Letters to the Editor

Letters from the issue of June 22, 2000

Demetrio's Rules
The world according to public school board member Demetrio Perez includes exile philosophy, Elian propaganda, and old-Havana-school politics.
By Ted B. Kissell

A Stinking Pot Full of the Usual Suspects
Ted B. Kissell's article about Demetrio Perez, Jr. ("Demetrio's Rules," June 15) is the kind of thing we are accustomed to reading when New Times deals with local Cuban-American personalities: a pot of half-truths, rotten lies, and innuendo. No wonder you cite two well-known detractors of the Cuban community: Max Castro and dictator Castro's subordinate and agent Francisco Aruca.

Adolfo Costa

And Now This Word from Our Sponsor -- El Comandante en Jefe
Who died and made Max Castro the spokesman for Cubans? Just because he is part of your newspaper, please don't elect him Cuban spokesman. As for the asshole Aruca, check out his numerous visits to father Fidel. Why don't you comment on those visits and his pro-Castro stance?

Is New Times being funded by Fidel investments?

Orlando Chavez
via the Internet

Demetrio Perez: Made in the U.S.A.
When will Cubans in exile realize that as long as they have individuals like Demetrio Perez, Ninoska Perez Castellon, Lincoln Diaz-Balart, and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen representing them, nothing will be done to benefit our homeland? I am not one of them since I am not in "exile." I'm an immigrant who became a U.S. citizen. I hope to see my country of birth rid of Castro as well as the Castros in exile (Demetrio, Ninoska, Lincoln, et al.).

Only in this land could someone like Demetrio Perez be elected to office and still have the nerve to fly the American flag upside down, which shows he does not respect this nation. He should be removed from office immediately.

I agree with recent Cuban immigrant Julian Jorge Reyes ("Equal Opportunity Dissident," June 15): The exile leaders in Miami fight from here because they never had the guts (or cojones) to do it in Cuba. I think it is time for Cubans to wake up. The policy of ignorance, intolerance, and hate is taking us nowhere. Either we change or we will keep dividing ourselves from the community, dividing ourselves from la patria.

Rita Concepcion

Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error, Ted B. Kissell's "Demetrio's Rules" misstated Demetrio A. Perez's middle name. It is Alberto. New Times regrets the error.

The Real McGuffin
Neil McGuffin was supposed to guide the Miami Beach Housing Authority into the new millennium. Instead he exposed an agency in disarray. And he lost his job.
By Victor Cruz

Subsidized Housing, America's Experiment in Socialism
Thanks to Victor Cruz for shedding light on the corruption and incompetence within the Miami Beach Housing Authority ("The Real McGuffin," June 15). It seems to me that maintaining the status quo has been the rule at the MBHA. City Commissioner Mattie Bower's description of the agency as doing a good job seems designed to provide job security for her friends, to win votes, and to promote a socialist attitude toward entitlements for the less fortunate that enable them to reside next to hard-working families paying a mortgage. This approach breeds bitterness and divisiveness within the community.

Americans generally are segregated by their socioeconomic status. For instance if you can't afford Weston, you settle for Pembroke Pines. I have no problem with helping the poor but there must be some sort of consequence for one's decisions in life. Thus I can only anticipate favorable outcomes in my neighborhood when slumlords are cut off, rent control is lifted, and Section 8 housing is abolished in Miami Beach.

Ben Groff
Miami Beach

When Bad News Is No News
I am not surprised that Miami Beach Housing Authority executive director Neil McGuffin was castigated for his lack of "people skills." Whenever someone exposes and proves corruption, inefficiency, ineffectiveness, inflated salaries, kickbacks, and the like, their message cannot be debated so their character is assaulted instead. There are no people skills that could navigate the mess that the MBHA had become over many years. Staff liked things just the way they were and the board of directors did not want their mismanagement of the organization exposed. After all it was their lack of oversight that fed the situation. Any person attempting to change that would be eaten alive. The only acceptable people skills would involve maintaining the status quo.

As a Miami Beach taxpayer and property owner, I am disgusted that the MBHA has been so ineffective over the years, provided so little in terms of affordable housing, and paid staff salaries way above and beyond the norm. Had the board supported Mr. McGuffin, there would have been a lot more cooperation from staff in dealing with needed changes. That is the type of people skills needed for change, skills that the board, in attempting to conceal its role in all of this, chose not to apply. The board did, however, choose to send a message that the mismanagement of the past was far lesser a crime than its exposure.

I think the board needs to resign and I hope Mr. McGuffin files a defamation lawsuit against the board and the city.

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