Letters to the Editor

From the issue of November 23, 2000

 The Missing Mayor's Buttered Bread
He may be a snake in the grass, but he's our snake in the grass: I read Jim DeFede's slanted article concerning Mayor Alex Penelas ("The Dead-End Kid," November 16). While I can understand those who feel the mayor is a political snake in the grass, I would expect more from a political writer like Mr. DeFede.

DeFede writes about Penelas's lack of support for Al Gore: "Penelas supporters argue there really was nothing the mayor could have done to aid Gore, because Cuban Americans were still seething over the raid." That says it all.

Gore is viewed as Clinton's man, and Cuban Americans tend to hate Clinton these days. Penelas needs his Cuban-American base. If he ever attempted to run for office outside Miami, you would see that now infamous press conference popping up everywhere in campaign ads for his opponent. Alex knows where his bread is buttered. As long as he only has to campaign in South Florida, he will win elections.

Eventually the Democrats will need a Cuban American to support them in South Florida. They will call on Penelas because, frankly, they have no one else. Penelas may help if it suits him, or he may not.

Andres Acebo

The Missing Mayor's Snappish Sibling
Enough is enough is enough already: Please let my mother rest in peace!

In "The Dead-End Kid," Jim DeFede once again mentioned her. Cut it out!

DeFede is correct that my mother installed great ambition in her sons. After all, she came to this country, as do most immigrants, to make a better life for her progeny. Politics, however, was the last thing she wanted for any of us. My father was a revolutionary in Cuba. The trials she suffered as a wife and mother left no doubt in her mind that politics was the last thing she wanted for her children. But when she was convinced this was what Alex wanted, she became his biggest supporter.

It serves no purpose to mention her, except for the obvious touch of drama. But it does hurt those of us still trying to cope with her sudden and untimely passing. So please stop.

Luis Penelas

The Missing Mayor's Maturity
That presidential spanking was pointless: Alex Penelas's disaffection with the Democratic Party is also the disaffection of the Cuban-American community. I believe he is just interpreting the feelings of this community toward the Democrats. If I may speak for this community, of which I am a member, it was not the Elian issue itself that turned the hearts of this community but the raw violence, racism, and isolation we felt. Were the Democrats trying to build bridges toward this community after Elian?

According to Jim DeFede, President Clinton spanked the mayor, and the mayor reacted like a petulant child. Well, Mr. DeFede is wrong. Neither Mayor Penelas nor we in this community are children. We are mature adults who know how and where to use our votes. And my community and Mr. Penelas have spoken loud and clear.

I do believe the majority of Cuban Americans want Mr. Penelas to leave the Democratic Party and take 300,000-plus Cuban-American votes with him wherever he goes. I am very proud that this community went out in force to vote and shaped the outcome of the presidential election. As for the Democrats, I believe they are now feeling the sense of disenfranchisement and isolation Mr. Penelas and my community suffered. What goes around, comes around.

Jorge Fernandez
via the Internet

The Missing Mayor's Inept Chronicler
Columnist finally crawls out from under rock: I found Mr. DeFede's whining bleat about Alex Penelas rather funny. The fact that Mr. DeFede can't understand why Mayor Penelas would abandon a very lame Democratic nominee who is a known liar is a reflection on the lack of Mr. DeFede's values. One has to wonder where he has been the last eight years. Maybe under a rock?

Mr. DeFede writes: "Instead Penelas abandoned Gore months ago and then jettisoned the Democratic Party after he won re-election in September. Under different circumstances that type of selfish arrogance might have gone unnoticed in the commotion of a national election. But with the presidency of the United States now being determined by a handful of votes in South Florida, Penelas's absence in the concluding weeks of the presidential campaign takes on colossal significance."

The part here I like is Mr. DeFede's use of the phrase "selfish arrogance." That sort of thing is to be expected when a columnist looks at the facts and realizes that even a politico has more in the way of values and intelligence than the writer. So thanks for running "The Dead-End Kid." It's always entertaining and educational to find out just how shallow and inept some newspaper columnists are.

Russ Harris
Overland, Missouri

A Credit to Himself and the School System He Serves
And trolling for hookers has nothing to do with it: I was interviewed by Rebecca Wakefield for her article about Norman Lindeblad, former director of the school district's Office of Professional Standards, who was arrested on charges of soliciting prostitution ("Still Employed After All Those Leers," November 9). Afterward I did some research and found a school-board rule regarding the responsibilities and duties of permanent personnel. It begins as follows:

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