Letters to the Editor

From the issue of November 9, 2000

 Watch Where You're Going!
It's not enough that you're obnoxious; you're also a lousy driver:
I am writing in response to Victor Cruz's article “Loud, Proud, and Out of Work” (November 2), about Ezell Robinson being fired by the Metro-Dade Transit Agency. You probably don't remember me, Mr. Robinson, but I used to be a passenger on your #2 bus. I used to get on at NW 46th Street and Second Avenue in the mornings to go to work downtown. You used to make me so nervous and angry, because you were always reading the newspaper while you were driving. I used to get so scared thinking that one morning you wouldn't look up in time to stop the bus before you ran into the back of someone, or you'd possibly run a red light and get us all killed! Let me ask you: While you were driving the bus on that fateful day in April, were you reading the paper when you collided with that minivan and sent it flying into someone's yard?

It is my opinion that what happened to you (getting fired) is what you deserved. It was only a matter of time. You were very arrogant, rude, and obnoxious to me on the few occasions I asked you to please not read the newspaper while driving. I'm sure you've heard this saying before: “What you do in the dark will always come to the light.” Looks like that light is shining pretty bright on you right now.

Good riddance to a dangerous public servant.

Bonnie Clark

Dear Boone,
Our apologies:
In addition to being quoted in Lee Klein's “Dish” story about high-priced dining (“Tale of Four Cities,” November 2), I am the publicist for the restaurant Bambù. I am writing you to request a correction to an error in Mr. Klein's article. The chef at Bambù is named Rob Boone, not Rob Deer as published.

Larry Carrino

The Semantics of Racism
Since when is a 35-year-old attorney a "kid"?
Jim DeFede's article “Splitsville” (October 19) tells the story of a high-profile county hall lobbyist, Norman C. Powell, who is suing another high-profile county hall lobbyist, Christopher G. Korge. DeFede begins his story by noting that until a few weeks ago, the two men were friends working together in the law firm of Korge & Powell. DeFede continues to set the stage for his tale by noting that the central issue in the lawsuit is whether Powell was a partner in the law firm or a salaried employee. He points out that Powell claims he was a partner and that Korge claims Powell was an employee. Although DeFede attempts to be evenhanded in describing the dispute, he leaves a crucial fact that is essential in properly assessing the dispute and fully appreciating many of the comments made in the article. DeFede fails to mention that Korge is white and Powell is black. Once we complete the picture by adding its racial component, the story takes on greater significance in light of the poor performance of area law firms in the recruitment, promotion, and retention of black lawyers.

Prior to November 1998, Powell was a black partner in the twelve-attorney firm of Hanzman Criden Korge & Chaykin. He left that firm with Korge to form Korge & Powell. It appeared that Powell truly was blessed in that he, as a black lawyer, at least had made it to the partnership ranks in a predominantly white firm. Many blacks who make partner in such firms, however, leave for other environments where they feel more comfortable. Without commenting on the merits of Korge's defense that his black partner at Hanzman Criden left with him to set up a firm and become Korge's employee, “Splitsville” still is significant because many of the comments in the article may reveal attitudes of some partners at predominantly white firms.

DeFede quotes Korge's attorney, Thomas Tew, in order to describe how Korge views the case. Tew, a partner at Tew Cardenas Rebak Kellogg Lehman DeMaria & Tague, begins his statements by asking, “How dumb does this kid expect the world to be?” Tew continues to refer to Powell, a 35-year-old black attorney who has been practicing law for more than ten years, as a “kid” throughout the article. It appears that Tew used the word “kid” in an attempt to reduce the manhood of Powell. Alternatively it simply is an expression of the shared view of Tew and his client that Powell is a “kid,” “child,” or “boy” in their eyes. The use of the expression in referring to Powell, an experienced and prominent black lawyer, is insulting and clearly inappropriate. Such comments are at best racially insensitive and at worst racist.

Tew's initial comment also seems to suggest that Powell does not have a handle on reality because he would have to think the world is dumb enough to believe he was a partner of Korge. Perhaps Tew based his comments on the fact that it is rare to find a black lawyer in the partnership ranks of predominantly white firms. Although Tew has no black partners in his law firm, and black partners are rare in Miami, it clearly is not a dumb thought to think that Powell, who was Korge's partner at Hanzman Criden, also could have been his partner in the firm of Korge & Powell.

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