Letters to the Editor

From the issue of October 19, 2000

 Off with Its Heads!
Miami corruption gives new meaning to the phrase Herculean effort: Thanks to Tristram Korten's dogged efforts, a spotlight has remained on the corruption that exists within the bail-bonds industry (“Justice, Bloody Justice,” October 5). Hopefully the State Attorney's Office will be taking action on the information it is allegedly being provided.

Like Hercules battling the multiheaded Hydra, the only way to destroy the widespread influence-peddling and corruption that permeates Miami-Dade County is to prosecute one corrupt official at a time. Thanks to the investigative reporters at New Times, the concept of honest government still has a pulse.

Alberto Batista
via the Internet

A Tadpole in a Raging Sea of Geezers
But for Baby Demetrio, it's smooth sailing: Robert Andrew Powell's article on Demetrio J. Perez (“Like Father, Like Son,” September 28), was filled with wonderful background details about Perez's father and the support-your-crooked-politician voting bloc. Much of it was new to me, but not surprising. My first reaction was anger, then resignation, and now I'm wondering just what I can do. This pudgy-faced jerk wants to represent my district on the school board. Yes, I voted in the September election. Fat lot of good it did. Yes, I will vote again in November, swimming through the geriatric tide like a lost tadpole. (I'm 23 years old.) But what can I do to help stop this creep?

Last time I voted, at an apartment complex on Sunset Drive and 107th Avenue, several Demetrio borgs had their signs planted and a ton of cards they were forcing on every voter. Does this require a permit? Can I perform the inverse of this trick? Will the cops arrest me if I spend my day at the polling center spreading the word about the runt's lies and deceptions?

I know this sounds like a rant, but I've grown up in this town always feeling like an outsider, and frankly I'm sick of it. Why should this putz just walk into public office? The last thing Miami-Dade County Public Schools needs is another corrupt, ethically vacant politician looking to start a career.

Pierre Cruz
Miami

The Perils of Perez
Your only hope is the ballot box: To pick up where letter-writer Michael Carlebach's observations about Demetrio J. Perez left off, hope for the future lies in a community demonstration of outrage at and refusal to condone the suspect ethics that young Demetrio promises to bring to the Miami-Dade County school board.

It's not just that young Demetrio has proven incapable of honestly telling his constituency something as simple as where he lives, or just who is financing his campaign, that causes concern. The voters of District 7 should also abhor the obvious anti-democratic consequences of having this 24-year-old student occupy a seat on the same small, nine-member school board as his father, who represents District 5 and who, we suspect, engineered and is financing his son's candidacy. Not only will these two “representatives” almost certainly decide school board business over the family dinner table in contravention of Florida's Sunshine Law, but the inevitable collusion will effectively disenfranchise the voters in District 7, as the two Perezes can be expected to vote in lock step, with father Perez calling the shots.

The electorate of District 7, however, has an effective arsenal of weapons to fight the dishonesty, collusion, and dilution -- if not elimination -- of its representation on the school board that young Demetrio's candidacy represents: Campaign for, contribute to, and vote for his opponent, Jacqueline V. Pepper, on November 7. Ms. Pepper is an extremely ethical and intelligent candidate, whose children, unlike those of the Perez clan, have gone through the public school system. She is motivated by a sincere desire to serve the community, and she owes no fealty to anyone except her constituents. She has many fresh ideas about how to improve our children's education and the school system in Miami-Dade County.

Mr. Carlebach's pessimism over the possibility of change (“Letters,” October 5), though understandable and shared by many, need not, by the people's judicious use of the ballot box, become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Bonnie Daniels
Miami

Scouts Dishonor
Gay men are not the problem: I rarely write to newspapers because the Miami Herald never prints my letters. But I felt I had to now. Someone must correct the anonymous guy who wrote about his Boy Scouts experience (“Letters,” October 12) in response to Jim DeFede's column “Hiking, Camping, and Gay Bashing” (September 28). For the record I was a Boy Scout 60 years ago and enjoyed it. No one tried anything of a sexual nature with me.

Also I am very straight, but I have served the homosexual population for dozens of years as a lawyer and as a psychologist. I never had a gay patient or client who molested young boys. I do notice that some older gays prefer younger men, generally over age eighteen. I did work with many pedophiles who were completely straight and often married but who had the need to molest very young boys or girls. It is usually straight men who are the problem.

The Boy Scouts are wrong. They need not keep out gays. Those who are in the Boy Scouts usually are there for the same reason the rest of us joined: camaraderie and learning.

James B. Tracton
via the Internet

Straight Guys Are the Problem
But the Scouts won't admit it: I am willing to bet that the scoutmasters and counselors in the Boy Scouts who molested Name Withheld by Request (October 12) were either married or had girlfriends. In almost every instance I have ever read or heard about, the molester is an otherwise heterosexual male taking advantage of young boys. Most of these men are not attracted to masculine characteristics but instead are attracted to the skinny, smooth-skinned “feminine” bodies of boys. Gay men are attracted to other men, not to children.

The Boy Scouts' policy of excluding gays will never root out heterosexual men like these, since they are the ones least suspected by parents and other adults.

Scott Toth
Miami

The Father Knows Best
Does this mean somebody is sinfully lying? The recent article by Jim DeFede, “Angels with Ice Picks” (September 21) has caused our community much grief. I am still receiving hostile mail and telephone calls, the nicer of which accused me of being “anti-American” and hypocritical.

As pastor of St. Philomena church, I think it is time I pointed out certain things. The article is full of falsehoods. The most serious is the accusation that I passively allowed speeches against the federal government's handling of the Elian Gonzalez case to be made from the altar. This is utterly untrue. At no time were such speeches made from the altar or anywhere else in the church. I personally invite anyone who is interested to visit our church (masses are at 8:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., and 6:00 p.m. Sundays) and ask members of the congregation whether they recall such speeches.

Like most churches in South Florida, for us the Elian saga was a very trying time. We had people on both “sides.” My public position as pastor was that we must pray for the physical and spiritual welfare of the child. Period. It is therefore reprehensible that people are all too willing to jump to false conclusions based upon one (very strange) side of the story and some juicy gossip.

Rev. Fr. Timothy A. Hopkins
The Shrine of Saint Philomena
Miami

Eladio's First Lesson
To invoke the Bible means to live by the Bible: Even though Eladio José Armesto is guilty of vandalizing our vehicle (I saw him and his friend puncturing our tires), he will not admit to it (“Letters,” October 12). He accuses my husband and I of searching for free publicity, accuses New Times of being a mediocre publication, and also accuses Jim DeFede of being a mediocre journalist. I have learned when a person tends to blame others for his shortcomings and wrongdoings, he becomes inimical to society.

Eladio, your behavior is unacceptable, distasteful, and worries those of us who abide by the law of this land. Your intolerance shows your lack of knowledge of how democracy works and how the United States guarantees freedom of speech. It's amazing you would ignore this constitutional right, since you publish a political pamphlet known mostly in Little Havana, El Nuevo Patria, an obscure, irrelevant publication that has not contributed to improving our county.

A refresher course is in order, as you have not learned to respect other people's ideas and values. You have not learned to respect other people's property, and you have not learned humility. Going to St. Philomena church has not edified you in any manner. When you invoke holy scripture, as you did in your letter, remember: Don't destroy your neighbor's property, don't fabricate stories, and develop a love for the truth.

Marisa Buonamia
Miami

Eladio's Second Lesson
Redemption and forgiveness in three easy steps: I'm not surprised that Eladio José Armesto has chosen to invoke the Bible in his latest round of chest-beating. Let's see, if I'm not mistaken, his letter about Jim DeFede was more concerned with expounding on Eladio himself than with refuting the violence he stands accused of committing.

All is not so bleak, however. Should Eladio be in dire financial straits and unable to pay the $1144 he owes us for new tires, an alternative can be suggested: (1) Serve the homeless at Camillus House for three consecutive Saturdays; (2) create a column in his newspaper helping battered women; (3) take a class on our constitutional laws and civic culture.

Arthur Buonamia
Miami

Bonus Lesson
When at a loss, you can always invoke bodily functions: I want to thank Jim DeFede for writing “Angels with Ice Picks,” another installment in his weekly mission to defecate on Cuban Americans. Isn't this the same idiot who wrote an article that was nothing more than a list of violent acts committed by Cuban Americans?

These articles serve no purpose but to spread hate. DeFede is a voice for the angry racist hicks who protested outside Miami with Confederate flags and KKK-type slogans. Jealousy's a bitch, huh?

Vale Timbales
Miami

Editor's note:
The idiot who wrote about politically motivated acts of violence by Cuban exiles (“The Burden of a Violent History,” April 20) was Jim Mullin, not Jim DeFede.

Errata
Owing to an editing error, Douglas Grant Mine's article “The Assassin Next Door, Part 2” (October 12) inaccurately reported that Gen. Augusto Pinochet last week had undergone his first round of interrogation by a Chilean magistrate. Pinochet's interrogation is expected to begin sometime in November.

A reporting error in Brett Sokol's “Kulchur” column (“The Battle Was Won but the War Continues,” October 12) led to the misspelling of Scott Southard's name. Southard works for the Boston-based International Music Network.

New Times regrets the errors.

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