unguarded points during the day. The night gate is attended by an officer who doesn't even look up as cars cruise past. There is no security check for night visitors. In fact the gate is often left open.

In addition to this lax security, anyone with a gun can just waltz right on to the campus during the day or night, as has happened in the past. The administration doesn't want to frighten anyone. Sorry to scare the kids who just arrived from the farm, but there are issues that need to be faced. Security would not be a problem if the rich decision-makers, who live off campus in their own guarded homes, thought realistically about situations all students face on campus.

Keep up the good work. You are an excellent voice of Miami!
Amanda Lowrey
Miami Beach

StreetSmarts Is More Than Smarty-Pants Stuff
I thought Kathy Glasgow's "Brother, Can You Spare a Byline" (January 7) was a somewhat negative approach to an innovative attack on the homeless problem. It seems that Lynn Summers of the Community Partnership for Homeless is more interested in hiding the homeless in shelters than returning them to the workforce. Perhaps the community partnership has a vested interest in keeping the homeless numbers up to create jobs and prestige for themselves. Summers attacked the StreetSmarts concept as panhandling, but didn't offer an alternative. She appears typical of the Miami clique that wants to control everything.

Last week I bought a copy ofStreetSmarts from a vendor in South Miami. He was a pleasant man who was able to offer me something of value rather than simply begging. Having StreetSmarts to sell seems to have raised his self-respect. I am hopeful that he will sell enough papers to be encouraged to work for a living.

I have observed street newspapers as far away as my hometown of Glasgow, Scotland, where homeless sell The Big Issue. Properly identified with a vendor badge, they set themselves apart from the beggars lying on the sidewalk. It seems to work.

Publishers Frank Kaiser and Carolyn Blair face an uphill battle. I compliment them on the excellent quality of their editorial work and wish them success in their courageous effort to break through the barriers the establishment has created. And I commend New Times for enlightening readers about problems that Miami-Dade County would rather sweep under the rug.

Doug Noble

She Has Read It -- Really!
I recently read Kathy Glasgow's article on the new street publication StreetSmarts and found the remarks by some of the people to be rather frightening. In particular Lynn Summers with the Community Partnership for Homeless says, "I do not believe...." It is not what the agencies believe will work that counts. It is what the homeless believe and want.

Obviously the project is off to an auspicious start. This type of publication does not exploit the homeless. There are people all over this country who have left the streets because of such an opportunity. The chance to be a vendor builds confidence and self-esteem. Panhandling does not. That is the difference on that account.

I think that people who object to such sales fear the homeless will have too much voice. Where does all the money go that is raised by this partnership -- to the people or to the administration of the partnership?

There needs to be a realization among service providers that the homeless are the ones who know what they need to get off the streets. The service providers don't know that.

In time StreetSmarts will prove its worth over and over again. And yes, I have read it.

Virginia Sellner, executive director, Wyoming Coalition for the Homeless
Cheyenne, Wyoming

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