Letters to the Editor

From the issue of December 7, 2000

 Demetrio's Ethical Challenge
Didn't that law-school honor code mean anything? As a student at the University of Miami School of Law, I have followed with great interest the tale of young Demetrio Perez's candidacy for the Miami-Dade County school board. Since moving to Miami in 1994, I have been repeatedly disgusted by the state of local politics. It was therefore no surprise to me when I began reading about this year's candidates' transgressions. It came as a shock, though, when I realized that a fellow UM law student, sworn to abide by an honor code (which provides sanctions for, among other things, "engaging in conduct which casts serious doubt on the student's honesty, integrity, or fitness to be an attorney...."), has been involved in an unethical and dishonest campaign.

Most disgraceful was Perez's apparently smug attitude when Rebecca Wakefield questioned him about his indiscretions ("Down but Probably Not Out," November 30). What he fails to understand -- and what is too often ignored in the legal and political communities -- is that people are not judging the legality of his actions but rather his questionable character. By continuing to argue that his misrepresentations did not violate the letter of the elections law (and that he simply "should have read the map more carefully"), Perez misses the point that, as an applicant to the Florida Bar, he will be expected to have adhered to a much higher ethical standard.

I appreciate New Times's coverage of Perez's saga and look forward to the day he is shamed into apologizing to the communities he has chosen to represent.

D. Porpoise Evans

I Do Hereby Advocate Free Speech
Just not insulting free speech: I am writing in response to Lee Klein's review of The House restaurant (my client) in the November 30 issue of New Times ("Mickey House").

I have been a fan of New Times since I moved to Miami more than five years ago. It has always presented opinions that are well formed and refreshing. Over the years I have had many clients reviewed or written about, some positive and some negative. As an advocate of free speech, I am completely open and accepting of everyone's right to an opinion, good or bad. But I do not believe in moving beyond constructive criticism to a point of insult.

Had Mr. Klein conversed with us about The House at any point before he submitted his review, he would have learned that chef Maria Rossi was let go on November 17. The management of the restaurant was not pleased with the cuisine she was creating and moved quickly to resolve the situation. We did not send out a release announcing the change, as we were waiting to announce it with the invitation for a media-only dinner.

In fact we had begun plans this past Monday, November 27, for our media-only dinner to launch the restaurant and introduce the new chef, Alex Cherond. To this end the restaurant is closed until December 5, so that chef Cherond can put his menu in place before we introduce it to the media and the public.

When I learned of the review, which I was confident would not be positive based on chef Rossi's cuisine, I spoke with New Times associate editor Anne Tschida about it and told her of the change in staff. I was not calling Anne to try to change the review or request that it be dropped. I was well aware that the deadline was past and that of course this would be an inappropriate request. My goal was -- and is -- to alert the paper of the staff change and to ascertain what kind of damage control would be necessary.

The tone of Mr. Klein's review certainly is damaging and will be a hurdle for the restaurant to overcome as it moves forward. Many of his comments were, in the opinion of my client, unnecessarily biting. To mention a few: "Mickey House," "stupefyingly insipid," "lull you to sleep from the sheer boredom of its offerings."

It is our desire that the restaurant receive a second chance for a review with the new chef.

Dindy Yokel

Bernie Diaz, Director of Miscommunication
It'd be funny if it weren't so dangerous: As the founder and director of DanceSafe, I feel compelled to respond to Bernie Diaz's letter in the November 23 edition of New Times, in which he demonstrates exactly why zero-tolerance policies jeopardize lives and increase drug-related harm.

As director of communications for the Miami Coalition for a Safe and Drug-Free Community, Mr. Diaz retracts his statement that MDA is in Robitussin cough syrup by claiming that he actually said, "MDMA ... was present in Robitussin via its derivative chemical compound, DXM." DXM is not a derivative of MDMA, and promoting this misinformation may incline young people to start downing bottles of Robitussin in the hopes of achieving the mood-elevating effects of MDMA.

We at DanceSafe were the ones who first found out about the prevalence of DXM on the Ecstasy market a little over a year ago, and we warned the public about it through our Website at www.dancesafe.org. Mr. Diaz knows about DXM only because of our harm-reduction efforts. Too bad he doesn't respect harm reduction enough to actually understand what DXM is and why teenagers are being unwittingly exposed to it.

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