Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of March 30, 2000

A Portable Feast
In the world of the lunchero, the food is hot, the drinks are cold, and the turf wars are downright dangerous
By Victor Cruz

Straight and Out of Line
In reference to Armando Dominguez's comment from Victor Cruz's article "A Portable Feast" (March 23), obviously he's not intelligent enough to realize that talking about "faggots" is no joke. This is what he was quoted as saying: "Here we talk about everything -- politics, baseball, and faggots."

I'm totally straight and totally offended. This kind of statement should not be tolerated or accepted, especially by his employer. I would never patronize a business that chooses to employ someone so ignorant and insensitive.

Leslie Cohen
Miami

Courting Disaster
Judge Cindy Lederman, champion of justice and advocate extraordinaire, bends the rules on the bench
By Tristram Korten

Court's in Session -- Come on Down!
I was disappointed in the caliber of professionalism exhibited in Tristram Korten's article "Courting Disaster" (March 23). The venomous attacks against Judge Cindy Lederman, mostly by anonymous people, would give any reader reason to question not only the credibility of the author but the publication as well. What is the author's hidden agenda? I don't understand how any attorney worth his salt can refuse to use his name in order to convey a message about which he or she feels passionately. How can attorneys represent their clients in the best possible way if they're afraid to take a stand?

I have been a volunteer guardian ad litem at the Juvenile Justice Center for more than ten years, and have appeared in Judge Lederman's courtroom many times over the past three years. As a guardian I have not always agreed with her decisions, but her professionalism and her interest in doing the right thing for children and their families (not the attorneys or guardians ad litem) has always been paramount. I have always admired the way she "follows the law" in spite of the pressures from attorneys and other outside influences.

Her caring about children and their future is evident in one of her many extracurricular projects, "Picturing Ourselves." A select group of children in foster care are provided with cameras to photograph and write about their world. These photos and articles are displayed on the walls throughout the Juvenile Justice Center, with the goal of promoting greater self-esteem.

Judge Lederman practices in a place where rewards from the outside are few and far between. The difference she makes in children's lives is immeasurable. I personally invite Mr. Korten to come to the justice center and sit in Judge Lederman's courtroom, as well as the other judges' courts, and see what a difference these committed judges make.

Judy Kreutzer
Miami

Apparently Not in Kansas Anymore
"Courting Disaster" gave me a terrible headache. I felt as if I had been tossed down the rabbit hole with Alice, or tumbled into the tornado with Dorothy. What a topsy-turvy scenario Tristram Korten presented. What a skewed and twisted picture of a superior judge, an extraordinary woman who breathes the fresh air of concern and commitment into the courtroom where she presides. I have sat in Judge Cindy Lederman's courtroom. I have participated in a case with Virginia Stanley. Which one is the "doyenne" and which is "draconian?" Mr. Korten has his terms and his women confused.

As a guardian ad litem for more than fifteen years, I have been involved in numerous dependency cases heard by a wide variety of judges, and have witnessed many attorneys serving the parents and the children. Judge Cindy Lederman is a gem, a gift to the children who pass through our dependency system. Of course she sometimes expresses anger at the parents. Of course she expects them to learn what is best for their children and make an effort to better the situation that has brought them into the system. But whatever she says, whatever she does is not for personal aggrandizement and has nothing to do with petty feelings of revenge. I am convinced that her thoughts are always with the children and what is in their best interest.

There are so many children in pain in this state, this county. Why sully the name of one of their very best advocates? Mr. Korten, you and your newspaper would do a far better service to this community by finding a way to assist Judge Lederman, the Guardian Ad Litem Program, and the Department of Children and Families. You might consider publicizing those programs and organizations that are working to make this a better place for children to thrive. Please do not use your power to destroy a strong voice speaking for children.

Joni Kleinman
Miami

Everywhere a Sign
The more illegal billboards the merrier
By Kirk Nielsen

Remove the Signs and the City Officials
As a county employee I have for years campaigned against illegal and/or ugly signs that besmirch our views, with little success. I am glad Kirk Nielsen has now picked up the cause, as I am soon moving to Palm Beach County ("Everywhere a Sign," March 23).

Someone in the City of Miami should pay attention to Florida Statute 479.11(1), which prohibits any sign not state permitted within 660 feet of any interstate highway, such as I-95 or I-395. The city, as we all know, needs money to cover the waste and other misdeeds of its last set of officials, and they make money selling sign permits.

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