Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of February 24, 2000

Goon Over Miami Part 2
Clubland king Chris Paciello ain't exactly a Mafia don. But it sure seemed he was headed that way.
By Tristram Korten

Chris Paciello, Presumed Guilty
I hope you don't think you're doing anybody any favors by publishing Tristram Korten's second article on Chris Paciello ("Goon Over Miami, Part 2" February 17) -- not with Korten's twist on the facts anyway. The writing of it, not Paciello's "misconduct," is the real injustice. Korten does a very dangerous thing: He presumes guilt without questioning. Here are some questions that go to motive and should be considered in determining whether Paciello had the requisite state of mind necessary to commit all the supposed terrible crimes he did:

•If Paciello was doing so well, why did he need information on rival club owners? Here Korten contradicts himself.

•Why should Paciello have been so concerned with potential underage drinkers when his clubs are frequented by plenty of people of legal drinking age?

•Korten states that "with friends like this, Paciello must have thought he could reign over South Beach for years." What is this? Guilt by association? To my knowledge an accomplice must either physically or mentally contribute to the crime. It's not about who you know or even about when you're present.

•Korten shows blatant disregard for the victims of so-called eyewitness testimony (historically blacks, and more recently those falsely accused by the Los Angeles Police Department) by making reference to "South Beach observers who declined to be named" claiming that Paciello dined with Alphonse "Allie Boy" Persico at Joia.

I have trouble understanding where Korten is going with all this. But I can tell you where I'm going: The law is getting notoriously close to imputing guilt by either who one knows or by what one is seen doing. That should have been the issue, not Paciello's supposed malice or evil mind. Wake up, New Times, or you too may soon be stripped of your rights.

Manny Losada
Miami

Editor's note: Owing to reporting errors, several facts were misstated in "Goon Over Miami, Part 2." The restaurant where police say Chris Paciello met Alphonse Persico was misidentified. Formerly known as Shooters in North Miami Beach, it has since become Dox on the Bay. The location of Al Capone's home also was incorrect. In 1922 Capone purchased a house on Palm Island, not Star Island. In addition Liquid nightclub is located at the intersection of Washington Avenue and Española Way. The Internet address of New York journalist Jerry Capeci's Website is ganglandnews.com. New Times regrets the errors.

DeFede
Leave the Driving to CANF
By Jim DeFede

Jorge Mas Santos: Daddy Would Be Proud
I felt compelled to comment on Jim DeFede's article "Leave the Driving to CANF" (February 17), which I found to be both judgmental and vindictive. Although I do not know Jorge Mas Santos personally, I have had the opportunity to meet him and hear him speak, and I think a few things should be taken into account.

If it is true that, as Mr. DeFede put it, Jorge Mas Santos is an American-born rich boy who has had everything handed to him by his father, then what does he have to gain by continuing to fight for the causes of his father? He should kick back and take a permanent vacation. And yet he is fighting for Elian. Could it possibly be, that after losing his own father, Jorge Mas Santos's heart goes out to this poor boy? Could it be he knows that if this boy is returned to Cuba, he will have no chance for freedom?

Let's not forget that Elian's loving father is a pimp whose official job is to hire prostitutes for tourists. And those sweet grandmothers? They are in need of therapy, to say the least. Fidel Castro, who ordered the murder of innocent Brothers to the Rescue pilots, is a wretched man. Let us not forget the boat full of women and children he ordered his army to shoot and sink. That is reality.

I applaud Jorge Mas Santos for having the courage to stand up and fight for what he believes in, even when the American people are against it. Congratulations, Jorge Mas Santos. I think your father would be proud.

Lisa Lorenzo
via the Internet

Jorge Mas Santos: The Devil Incarnate
I want to thank Jim DeFede from the bottom of my belly, whence issued forth a major belly laugh of relief after I read his great article on the devil himself: Jorge Mas Santos! I had no idea that in Miami there is a newspaper and a journalist who does not fear nor is corrupted by the Cuban American National Foundation, and who is willing to courageously, and rather humorously, report the ugly truth in this matter. (I learned of the article from the New York Times's "Cuba and Custody Forum," in which I am an active participant.)

It is time the American public learned these facts. We need to publicize the New Times Website more widely. Thank you for doing so much to help this country get back on the right track.

John Miller
via the Internet

Screwing up the Center
Years behind schedule and way over budget, the performing arts center is another Miami miracle
By Jose Luis Jiménez

A Leisurely Stroll Through Biscayne Boulevard Traffic
Jose Luis Jiménez's articles on the Performing Arts Center of Greater Miami only scratched the surface of this fiasco ("Screwing Up the Center," February 10). Why not go into how the scale model showed Biscayne Boulevard tiled and part of "the great oval," where couples would stroll hand in hand as they stopped at sidewalk cafés to sip lattes? They even compared this oval to Lincoln Center in Manhattan, a world-class piece of deception.

The center was sold to an unwitting public (and probably to an unwitting board and sponsors) as something entirely different from what it is: two large buildings on too small a site. Twice I've written to Knight Ridder with a simple solution to save the project: Relocate the Miami Herald and use all the land east of Biscayne Boulevard to the bay as the site.

If built as planned, the performing arts center will make Miami the laughingstock of the world. We'll have to close it down anyway after the third incident in which a patron exiting an event becomes a traffic fatality.

Jim Tommaney, artistic director
EDGE/Theatre
Miami Beach

From Those Wonderful People Who Brought You the Omni Mall ...
I must admit to being exhausted after reading Jose Luis Jiménez's dissection of the terminally new performing arts center. Miami-Dade County officials and friends have created a maze that would dumbfound the most clever mouse, not to mention Miami-Dade County taxpayers.

Let's face it, when it comes to Miami development north of NE Seventh Street, most city and county government leaders should be pronounced brain dead. If you doubt this, there is an arena called Miami and a black hole named Omni they'd like to sell you.

Clyde Cates
South Miami

Fine Young Cannibals
The reporters providing us coverage of Elian Gonzalez seem to recognize they're taking part in a shark feed. And they just keep chomping.
By Jacob Bernstein

Working Out Frustrations in Print
In his article "Fine Young Cannibals" (February 10), Jacob Bernstein ridiculously describes the media covering Elian Gonzalez. He must be frustrated being part of the profession. But without media attention, the INS would have sent the boy back to Cuba arbitrarily, without taking into account other laws or Elian's rights. Therefore I'm very thankful for those who have given their time and skills to this cause.

Those American journalists who think the boy should be returned have been able to say that because they live in a democratic society. Their Cuban counterparts do not have that possibility at all. Neither do the Cuban people, who are forced to go to demonstrations and comply with the system.

Estela Delgado
Hialeah Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error in "Fine Young Cannibals," Channel 4's call letters were misstated. They are WFOR-TV. Call Me Sasha
I read the series of articles called "Captains Outrageous," by Kirk Nielsen, Tristram Korten, Ted B. Kissell, and Jim DeFede (February 3), with great interest, as I spent more than three years on cruise ships working as a waiter for six different cruise companies, including Carnival Cruise Lines. Even after four years ashore, I still can't believe that in the United States, cradle of democracy, floating bastions of medieval exploitation and brutality are allowed to exist.

Every time I see a cruise ship pulling into Miami's seaport, I sigh with relief: "Sasha, you made it. You didn't get addicted to the druglike 'easy-money' lifestyle and got out to be free." I don't regret the years, though. I earned and saved money (and later successfully invested it), saw many exotic lands for free, met many colorful people, and most important, I passed a great "life university" in which physical exhaustion sometimes went hand in hand with mental humiliation.

I know that clerks at cruise-line offices are going to doom me for jumping from one boat to another and for bringing up these memories. Every company tries to nurture a devoted, faithful crew and keep them obedient for years. Fortune seekers and mental rebels are unwelcome and discouraged. But at least you can give me credit for fulfilling contracts with the major cruise lines and for not molesting my female passengers.

Yes, authors of "Captains Outrageous," female passengers might be assaulted sexually on a cruise ship as anywhere else, but what percentage of female passengers consciously and deliberately lure their waiter to their cabin? I'd be more concerned about the naive, pretty, honest, and decent waitresses from Third World countries who have to deal with not-so chivalrous ship's officers from First World nations.

I wish I knew the statistics about the number of crew members who have committed suicide by jumping overboard. Cruise ships are floating cities where there exists no law. "Just shut up and do it. Or if you don't like it, go home." That phrase I've heard a thousand times in my cruise-ship career.

Sasha Linus Moscowisch
Miami Beach

From One Slave to Another
As a former cruise-line worker-slave, I enjoyed your brave attempt to tackle the billion-dollar industry of modern-style slavery. But haven't you tried in the past to shine a light on these outrageous work conditions on cruise ships?

Since your last story about the same subject ("Bon Voyage!" December 18, 1991), nothing has changed. So I urge you in the name of human rights to follow up this time despite the economic pressure exerted by cruise lines.

To all my friends at the Port of Miami, hang in there and get a lawyer!

K. Bildau
via the Internet

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