Letters to the Editor

From the issue of August 31, 2000

The Not Ready for Prime Time Mayor
Who can forget the night Alex Penelas made an ass of himself
By Jim DeFede

Free Weekly Dupes Gullible Readers
Elian saga unmasks insidious conspiracy:
I was completely disgusted by Jim DeFede's article “The Not Ready for Prime Time Mayor” (August 24). Despite being a newspaper representing all Miami's citizens, New Times only told the story of one side, obviously Jim DeFede's side. You should inform your readers of both the good and the bad of both sides, which would include Miguel Diaz de la Portilla's side.

I have always enjoyed New Times, but I have come to realize that you are just like any other media source, feeding the public what you want them to hear and believe. Please stop manipulating your readers and start representing all sides, as you should.

In my opinion Mayor Alex Penelas made the right decisions in the Elian Gonzalez case. But that is just my opinion. I don't expect or plan to push that belief upon anyone. One thing is certain: The Elian case managed to bring out everyone's true colors, including New Times's.

Yaremis Ponce
Miami

Alt- America
A report from the Latin Alternative Music Conference
By Celeste Fraser Delgado

The Unblinking Eye
Rockeros 24/7:
I would like to make a point of clarification to your readers. Celeste Fraser Delgado's otherwise excellent article on Latin alternative music (“Alt-America,” August 24) described MTV S, MTV's 24-hour-a-day, all-Latin music network, as being available in the U.S. only by satellite. Nothing could be further from the truth.

In addition to DirecTV and the Dish Network, more than 250 cable systems across the United States, many of them in the greater Miami area, offer MTV S to their subscribers.

Eric Sherman, vice president
MTV/VH1 Digital Television
via the Internet

The Unchanging World
Think globally, write locally:
Celeste Fraser Delgado's great story about Latin alternative music may not change the world but maybe it will get some of the Miami labels to start thinking a little differently. That would be a good step.

John Reilly
Shore Fire Media
via the Internet

Strength in Numbers
Do the Doobies have too much time on their hands?
By Rob O'Connor

Fire the Piano Player
How to turn Muzak into music:
A few comments on Rob O'Connor's theories on bad Seventies bands (“Strength in Numbers,” August 10). First, to call Quicksilver, the Dead, and even stranger, Big Brother (each of which started in about 1966) “Muzak before Muzak was cool” simply is errant. Big Brother was an aggressive blues band. Steely Dan, however, was Muzak before its time. The fact that two members of the Doobie Brothers had come from the Dan (Baxter and the true culprit, Michael McDonald) would more accurately account for their less-than-edgy sound.

And while we understand that it is very cool for music critics to blast the Dead, O'Connor seems to believe that since both the Dead and the Doobies made records in the Seventies and had “too many band members,” their music must sound alike. I suppose Lynyrd Skynyrd sounds like the Dead and the Doobies, too. The crappiness of the Doobies is more akin to that of a Boston or a Foghat, and I don't even know how many members were in those groups.

O'Connor mentions Bob Dylan as among those who prove his theory. Dylan's work that most influenced rock and roll was done with The Band, which had (gasp!) two keyboard players! I can't wait to read O'Connor's column explaining why either Garth Hudson or Richard Manuel weren't essential to the group's sound. The “Royal Albert Hall” performance of May 1966 (not really at that hall but at the Free Trade Hall in Manchester, and featuring the Hawks, who later changed their name to The Band) is about as far from Muzak as you can get.

Thanks anyway,

Russell Phillips
Homestead

Punk-Rock Geezer Fondly Reminisces
No joke, MTV didn't even exist back then:
I enjoyed Brett Sokol's “Kulchur” column about punk-rocking models (“Model Behavior,” August 3). I want to thank him for remembering my old band the Eat: “In 1980 if you were sixteen and a fan of Miami punk mainstays the Eat, Kill the Hostages, or Gay Cowboys in Bondage, it was a pretty good indication that you were (a) something of a social pariah, and (b) getting your ass kicked in high school on a regular basis.”

To add to the irony, my son Eddie Jr.'s band, Bum Ruckus, was playing at the Warped Tour here and in Orlando. He and his contemporaries can't conceive of a universe without MTV. If I sound like a crabby old prick -- well, there you have it.

Eddie O'Brien
formerly of the Eat
via the Internet

The Chief's Retreat
Rolando BolaƱos lied and got away with it, but stay tuned
By Tristram Korten

Raul, Rolando, and Rivera
Rumblin' with Rundle:
Very good story by Tristram Korten about Hialeah Police Chief Rolando Bolaños (“The Chief's Retreat,” July 27). Sadly Mayor Raul Martinez's pull is greater than Bolaños's integrity. But Chief Bolaños should not be faulted. He has to follow the mayor's orders. Let's face it, Raul is the one who hires and fires employees, not the chief. So Raul is not going to take the heat on this one, and I am sure the chief was instructed on what to say.

I am certain Raul knew the whole story [regarding Bolaños allegedly lying to investigators about his son's criminal past]. Don't forget that the chief once said on television that Raul was his mentor and brother, so I am sure the mayor was informed before hiring his son as an officer.

Here's an irony: Despite the hatred that has existed between John Rivera, president of the Miami-Dade Police Benevolent Association, and Martinez and Bolaños, they are now in bed together against Katherine Fernandez Rundle. Talk about politics making strange bedfellows.

I work for the City of Hialeah, so no name. Keep up the good work.

Name Withheld by Request
Hialeah

Prosecuting the Police
The State Attorney's Office takes heat no matter what the outcome
By Jim DeFede

Smile, You're on Hookercam
In video we trust:
I agree with Jim DeFede that these are rough days for the City of Miami's Police Department (“Prosecuting the Police,” July 27). It seems the prostitution sting that snared Maj. Juan Garcia may end up haunting the department. I live off the boulevard and have observed the female decoy officers waving down drivers. You can spot them because they are usually the good-looking ones.

They are not supposed to entice a citizen to solicit but it has become a numbers game, just as there is a quota for writing traffic tickets. Once an arrest is made, the case becomes the citizen's word against the City of Miami Police Department. Why not videotape the alleged solicitation and spare the city and the citizens needless embarrassment? If they did solicit, the tape will show it; and if they didn't the citizen can keep his dignity and integrity intact. Plus the city would save on the cost of court trials. Other major cities use videotapes and wires during such sting operations. This equipment is readily available. Let's use a real deterrent that actually proves the solicitation.

Barbara Evans
Miami

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

Even Right-Wing Republicans Can Bash Cops
Write fewer tickets, catch more bad guys:
I have been reading your paper now for quite awhile, but I have never been inspired to write a letter until I saw the July 6 issue featuring Tristram Korten's article “No Tickee, No Jobee,” about Miami-Dade Police Ofcr. William Oertwig, Jr., and his decision to stop issuing traffic tickets. For a long time I have shared his belief that traffic citations and parking tickets have become nothing but methods to produce revenue. And I don't care what police departments say, I have no doubt that police officers have quotas to meet. Further I have no doubt that, in the case of Coral Gables, rewards or punishments are given out according to who gives more tickets and who gives fewer.

I have seen three motorcycle police officers on Ponce de Leon giving tickets for speeding. It has always occurred to me that while these officers are issuing tickets, somewhere in Coral Gables someone is being robbed or a home is being burglarized. Police officers should be used to patrol the streets and alleys of the city.

Wouldn't it be nice if there were more officers like William Oertwig, Jr.? Wouldn't it also be nice if police would attempt to educate and gain compliance rather than earn revenue? Police officers should not be monitors. I will never believe that tickets deter people from committing traffic infractions. The newspapers are full of drunk and reckless drivers with six and seven license suspensions who are still driving.

A real police officer wants to catch violent criminals, not be a revenue-enhancing monitor. My hat is off to Officer Oertwig. There should be more like him. Warning tickets would be better public relations for the police department and maybe citizens would be happier with the police if they didn't feel harassed by them.

I am a right-wing Republican who always supports the police. But when they are wrong they are wrong.

Nick F. De Martino
Coral Gables

The Sound of Whining Speeders Makes Me Puke
Lazy, undisciplined idiots also are no fun:
I had to cringe when I read Randy Nobles's letter responding to “No Tickee, No Jobee” and crying about speeding tickets. Poor Randy complained he was busted for speeding and his insurance rates went up. His letter implied that speeding tickets should be done away with.

Wake up! Are we supposed to let people drive at whatever speed they want? I have never been busted for speeding and don't see what the fuss is about. Every day I laugh when I see idiots weaving in and out of traffic, especially when I pull up beside them at the next traffic light.

Mr. Noble is like many people in Miami who think they can do as they please. What's next, Mr. Noble? Should we not require a license to drive? Or how about just letting people go unpunished when they run a traffic light?

American values haven't changed, Randy. People have become lazy and undisciplined. My suggestion is to get out of bed earlier and get an earlier start to work. Hearing people whine about simple laws makes me sick. But we do live in Miami, where people don't respect the law.

Gregory Yocum
Miami Beach

My Job Description: Law Enforcer
That means everything from expired tag to murder one:
I wonder, was it Tristram Korten's great article or was it just the love for a police officer like William Oertwig, Jr., who doesn't write traffic tickets, that has generated so many letters? Everybody hates cops when they are getting a ticket. But what do you think police officers are hired to do? They are hired to do a job. If for whatever reason we decide we do not want to do the job we are being paid to do, I don't see how we can expect to avoid flak for that.

For a short while I quit writing tickets after the department I work for instituted a policy of not chasing traffic offenders. I felt this resulted in tickets being issued to only those drivers who did not run from police. But I realized I still had a duty. Police officers are law-enforcement officers. That does not mean just the laws I feel like enforcing. Part of my job was to enforce traffic laws.

Contrary to Randy Nobles's opinion, I know that traffic tickets act as a deterrent. More than 100 people are killed every day on the nation's highways. Imagine what that number would be if all police officers decided they would no longer write tickets. I know some of you might think it would be heaven, but try to imagine what the roads would be like if everyone drove with nothing to motivate them but their own sense of decency.

I got a laugh out of Randy Nobles's letter. I would like to ensure him that police officers are not in cahoots with the insurance industry. Most of us in Miami-Dade County pay so much for insurance because of the dismal accident record we have racked up for ourselves. If you pay more for your insurance because of your tickets, maybe you should examine your driving habits.

And as for Nobles's claim that radar speeding tickets constitute entrapment, let's see now: The speed limit is posted, your car has a reasonably accurate speedometer, and your own foot is on the gas pedal. I am having a hard time seeing how the officer is coercing you into speeding. All he is doing is catching you at it.

Yes, there are plenty of other things for police officers to deal with besides traffic enforcement. We have plenty of murders, robberies, rapes, burglaries, auto thefts, drug dealers -- the list goes on. But I assure you, for police officers to ignore enforcement of the traffic laws -- the laws dealing with the number-one killer of Americans -- would be a huge disservice to everyone. And guess what? Traffic stops often result in the apprehension of those other criminals.

Glen Baker
Homestead

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