Letters

Crocodile Tears for Cowboys in Gatorland
I almost cried reading Jacob Bernstein's romantic and touching drivel about the 8 1-2 Square Mile Area's cowboys ("Home on the Glades," March 18). But I wish to clarify a few points.

First things first. To my knowledge nothing sinister or underhanded or vengeful is involved in the plan for a government buyout of property from private landholders, part of the effort to save the Everglades.

When I was a child, my family had its land bought by the government for a bridge approach that was necessary to facilitate traffic in and out of Philadelphia. The price paid was better than fair market value, and we moved to another area near where we had lived. We, too, had lived on the land for a long period of time (much longer than the cowboys), but saw that our sacrifice was necessary for this important project. There is a time when the good of the masses is more important than the perceived hardship of the few. That is at the core of the American way, a concept that may not be fully appreciated by the cowboys.

Now let me address these poor, downtrodden individuals who are being victimized, especially the family with 50 horses, one with $1200 semen. It would seem that if all these neighborly people got together and pooled their settlements, they would be more than able to buy enough land to be able to spit out their windows without hitting the person next door. I'm sure there's other swampland for sale in the southeastern United States.

When I looked at the photographs accompanying the article, I did not see any black or Asian types, so I had to assume that when Ibel Aguilera said perhaps this was a "racial" issue, it was a typographical error. Surely anyone so connected must have at least a basic understanding of the makeup of the human race. The last time I checked my grammar school textbooks concerning the races, I did not see any mention of Hispanics being a separate race. I believe that most of the people mentioned in the article are ordinary Caucasians, just like me, but who happen to speak Spanish.

The Everglades are dying, that much is undisputed. They are dying because of unregulated, unpermitted building that has occurred for many more years than I can remember. Any effort to restore it should be supported by any unselfish, intelligent person with any feelings at all for the rest of the human race. From what I read in this article, no one mentioned can claim to have such traits.

Martin Alexander
Miami

Britain Ripped Me Off
I fully sympathize with Larry Boytano's ordeal as related in "Taken for a Ride" (March 18) because another Brit cheated me for exactly the same amount of money. Only I haven't had Larry's satisfaction of seeing the crook behind bars.

A couple of years ago I was commissioned by a slick British trade magazine to write a piece on Latin American aviation. After the number of words, subject matter, and fee ($500) were agreed upon by fax, I wrote the article and the magazine featured it in its January 1997 issue. But when it came time to collect my bill, the person I dealt with vanished from Earth. No phone calls to him or his publication were returned. No faxes were answered.

After months of trying to collect, I finally phoned the British consul general in Miami and told him quite plainly that I could have expected such shabby treatment from Yemen or some banana republic, but not from the United Kingdom, that paradigm of honesty and fair play. A nice-enough gentleman, he promised to intervene through some London organization that is supposed to uphold Britain's proper business image abroad. That was the last I heard from the consul about my claim.

I am $500 poorer and am no longer an Anglophile. Beware, friends and colleagues.

Luis Zalamea
Miami

Circle Jerks: Save the Hollywood Circle!
Finally someone in the news media has taken a less-than-serious look at the Miami Circle tumult. Thank you, Jim DeFede ("Circle Jerks," March 11). I mean, come on; every time we turn over a rock in this country, we cry "historic preservation!" I'm for keeping meaningful treasures as much as the next person, but if we were to place everything we uncover on the endangered-building list, we'd have no redevelopment whatsoever and downtown Miami would resemble a bombed-out, gap-toothed moonscape where nothing could be built and everything is sealed off or encased in plastic for historical study.

Imagine some 2000 years from now, as South Floridians puzzle over the strange circular structure uncovered just twenty miles north of what was once called downtown Miami. Found astride an old trail marked U.S. 1, this so-called Hollywood Circle causes a great uproar because it looks like it may have been a kind of shrine, dotted with strange metallic posts in which it appears sacred tokens were to be inserted; other metal basketlike, wheeled vehicles were unearthed, apparently meant to convey religious artifacts, attested to by the word Publix attached to the sides of each vehicle.

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