Letters to the Editor

From the issue of August 24, 2000

Revenge of the Penny Tax
FIU and MDCC foundations draw new scrutiny from state investigators
By Jim DeFede

Our Hallowed Institutions of Higher Churning
Money Laundering 101 makes the grade:
In response to Jim DeFede's column “Revenge of the Penny Tax” (August 17), and on behalf of the Colombian-American Democratic Council, I applaud state Rep. Annie Betancourt's concern regarding the questionable $449,000 donation made by the Florida International University and Miami-Dade Community College foundations to last year's failed sales-tax campaign, spearheaded by Mayor Alex Penelas (“Revenge of the Penny Tax,” August 17). Those who made such decisions have betrayed the public trust and contributed to the corruption of two of our most important public educational institutions and our local government.

Her characterization of these donations as “money laundering,” is accurate. Her attitude demonstrates that she is a courageous guardian of the common good and sets an example for other elected officials obsessed with narrow agendas and selfish interests that bring no benefits to our community.

I also congratulate Representative Betancourt for the state legislation she successfully introduced to prohibit such unethical actions by university foundations in the future. Our council supports any endeavor that will enhance our public higher-learning institutions and our community.

Alonso E. Rhenals, president
Colombian-American Democratic Council

Nightmare on Ocean Drive
Welcome to the world of Anastasia Monster of Art, where low art and the high life meet in an orgy of self-glorified kitsch
By Lissette Corsa

The Infamous Intestinal Balloon Trick
As old as Leonardo, as new as Anastasia:
Although Anastasia Monster of Art (“Nightmare on Ocean Drive,” August 10) may be a fine painter (it's impossible to tell from the photographs accompanying Lissette Corsa's article), anyone who considers herself to be the reincarnation of Leonardo da Vinci has clearly gone round the bend (assuming Anastasia believes this herself).

While da Vinci was an artistic genius, he spent most of his time in scientific pursuits, and his goddess was reason. If Anastasia is the reincarnation of da Vinci, his spirit and genius have lost an awful lot along the way -- not to mention having picked up a few attributes such as an immense amount of tackiness, greed, and kitsch.

Da Vinci, in later life, would inflate bovine intestines into giant balloons to startle and amaze the local royalty. Perhaps Anastasia is a reincarnation of one of these gas-filled balloons: fascinating, frivolous, and full of hot air.

Frank Worsham
Seattle, Washington

You Go, Joe
What's a nice Jewish boy like Joe Weinberger doing in a nasty business like rap?
By Tristram Korten

What's the Difference Between a Lawyer and a Catfish?
One is a scum-sucking bottom-feeder and the other is a fish:
The title of Tristram Korten's article about Joe Weinberger (“You Go, Joe,” August 10) suggests that Weinberger deserves praise and adulation. I don't think so. And I found it appalling that New Times would ask in a subheadline: “What's a nice Jewish boy like Joe Weinberger doing in a nasty business like rap?” Because his name is Weinberger doesn't make him a “nice Jewish boy” any more than rap is a dirty business. What a biased statement, something usually not found in Korten's articles.

Who said the law was an honorable profession and music was not? The same people who told Korten that good guys wear white hats and bad guys wear black ones? Or that a little white lie is honorable and a black lie is vicious? For shame, Tristram Korten, your bias is showing.

To suggest that law (Weinberger's profession) is not the knock-down, drag-out, roll-in-the-mud profession we all know it to be is ludicrous. I don't remember old William Shakespeare saying, “First we kill the musicians!” What profession has more devious, calculating, and duplicitous characters than the law? Get real!

Also to refer to Luther Campbell as a “booty-rapper” instead of the rap icon he is sounds like bias to me. The man won a Supreme Court decision and in doing so became a historical figure worldwide. Assigning altruism to a lawyer who said he wanted to help an already self-made millionaire is so ridiculous you cannot expect readers to believe it. The “whatever works to get the cash” attitude of lawyers is no secret, so we can only assume your depiction of your subject as altruistic and well-meaning was sarcastic.

For the last century black artists have been robbed of monetary payment for their creativity by folks just like this “Lil' Joe.” Just ask Little Richard! If you do your research regarding rights and royalties, you'll find a lot of other “nice guys” like Lil' Joe, from ragtime to rock and roll to rap and every other music idiom.

To ask how a nice Jewish boy could be a thug is to reveal that New Times doesn't know much about the history of Miami Beach or the mob. Surely you jest. Unless Korten wrote this article with his tongue planted firmly his cheek, he needs to study both the music industry and the crime industry. Maybe then you wouldn't proclaim, “You go, Joe,” but rather tell Joe where to go.

Lynda Joy Folmar
North Bay Village

Editor's note: Owing to a reporting error in Tristram Korten's article “You Go, Joe,” the attorney who oversaw the bankruptcy sale of Luke Records' assets to Joseph Weinberger was incorrectly identified. The attorney was Frank P. Terzo. New Times regrets the error.

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