Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of June 15, 2000

Rick ... or Red?
Could Rick Sanchez, Miami's most notorious journalistic windbag, actually be an agent of Fidel Castro?
By Robert Andrew Powell

Was It Self-loathing or Were We Just Bored?
I find it amusing that in his emphatic and quite satirical attempt to discredit Rick Sanchez ("Rick...or Red?" June 1), Robert Andrew Powell uses the tactics of none other than ... Rick Sanchez. And while pretending to vilify one whose example he follows, is he not being equally if not more disingenuous?

In this merry-go-round of life, it is the perceived but illusory movement of stationary objects that creates the illusion of same or different, better or worse. So tell me, New Times, it is your disdain for self or your boredom that caused you to strike out at something so similar? How does it feel to know that after embarking on a journey of many words, you have ended up in the same place?

Manny Losada
Miami

Idiocy + Lunacy + Paranoia = Saint Fidel
My heartfelt compliments to New Times for the spoof of Rick Sanchez, local buffoon and journalist extraordinaire. Sanchez's idiotic pandering and speculative rants indeed achieved new milestones during the Elian saga. Many "new generation" Cuban Americans like myself already were sitting in awe and abhorrence witnessing this child's tragedy, manipulated and magnified by fascists here and communists there. But watching WSVN added an additional disgusting dimension, as we were treated to an unending volley of idiocy, lunacy, and paranoid speculation by the ratings-desperate Mr. Sanchez. The question on most of our lips: How can this television station survive with a clown like this as its anchor? Where's the FCC? Don't tell me this braying hound is acting in the public interest! For God's sake, give the mongrel a milk bone and reassign him to Baghdad, Chechnya, or even Havana.

After reading Robert Andrew Powell's article, it's now obvious that there are thousands of double agents among us. This clearly explains everything that has transpired, from the indefensible and pagan efforts to separate a child from his father to the threats of violence to destruction of property to betrayal of the laws of a nation to which most of us exiles swore allegiance upon becoming citizens.

Wowee! Mr. Sanchez and the rest of the "gang that couldn't shoot straight" exile command are in fact subconscious Castro agents. Yes, now we see it. And yes, it isn't just Mariano Faget, who like Judas is after blood money. Our own Herald (both versions) did better than Izvestia in fanning flames and inciting the lumpen with shameless headlines and obscene blowups. (By the way, did the new editor ever spend any time in Moscow or Havana?)

Before "Rick...or Red?" we were dumbfounded by such conduct. But now the dynamics are clear and make absolute sense:

•Attacking the universal rights of a good father: Makes exiles look bad and Castro look good.

•Defying U.S. law, insulting the president, blocking traffic, and antagonizing the American public: Makes exiles look bad and Castro look good.

•Stifling public expressions of differing opinions via threats of violence or, better yet, by calling others communists: Makes exiles look very bad and Castro seem just shy of sainthood.

Obviously these folks, including our journalistic wonder boy, are subliminally programmed to project on cue what lies buried in their psyche. Half this herd are closet Batistianos and the other half are former Castro groupies who fell out of favor and mostly hate the man but still cling fondly to his Stalinist tactics. Just wave a flag -- any flag -- and the bull emerges from within both camps, all acting in Pavlovian concert to benefit el jefe in Havana.

Ultimately this excellent article has made many of us stand back and take a second, hard look at those faces that continuously violate the phosphor on our TV screens. The mugs on those journalists, politicians, businessmen, and dubious unemployable types speak volumes. Those expressions on the pied pipers of Hamelin, who led us like lemmings over the cliff in a suicidal betrayal of democratic principles -- they're all caricatures! The round faces, the triple chins, the Chaplinesque mustaches, the overreaching lips, the jutting jaws and the flared nostrils and head-shaking from Washington -- wow, all masks. Most, in fact, are clown masks festooned with flowers, pictures, and cellular phones grafted to their ears.

Castro's fifth column is among us all the time and called to action under cover of a media circus. No wonder Fidel took us by surprise.

Tony Perez
Pembroke Pines

If George Ruled the World
During this whole Elian period, I found the reporting on Channel 7 to be so biased that I continually switched to Channel 10, where, of course, every poll conducted by that station showed results exactly the opposite of Channel 7.

Tricky Ricky is biased, but I think the Channel 7 management should be called to task for allowing this to go on. Then again, I'm not in charge.

George Sterling
via the Internet

What Are the Chances of This Bozo Ever Learning Anything from This Story?
I really like Rick Sanchez. He's personable, has charisma, and speaks well in at least two languages. However Robert Andrew Powell's article was right on the money. I want my news programs to be objective, not biased. Rick angered this viewer several times by favoring the Cuban exiles, who were illegally holding Elian hostage. When one of the judges issued a ruling opposing the Miami Gonzalez family's wishes, Rick casually dropped this aside: "What are the chances of this judge ever getting elected in this town again?"

Maybe Rick will learn a lesson by trying to understand the true meaning of Powell's article. I think Alex Penelas now understands that he erred in the Elian controversy. Let's hope Rick gets the same message.

Joe Berlin
Miami Beach

When the Monkey Girls Give the Dog His Due
I just loved the article about Dick (oops!), I mean Rick Sanchez. I can't tell you how disgusted I get every time I have to hear him say, "Yet another hit-and-run accident here in Miami." Given his driving record, he is a truly cold-blooded guy when it comes to asking delicate questions of people.

Well, as they say, every dog has his day. I'm sure the day will come when I turn to Channel 7 and see one of those monkey-girl anchors (Belkys or Lynn) with a "breaking" news story about their own beloved anchor Dick (oops, sorry!), I mean Rick Sanchez.

Linda Kelly
Hialeah

And Then You'll Be Offered a Million-Dollar Contract
After reading "Rick ... or Red?" I came to the realization that Mr. Sanchez personifies all that is wrong with Miami. In fact I'm so damned pissed that I think I'll run my car into some knave and give him a dirt nap. Later I'll go home to have a Rolling Rock or five, then come back to the accident scene to sign autographs and insult the cops' intelligence.

David Magnusson
Hialeah

Back To You, Noodle Brain
Whatever else Rick Sanchez may or may not be, there is one thing he is definitely not -- a competent newsman. Why he holds the anchor chair at Channel 7 has always been a mystery to me. I was told by another WSVN employee that they have a nickname for him: Noodle Brain. Oh for the days of Ann Bishop.

The beauty of television is that even if you don't have cable, there are many alternatives for news.

Name Withheld by Request
Miami

Strung-Out Free Weekly Mainlines Newsplex
"Rick...or Red?" was a disgusting hack job. It was also unbelievably unethical since you combined actual transcripts from Channel 7 broadcasts with your fictional horseshit! You criticize Channel 7 for having little journalistic integrity but you are all hypocrites because you obviously have none at all.

Maybe you should consider spending your time working on real stories and your paper's circulation might go up -- and maybe, just maybe you might be able to charge for it. Right now it's just a free pile of paper that people use to line the bottom of the bird cages and clean up after their dogs.

Robert Andrew Powell's article not only insulted Rick Sanchez but it also degraded the hard work of countless people at Channel 7. Those "lackeys" in the background are dedicated people who put out a product that reaches far more people and makes a lot more money than yours does now and can ever hope to.

If you don't like Channel 7 you are entitled to express your opinion, but at least do it in a mature way, not with some childish story. Also, if you were the least bit aware of the state of television news in South Florida today, you would realize that channels 4, 6, and 10 are all desperately trying to copy the Channel 7 style, which, God forbid, tries to inform in a way that won't put viewers to sleep.

Maybe if you spent more time working on your paper and less time watching Channel 7 (for a station you hate so much you clearly watch a lot), you would put out a paper that had more stories than ads.

If you don't like Channel 7, turn it off!

Kevin Ramos
Coral Gables

Marlon Bids Farewell
I have been a dedicated reader of your paper for many years. Every week after school I would always run to the corner to catch the latest New Times. But I'm no longer going to do that. I can no longer support a paper that displays hatred toward the Cuban people of Miami.

Every week you continue to show us how much you love us Cubans by putting us down. Your conspiracy theory against Rick Sanchez was a joke! I couldn't stop laughing at the idiot who wrote this. I mean, c'mon, don't you people have something better to write about?

And I cannot believe you allow prejudiced jerks like Jim DeFede to continue to write for your paper. I'm proud to say that I will never read another issue of New Times!

Marlon Alvarez
Miami

Stefan Says Good Riddance
"Rick or Red" was obviously tongue-in-cheek satire. Why waste space printing letters from those too dim-witted to realize that?

Stefan Ferentz
Miami Beach

Beautiful Schemers
The low end of the South Beach modeling scene is a tangle of lies, violent threats, and bad manners
By Tristram Korten

In the Business of Acting, Avoid the Bad Actors
Thanks for Tristram Korten's article on Jerry Babij and Image, his acting and modeling agency ("Beautiful Schemers," May 25). As a drama teacher at the Wolfson campus of Miami-Dade Community College, I've had some contact with clients of Image over the years. Their stories follow the same pattern: They see Image's advertisement and show up at the office, where they are told something to the effect of "how talented" they are and how much work they will get.

They are pressured into making an appointment with one of Image's photographers and leaving a sizable, nonrefundable deposit to "hold the appointment." They are overcharged for substandard photos (the examples of the Image-taken headshots I've seen have been unusable) and pressured into taking "acting" classes such as those described in your article.

In an industry with a reputation for taking advantage of the unsuspecting, Image and Jerry Babij stand out. Whenever I give my beginning students a lecture on "the business of acting," I use Jerry Babij and Image as examples of what to avoid. Thanks for the information.

Josh Braun
Miami

Tere Exits Stage Left
Thank you for the article on "actor" and "talent agent" Jerry Babij. It's about time someone wrote about the questionable business practices going on at Image. I speak from experience.

Two years ago I signed up with them. After nearly six years of stage-acting, I wanted to continue with it and to get involved in other projects. Silly me for thinking Image Model and Talent could help. On my first meeting, after paying for basic headshots, they tried to convince me to take modeling pictures too. Even after I explained that I had no interest in modeling, they persisted until I threatened to leave and try another agency. The deal I got for the headshots was actually a good one, but when I saw the final product I was mortified: They were of such cheap, crappy quality that to this day I am too embarrassed to show anyone.

Based on my experience, I'd say Image is nothing more than a two-bit, sorry excuse of an agency. You know how much they care about their talent? In the three months I was with them, they never even bothered to call me to pick up my headshot and pictures. I had to keep calling and calling and calling, and every time I had to go over again exactly who I was and what I was looking for.

I ditched them as fast as I could, realizing that they do not provide good service. I hope your article serves as a warning to Jerry Babij's current clients: Take your talents and run!

Tere Estorino
Miami

Party-Hearty Security Chief Prompts Prayer
Thank God we have such good investigative reporting in New Times. After reading Jim DeFede's "Meet MIA's Own Barney Fife" (May 25) I couldn't help but think: No wonder Miami is in such a mess!

When you have public officials like Miami International Airport security chief Nelson Oramas conducting their personal lives (a 46-year-old ex-policeman partying late at night) in a county vehicle (obviously he couldn't care less about public property) and handing the car keys (with a gun still in the vehicle) to a total stranger -- well, I've heard it all now.

Can you imagine for just one moment a private citizen doing the same thing and not reporting the incident until the next day? More than a few eyebrows would be raised.

Please, dear God, send in the feds and clean up this damn airport!

Name Withheld by Request
Miami Beach

Snookered Security Chief Kindles Compassion
After reading Jim DeFede's article about Nelson Oramas, I was amazed at the bias of this piece of so-called journalism. Mr. Oramas has had a very respectable career and has made many valuable contributions to our community. He was the victim of a crime, and as a victim he deserves our sympathy and support.

Why doesn't Mr. DeFede write about all the commendations he has received during his career, and how he rose through the ranks in one of the best police departments in the nation? Or is Mr. DeFede on a vendetta against all county employees? One has to question the motives of this "bumbling" reporter and where his venom comes from.

Alfredo A. Hidalgo-Gato
Miami

Frank Talk About Free Speech
Attorney Victor Diaz chats up the ACLU's Howard Simon

The Gittelson Protocol: Buscaglia 24/7
Regarding New Times's article "Frank Talk About Free Speech" (May 25), my view is contrary to that of the First Amendment and that of most Americans. Briefly, Adolf Hitler's bloodthirsty and degrading book Mein Kampfis readily available in the United States. Fortunately it is illegal in Germany, where they had to learn the hard way.

My point is that speech which is outwardly and profoundly hate-filled and derogatory should be banned. This type of speech leads to hate crimes. On the other hand, the writings of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., lead to a more peaceful and harmonious world.

Make it illegal for the racist, twisted words of Adolf Hitler to resonate and instead broadcast those of Dr. King and Leo Buscaglia.

Alan Gittelson
North Miami

Land of the Rich and Home of the White
Morningside is supposed to be open to the public. So why is it closed off like a private club?
By Kathy Glasgow

Morningside: A Shameful Outrage
I don't know what's more shocking about Kathy Glasgow's article "Land of the Rich and Home of the White" (May 25): forcing people to pass through security barricades to reach Morningside Park, or the fact that no minority-group organizations or individuals have filed suit to end this quasi-legal and blatantly racist practice. The recent removal of the park signs on Biscayne Boulevard only underscores the deliberate prejudice involved.

Morningside Park is a public park, supported by all the residents of the City of Miami. Most of its users are (or were) members of racial and ethnic minorities who lived outside of the Morningside neighborhood. They have just as much right to go in and out of the park without being stopped and surveilled as do Morningside residents.

Morningside homeowners have no "right of expectation" of being insulated from parkgoers. They bought their homes in a neighborhood that included a large and heavily used park. Past and present City of Miami commissioners and mayors, who publicly decry racism, should be especially ashamed for having countenanced this outrage.

If a neighborhood in any other city tried to barricade a park from that city's own residents the attempt would be over as quickly as it started. Just another example of the City of Miami being a national embarrassment.

Richard H. Rosichan
Miami Beach

Morningside: Nothing Much to Hide
Kathy Glasgow obviously does not live in Morningside, nor has she been there on a weekend when the park is full of people. On Memorial Day weekend I walked my dog to the park at 9:00 a.m. While I was walking around I counted seventeen families with barbecues going, enjoying a nice day in the park. Out of the seventeen families there was not one white family -- not one. (So much for Ms. Glasgow's theory on apartheid.)

If any people are intimidated by the guard gates, they clearly are not comfortable with themselves. Maybe they're thinking of doing something wrong. A normal person does not just turn around if they see a guard gate. They are not being stopped and asked questions and they are not being turned away. If you have nothing to hide, the gates mean nothing!

Why doesn't Kathy Glasgow try coming to Morningside? She can look around, drive to the park. I would be willing to bet she is not stopped and asked questions. She will not be turned away. And by chance if she took the time to talk to the residents, she would see that Morningside is a beautiful community that is only trying to keep itself safe.

Name Withheld by Request
Miami

The Return of Loco Joe
Miami's mayoral meltdown has a long and nasty history
By Tristram Korten and Jose Luis Jiménez

Laughter, the Best Medicine Against Locos
I don't usually comment about newspaper articles, but when I read the headline "The Return of Loco Joe" and saw the way Mayor Carollo appeared on your cover (May 18), I believe I may have added ten years to my life from laughing so much and so hard.

I did read the entire story by Tristram Korten and Jose Luis Jiménez, and I have to say I am among the many individuals who feel the only reason Carollo fired Donald Warshaw was the fact that Mr. Warshaw did not notify the mayor about the raid on Elian's Miami relatives' home hours, minutes, or even seconds before it actually took place.

What pissed me off about Loco Joe's firing of Mr. Warshaw was the way he tried to make it seem as though his motivation had nothing to do with his disapproval of Elian's seizure by federal agents. With all due respect, I have just four words for Mayor Carollo: Give me a break!

How dare he take us for fools. A person of such character is not to be trusted.

Faylor St. Hilaire
North Miami Beach

And Now This Report from Our Pyongyang Bureau
I am writing in reference to the many articles New Times has published recently about Joe Carollo and the Cuban-American community. I am an Irish American, and I feel disgusted with your newspaper. It seems you are pro-communist and anti-democratic.

From reading one of the many articles against this community, which is mine too, New Times seems have friends called activists. Who are they? Are they communists or what? They should be living and practicing their ideals in Cuba, China, or North Korea, not living well in our democratic country.

New Times is a disgrace to this nation and this city. It should be taken from the newsracks.

Mary King
Coral Gables

A Bird? A Plane? Maybe a Blimp?
The University of Miami's new logo is a mystery to the very kids it was intended to please
By Robert Andrew Powell

UM Gets the Bird on This One
With many talented University of Miami graphic-design students and many local design firms such as mine, I find it rather cozy how UM got Nike, supplier of nearly all athletic uniforms to the school, to design the hideous new ibis logo ("A Bird? A Plane? Maybe a Blimp?" May 18).

This represents all that is wrong with design today. As Robert Andrew Powell noted, the people it was meant for can't understand it, the rival schools will obviously make fun of it, and even if it's meant as the eighth alternate version, it's horrible. Shame on you, UM, for giving Nike yet another chance to subliminally hide their swoosh on the bird's wing. Talk about branding.

Mike DePaz
Kendall

Hackin' at the Herald
The Miami Herald took on the world's biggest news story -- and flopped
By Ryan Lizza

The Ferre Scorecard
I never miss New Times because there is more meaningful information about our town in your newspaper than anywhere else. I also appreciate your accuracy and good journalism. But I disagree with Ryan Lizza's "Hackin' at the Herald" (May 11). I too have had many problems with the Miami Herald in the past, but I do think that in this case the paper has done objective and balanced reporting on the Elian Gonzalez issue.

Maurice A. Ferre
Miami

We Have Met the Enema
I would like to thank Jim DeFede for his article "Bananas" (May 11). I almost shot beer out of my nose reading it! I am now firmly convinced that if we were to give Florida an enema, we'd have to stick the tube in Miami.

And as a tribute to what the right-wing fanatical Cubans have done to this once glorious city, may I suggest a bust of Jorge Mas Canosa made out of the extra asphalt he always seemed to have around, complete with a yellow stripe up the back. That would not only represent the roadways he may or may not have paved, but it would also pose a question: If Florida becomes comunista, where would Cubans flee to next?

Kendal Morton
Goulds

Erratum: Owing to a reporting error in Ted B. Kissell's article about onerous school district fees for public documents ("A Lesson in Obstruction," June 8), attorney Sanford Bohrer was incorrectly identified as counsel for WPLG-TV. Mr. Bohrer, who represents New Times and the Miami Herald, has provided legal services to the station in the past.

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