Letters to the Editor

From the issue of December 21, 2000

No one in his right mind could support the status quo, which seems to punish everyone but the perpetrators.

Joseph Currier Brock
Miami Beach

Writer Produces Myopically One-Sided Pinko Article
Reader demands salary justification: In her story "Why Not Hit 'Em Where It Hurts?" Susan Eastman takes a one-sided, socialistic, myopic position. She assumes that the owners of these buildings are all fat cats living large, that the tenants are just innocent victims, and that the city and state governments are there to help. Charles Dickens and Karl Marx would be proud of Ms. Eastman's literary work.

If she had really investigated the true culprits, she might find something more insidious to blame. Taxes and regulations are the real culprits. In the City of Miami, rental-property owners are saddled with the highest millage rate allowed by the state, a fire fee ($75 per unit annually), a garbage fee (twenty percent on top of what you pay a private hauler to take your trash), an occupational license fee, and a lot more. So much more, in fact, that the city makes the Gambino crime family look like the Girl Scouts. Throw into this equation an incompetent and uncooperative building department and add the fact that most of the tenants in these buildings are on fixed incomes and can't afford to pay any more rent, plus a rampant drug problem, and what you have is a recipe for disaster like the one described in the article.

It's easy and doesn't take much investigative skill or journalistic integrity to blame the property owners, the so-called slumlords. It takes a lot more work to get to the true culprit in this case. May I suggest Ms. Eastman earn her pay, pick up her notepad, and head back out to Overtown, Liberty City, and Little Haiti and get all the sides to this story.

Emiliano Antunez
Miami

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