Jiang Zemin Stuns World, Embraces Democracy

Letters from the issue of July 13, 2000

Farmers losing money in Washington State receive subsidies from our government to recoup lost income, and yet they still can't seem to make ends meet. May I suggest a career change? You are in the USA, you have that option, so get to it. If the wheel is broken, fix it.

What's really going on? There are homeless people in this country and there are a lot of lower socioeconomic neighborhoods that would more than welcome freshly grown crops. Why not try to better the situation here in the U.S. if we're so concerned with our citizens' welfare?

It's truly sad that so many people in the U.S. don't take the time to educate themselves about world affairs or listen to others who actually have experienced horrors in foreign countries. There is a deep divide between Americans, foreigners, and minorities. The fact that Cuban Americans were referred to as “hard-line exiles” throughout the Elian Gonzalez case attests to this. The majority of us have U.S. citizenship and pay taxes and vote just like “hard-line Americans.”

The portrayal of Cuban Americans during the Elian Gonzalez case was disgraceful. The truth is that a lot of Cuban Americans protested in a law-abiding fashion. The truth is that the food Representative Nethercutt proposes to send to Cuba will end up in the tourist hotels rather than in the mouths of the truly hungry. The truth is that Cubans live in a state of total fear for their lives, especially if they complain about how “things are pretty tough, a lot of farmers are going broke,” much less if that complaint is printed in a local paper. The misunderstanding here is that journalism exists to educate, to broaden people's perspectives. And therein lies its failure, which is especially evident whenever New Times covers the story.

Jacky Miqueo
via the Internet

... we can cozy up to Castro:
The Nethercutt amendment has become the latest wet dream of the Diaz-Balart/Ros-Lehtinen syndicate. Why was it necessary for Nethercutt to lap dance before the repressive Cuban hard-liners? With all the compromises, his bill has evolved into a great first step backward.

Perhaps it's time for noncommunist Americans to adopt the political philosophy that was implemented by the U.S. during World War II. We allied ourselves with Stalin and the U.S.S.R. against a political system our country deemed a more clear and present danger. But the U.S. didn't adopt a communist philosophy as a result of being allied with Stalin. Can Americans work with Castro against sadistic elements of the Cuban community in the U.S.? Can we do so without endorsing the government of Fidel Castro? We were able to do so with Stalin, so why not with Castro?

As with the Elian Gonzalez nightmare, the Cuban hard-line right will drag this repressive embargo on and on while Cubans die in the Florida Straits seeking a better life they were denied, in large part because hard-line Cuban exiles displayed a let-them-eat-crumbs mentality.

Clyde Cates
South Miami

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

Why not try the old pozzolanic binder trick?
When reading Kirk Nielsen's article “Dredge Dirge” (June 22), I easily noted that he stopped one letter short of what we should do with the sludge to be dredged from the Miami River. Mr. Nielsen missed option G, which I put forth in 1991 to Dade County Commissioner Alex Penelas, Florida Sen. Bob Graham, Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, the Marine Council, the Miami River Coordinating Committee, DERM, the Army Corps of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District, the Miami River Marine Group, and many other folks. What is option G? Many say it is not only the preferred method of disposal but also the best solution: stabilization or fixation of the contaminated dredgings.

Stabilization/fixation is the process of mixing contaminated dredgings with a pozzolanic binder (cement) to lock up the contaminants in a cementitious matrix. This would render them no longer transportable into, or hazardous to, the biosphere -- our soil, seawater, groundwater, and air. Once in the matrix, any identified toxins that will need to be dealt with from the Miami River would in fact be rendered inert. Someday we will be able to simply make them disappear, but today we don't have that choice so we need to go with our best option: stabilization/fixation.

Not only has this method been proven on Superfund sites around the nation, it has worked here at several sites in Miami-Dade County, the most notable being the Pepper's Steel Superfund site in Medley, where 160,000 tons of lead and PCB-contaminated material was stabilized in the late Eighties. This cleanup was successfully completed under the watchful eyes of the U.S. EPA, the Florida DEP, and Miami-Dade's DERM. Furthermore the contamination levels were several orders of magnitude greater than what we face with the Miami River. In fact stabilization worked so well locking up contaminates that the site's monitoring schedule was greatly reduced.

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