Jiang Zemin Stuns World, Embraces Democracy

Letters from the issue of July 13, 2000

Lawbreakers Beware!
Until the county's Cuba ordinance is rescinded, it remains the law of this land. Which is precisely why we must support the Cuba Affidavit Citizens' Auxiliary.
By Robert Andrew Powell

Jiang Zemin Stuns World, Embraces Democracy
Chinese leader faced threat of South Florida trade ban:
The county's Cuba ordinance, tauntingly described by Robert Andrew Powell as “CACA” in his article “Lawbreakers Beware!” (July 6) is not a Cuban thing at all. In fact it's as American as apple pie. Article 1, section 8, clause 3 of the U.S. Constitution empowers Congress to “regulate commerce with foreign nations.” To imply that prohibiting one from doing business with a rogue nation violates one's constitutional rights is far-fetched.

The real issue: Should our laws (or ordinances) reflect the will of the people? If not, then the Supreme Court's decision banning the Massachusetts law should stand, and so should the ban on the county's Cuba ordinance. In this case the how becomes more important than the what (no matter how despicable the Cuba ordinance may seem to some). Today it's the ordinance that gets banned. Tomorrow it's free speech. Get my drift?

As a purveyor of First Amendment rights, I don't doubt that New Times means well. But to think that somehow -- through the power of osmosis, Scout's honor, or free-market idealism -- the ruling elite in countries like China and Cuba will give up their positions of power for the good of mankind (or even their own people) is naive at best. While the Cuba ordinance may evoke a pessimistic and distrustful view of human nature (too bleak for one never having experienced the unrelenting power of Castro's grip), it nevertheless is pretty darn realistic.

Manny Losada
Miami

Anatomy of a Quarantine
State officials are spending millions of your tax dollars to stop citrus canker. And they're making a mess of it.
By Kirk Nielsen

CHAINSAW BALLET
Try holding it with both hands:
Good article by Kirk Nielsen regarding the battle against citrus canker (“Anatomy of a Quarantine,” July 6). The situation is unfortunate for sure, but the crime is this: Who is getting that money being doled out?

Tons of taxpayer loot is being tossed to local firms that have no experience in cutting down trees, but nonetheless have been granted the opportunity to participate in the eradication activities due to favors of high-ranking officials. If I were to name names, that would be rumormongering, which I shouldn't do, so I won't. (For the record I am not an angry landscaper who is losing work to this firm. I'm just a citizen who smells something funny.)

I know of a firm that went out and purchased some 80 new chainsaws and hired as many as 100 people from the labor pool. The new workers (even through the efforts of interpreters ) were mostly illiterate, and now everyone is waiting for the limbs to fly -- and I don't mean tree limbs. This firm is well connected and has been noted in New Times on several occasions for its shady contracts (no pun intended). I'm sure if you dig around you could find out who is making a lot of money during this epidemic.

Please do not use my name with this letter. They are not nice people, and they scour New Times every week to make sure their firm is not mentioned. Thank you.

Name Withheld by Request
Delray Beach

To Serve and Protect
And in the case of the Miami Police Department: To Lose
By Jim DeFede

THE THIN BLUE LINE
It just got thinner:
Jim DeFede has done a public service with his column “To Serve and Protect” (July 6). In the finest tradition of American journalism, he has exposed injustices and inconsistencies in the way City of Miami police officers handle their duties.

Police brutality has become a national problem, an outrage. People are fed up with these acts of irresponsibility on the part of our supposed friends (as we all learned in grade school). DeFede also is correct when he points out that our men in blue are not immune to the pervasive racism that exists in American society. Even I have been threatened with physical harm by police officers when such action was totally unnecessary.

Those who should be our most trusted and responsible public servants must realize that gross misconduct will tarnish not only their badges, but the image of the nation they have sworn to protect.

Alan Gittelson
North Miami

No Tickee, No Jobee
Miami-Dade cop William Oertwig has paid for refusing to issue traffic tickets
By Tristram Korten

FORMER YIPPIE SPEAKS
Cops aren't necessarily pigs:
So I read Tristram Korten's article “No Tickee, No Jobee” (July 6), and I got past my intense distrust of born-again Christians, Freemen, the NRA, and other pools of intolerance and found that I might actually like Ofcr. William Oertwig, a Miami-Dade County policeman who won't blindly follow rules and refuses on principle to issue traffic citations. I'm a survivor of the streets of Chicago during the 1968 Democratic convention, when policemen dutifully lined up shoulder-to-shoulder and clubbed young people sitting quietly on the curb because Mayor Richard J. Daley ordered the streets cleared.

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