Letters to the Editor

From the issue of November 30, 2000

History Might Have Been Different if Only ...
Al Gore had publicly opposed an airport at Homestead AFB: As Jim DeFede pointed out ("Collision Course,"November 23), if Al Gore loses Florida's 25 electoral votes and with them the presidency, he can blame himself for having refused to stand in opposition to an airport at Homestead Air Force Base.

And if Homestead Air Base Developers, Inc., gets to develop the airport, the idealists who voted for Ralph Nader have only themselves to blame. This presidential campaign was reality, not a high school popularity contest. Only two candidates had a chance to win, and of those two, only one has any record of caring about the environment. More than 90,000 people wasted a vote and allowed Bush to win Florida. They'll have the next four years (at least) to wallow in their self-righteousness.

Chris Fulmer
Homestead

History Might Have Been Different if Only ...
Alex Penelas had publicly supported Al Gore: Bravo for Jim DeFede's obituary of Alex Penelas's political career ("The Dead-End Kid,"November 16). The irony is that if Penelas had remained at least nominally supportive of Al Gore, he'd be in the catbird seat today. If Bush ends up slinking into the White House, there will be three million pissed-off Florida voters out for blood in 2002. Jeb Bush can cross off blacks and Jews. That leaves him with crackers and Cubans. As a loyal Democrat who defended the "miracle child," Penelas would have been in an ideal position to knock off the governor.

Two years from now the public will be talking about a stolen election, not a few incendiary remarks by the mayor. (Anyway the Republicans wouldn't dare alienate their Cuban base by replaying Alex's meltdown in television ads.) The Cubans love Jeb, but not as much as one of their own.

Blacks, Jews, Cubans, and all those loyal, vengeful Gore supporters. A recipe for victory. And from there the Democratic vice-presidential nomination in 2004. But Penelas's betrayal of Gore has, as DeFede noted, made him a pariah in his party. If he switches to the GOP, his options are severely limited. The House? The hyphen twins (Lincoln and Ileana) will die in office of old age. The Senate? Unless Bob Graham takes on Jeb, there's no opening. Penelas will serve out his term and what then? Mayor of Hialeah?

How sad. What looked like a Cuban-American JFK will turn out to be nothing more than a Latino Steve Clark, hobbling from one municipal post to another.

Ariel Gonzalez
Miami Lakes

Perceptions of Miami Cubans Might Have Been Different if Only ...
A certain mayor hadn't been missing in action: Alex Penelas's behavior during this election madness confirms his already insignificant and faltering status as a politician. What an absolute coward he has turned out to be! It is frustrating enough being a Cuban American in this city who thinks differently and constantly is at odds with the majority of the Cuban community. To make matters worse, of course, we have a mayor who could have redeemed the image of the Cuban community by offering a different perspective, by representing the Democratic vision within his own people and actually making a different voice be heard.

What a short-sighted individual he has shown himself to be. I am embarrassed by the continuous display of ignorance and intolerance from the Cuban community. Mr. Penelas could have made a difference in changing that image.

Esther Castro
Miami

Alex Penelas Might Have a Different Job Today if Only ...
Miami Cubans hadn't voted for him in spite of an obsessed columnist: I am a first cousin to Mayor Alex Penelas, and I've been a reader of New Times for years. I understand Jim DeFede's "job" as part of the media is tell us stories we don't usually get to hear. My only problem with him is his obsession with Alex. Yes, I did say obsession. If the people of this county did not want Alex as their mayor, they would have shown it on election day.

If he's got something on Alex that really means something, I want him to bring it out! Maybe Alex would resign and go back to a normal life. He sure could make a lot more money as a lawyer and have lots more time to spend with his family.

I also could not believe his reference to my aunt Mirta Penelas. She passed away more than three years ago, and this idiot still has the nerve to bring her up so his story will look like it has some substance. Well, I'm telling you, Mr. DeFede is a coward!

Orlando Torres
Miami

The Food Corner, Part 1
Let's make a federal case out of it, okay? I haven't yet graduated from law school but I'm already expressing my dissenting opinion of Pamela Robin Brandt's review of Divina, a Mexican culinary gem and one of Miami Beach's best-kept secrets ("Divina Almost Rising," November 9). It has risen -- to every one of my expectations.

Possessing an open-minded palate is a necessary requisite to being a good food critic, but it's something Brandt obviously doesn't have. Her descriptions of certain dishes are completely unfounded. Does she support the proposition that Mexican food should consist of tacos, burritos, chips, and salsa?

Divina has taken Mexican-inspired cuisine to another level. I'm extremely well traveled and have sampled foods from all regions, from simple traditional to modern creations. I've had it all. Divina's food remains down-to-earth, fresh, rich in flavor, texture, and above all in taste. It is the kind of food that touches your soul.

I've never been a subscriber to critics of any kind, and now I've proved myself right. Case dismissed.

Candise Shanbron
Miami Beach

The Food Corner, Part 2
Skippy weirdness gets silly: While it's not surprising that a restaurant critic so frighteningly familiar with the tastes and textures of products such as Skippy Super Chunk, Worcestershire sauce, and even cologne would crank out a silly review, it's unfortunate that Pamela Robin Brandt's opinion of Divina might turn away potential diners.

Divina is one of Miami Beach's finest restaurants. Whenever I dine there, chef Lorena Vegas Beuggie's dishes have been well prepared and delicious. Like any great chef, she has her own set of signature flavors. Those interested in jalapeños, chips, salsa, and very spicy chilies shouldn't dine here.

I felt Brandt's review was unfair because she doesn't understand what Divina's cuisine is all about. How else could she and her guests have arrived at such thoughtful conclusions as the chilies nogales dish being "too weird" and that salads are flawed unless dressing coats every leaf?

Suzy Buckley
Miami Beach

The Force of Reason
There's no reason for force: After reading Ted B. Kissell's article "Cruel or Usual Punishment?"(September 7), I am reminded that the use of corporal punishment teaches one thing only: When reason fails, hit 'em. As long as society continues to send this message to its children, we will continue to reap what we have sown.

John T. Jurich
Kendall

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