Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of March 9, 2000

I would like to see the Marlins play somewhere in downtown Miami, but not at Bicentennial Park.

Albert F. Carreno

Play Ball (and Beware Being Suckered)
A very entertaining column by Jim Mullin: Marlins bigwigs discussing favorable camera angles, no problems with gridlock (yeah, right!).

I think John Henry is jumping the gun. There hasn't been any type of public discourse on the subject of Bicentennial Park and it seems he's really trying to ram this one through. I hope the citizens of Miami-Dade won't get suckered.

Matt Striner
via the Internet

Play Ball (and Hug Your Local Bureaucrat)
Bicentennial Park is public land. It belongs to me. It does not belong to John Henry, and it certainly does not belong to any self-serving Miami politician to dispose of as he or she wishes. The mental retards in the Department of Transportation haven't the slightest idea how they are going to control the traffic generated by the American Airlines Arena, not to mention the specter of a future Performing Arts Center up the street. Are they all suffering from the final stages of insanity?

And while we're at it I suggest a full-scale grand jury investigation of all operating procedures exercised by Miami's building and zoning department -- a contemptuous, subversive, autonomous group of self-perpetuating individuals who not only undermine and destroy our neighborhoods but also decimate the entire democratic process here in the City of Miami.

Charles Travaglio

Mango's: Your Destiny, My Paycheck
Celeste Fraser Delgado's article on Mango's Tropical Café ("Disneyland with a Libido," February 3) was intelligently written but contradictory, abrasive, inflammatory, and gender-biased. Mango's is a veritable melting pot of multicultural diversity with many Latin-based cultures and many different ideas about what the Caribbean should be. Every cast member brings to the table a different flavor and a different background. This is what makes Mango's unique -- the fact that you have almost 200 staff members and they all care for one another as if they were from the same family.

When you walk through the front gate, you are immediately transported into an environment with which most people are unfamiliar, an environment that boasts art, dance, music, entertainment, and cuisine in the atmosphere of one of the hottest places in the world today: South Beach. We are proud to say that Mango's has done much for the cabaret district and in turn we have all flourished.

The most troubling part of the article was the portrayal of [Mango's owner] David Wallack. A certain amount of respect needs to be paid to a person who envisions something so beautiful and so unattainable, then makes it work night after night. He has provided the public a sort of getaway to a place many have not experienced. Yet Delgado labels his vision of the Caribbean as "a primitive playground designed for Europe's pleasure." Well, if this is the case, then we here at Mango's are all guilty of helping David "get away with murder," as she put it.

I say that because this same man single-handedly gives away more than $100,000 annually to well-known local charities. He anonymously furnished scholarships to people who would otherwise not be able to attend college. This year he showed his gratitude to the staff for their efforts with the millennium party by distributing over $20,000 in bonuses. This same man makes stars out of unknowns, and makes it possible for the people he employs to send a portion of their income to their not-so-fortunate families. It is for these reasons that David has built a loyal following that extends from the hearts of his devoted staff right down into the masses who visit Mango's every day. It is this following that will keep the fire burning at Mango's for a long time.

Alex T. Brugger, executive chef
Mango's Tropical Café
Miami Beach

Mango's: Hypnotic Reverie Under the Black Lights
Celeste Fraser Delgado missed the proverbial boat on the essence of Mango's. It is a place where an individual or a couple can let down their hair and have a truly exotic experience. The combination of black lights and vivid jungle paintings, live Latin rhythms and songs of longing and desire, sexy dancers and willing partners can transport a participant into a kind of hypnotic joie de vivre. Add a South Beach iced tea and a spicy entrée and you can dance the night away. That is the magic of Mango's.

Barbara Green
North Miami Beach

Take Me Out to the ... Parking Lot?
Open spaces: check. Sewer runoff: check. Locked gate: check. Yep, this is indeed a Miami park!
By Jacob Bernstein

The Greening of the Grassroots
In response to Jacob Bernstein's article about Miami parklands and sprucing up the City of Miami Cemetery ("Take Me Out to the ... Parking Lot," January 27), reader Robert Fournier suggested that the city needs to invite grassroots volunteer groups to landscape it and make it a jewel for residents and tourists to enjoy.

In point of fact, that is exactly what is taking place. Two and a half years ago members of the City of Miami Beautification Committee, working with Penny Lambeth and the Miami City Cemetery Task Force, planted 123 native and flowering trees there. And last year members of TREEmendous Miami, a volunteer group I head, made a number of maintenance forays. Plus students from Miami Edison High School fertilized every tree in the cemetery, old and new, and a local Eagle Scout led a group that also did a planting project there.

Such grassroots activism pays important dividends in a tough urban neighborhood that challenges people to care.

Robert C. Ross, president
TREEmendous Miami

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