Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of April 6, 2000

Heads Up!
Normally I love Jim DeFede's column, but he really missed the boat in suggesting we drop a loaded cargo container on Elian Gonzalez ("A Modest Proposal for Elian Gonzalez," March 30). The real question is how to off the munchkin while doing the most damage to the Great Bearded Satan. The answer should have been obvious: Brothers to the Rescue should fly the little scamp over Castro's presidential palace in Havana and shove him out the plane's window. There are three possible outcomes, all of them good!

1) Cuban jets shoot down the plane after being told it contains Elian, in which case we can show the world that Fidel really didn't want Elian back. Fidel is shamed before the world, is deposed, and the Mas Canosa family can go back to Cuba and begin oppressing the peasants again. Victory!

2) The plane makes it to Havana and Elian's fall is broken by landing on Fidel himself. Elian lives, Fidel dies, and the Mas Canosa family can go back to Cuba and begin oppressing the peasants again. Victory!

3) The plane makes it to Havana and Fidel, looking awfully spry for his age, manages to duck out of the way of the falling Saint Elian. But we can again show the world that not only did Fidel not want Elian returned, he wouldn't even give his life to save a child. Fidel is shamed before the world, is deposed, and the Mas Canosa family can go back to Cuba and begin oppressing the peasants again. Victory!

Any way you look at it, this is a win-win situation. No defenestration, no peace!

Name Withheld by Request
Coral Gables

DeFede: Tomorrow's Rafter Boy?
I usually read DeFede's articles looking for his off-beat vision of reality in this city, but this time he has gone to the gutter, making a mockery of a human drama that touches most of your readers very deeply. Where does he come from, anyway? What kind of person would make such mockery out of this painful story? Maybe he needs to go to Cuba for a few years and then attempt to escape in a raft, or just move to Alaska and not listen to the news if he's so tired of hearing about the daily struggle of the Cuban people trying to reach for freedom.

If DeFede hates Cuban exiles so much, he is definitely in the wrong place.

Alicia Rodriguez
Miami

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

Yum, Yum, Yum
After reading Victor Cruz's article "A Portable Feast" (March 23), I was reminded that in the past I occasionally bought from a roach coach as an expedient, but never more. One day from my car I watched as a roach coach lunchero relieved himself on the side of his truck (the silver part where the food is), tucked it back in, then without a hand-wash or so much as a wipe-off, return to handling unwrapped food.

Enjoy your sandwiches. That special flavor is a true taste of Third World Miami.

Stephen Hanas
Pembroke Pines

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

Her Honor: Smeared
I read Tristram Korten's "Courting Disaster" (March 23) with absolute astonishment. As an eighteen-year veteran of the juvenile court system, 7500 hours and eight years as a volunteer, and ten years as a staff member of the Guardian Ad Litem program, I have never experienced a smear campaign of this caliber.

I have been privileged to work and learn from nationally recognized icons of the juvenile court system such as William Gladstone and Seymour Gelber. Most of us who work here agree Judge Cindy Lederman is a jurist in that tradition. Judge Lederman has been honored by national organizations of her peers and by civic and charitable programs whose focus is the best interest of children. As the administrative judge of the juvenile courts, she manages not only the dependency (abused, abandoned, and neglected) court but the juvenile delinquency court as well. At the same time she handles a huge calendar overseeing thousands of children and makes life-altering decisions on a minute-to-minute basis. Judge Lederman, while fiercely protecting children's rights, is always judicial and appropriate. She runs a smooth, well-ordered courtroom, and those of us -- defense attorneys, clerks, service providers, et cetera -- who work with her on a daily basis admire and respect her.

Judge Lederman, and I believe rightly so, has differed in legal opinions with some of the attorneys mentioned in Mr. Korten's article, and when their actions have been unprofessional and/or inappropriate, she has excused them from her courtroom. If these attorneys do not agree with the judge's rulings, there are professional options available to them such as appeals or complaints to the Bar Association. Instead, and probably because there is no legal basis for their complaints, they chose to smear an outstanding judge in a newspaper article. In doing so they smeared themselves, the other attorneys who labor here for small remuneration, the employees, and the hundreds of unpaid volunteers who work here because they passionately believe they can help a child.

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