Letters to the Editor

From the issue of September 28, 2000

Welcome to Miami, Where Homophobia Is a Matter of Policy
They doth protest too much, sayeth Jorge: After reading Lissette Corsa's articles about the code-enforcement board's harassment of Lambda Passages bookstore, I am convinced that the era of witch-hunts is not over in our backward city (“Instantly Illegal,”September 14 and “Instantly Illegal, Part 2,” September 21). I am a psychotherapist who has worked with many gay and lesbian patients, and during the last eleven years I have referred many of them to Lambda Passages for information. I have found John Drew and his staff to be very helpful, providing assistance and materials not available in any other bookstore in Miami.

I also have referred to Lambda Passages many parents and loved ones of gay and lesbian people, who find it impossible to understand the blatant homophobia their family members have to endure, homophobia such as this latest witch-hunt by officials from the City of Miami.

The only explanation I have been able to provide them is what psychological research has shown many times: The people who most loudly persecute homosexuals do it because they are repressing homosexual impulses in themselves. I hope the people with sexual conflicts at the City of Miami find more creative and constructive ways of coping with their problems than to close a bookstore that provides a very needed service to a large (and voting) segment of our community.

Jorge Arocha
Miami

Smut's Going on Here?
The boy-toy taboo: Thank you for exposing the plight of Miami's only gay book and video store. I personally can't believe this is happening. If Lambda Passages were selling straight porn (or even better, all-girl orgy videos), there wouldn't be a problem. The problem is the fact that Lambda Passages stocks gay porn -- along with critically acclaimed foreign and independent films and books on sexual criticism.

Our society has no problem mass-marketing teenage singers and actresses with bleached hair and the appropriate breast size. Consistent with our puritanical American mores, the sexual exploitation of women, whether direct (porn) or indirect (Hollywood), is much more acceptable to straight male society than is the sexual exploitation of men. The latter stings too close to home.

Name Withheld by Request
Coral Gables

Public Welcome to Watson Island Open Meeting
Good luck trying to find it: Kirk Nielsen's article “Spoiled Island”(September 21) was terrific. He covered many important points in this very complicated saga regarding the fate of Watson Island. One of the most important was that the City of Miami is negotiating with the Port of Miami in secret. Well, no, the doors are not locked. There just have been no announcements beforehand.

The port wants to construct two new cruise-ship terminals, each more than 1000 feet long and four stories high, along the edge of Government Cut on Watson Island. When cruise ships are in port, the view-blocking height more than doubles. For a city in which the chamber of commerce is always talking about panoramic vistas and the scenic beauty of the bay, how does that sound?

It's curious that Assistant City Manager Bob Nachlinger is negotiating land rents for the cruise-ship terminals. He must have a crystal ball that tells him where our economy is going. Probably he's never heard of a business that just walked out on the property it promised to rent.

The cruise industry's contribution to the city's prosperity is minimal at best. It works with nonunion labor. Its passengers get off a plane and board a ship without spending money in Miami. Will that situation improve by giving a piece of parkland to the Port of Miami?

Those of you who are City of Miami taxpayers, why don't you call Mayor Joe Carollo and let him know how much you'll enjoy living in a walled city? You can also thank him for keeping the public away from the meetings -- otherwise we might get nervous. His number is 305-250-5300.

John A. Brennan
Miami

Editor's note: John Brennan is chairman of the City of Miami's Waterfront Advisory Board.

The Accidental Organ Donor
Bureaucrat plundered; hospital cites high profits: Imagine Assistant City Manager Bob Nachlinger checking into a hospital for care, then waking up to discover he'd been harvested of a kidney or a cornea. “I have no compunction about being frank with you. I want the money,” the doctor would tell him. “It's a good deal for the hospital.”

When I came to Miami some years ago, one of my favorite things was the magnificent spectacle of the skyline with its ever-changing necklace of ships. Time has shown, and New Times has revealed, that the apparent beauty hides the most abominable human suffering (“Captains Outrageous,”February 3). Here we see the abject smugness of those whose shame is so deep it finds only one way to express and justify itself: continuous and accelerating violence against everyone and everything around them. Poor Miami!

Paul Waters
Miami Beach

Goodbye to Biscayne Bay and All That
It used to be a kind of paradise -- until Mom and Dad blew it: Kirk Nielsen's excellent article on port expansion describes how public property is being ripped out of the public's hands. What makes me even angrier is the fact that the port is expanding at all. Where is the limit?

The Port of Miami operates in waters specifically designated by the state as “outstanding Florida water.” Biscayne Bay is an “aquatic preserve.” The port is not on a working river like Savannah. We have beaches, recreation, and even some very expensive residential real estate within a half-mile of our port. The port shares the water with dolphins and manatees. Turtles nest nearby on Virginia Key.

Who said that adding more behemoth ships is a good thing for the people of Miami? Each ship -- akin to a floating apartment complex with a couple of thousand bathrooms, photo labs, x-ray chemicals, fuel, copper-based bottom paint, and cargo -- puts stress on the bay. Some of that pollution is finding its way into the water, according to government reports. Even if you have 1000 inspectors, you can't stop the pollution from ships and the wear and tear on the bay that the port's increased activity will cause. Biscayne Bay will silently relent to the quest for profit from the greedy.

What kind of community tolerates such chronic abuse? Have we all just given up, resigned ourselves to one environmental loss after another? Here in Miami, turning a blind eye to the environment seems to be a requirement for public office and a qualification for big campaign contributions.

In twenty years the children of today's public officials will be looking for a place to picnic and swim. But by that time Biscayne Bay will be bustling with commerce and the water quality will be good for little more than depiction on postcards. Tourists will fly to Miami and catch connections to other destinations that haven't been despoiled. The cruise lines won't complain, of course, and port-related businesses will be happy when the last pesky environmentalist citizen has thrown in the towel. This will be the legacy of the moms and dads who now hold power in government.

The culture of exploitation in Miami-Dade and the City of Miami is shameful. Thanks to New Times for at least putting it on record for the world to see.

Nancy Lee, board member
Sierra Club Miami Group
Miami

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