StreetSmarts: Alive and Well, Thank You
Your report of StreetSmarts magazine's demise ("Riptide," April 22) is, as they say, greatly exaggerated. StreetSmarts will continue to publish. We must. Who else creates meaningful, dignified employment for South Florida's homeless and hard-core unemployed?

Only StreetSmarts takes anyone willing to work, trains them in basic life and business skills, then gives them their own business selling StreetSmarts magazine for a 233 percent profit. As an independent entrepreneur, the StreetSmarts vendor has a legitimate and dignified means of earning an income while she or he works toward self-sufficiency.

And although we no longer have office space at Camillus House, we currently have 78 vendors working out of two distribution points in Broward County. We actively seek donated office space in Miami-Dade County, space easily accessible to the poorest of us.

Contrary to the New Times report, I never said I couldn't meet with Dr. Joe Greer, medical director of Camillus Health Concern. We have been trying to meet with him to discuss new digs in Miami, but he is a very busy man. I must add that Dr. Greer is on StreetSmarts's advisory board and is a strong supporter of the magazine and its mission.

It is true that I'm leaving town for a few months. Frank Kaiser and I will be heading off for a five-week assignment from the U.S. government, traveling to Russia and Poland, teaching the art and science of marketing, advertising, and public relations to companies in those countries.

In our absence StreetSmarts's office manager and researcher John Zeller will be managing our temporary headquarters, with our Broward distribution centers handling our vendors. To ensure there is no break in vendor services, John can be reached at 305-654-1102 while we are away.

Rest assured that StreetSmarts is alive, well, and as audacious as ever. Our staff of homeless and hard-to-employ is hard at work on the next issue. We are hardly defunct.

Carolyn Blair, publisher and co-chair
StreetSmarts Coalition, Inc.

Owing to reporting errors, three facts were misstated in Jose Luis Jimenez's article "Out Damned Spa" (April 15). Spa developer Marc Siegel was not arrested in June 1995. Prosecutors did charge him with intentionally writing a bad check, but later decided not to pursue the case. Also Siegel did not personally visit area massage schools as reported. Instead he sent recruitment letters to several of those schools. Finally spa worker Sherry Parker has two daughters, not a daughter and a son as stated in the article. New Times regrets the errors.

You're in Good Handss at Churchill's
I was floored to read Brett Sokol's column "Kulchur" (April 8), in which he gave the impression that it was not safe to come to Churchill's Hideaway, the nightclub I own. That column was contrived to give advantage to a Broward County nightclub and should have caused you to make a better effort at presenting our case and providing a more balanced perspective.

Robert Gregory promoted a few shows here this past year. Early this year, on January 23, he had Kim Lenz and her Jaguars and did much better business than either he or I expected. Churchill's was wonderful, he said, and he extolled all its virtues: the PA system, the atmosphere, our staff, our cooperation, our customers. He was going to do most or all of his shows here, and proceeded to book more shows with us.

On March 12 he presented Billy Bacon and the Forbidden Pigs. Business was slow, which was our main topic of conversation. He at no time complained that he had been assaulted by some street person. I spoke with Gregory three or more times during and after the show, as did two people who work here. Not a mention or any appearance of discomfort was presented to us. I would have been particularly interested in knowing whether the supposed assailant was known to us or whether some unknown person was operating with a mission to make it difficult to present live music in Miami.

Many years ago I developed several clubs in pubs and hotels in England. Usually I would have to pay rent, provide a PA, sometimes a stage, often a piano, security, all advertising, and occasionally obtain and pay for performing-rights licenses. When I developed Churchill's as a live-music venue, we obtained performing-rights licenses (BMI and ASCAP). Over a period of time I put in a stage, modest lights, a good but simple PA system, and a digital recording system so groups could record their own performances. We also have paid for some advertising. But security, particularly door security, has always been the responsibility of the promoter.

With big events like the Dick Dale shows we promoted ourselves, we had six security people for one show and eight people for the other show. The recent, very successful Agent Orange show presented by Bob Slade had himself and a cashier at the door, two of his own security staff, plus two more we obtained for him. Aaron Kolius, who presented a series of very good shows here last year, including Ronnie Dawson, always staffed his events properly. Unfortunately he moved to Atlanta. I spoke with Ronnie Dawson and his wife for more than an hour before and after his excellent show. He was very enthusiastic about Churchill's and expressed a desire to return.

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