Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of June 8, 2000

The statement that the gates cost residents more than a million dollars for the first two years is misleading because it does not differentiate between infrastructure and maintenance expenses. The actual construction was around $350,000 and the maintenance, inclusive of 24-hour security, is approximately $250,000 per year for the two guardhouses.

Morningside is a tri-ethnic community. Generalizing that it is overwhelmingly white and upper middle class is neither fair nor accurate. Attaching the label of apartheid to the area is not only blatantly wrong, but it is unnecessarily inflammatory. Clearly the author has no understanding of apartheid's meaning. Neither the people of Morningside nor the gating of the community stands for rigid racial separation. To my knowledge no one in the neighborhood has ever espoused pro-apartheid sentiment. Attaching this derogatory stereotype to the area is yellow journalism aimed at creating an unwarranted war of words at the very least.

Although in the past New Times has written many well-researched pieces, this one is a shallow attempt to pour gasoline on a community and light a match. I find it amazing that a part-time security guard received more ink in the article than the residents who researched and worked so diligently to make Morningside a safer community. Of course, when someone has set out to write an article with an obvious bias, the facts don't matter.

Jesse H. Diner and Patrick McCoy

How Did You Know Yellow Is Our Favorite Color?
After reading your trashy little article on our community, I would like to point out a few errors in your inflammatory ranting. It might make you better reporters, or at least honest ones.

From your perch you can't see that we are a close community of whites, gays, Hispanics, and yes -- to your chagrin -- Afro-Americans; that the gates were not put up to keep black people out, but to try to keep the criminal elements from making Morningside their cash box and shopping bazaar. Regretfully this has not been the case. Last week one of our children was attacked in that same park by three minors from outside our community; after stealing his bike they proceeded to beat that child to the point where he is going to need plastic surgery. There's a story for you.

It would be wonderful if you would write a story about a neighborhood that still maintains a sense of community, where neighbors help other neighbors, a community that reaches out to others less fortunate. I understand this would be too much to ask. Your contempt for anything other than sheer sensationalism would run contrary to your paper's editorial policy.

Here is a suggestion for you: Have New Times printed on yellow paper. It would match the content of most of your articles.

Gus Fernandez

If I Buy There, I Get Rich, Right?
You inflame and infuriate those good people of Morningside who have opened their arms for everyone: black, white, Hispanic, of all religious affiliations or sexual orientations who live together in this area.

I am appalled at your lack of sensitivity to an area that is slowly coming back after years of neglect and hardship. City government has been neglectful, to say the least. Thanks to the efforts of realtor Norah Schaefer and others, the Morningside neighbors have saved these glorious houses from the fate that befell Buena Vista; families of ten to twenty dismantled those historic homes and ruined them. That it has cost money to do this is indisputable, but to say this is a rich neighborhood (I'm certainly not rich) that somehow discourages people from entering is a fallacy. Use that argument for Bay Point, not Morningside. If people do not enter, it is because they are unaware of the rules. When I don't know, I have everything to gain by asking.

Morningside residents have had to deal with remarks like yours for some time. Guard gates that now stand on NE 50th and 58th streets were placed there as a result of years of robberies by thugs who entered the neighborhood only to steal, not to use the park. Now we have a way of recording the license numbers of those who enter -- simple, safe, not too much of an inconvenience. If people are using the park less, perhaps it is because the illegal activity has no place in Morningside anymore. Cruising, prostitution, and drug use will not be tolerated.

We have never discouraged families and law-abiding citizens from entering. You do the neighborhood and the city a disservice with this article, which is divisive and insulting to me personally.

How long have you lived in Miami? Do you live in Morningside or have you spent any length of time there? I think not. Because if you had the chance, you'd snap up a home in Morningside in a heartbeat. As for me, I am lucky and glad to live in such a diverse melting pot, where all are welcome.

Carlos Navarro

Not A Lot of Diverse Opinion on This Story
Okay, so you can piss off even your most ardent fans once in a while.

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