Jiang Zemin Stuns World, Embraces Democracy

Letters from the issue of July 13, 2000

John Chiarenza

Park Raving Mad
This group of single moms thought it would be easy to revive their minipark. Then they encountered Miami's finest bureaucracy.
By Kathy Glasgow

Just finish the dang park already:
We were all disappointed with Kathy Glasgow's article about our neighborhood's Allapattah Mini Park (“Park Raving Mad,” June 22). We appeared pushy, and the article suggested we should be grateful for a job half done. But we are not confused. Quite the contrary! We know about the history of the Allapattah Mini Park starting from the early Seventies and how the City of Miami neglected it until we got involved. We have spent time gathering information, doing research, and getting our neighborhood involved in shaping this park to meet the community's needs.

When we presented our vision to city parks director Alberto Ruder, his staff, and Commissioner Willy Gort, they assured us our simple request could be accommodated. They even committed to doing more! This commitment came at election time for Gort. After his victory (we did vote for him) we didn't hear from the parks department until we became more visible with visits as well as numerous calls -- just to get the promised updates. As a community organization and as residents of Miami, we believe we deserve to have promises upheld.

This article led people to believe there is no problem with the current status of Allapattah Mini Park. Wrong! Our park is not complete. Compared to the condition of many neglected parks in Miami, maybe ours does look good. But we want to have the park as promised, with new benches, new shelters, new grills, and freshly painted basketball courts ready and safe for every child to enjoy. We simply want to know from Mr. Ruder: It has been one year. When will our park be finished?

Allapattah-Brownsville Advisory Board

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

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 (“Demetrio's Rules,” June 15). 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

Equal Opportunity Dissident
Julian Jorge Reyes, a child of Castro's revolution, turned against his leader. Now he's taking on el exilio.
By Celeste Fraser Delgado

Take the fight to the home front:
Hats off to Jorge Reyes. As Celeste Fraser Delgado wrote (“Equal Opportunity Dissident,” June 15), he understands what so many exiles seem to refuse to admit: The best way to effect change is from within. Revolution, the tool that put Castro in power, may very well be the only tool that can take him out of power. A foregone conclusion? Consider this: Forty-one years and the man still rules. Forty-one years and the world has been able to do nothing about it.

There is a line from the Cuban national anthem that always sticks in my mind: “En cadenas vivir es morir.” (“To live in chains is to die.”) The people of Cuba are dying. It would be a shame if they died without a fight.

If Mr. Reyes is sincere about his intent to go back and fight the good fight where it must be fought, then I wish him Godspeed.

Daniel Jimenez

Hiaasen is good, DeFede is good, fatherhood is good, internal opposition is good, exile domination is bad:
I'd like to thank you for your wonderful publication, at least the online version, as I have yet to see the print version. I discovered Miami New Times while searching the Internet for stories and opinion pieces on the Elian Gonzalez case. For a while I was depending on the Miami Herald for local news about the case. I was heartened to discover your paper because of its alternative perspectives. While I've ignored most of the Herald's non-Elian coverage as rather dull, I've enjoyed reading your coverage about local Miami politics separate from Elian. I do consider Carl Hiaasen one of this nation's finest columnists, but he's about the only guy at the Herald worth reading. You, on the other hand, provide much more detail and more nuance, and your writers most certainly are not dull. (I've discovered a new favorite columnist in Jim DeFede). Henceforth, long after Elian has faded from the public eye, I'll keep returning to your Website. Your letters section alone is worth it. (I read the Village Voice every week here in New York, but you guys are a lot livelier.)

I live in New York and was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. I have been to Florida three times but only once to Miami. While I enjoyed your city very much and found South Florida quite seductive in many ways, I admit that the overwhelming influence of a powerful right-wing extremist group in the area has always prevented me from seriously considering moving there, as much as the region attracts me.

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