Letters to the Editor

From the issue of January 11, 2001

For your information I did some copywriting work for Martin in the Seventies and had the usual problems of getting paid. At that time he was running a club called the Rolls-Royce and Bentley Owner-Drivers Club. It was effectively a restaurant and club room in a countryside property formerly owned by Nancy Cunard. An intriguing touch was that the central heating radiator panels were actually radiators from Rolls-Royce automobiles!

After I parted company with him, he engaged a friend of mine, Jennifer, to do his copywriting. Needless to say she didn't get paid. Her solution to the problem was to hold her wedding reception at his club. At the end of the event, as she was getting into her car, Martin presented her with his invoice for the reception. Jennifer smiled sweetly and drove away.

My impression of Siskind at the time was that he had lots of brainpower, energy, and charm -- more than enough to be very successful at business, if he could only harness his talents on a straight track. Sad, really.

Roger Millington
Kingston, Surrey
England

Dear Mr. Mayors
With all due respect, have the two of you lost your friggin' minds? In response to Jim Mullin's column about the Florida Marlins deal ("Spitball," December 21), I composed this letter to Miami-Dade Mayor Alex Penelas and City of Miami Mayor Joe Carollo:

Dear Mayors Penelas and Carollo:

I would like to respectfully express my disgust at what has taken place over the past couple of weeks here in Miami-Dade County concerning the construction of a ballpark for the Florida Marlins. Why was the public kept out of the loop concerning this deal? Why is the public not being allowed to vote on this? Which person or persons will directly benefit from this stadium, because the public is definitely not going to benefit from this.

Another point: It doesn't make any sense to build a ballpark for one segment of the county's citizens, whether they're white, Hispanic, black, or Asian. Basically the Marlins are assuming that Cuban Americans and other Hispanics are going to support baseball on a grand scale. That's wrong! Politicians should never guess or assume the motives of a particular race or ethnic group, and this is precisely what the Marlins are doing. What if the stadium is built and the Latin community doesn't come to the games as much as the Marlins want them to? Then what? The taxpayers of this county are going to be stuck with a white elephant on Biscayne Boulevard, and it's not going to be a pretty sight.

I would like to see Bicentennial Park transformed into a tropical garden. Every major city in this country has a public park or garden for its downtown area -- except Miami. Even skyscraper-addicted New York has a public park and garden for its residents, and there isn't a palm tree anywhere in sight. Miami has palm trees as far as the eye can see but no public park or garden to show off for the rest of the world. This is Florida, dammit!

In closing, let this not be another example of two-faced millionaires/billionaires and power-hungry politicians creating political and economic turmoil in this county over the almighty dollar. Miami will never be considered a world-class city until she gets right with her politics. Period!

Tyrone D. Kenon
Miami

What Reinaldo Arenas Would Do If He Were Here Today
Let's see, he'd frame Brett Sokol's article, right? Brett Sokol's emphasis on Reinaldo Arenas's reaction to the Miami Cuban community accurately posits that Arenas's dislike of Miami had much to do with sexual politics ("Requiem for a True Original," December 14). But his reception -- agree with it or not -- would have been little different in many other parts of the world, especially in communities grounded in religious traditions. He was never, however, imprisoned or persecuted for his appearance or politics in Miami. That's a significant difference from his experience in Cuba and his experience in Miami. If he'd only been able to return a few years later, I'm quite sure he would have felt at home on South Beach.

Sokol states that "it takes nothing away from Schnabel's film to note what's missing from it -- namely any mention of Arenas's time in Miami." It apparently takes nothing away from Sokol's obvious imperative to transform anything even remotely anti-Castro into an anti-Cuban exile diatribe to note that, by Sokol's own admission, the details of that period in Arenas's autobiography are "tantalizingly brief."

Amazingly absent from Sokol's selections from Arenas's book are any references to the UMAP camps or to the experiences of Virgilio Piñera. Also conspicuously absent is any mention of Arenas's passionate hatred of Castro or his disdain for what he called the Castro apologists in the U.S.

In his own iconoclastic way, Arenas was as extreme in his hatred of Castro as many exiles in Miami, something that is evident throughout many of his writings. Sadly, what Arenas would do with the paper Brett Sokol's article is printed on will remain only conjecture.

Manuel Fernandez
Naperville, Illinois

Let Me Get Right to My Important Point
By invoking a commercial advertisement: Congratulations to Robert Andrew Powell on a great article about Suzy Stone and her Hip Hop Kidz ("Her Brilliant Career," November 9). I was going to write a long-winded memo but decided to shorten it.

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