Goya, Goya, Gone

Letters from the issue of June 22, 2000

Don't Look for the Union Label
For two years Goya Foods has waged a war to prevent its workers from unionizing. Now things are starting to get really ugly.
By Kathy Glasgow

GOYA, GOYA, GONE
Loosen the purse strings or lose me:
It was with disappointment that I read Kathy Glasgow's story about Goya Foods (“Don't Look for the Union Label,” June 22). I heard a news story some time ago about Goya's canned products being manufactured and/or packaged in highly unsanitary conditions, so I stopped using Goya products. Then I read what the spokesperson for Goya Foods said, gave them the benefit of the doubt, and began using them again.Now I read that the owners of Goya cut down on the workforce and are trying to keep the union out so they can pay the lowest wages possible. It is all becoming quite clear. The family that owns Goya seems to be keeping costs down by keeping out the union and paying its employees as little as possible. With that sort of greedy yet cheap outlook, why should I believe that the family is spending enough money to manufacture and package their foods in a sanitary environment -- foods that I put in my mouth? The fact is, I don't believe them. I have stopped using Goya altogether until they show the world they're not cheapskates.

Name Withheld by Request
Boca Raton

The Knight of Blight
Miami developer Aristides Martinez once seemed an inner-city savior. Today he goes by another name: Slumlord.
By Victor Cruz

THESE BOOTSTRAPS ARE MADE FOR WORKIN'
Not for beating a path to the welfare office:

I have never personally written a letter in response to anything, but there comes a time when reading one-sided stories gets tiring. I'm referring to Victor Cruz's article about Aristides Martinez and his Liberty City housing projects (“The Knight of Blight,” June 22).Let me start by telling you about my origins in this country. My family migrated here from the Dominican Republic in search of a better future. They did not know a word of English but they learned. They went to work in factories so they could provide a good home and put food on the table. We struggled many times without food or money, but they didn't give in. Quickly we improved our situation and achieved some prosperity.

My family's story is not unlike that of many families. It just amazes me how some struggle to make it and others live off taxpayer money. It is so much easier to live off the efforts of others than to live on your own efforts. These families who live off taxpayer money in supposedly deplorable conditions never say how they play a major part in creating these conditions. Why didn't Victor Cruz mention that little fact? I have seen enough projects all my life to know why these buildings begin to deteriorate. Most families living in these types of developments do not care enough about their own bodies, let alone their surroundings. I wouldn't argue against legitimate repairs, but not when they are being caused by the tenants themselves. It's funny how all of a sudden a building starts to deteriorate, destroyed by its own inhabitants, but the owner is the so-called slumlord.

Ivette J. Russo
Miami Beach

Dredge Dirge
Authorities are in a pickle over where to dump the toxic sludge soon to be scraped from the Miami River
By Kirk Nielsen

OPEN WIDE
Bottomless pits await river muck:
We need not worry about where to put the toxic sludge scraped from the bottom of the Miami River, as mentioned by Kirk Nielsen in “Dredge Dirge” (June 22). A major portion could be dumped into U.S. Energy Secretary Bill Richardson's mouth every time he comes up with excuses for what happened to our nuclear secrets at Los Alamos, and for all his talk about gasoline prices never running out of control, as he said a year ago.We could also dump some of the sludge into the innards of most Miami-Dade County commissioners and Miami city commissioners, displacing their prevarications about taxpayers' money not being wasted.

Another huge amount of the crud could be forced into our school board members, occupying the space now taken up by their excuses time and time again regarding taxpayer money being spent frivolously.

Then you could dump tons of the junk into the mouths of local television news anchors who try to incite people or deliberately slant the news. And let us not forget those members of the Miami Herald's editorial board who pander to this group and that.

See how easy it is to dispose of toxic waste?

Ronald C. Rickey
Miami Beach

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 IN DEFENSE OF DEMETRIO'S DETRACTORS
Tune in Aruca:

In your June 22 edition you printed letters from two readers responding to Ted B. Kissell's article about Demetrio Perez (“Demetrio's Rules,” June 15). Those readers seem to have a problem with Francisco Aruca and Max Castro. Any person who accuses Aruca of being a supporter of Fidel Castro has never listened to his program. Aruca travels to Cuba regularly, that is true. But surprise, surprise: He owns and operates an airline that transports people to and from Cuba legally.He regularly attacks the Miami Herald for printing one story in English and another in Spanish. As a Cuban American himself, he spends most of his time challenging local politicians who do support lobbyists when choosing contractors. He criticized our two Cuban-American mayors who said that local police would not support the INS if they came to take Elian Gonzalez.

Aruca generally confines his lectures to local issues. Presently he is giving reasons why many local politicians should be removed from office. Do you suppose that is the reason why some people call him bad names? If you think Francisco Aruca is a Castro supporter, I suggest you listen to WAXY-AM (790) at 8:00 a.m. weekdays.

Max Castro is just as fine an American, though he too was born in Cuba. His only problem is that he does not have a radio program.

John A. Brennan
Miami

On balance less bad than good:
Ted B. Kissell is a good reporter. He quoted me accurately, but out of context, in reference to my friend Demetrio Perez. In the same sentence I also stated that Demetrio's sense of honor, loyalty, friendship, and duty (as he sees it) are strong qualities of his character. Weighted properly, Demetrio does more good, by far, than bad. There are no perfect public servants. We all have faults. Faults and all, exile philosophy and old-school policies, Demetrio Perez has left a positive legacy in our community. Miami is better off for his public service.

Maurice A. Ferré
Miami

An anchor in turbulent waters:
It's amazing how New Times chooses to focus on our little corner of the world when Demetrio Perez is merely abiding by or paying tribute to your American dream. After all, this whole country (from Miami to San Francisco) is built on “appropriating” images. And while accusing Perez of “programming” youth, can you think of anything more programmatic than the media and its advertising accomplices exposing children to this cash cow we call the free market? It is the latter form of “programming” that creates distinctions among the haves and have-nots, and arguably the subsequent crimes that follow. These crimes, in turn, are exploited in order to raise the ratings that are necessary to survive. What's more hypocritical than crying child abuse on one hand, and on the other creating the circumstances that shape it? I'll take Nixon and uniforms over this any day. At least Nixon knew he was rotten.As someone who works in the trenches as an educator, I can tell you that the last thing we want to get rid of now is formalism, time-honored tradition, and social etiquette. The fact that one has to risk one's life driving to work every day should tell you that. As much as I may disagree with some of Perez's beliefs, people like him bring a much-needed stabilizing presence to a generation disoriented by a shifting paradigm of cultural values.

Manny Losada
Miami

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