Letters to the Editor

From the issue of January 11, 2001

Padron's Power Grab
It sounds distressingly familiar, and I should know: Gaspar González's inferences regarding the manner in which MDCC district president Eduardo Padron operates are right on target ("Power Play,"January 4). This story about Juan Galan's resignation from the MDCC Foundation is a replay of Padron's power takeover of New World School of the Arts, motivated in large part by questions raised about how the MDCC Foundation, the fiscal agent for New World's foundation funds, was handling our monies.

As the former provost and CEO of New World School of the Arts, I know that Mr. Galan is correct when he says that "Padron runs the place like an outlaw outfit."

Bennett Lentczner
Silver Springs, Maryland

Two Padron Stories, Two Cases of Disappearing Papers
Coincidence? You be the judge: "Power Play" was a wonderful article, for which I thank Gaspar González. You might be interested to know that at the MDCC North Campus, all newsstand copies of New Times disappeared overnight from their racks. Funny thing. The same happened with a past New Times cover story titled "Schoolyard Bully" (May 7, 1998), also about Eduardo Padron. I did not witness removal by any MDCC employee, but these were the only two issues that mysteriously disappeared overnight. But as they say, if it walks like a duck. You might want to inquire of our campus president, Castell Bryant, if she gave the orders. She recently confiscated all copies of the student newspaper, as you probably know.

I have been a full-time professor at the college for more than a decade. I will include my name here in case you wish to verify my information but would ask that it not be published. I have two children to support, and the current administration can be most vindictive. It seems that tenure means nothing anymore if you cross Eduardo.

Name Withheld by Request
via the Internet

Speaking of Padron
He and Beatty deserve respect, not innuendo: For many years I have been an admirer of New Times. I find myself, however, disappointed by Gaspar González's article "Power Play." It is replete with many factual errors and inaccuracies. Although I am not mentioned in the article, as chairman of the Miami-Dade Community College District Board of Trustees, I feel compelled to write owing to my long-standing respect for your journal.

For some time there have existed policy differences between Mr. Juan Galan and other members of the MDCC Foundation board. Regrettably Mr. Galan has personalized some of these policy differences against MDCC district president Eduardo Padron and [outgoing foundation chairman] Robert Beatty. The article's innuendoes as to Dr. Padron and Mr. Beatty are just plain wrong. Padron and Beatty are respected and hard-working members of our South Florida community, with impeccable integrity, who have contributed significantly to the community through their lifetime of selfless dedication. Both Dr. Padron and Mr. Beatty have earned the support and respect of their colleagues at the college and the foundation, including from each member of the college's board of trustees.

Miami-Dade Community College is recognized by all as the best community college in the nation. This achievement has been attained by the hard work, over many years, of members of our faculty, administration, staff, students, and generous supporters in the private sector. Dr. Padron stands prominently among those who have contributed to Miami-Dade's success.

We regret to hear that Mr. Galan has decided to resign from the MDCC Foundation, but on behalf of the board of trustees, I wish him Godspeed.

Bob Martinez
Miami

Airports Do Not Good Neighbors Make
Especially if you happen to be a fragile world treasure: Thanks to Jim DeFede for keeping up the opposition to developing an airport in Homestead via his recent excellent articles ("Promises to Keep," January 4, "Vox Populi,"December 28, "Destiny's Child,"December 21, and "Collision Course," November 23).

It seems we have a tendency not to appreciate our own back yards. The Everglades river of grass and Biscayne Bay are treasures among the world's wonders. They deserve a better neighbor than a commercial airport.

Imagine a world institute and resource center nestled between these monumental national parks that would study and help develop solutions to growing ecological threats like global warming. What an economic boost that alone would give to the area. But also it would bring worldwide recognition to the area as an ecotourism destination.

We must continue to urge all our elected officials not to set in motion actions that we all know in our hearts will lead to the certain destruction of one of Earth's few remaining jewels.

Luis Penelas
Miami

I Cannot Escape Martin Siskind!
This was supposed to be a vacation, not a forced march down memory lane: Amazing! I come to Miami from the United Kingdom at Christmas to get away from the cares of this world, and I'm confronted with memories of a guy I was involved with some years ago.

Congratulations to Juan Carlos Rodriguez for a wonderfully researched article on Martin Siskind ("The Great Pretender,"December 28). It's rare to see such depth in UK newspapers, perhaps because of the fears our editors have of libel actions.

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.

Price of tuition: $90 monthly.

Cost of overalls: $55.

The incredible lifelong experiences, great friendships, and confidence-builder for young kids: priceless.

Bruce Gusman (Zach's dad)
Miami

Free Weekly Exposes Flagrant Child Abuse
Pulitzer committee reportedly "very impressed": Maybe I misunderstood the point of "Her Brilliant Career," but it seems as though Robert Andrew Powell and New Times share the view of some parents of Hip Hop Kidz that their children are entitled to success and stardom without working hard and making sacrifices. And that Suzy Stone is somehow flawed because she pushes her students and seeks fame herself.

Wow! What a scandal!

Maybe New Times will next look into the outrageous situation at West Point, where aspiring generals are actually expected to get up early and march great distances before breakfast just to prepare them for actual war! Can you believe it? Shocking!

Seth Gordon
Miami

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