Letters to the Editor

From the issue of October 12, 2000

 Miami, the City That Eats Its Young
That's what Wasserman gets for mouthing off: After reading Tristram Korten's interview with Daily Business Review editor in chief Ed Wasserman (“The Last Iconoclast,” September 28), I must ask why is it that South Florida regularly seems to ship out its best and brightest? Or is it just that people with guts, real opinions, and the willingness to utter what is not the sanitized, processed, expected sound bite are shown the door?

So it is no surprise that a doer, thinker, and opinionated journalist like Wasserman has outlived his usefulness as a mainstream editor in South Florida. Woe is our community if we continue to lose leaders who question the status quo and urge all of us, especially so-called community leaders, to do better than what appears to be expected.

I for one will miss this journalist with integrity, Ed Wasserman, and fervently hope he will continues to shake the trees and put lights under the bushel baskets wherever he goes.

Benedict P. Kuehne
Miami

Once More Before He Splits
Wasserman redux? While Mr. Wasserman's assessment of his local employment options might have some truth to it (“I'm sure I've said much too much. I'll probably never work in this town again.”), I'd like the opportunity to continue hearing from him in the future. In fact I'd be ready to enthusiastically support him should he care to explore public office.

His journalistic efforts here certainly will be missed. All the worse if he relocates outside Miami. If nothing else I'd suggest you conduct another interview before he gets away.

Richard T. Hodges
Key Biscayne

The Formerly Great Paper Known as the Herald
Wasserman unleashed: Ed Wasserman's comments about the Miami Herald brought back memories. Back in 1988, while I was at the Daily Business Review, I broke a story about plans to sell Parrot Jungle. The Herald called the owners, who said they didn't know about any deal. (Untrue.) So the Herald printed a story saying that despite reports in the Review, rumors of a sale were false.

Then, not long afterward, all involved announced there was a sale. So the Herald ran a story making it appear as though this were a scoop for them. Wasserman called a top editor to complain, and the editor responded that we were too thin-skinned. I remember Wasserman yelling on the phone something like: “You pissed all over our shoes and you say we're thin-skinned?!”

I also was ripped off on about ten or fifteen other big stories by the Herald. The standard response was that if they could report it themselves, there was no reason to give credit. In one case they lifted quotes but actually managed to screw up the attribution. Oh well, the Miami Herald used to be a great newspaper.

John Sugg, editor
Weekly Planet
Tampa

My Boy Scout Pledge
Always remember the nightmare: I have to assume that Jim DeFede is either (1) a homosexual hoping the Boy Scouts will reverse their position on allowing gays into the organization so he can join up and prey upon young boys; (2) a person who was never a Scout or otherwise spent very little time in the organization, or (3) a bleeding-heart liberal who has no interest in the consequences of his position (“Hiking, Camping, and Gay Bashing,” September 28). Did it ever occur to Mr. DeFede that the reason the Boy Scouts do not want gays is to protect the Boy Scouts? It has nothing whatsoever to do with discrimination.

I spent many years in the Boy Scouts back in the late Fifties and early Sixties in the Northeast. I cannot tell you how many adult scoutmasters and camp counselors tried to put the hit on me and so many other unsuspecting, innocent young boys. My very first experience was when a local “official” in the scouts took me and a friend (with our parents' permission no less), on an overnight camping trip in the woods. My friend and I probably were about eleven or twelve years old at the time. Before settling into our respective sleeping bags for the night, this “official” brought out some magazines of nude women. Between the pictures and the encouragement we got from our host, we got very excited. We had never before seen such pictures. Once aroused we were asked to remove our pants. This scouting “official” then began touching us and asking us to do the same to him. He assured us that what we were doing was okay, because “this is what men do to make each other feel good when looking at pictures of naked women.”

To say we were nervous and scared is an understatement. We were most uncomfortable, and after a minute or so we told him we didn't want to do it anymore. He did finally stop but said we would all do it again soon and play some “fun games” next time. My friend and I didn't understand what was going on or even know what a homosexual was at the time!

When this man brought us home the next day, he asked our parents if he could take us out camping again the following weekend. Our parents said yes, but we convinced them we didn't want to go, and we didn't. We were too ashamed to tell our parents what happened and too embarrassed to tell other scout leaders. This man continued to be active in the Boy Scouts for many years after that and spent his summers at a Boy Scout camp, pursuing other young victims. He frequented the boys' tents and particularly the showers. I know this because I went to the same camp several summers as a camper and later as a counselor. I wonder how many hundreds of others had the same experience with him. I know a lot of boys at the camp did.

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